Musings
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Replantings.

By: Jen Shoop

The roses climbing the west side of our home are in bloom, as seen above. It has been a peculiar delicacy to watch spring unfold into summer here, as it feels that every week brings new and previously undetected varieties of flora. The prior homeowner bore an impressive green thumb: we have fruiting trees of nearly unimaginable variety (peach! plum! cherry! apple!), tiered garden beds that are home to a wide range of vegetables and herbs, and kiwi vines that garland themselves, rather invasively if you are not careful, around the iron railing of our back deck. In August, we will press kiwis into the palms of any and all visitors, as the bounty is abundant and we’ve not yet discerned preparations for the fruit beyond peeling and slicing. Otherwise, they sit in an enormous enamel bowl in our fridge, and it took us until at least November to make our way towards the bottom. (They do hold up nicely in the chill; you place them on the countertop to temper them.) Anyhow, we moved in the dead heat of D.C. July last year, and so we missed the spring-to-summer window of blossom, and I had not even known that we harbor at least four different kinds of roses that have been patiently waiting for a warm May morning on which to unclose their petals and anoint our home.

Only –

Ever since I came across that John Prine song about roses missing the dew, and attached it to the ragged and jagged sensations of grief that continues to surface whenever I think about Elizabeth, I have been unable to look a rose in the face without thinking of my friend. It’s strange the way that happens, the way memories can collect and accrue over time, and what was once an observable, nearly containable concept (Elizabeth!) now accordions into a pastiche.

And so those roses along the west side of our house feel like Elizabeth’s roses.

I am telling you: there is something about May that was meant for me. It is dense with cornerstone memories — the beautiful, evocative, pregnant-with-meaning kind. May is the month of Mary, and my son was born in May, and now these roses have determined that they will bring Elizabeth to me every May until the year we leave this house.

I am grateful for, though wistful about, their presence. She passed away over a decade ago, and I had never connected her to a rose and now here she is, recoloring the flower, reclaiming it! It is a new access point, and at the same time, a lintel into a new phase of my life and my grief over her loss. It is as though she has been replanted in my new home in Bethesda alongside me. New beginnings alongside inheritances, and onward we go —

Post-Scripts.

+Foliage consumes stone.

+Memories of Elizabeth.

+My recent twenty year high school reunion also brought her to mind.

+New cartographies.

Shopping Break.

+Cute striped tee dress to pair with Supergas.

+Such a great scarf to pair with either a blue and white striped shirt or tee, or an all white ensemble.

+This coffee table delivers a BIG vibe for under $600.

+Frontgate has the best doormats — great way to spruce up an entryway. (We have one of the simple ones with the letter S in the center.)

+This scalloped/smocked/eyelet top from Boden is SO chic.

+This belt would be a great snag for layering over dresses this summer. They also have a similar style in a natural color.

+I love my Frances dress so much I’m thinking of going back for one of Emerson Fry’s iconic caftans.

+Love these lightweight running shorts — I would size up. I think this style runs small and no one wants to be uncomfortable while working out.

+Glad gauze is a thing right now. So soft! Love this top.

+These rattan-wrapped candles would be pretty on a bookshelf or coffee table.

+Adorable blue eyelet midi.

+Minnow has some seriously cute new arrivals for littles.

+Such a chic scalloped bathmat.

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6 thoughts on “Replantings.

  1. Thank you for this beautiful post. I also lost a dear friend a few years ago and sometimes it feels like there is a stigma to saying that I still feel grief and her absence. I appreciate you acknowledging that you still feel that way and that you have found a way to feel that she is still with you.

    1. Oh Angelyn – I’m so sorry you feel a stigma around that grief. It is so natural, and so important, to acknowledge those feelings. Thinking of you!!

      xx

  2. Such beautiful sentiments — I am glad you feel Elizabeth’s presence in the roses you tend at home. There’s something so magical about that!

    I have those Lululemon Hotty Hot shorts in the high-rise variety and they’re actually not *that* high-rise on me — just in case anyone is out there looking for similar Lululemon shorts with more of a rise! I do love them for running.

    xx

  3. What a beautiful tribute to her and how lovely that she is with you, encouraging you in your new phase of life. I hope you look at those roses and feel her cheering you on and watching over you and your family.
    Also, need to not read these at work unless I wear waterproof mascara! ❤️

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