Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Joy Returns

Yesterday was a breakthrough day for me:  Spurred by a need to keep a hairdresser's appointment, I managed to walk the three blocks from my home to downtown Saratoga, up and down hills included, using just a cane for support.  And back again. Hope returns!  Every day I feel a bit stronger, every day I go a bit longer between pain pills.   I can begin to imagine returning to my old active self, when my shattered kneecap finally heals and my leg can bend again.

I won't deny I've had some dark moments,  especially because I had to cancel my plans for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, one of the richest wildflower sites in all of North America.  And it wasn't just the site I missed out on, it was the pleasure of the company of five amazing guys, botanists all, who invited me to share a lovely cottage right on the shores of Lake Huron.  I couldn't believe my wonderful fortune, that I, an old lady and me only an amateur wildflower nut, would be asked to join these super knowledgable plant professionals in seeking out some of the rarest plants to be found on our continent.  Just the thought of that honor has gone a long way toward compensating me for the disappointment of not being able to go.

Here's a photo of the house we would have shared, and another of the shore the house adjoined.

I had another compensation, too, and one that speaks to the quality of the friends I was to spend the week with.  Almost everywhere my friends went, they sent me photos, but not just of the amazing landscapes and beautiful flowers.  As a sign of their friendship and of how they were keeping me in their thoughts, they spelled out my name in the natural materials at hand and posted photos on Facebook.  Can you imagine how deeply this touched me?  Every day I couldn't wait to see what medium they would use to spell my name.  I never want to lose these photos, so I'm sharing them here on my blog (Facebook posts do tend to disappear after a while).  I never want to forget the joy these dear fellows graced me with.  A million thanks, John and Andrew and Drew and Rob and Stefan.  I want you to know that this gesture brought me joy when I needed it most.

This was the first photo I received and I was moved to tears by such a kind gesture. (But also a bit disappointed in myself that I couldn't ID the leaves in the photo.  Anyone?)

How appropriate to spell my name with the limestone pebbles so abundant on the alvar shores that distinguish the Bruce Peninsula.

I can't help but wonder what marvelous wetland plants my friends found along this sandy shore.

My dear friend John Manion assured me that all these tiny flowers were those of the  super-abundant introduced species of Forget-me-not,  for he would never pick any native wildflower, not even for me.

John is renowned for his culinary skills, and he made my mouth water when he shared these ingredients for some marvelous dish he was concocting.

Drew Monthie created this assemblage using White Spruce sprigs and the leaves of a particular variety of Bush Honeysuckle native to Lake Huron shores.

Longtime readers of this blog may remember when my dear friend Andrew Gibson drove out from Ohio to botanize with me in both 2012 and 2013.  Andrew is one of the botanists I would have shared this week on the Bruce with, and he is not only a first-rate plant guy, he's also a spectacularly talented photographer as well.  Although he has already shared many photographs from this June's Bruce trip on Facebook, I'm hoping he will one day post his account of this trip on his beautiful blog, The Buckeye Botanist.  In the meantime, to get some idea of the botanical riches of the Bruce Peninsula, we can visit his post reporting on his July 2011 trip there.


Barbara said...

What a wonderful tribute to you, all of those Jackies. Some people are so thoughtful. And I am glad to hear that you are able to walk about a bit now. In the spirit of wanting to hear "the rest of the story", did you ever get a response from the hospital regarding your horrible pain-filled post-surgery night?

The Furry Gnome said...

Glad to hear you're healing this fast. And a lovely post about your botanist friends. Read Andrew's 2011 post and it all sounded so familiar. I've been to Dorcas Bay many times, and took students there often. I think I've seen all those plants he mentioned. Truly a beautiful place; hope you still get up here sometime to see it.