Violets

Lockdown Day 77…

My mother’s garden is full of violets.

I know this because she showed me during one of our daily FaceTime visits, when I catch up with her and The Professor, and their cat, Monty.

She has always grown violets in her garden, and I have always loved them: their velvety petals, their heartshaped leaves, their deep sweet scent.

When I was a small child, I would pick posies of violets. My mother showed me how to clip the stems — not too long, not too short — and to gather a bunch of purple blooms, then surround them with a border of deep green leaves.

I could never pull the posy together quite as well as she did. Then again, I couldn’t do many things as capably as she could. Her hands are so much smaller than mine, but her fingers are deft. Her hands are careful, and care-filled.

To state the bleedingly obvious, one of the hardest things about Lockdown is not being able to see my parents.

And I would imagine — no, I know — that I am not the only one feeling like this right now. I also know that there are plenty of people who have not seen their loved ones for a lot longer than me, particularly when they are separated by vast oceans, either literally or figuratively.

But it’s funny how when you can’t see someone, you remember things you might not have otherwise, like picking violets for my mother when I was a little girl.

It also reminded me of the words of Walt Whitman from Leaves of Grass, which I haven’t read for many years.

These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands,
     they are not original with me,
If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next to nothing,
If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle

     they are nothing,
If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing.

This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is,
This the common air that bathes the globe.

Clichéd as it sounds, and is, we’re all in this together. All in this common air.

Mind yourselves,

BJx

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