In honor of the holiday weekend, here is a post that first appeared one year ago. The photos still haunt me. I recently returned to the nursery-that-was, and not much has changed. Yes, the weeds have been mown and the random pots removed, but the structures remain (albeit a little more dilapidated). There are also a couple of flatbed trailers parked on the lot, but the abandoned nursery remains, a testament to the loss of small, local, neighborhood nurseries and small businesses that can’t keep up with the onslaught of retail and box store chains, rising rents, and a lifeless economy.
On this Labor Day, please visit a local nursery — and if you would like to open your own, I know a place that’s available.
Sycamores are the first to surrender their leaves to the subtle changes in daylight.
“Some days in late August are like this, the air thin and eager like this,
with something in it sad and nostalgic and familiar . . .”
— William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
Faulkner almost had it right.
While August is the saddest month in the calendar, it’s also, I think, the most perplexing.
It seems as if August just doesn’t know which season it wants to be part of: summer or autumn. The weather is still warm and humid, but each day grows shorter, second by second. Leaves that were once fresh and green are now dull and drab.
Added into my August angst equation is my non-blogging life. I work in a school, and in a little more than a week, classes will resume. It’s as if August is the gate for my flight into September, and I’m too afraid to leave the area for fear that I might miss the boarding call.
And so I find myself plotting the demise of August while squeezing — choking — all I can out of the last bits of summer. Surely, August must have some redeeming quality.
Joe and I live in the center of Long Island, give or take a mile. That means that our climate is usually a bit different from the rest of the Island. Autumn arrives sooner, spring a little bit later, and the cool ocean breezes just can’t reach us during the summer.
It also means that if we drive west, we can enjoy the sites, sounds, smells, and flavors of New York City and its boroughs — but for a more rural excursion, we can drive east to Long Island’s East End.
It was a gut-wrenching, heart-aching goodbye. As we drove north on I-95, we watched spring disappear, its greens and blooms falling away with each passing mile. And now, on a very cold spring day on Long Island, I am once again looking at a world of brown with only a few patches of green growth — a far cry from South Florida’s lush jungle. So as I re-acclimate to my climate, I am thinking of a post from last year when I gardened in two zones in one week.
Please, forgive me for this repost, but I am a sad gardener. Just days ago, I tasted renewal — and this morning, I scraped ice from my windshield. It hurts. It really hurts.
One day, you’re on vacation in South Florida, gazing at the pattern of a banana leaf sunlit from behind (above) — and the next, you’re bundled up against the wind chill of Long Island. After arriving home, I went through some random Florida photos and then walked around the yard on Long Island to make a comparison. Can you guess which photos came from which zone?
As the February snow melts and re-freezes, taking on the look and sound of carved Styrofoam, Long Island elected officials are scrambling to come up with answers for how municipalities so badly handled snow removal. There is talk of contracts, lack of direction, an overwhelming amount of snow, and the resignation of one highway supervisor — so much talk, in fact, that it’s all starting to sound like a snow job as historical as the blizzard itself.
If only they had paid more attention to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” There always seemed to be snow falling on the other side of the massive window in Mary’s adorable apartment — you know, the one on the top floor of Phyllis’s house. I often dreamt that I would like to live in Mary’s apartment — if only to have Rhoda as a friend.
The same bench from previous post.
Yesterday, I was humming Christmas carols. Today, my lyrics sound more like this:
“There’s got to be a morning after, if we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine; let’s keep on looking for the light.
Oh, can’t you see the morning after? It’s waiting right outside the storm.
Why don’t we cross the bridge together and find a place that’s safe and warm?”
What to do? It’s an early January day, one of those odd ones that’s wedged between cold fronts. On Long Island, that means it sort of feels like March, and there is an urge to bundle up and start spring cleaning — while the inner voice says, “Don’t be too quick. This is just a winter lull, and there will be icy temperatures at any moment.”
As if to serve as a reminder, there are the remnants of last night’s flurries (above) and autumn leaves encased in ice on top of the pool cover (below).