Saturday, March 12, 2011

Geraniums in the Window in the Winter

When I was young and my grandparents were living in the farmhouse a favorite room of mine was one of the front parlors-especially when winter's grasp was harsh and gray days prevailed. I'd stand by the window looking out towards the barn in awe of my grandmother's geraniums in full bloom sitting in front of me soaking up what sunlight there was coming in from the cold. The contrast was stark. Outside everything was frozen in place. Inside those plants with their big, happy, green leaves and big, happy, red flowers weren't stopping to wait for the heat of summer. They didn't seem to care. They made no distinction between the seasons. They were getting what they needed and letting you see how content they were in that window-all thanks to my grandmother's green thumb. She cared for her plants like she did her cooking-smidgens of this and that done naturally and with lightening speed and with great results.

There was no down time for this woman who juggled her many roles and duties in a house dress with her hair wrapped up in a bun. Her gym was her surroundings-up and down the stairs endless times a day; stacking wood and loading her stove; carrying babies-chasing babies; slicing-dicing-whipping-kneading-canning-knitting-sewing-crocheting-mending-braiding rugs-braiding hair; shoveling snow; walking back and forth to the barn; doing chores; planting-picking-pickling-working in her garden; stocking up the root cellar. Maybe her equipment wasn't made of steel and maybe her house dress was void of a brand name logo but that woman never left her gym and never quit working out and did it all with ease and did it all every, single day. Her water wasn't in plastic bottles. It came from the well.

I often think of how my grandmother made her way. She continues to influence me. My geranium plants with their big, happy, green leaves and big, happy, red flowers have bloomed all winter long-sitting in a window looking out towards the barn.

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