Lament for a Garden Hat and a Teacup

| October 7, 2015 | 4 Replies

Lament for a Garden Hat and a Teacup – What is it about the familiarity of certain objects that makes you feel so cozy? (A friend uses the word “cozy” often, and every time she says it, I feel cozy.)

After a number of ill-fitting misses in my first two years of gardening, I found a Wallaroo sun hat at R.E.I. that fit my large-circumferenced head, breathed rather well, shaded my whole face most of the time, and most importantly, you could wad it up in a suitcase and it would spring back to life when released. And it was brown, so it didn’t show dirt! For two years, I wore it everywhere.

Lament for a Garden Hat and Teacup

John Muir Woods/Apple Store/Malibu beach/Getty Center/Late Bloomer Garden/Palm Springs/Native Plant Nursery ©Kaye Kittrell

From my garden, to the Getty Center, and the Apple Store, it was always on my head. Till I lost it. I noticed it wasn’t among the perpetual clutter of my office a few days after returning from Santa Cruz. I don’t know what happened to it, and my gardening experience has not been the same without it. Imagine how confident a cowboy must feel donning the cowboy hat that ensures his identity. It was the same with this hat. I felt like a gardener. I miss it.

Lament for a Garden Hat and Teacup - cup

My favorite tea cup with bee-loving flowers

As for the cup. Well, that’s a sad story. I was asked to speak at the State Beekeeper’s Association ladies luncheon last fall and that went really well. Melinda, a well-known and loved Orange County beekeeper, booked me for the event, but, was too ill from a return of her cancer to attend. Her friend, Sandy, stepped in and provided me with a memorable experience. Sandy gave me this lovely flower mug, which has held my tea most mornings since, and has played a supporting role in a number of episodes of Late Bloomer. And I felt like it connected me to Melinda who had thought she was growing Purple Bumble Bee tomatoes from a plant I shared with her until she learned I had mixed up the varieties. She fought the good fight, but cancer had it’s way.

Lament for a Garden Hat and Teacup - broken cup

Broken teacup

Two days ago, the cup was full of tea, sitting on my little table on the front porch (my Sony A6000 camera that I shoot all of Late Bloomer on was sitting right beside it as I had been photographing a swallowtail caterpillar on my tiny tangerine plant), and I got up to speak to my sometime-helper, Rene, who was working next door (I recommended him when my neighbor’s moved in). I heard a crash behind me, and ran. Linden, my cat, had jumped on the folding chair and it had snapped forward and hit the table, which knocked off the cup, which shattered on the bricks. (Luckily, my camera was still sitting there.) For the next hour, I sat in the chair and mused, as if I had nothing pressing to do, and kept reaching for my cup of tea.

Lament for a Garden Hat and Teacup - Monarch

Female Monarch Butterfly, one hour after emerging from cocoon, named Melinda

Well, these are just things. And they can be replaced with other things. But, the special feeling that certain objects trigger in you, can’t be replaced, only remembered. After Melinda moved on to the great bee haven in heaven, a Monarch butterfly emerged from a chrysalis I overwintered in my kitchen. And I promptly named her Melinda. She wasn’t a bee, but the next best thing, a butterfly. And she was healthy and strong. ~

If you enjoyed this post, please let me know and share with a friend. Thanks for your support! ~ Kaye

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Category: Bees, Community, Garden Musings, Urban Gardening

Comments (4)

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  1. Dee Nash says:

    I completely understand your sadness. Some things make us very happy. I noticed in Pasadena that my favorite hat has come unstitched from the crown. I need to get that fixed, but it isn’t as bad as losing one’s hat. Yours was very attractive. I loved your cup too. I also raised and released Monarchs this year. I’m so glad I did it. ~~Dee

    • Dee, a follower of Late Bloomer quickly responded on Facebook with the link for the specific hat I lost! Though since I need sponsors for LB, I’m going to contact the company and see if they would like to send me one! 🙂 I’ll let you know! My success at “raising” Monarchs was spotty at best, and Melinda was one of only a few success stories. I’m glad yours worked out well! Thanks so much for reading!

  2. Sharon Carson says:

    Hi Kaye, I get sentimental about all sorts of treasures. I want to make a macrame hanger with the stones we picked up on the beach of western Ireland in memory of that sweet day with my son. I have always brought back rocks and stones from places mostly because we could not afford to buy things. I will send you some mosaics from the Scariff Community garden where they did some beautiful work. You can use those broken pieces in a special mosaic. I want to create a mosaic on one of the chimneys of our house using the special bits of family history including several generations of gathering stones and shells from all over. Things like this connect our hearts to our loving memory of special people and places. As to the hat, I hope you can find a new one. It’s funny how hats are a reflection too of how we are feeling and who we are. I used to make dried flower decorations on straw hats and sell them. It was strange how each hat would find its perfect person. 🙂

    • You are a wonderfully expressive writer, Sharon. Thanks for this lovely contribution! I was going to keep the pieces to put in the bottom of a pot, but a mosaic is a much better idea. Maybe I will bring them when I come visit (YES, I WILL!) and you can add some stones and we can make it together. 🙂

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