Saturday, July 14, 2018

Botanic Emotions / Emociones Botánicas

La versión español está después de la primera foto.

MY FIRST FULL day in town, I visited the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. My Mother The Dowager Duchess used to take us there and, years later, San Geraldo and I would take her there whenever we visited. The Duchess was a fascinating, intelligent, artistic, multi-talented person. She was also not easy, to put it mildly (which is why I called her the Dowager Duchess). I'm glad I was able to maintain such a positive relationship with her through the years, but I haven't so much mourned her passing (almost two years ago) as I have philosophized about how much kinder she became in later years and how fortunate she was to live independently all her life. Two things she loved unconditionally were gardens and museums. As I walked joyfully through the gardens this time, I became more and more wistful.  These gardens and the New York museums, I realised, are the only purely happy memories I have of my mother. There were other happy memories, of course, but they all come with qualifiers (or ,"I'm not going to think about that part").

Another visitor and I stopped at the same spot to peak through a fence to take a picture of the Japanese Gardens. We laughed and talked about how much we loved the place. She, too, had sweet memories from her childhood. I had to abruptly end the conversation so I could walk over to a hedge and sob. It lasted about 30 seconds. It's a magical place.


MI PRIMER DÍA completo en la ciudad, visité los Jardines Botánicos de Brooklyn. Mi Madre La Duquesa Viuda solía llevarnos allí y, años más tarde, San Geraldo y yo la llevaríamos allí cada vez que visitamos. La Duquesa era una persona fascinante, inteligente, artística, y multitalentosa. Tampoco fue difícil, por decirlo suavemente (por eso la llamé La Duquesa Viuda). Me alegro de haber podido mantener una relación tan positiva con ella a través de los años, pero no lamenté tanto su fallecimiento (hace casi dos años) como he filosofado acerca de cuánto más amable se volvió en los últimos años y cómo la fortuna ella debía vivir independientemente toda su vida. Dos cosas que ella amaba incondicionalmente eran jardines y museos. Mientras caminaba alegremente por los jardines esta vez, me volví cada momento más melancólica. Estos jardines y los museos de Nueva York, me di cuenta, son los únicos recuerdos puramente felices que tengo de mi madre. Hubo otros recuerdos felices, por supuesto, pero todos vienen con calificadores (o, "No voy a pensar en esa parte").

Otro visitante y yo nos detuvimos en el mismo lugar para hacer una foto de los jardines japoneses. Nos reímos y hablamos de lo mucho que amamos el lugar. Ella también tenía dulces recuerdos de su infancia allí. Yo tuve que terminar abruptamente la conversación para poder caminar hacia un seto y sollozar. Duró unos 30 segundos. Es un lugar mágico.







22 comments:

  1. I admire your honesty. You could have just said "this made me miss my mother", leave it at that, and then sit back and soak up a bunch of accolades on what a good and caring son you are. Instead, you come right out and admit the relationship was problematic, as it so often is between children and parents.

    (Incidentally, don't take my comment to mean that you're NOT a good and caring son. I think you were. I'm just giving you extra points for candor.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kirk:
      I'm finally replying to the comments on this post! Thank you so much for your very kind and understanding comment. I don't want to be disrespectful but I also don't want to be dishonest. It seems everyone becomes a saint after they die instead of the complex individuals they were.

      Delete
  2. I bet you felt at home in the cactus greenhouse; the only things missing in there are moose and dudo!

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    1. anne marie:
      I have always loved cactus gardens and, yeah, it did feel a bit like home. Ours are doing amazingly!

      Delete
  3. Good you were able to 'sit' with that emotional few seconds in a place that both you and your mother loved. That is special.

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    1. Jim:
      Thanks. It too me by surprise, was I think very healthy, and it felt especially good to be able to share it honestly here.

      Delete
  4. I love gardens. There definitely aren't enough of them in the places I've lived.

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    1. Frank:
      I love them, too. Brooklyn Botanic is a wonder... and it's still growing.

      Delete
  5. I love Japanese gardens. They are my absolute favourite style of garden.

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    1. Debra:
      They used to be my favorite, too. I still love them but for some reason I wasn't impelled to walk around this one this time.

      Delete
  6. How fortunate for you to have such a place!
    The xeric garden looks like my neighborhood.

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    1. Spo:
      It looks a lot like our terrace, too! I love dessert gardens. I assume you've been to the Living Desert iN Palm Desert. Oh, how I loved that place.

      Delete
  7. I think the Smithsonian had their own gardens in DC but we missed out as we ran out of time.

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    1. Adam:
      They Smithsonian does have beautiful gardens. I didn't go there this time either!

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  8. Stunning! Brooklyn is an amazing place. Someone I once worked with called Brooklyn the "Center of the Universe." And that was more than 35 years ago!

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    1. Walt the Fourth:
      It is an amazing place to visit. And if your colleague called it the center of the Universe 35 years, I wonder what they'd say now. It has become so cool and so trendy.

      Delete
  9. It takes time, and emotional openness to figure out our relationships. A year out, I am still exploring my mother, very complicated.

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    1. Trave:
      I spent years "studying" my mother and learning to understand. It didn't always make it easier, but she didn't really surprise me anymore. So, these emotions really took me by surprise.

      Delete
  10. So Beautiful !

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Parsnip:
      It was a bit warm and humid to spend as much time as i might have, but I am never disappointed when I go there.

      Delete
  11. Home sweet home my cousin ,,, there’s no place like home 👠👠

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    Replies
    1. Sheree:
      Doesn't feel like home to me. When I click my heels, I end up in Spain. Still, a nice place to visit.

      Delete

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