Yesterday was Sunday and although I had some pleasant events planned I had a block of time in the afternoon free. I thought of doing something I had not done in about two years, that was walking in the area of the Deserted Village in Watchung Reservation. I know that if you park in the designated parking lot there, you can easily walk down the road to the village itself, or take trails off the side of the road that remain rather flat so no hiking is involved. I no longer have good hiking shoes and after breaking my shoulder in May, I am not very enthusiastic about taking it up again so soon. One unfortunate reason for this is that the trails are in rather poor condition that are in the steep areas because the severe, heavy rains our area has been experiencing for the last year or two has done much to ruin the trails. All that is left of them is the rocky base, since all the top soil has been washed away. While walking on a flat trail west of the Deserted Village I knew I would come upon one of its old corn fields, a field used to grow the crops when it was Feltsville, a self-sustaining, utopian community during the nineteenth century. Many of these agricultural fields have been preserved by the County that now manages Watchung Reservation and they are maintained as wildflower meadows. This one, west of Feltsville, or The Deserted Village, as it is known today, is more remote and cannot be seen from the nearby road, Glenside Avenue. I wanted to remain hidden because I had a surreptitious agenda: I wanted to cut some of the wildflowers to display in my home! Although I have never read one, I am sure there is a law against cutting the wildflowers. However, there are so many of them, and so many of them hidden from sight, that if I could only cut some of those most invisible, surely no one would hold it against me.
The field was where I expected it to be. Funny, but I could swear it had a remnant of a “trail” going through it, and so I walked on it, which was very useful. I was surrounded by dense thistle as high as my head! And thistles with multiple blossoms in full bloom. I knew I was swallowed up by the plantings in the field. I seemed to have picked the peak day for making cuttings of thistle. Suddenly, before my eyes, so close I could have touched it but I froze in place not to bother it, a Monarch butterfly landed right before me on the closest thistle blossom to where I stood. I just did not feel I could get my cell phone out for a photo in time, and I did not want to disturb it from its meal! So, I simply enjoyed the cosmic moment, a moment I know I will never forget.
The next wild flower I saw that under other conditions I might have sneered at as a weed but it looked splendid in this setting, was goldenrod. They, too, were very tall, taller than I had ever seen them, and their bright yellow flowers looked like the heads of roosters! I frantically began cutting those as well. Soon, my arms were full of these cuttings that were not very comfortable because they were well protected by their evolution to have the tiniest thorns on them making anyone who made a cutting regret having done so. But I was not to be deterred.
I realized although it was a Sunday afternoon in August, the New Jersey weather had remained uncharacteristically hot. It was about 3:30 PM, and the temperature was 87 degrees. I had been out for half an hour and I felt I had enough. I began the return trip to the car. I was very glad no one threatened to arrest me with my cuttings. That would have been very difficult to explain…..
Upon arriving home, I prepared my cuttings for a large, ample vase. I had long cuttings. I cut away the abundance of leaves on the lower parts of the stems. When I put it in a vase, and stepped back to examine my work, I was truly stunned how pretty my display looked. I surprised myself, I truly did. I really did not cut very many plantings, but I had cut enough! I captured it!
When I parked my car in the parking lot for the Deserted Village and stepped onto the trail that would take me westward into the woods a flood of memories swept over me. I tried to push them back because I really did not want them to overwhelm me. Then somehow, it did not seem possible that my husband Bob was really dead for five years, and that “Mikhailya” was no longer alive.
Can it really be that they are not here to see the wonderful accomplishments of “Lucy”, under the affix of Belisarius,”Mikhailya’s” grand-daughter – winning Reserve Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Club in NY City in February 2016, then the Borzoi National Specialty Show in Kansas City, KA, in April 2016, along with her son “Vinto”, who won Winner’s Dog? And then, this past weekend, August 28, 2016, “Lucy” won Best in Show at the Santa Barbara Kennel Club Dog Show in California, along with other major wins with her son, “Vinto”? These are extraordinary accomplishments for Blyss Kennels, a new kennel and one short lived, even given that we had an extraordinary foundation bitch co-owned with the greatest borzoi breeder in the world, Karen Staudt-Cartabona of Majenkir Borzoi. And, it is a grand accomplishment for Karen as well. She had the perfect stud-dog for “Mikhailya”, CD Majenkir Regal by Design, “Regal”.
I don’t know what happens when we die. Nobody does. But I know it is a bitter loss that Bob, who died in 2011, is not hear to share in this joy with me, and that “Mikhailya” died so suddenly in 2013. I know I must accept life on its terms whatever they are and give it up to God. It is what it is. I have to let it go forever and wait until the time comes when I die and perhaps then all of these mysterious questions will be answered. It is not meant to be that I can have all of these answers now but I have faith that someday I shall. In the meantime, I live in the sunshine of joy that the success of “Lucy” and “Vinto” impart with their successes.