Tuesday, October 31, 2006

the best part of the weekend:

...was the conservatory.





While my mom was at my sister's house busy playing with grandkids and building Halloween costumes, we took Vinny's mom to the conservatory and zoo. She is a woman of few words, and very shy (yes, this is who Vinny gets it from!). Keeping conversations going can take a lot of energy with these two. However...

at the conservatory, all three of us enjoyed a quiet break of flora, fauna and humid silence. The moment we walked through the doors I felt the warm air wash over me, putting my mind and body at ease. I inhaled, deeply, the heavy emerald scent of soil, growth, and exotic blossoms. I immediately felt a sense of comfort. I think plants and places of natural beauty have this effect on people...but, in the instant of one breath, I was transported back to my childhood.

I grew up in an apartment above my parents' flower shop and greenhouse. At night I would go downstairs, when the shop was closed, and spend long hours playing in the purple-blue light of grow lamps. I grew up in my very own jungle. My years as a kid are wrapped in the peppery sweet smells of chrysanthemums and wet soil where I played "jungle Barbie" in the quiet of growing leaves or wrote in my diary or whispered secrets into the floppy ears of Heidi, my cocker spaniel. Sometimes I did nothing except weave my way through all those plants and think.

And so I let the miniature world of the conservatory swallow me in this way. Arching leaf fronds, exotic patterned bromiliads, ghostly white orchids, quiet goya ponds... I breathed, slowed my pace, and opened a space within myself to be filled by my strange childhood. I let our chatter be replaced by hushed wonder. As we walked, I noticed those parts of myself that have never changed. It is a part of my brain, somewhere towards the center, that has always felt the same...the part that is half detached and dreaming...the part that wants only to quietly imagine.

Maybe that is why I write, that is why I paint...because it is through these endeavors that I most easily access this part of myself. In many ways, I did not have an easy childhood. But, lately, I've begun to notice something shift inside of me. There is a part of me that wants to accept what was once hurtful--those deep, wounded parts of myself--because I'm beginning to realize that it was some of those most painful experiences that have created the greatest beauty within me. It is the sad child that played in a jungle all her own that taught me how to be sensitive and observant and how to love. The girl that played in the jungle is the one that taught me how to be strong. Courage comes in many forms of the imagination. There are parts of me that will never change--and, for that, I'm thankful.

This past weekend was the first time we've ever spent more than a couple hours with both of our moms together...and it's interesting because I could not help but notice how absolutely alike my mom and I are in so many ways...and how absolutely alike Vinny and his mom are. This weekend has given me a new appreciation for my own mom and a better understanding of why Vinny is the way that he is. There are so many facets to understanding who we are--both internal and external. I guess it doesn't have to be so much a matter of "finding ourself" as creating ourself. Each moment building upon the next. There is beauty in that. Deeply multifaceted beauty.

13 comments:

deirdre said...

Even the thought of warm, humid air and lush plants is relaxing. And how nice that the weekend with both mothers went well. Hot damn & hallelujah on that one. ;)

Jessie said...

hahaha! deirdre, you make me laugh!...or, should i say, chuckle deeply. ;)

Anonymous said...

i had a conversation about much the same layering this weekend...curious.

ruby said...

those pictures are gorgeous...along with your words, of course. i hope we can get together some day...we can play jungle barbie, perhaps? i was an introverted little one, too, often locked away in my own head...

sophie said...

it is this perspective that i
appreciate - that we CREATE ourelves...not so much looking -
but creating.
It reminds me that i have to
recommit to it everyday.

a wonderful evolving:)

melba said...

The fact that you grew up above a flower shop seems SO COOL to me; surrounded by all those smells and beauty.

I love how you let the silence in. We all need to do that more. Especially people like me that are loud. Sometimes I think it is to drown out my own thoughts. But other times I think it is because I am JUST SO excited to be alive. I was a sad child, but I also was a chatter box desperately longing for attention.

I love how you talk about a shift...your world expanding!

Loralee Choate said...

I absolutely do not want to be like my mom, but I suppose it is a fate I cannot escape.

:D

The flowers look lovely.

Endment said...

Your post reminds me of my father's garden - where I could play on a carpet of baby tears - back in a secret place behind tall camelia bushes and talk with hollyhock dolls.

Wherever they are - gardens and blossoms are wonderful.
Thanks for sharing your exotic blossoms and emerald scents

paris parfait said...

That IS interesting that both you and V are like your respective moms. The conservatory photos are gorgeous! Lovely post.

Mark said...

Jessie, this entry is delicious. Such writing makes breathing a visceral pleasure.

gkgirl said...

i love how you described
the conservatory, you made
it very real for me...who
has never had the opportunity
to visit one...

and glad to hear that
you had a good time!
:)

Leah said...

the conservatory looks so lush. gorgeous. i've been having similar thoughts on how i access that part of myself.

Kristine said...

This is a beautiful post. Sounds incredible! And your pictures are amazing. Ahhh, we all need a little reflection now and then...