Memorial Day as we celebrate it now honors those who died in war as well as those who survived their service. It has also been a day for families to go to the cemetery and tidy up the graves of their relatives and put flowers on. When I was a child, older people often called it Decoration Day.
Although people close to me have served in the military, I am fortunate to have no war dead. As a young teen, I remember looking through my mother’s high school yearbooks with friends, fascinated at the different clothes and hairstyles. Often our attention would light on some photo we found particularly attractive and when questioned, my mother would have a look at the picture, and more often than not respond, “Oh, he was killed in the war.”
Recently, I have been thinking about war in a way I had not before because of my friend Anne who was plucked out of the ocean off the coast of Vietnam 40 years ago. She wrote an article about seeking out some of the people responsible for saving her and her family and encouraged me to see the documentary Last Days in Vietnam. In reading her article and seeing the film, I realized that Vietnam had been the backdrop to my entire childhood, from grade school through high school graduation.
In her post on the day, Eliza Waters wrote that “Memorial Day serves to remind us that peace is our utmost goal and that each of us must work to keep peace in our hearts and radiate it out to the rest of the world.” I think Anne would also say that we should take opportunities to heal wounds where we can–some longer lasting than others.
Because it falls at the end of May, it often rains on Memorial Day here in the Mid-Atlantic. This day was a model of spring sliding into summer. The air at the cemetery and near the river smelled of pine and honeysuckle and occasionally water when the breeze shifted direction.
The cottonwoods are releasing their tufty seeds, which float through the air looking like out of season snow. I tried to capture them in flight, but instead captured them in the water.
I also received a surprise nomination for the Sunshine Award by Derrick Knight, whose posts of beautiful photos of plants and children and other interesting things almost always leave me smiling.
I am supposed to tell a bit about myself because of this award. As you know if you follow the blog, I am a gardener and a cook. I am also a kayaker, sailor, cyclist and hiker. I grew up in Illinois among farms and farmers, the child of a newspaperman and a creative crafty woman who made my brother and me felt Humpty Dumpty bean bags and Sword in the Stone hand puppets. My brother and I ran about in the woods, cycled country roads, and rode horses. Our father taught us about trees and plants and the habits of wild animals. A number of years ago, when he was already elderly, we were standing on a river bank after a cousin’s wedding and someone said, “Uncle Johnnie, what is that stuff?” pointing to a vigorous colony of … something. Dad looked at it for a moment and then said, “That’s wild mullein. Mother used to make poultices of it for chest colds.” So if the blog often seems to be filled with bits of arcana, you see I come by it honestly.
Now I need to tell you about some people whose blogs may cheer you if you follow.
KerryCan posts some lovely blogs, including one in which she was brave enough to rescue a skunk and recently one that proves she absolutely deserves the Sunshine Award.
Gardening Nirvana posts on all sorts of things, including how to get better organized. Meanwhile, her garden is gorgeous, even in parched California.
Stop by and have a peek at both. Kerry has some mighty interesting bridesmaids on display at the moment!