It is the haven where I sit with my cup of coffee in my pajamas and write for a few hours. It is my most brilliantly decorated space. It is where I can feel the breeze filter through screens and dance over petals to bring offerings of fragrance to my nose. It is my pantry and my showcase where tomatoes, parsley, dendrobium orchids and sun roses overlap like uneven partners prepared for a waltz to begin. This little piece of Eden is my very own porch garden.
So many things that a woman needs can be found on this eight-by-twelve piece of the world. Rest, birdsong, breeze, peace, puppies (always at my feet), mint, new blooms, cushions, books, lightning storms, rain, and soon to come, a hammock. But this morning I will focus only on two essentials.
Every Single Woman Needs FLOWERS.
And I don’t mean the hastily selected gas station bouquet held behind his back when he comes on his first date. I mean her very own blossomer that she teases and talks to and sings to and protects that will once or twice a year reward her with gorgeous flowers round and sweet. I am an orchid lady. My girlfriend in college was a daffodil woman. My aunt in Jamaica dwells amongst her proud ginger lilies and birds of paradise. My mother has never been able to love one flower over another and has every possible bloom she can get her hands on hanging from and propped against her trees. Pick your flower or love them all, flowers are a necessity.
Moving from the city to back home was a big change for me. I found myself in tears at the most unexpected times, I had nightmares and the silence of island life and pressures of work began to drive me crazy. One afternoon after a particularly bad night of tears and alcohol I woke up to find a white dendrobium balancing on my bedside table. My mother, helpless but relying on the power of the flower, had gone to town in search of a way to help me see past the clouds. She selected something of beauty that would change my life.
It was my first orchid. Today she is blooming in bursts of purity right next to me as I write. She is over two feet tall and makes me very proud. Several others have joined her but she is very special, my first. I learned that morning as I fawned over young blooms through tear-tired eyes that I too can blossom out of nothing but air and water. I made the decision there and then that I would be an orchid lady.
Every Single Woman Needs FOOD
Vegetables. And fruits. And roots. But how about we start with veggies.
Anyone who tries to eat healthy or, more difficult, to become a vegetarian, will tell you that it can be very expensive. Picture a supermarket cart full of fresh vegetables side by side with one full of processed chips and pastas and rices and butter and all things bad for you. The veggie cart will always be more expensive. Worse now that we are in a recession. If you are in the USA, run the experiment of shopping at the local Whole Foods store and then go do the shopping at Publix and see the difference. The grocery bill for healthy food will blow your mind.
In comes the garden. Lacy mint and proud parsley, crawling cucumbers and bright tomatoes. You decide how much to sow and how much to reap. You putter over the pots in your slippers with a watering can in one hand and your coffee in the next. All for the cost of a few seed packs and some soil you can have your own grocery cart full of vegetables.
In our strained economic times it is very easy to feed off the bottom with places like KFC and Popeyes, Wendy’s and Burger King. But you are still spending for three meals every day more than a pack of seeds and some soil for food that will not clog your arteries and take years off your life. Do it right and those seeds will be the gift that keeps on giving. Many a Single Woman has discovered for herself a green thumb she didn’t know she had until she lost her job or had financial troubles tumble down toward her.
But why wait for disaster? We have no excuse. We don’t have a husband or a boyfriend pressuring us to put greasy toe-cheese on the plate every day. Just like our financial plans need to be independent and geared toward protecting us into the future, so too should our bodies be invested in as the vehicles that take us into tomorrow. We need to keep our tyres changed and oil checks up to date – we need to eat our vegetables.
I encourage every Single Woman today – if you have a garden outdoors don’t shy away from it. If you have a patio like mine or a porch, invest in it. If you only have a window in an urban apartment, open the blinds and let light fall on something that is growing.
As my tomatoes peek out from their little seed pods I can already taste the tang of vitamins as I imagine biting into the first red fruit. I’m sure in the supermarket they will cost me up to $2 a pack. But for that amount of money I can have the all year round from my little trees.
Today you, a gracious reader, gently reprimanded me for the raw vitriol of my morning post on Why Weak Girls Make Poor Friends. When I stubbornly told you I wouldn’t regret it you banished me from the Shaolin. Bless you.
The ironic thing is that this morning when I started my day it was with every intention of writing a post on the return to gentleness. A deeper look at the last four weeks and the progress I have made in taking the focus off of the idol of an idea and putting it on the blessed present. It was to look at the ground I have gained in forgiveness and healing. Before my train of thought was interrupted.
For the first time in the Journey of the Hair I took a step backward, out of my disciplined and focused path to grace and back into the jungle. I’ve been praying Psalm 35 and muttering “traicionera” under my breath allllll day.
This is not an apology. Not yet. Probably not ever. But it is an acknowledgement. A kick back to focus. An end to the drama. The movie is over. The villains are slain. Dead to me forever.
The post on gentleness will come. Just not today. Be patient with me.