And So the Clock Ticks…

Dear Friends…
One of the curious–surprising, unsettling, discomforting–things that happens when the years have mounted on top of you (I can feel them on my back, it’s why I walk bent over, terrible) is that you become aware of having to think about time. How much is left. That it is–always has been but now more than ever–rationed. Scarce-er.
I hear of something marvelous to do–or people who’d like to visit–or someplace we’d like to go–and I hear myself fretting, Oh gosh, that’ll be two days… I was never stingy with time before.
Problem is (one of the problems is) I’m greedy about life. Love it. Want lots more of it.
Saturday Bill and I went to our Santa Cruz Bonsai club’s annual show/exposition. It was a rainy day but still lots of people came. Dozens of exquisite and sometimes awesome and sometimes impressively enormous trees together with delicate miniature Mame (mah-mei, two to six inches–not like Rosalind Russell’s Auntie Mame) graced exhibition tables. Members and visitors mingling and chatting, questioning, answering about bonsai…
And there was my mother’s extraordinary ginkgo forest majestic on a rosewood stand. I felt so proud of her. Felt so grateful to have entree to such a world. Bill and I arrived at the Grange Hall around 8:30 a.m. to help set up, then left eight hours later. Throughout the day, time flew, we felt invigorated. Bill mostly sat on the bench by our trees listening to his book, chatting with those who’d stop and photograph a bonsai, notice him, turn and ask, “Is that yours?” “Yes,” he’d answer proudly, and tell the bonsai’s story of the centenarian who created it…
Anyway. Point is that in those hours I realized how much I wanted to learn about bonsai…try my hand at shaping a miniature tree in a pot. At the nursery section of the show I found two plants that spoke to me. A small pyracantha–a lovely evergreen that has dainty white blossoms in spring then blazing red berries in late summer…and a small crab apple with blue and green leaves. They were in one-gallon pots, bonsais of the future. For each of them I found a handsome pot (also for sale by members). Later I was instructed by Gareth, the bonsai club’s knowledgeable president (he owns 250 trees!) not to pot them until winter. A disappointment  –I’m so eager to begin–the repotting of Ma’s forest I did  recently whetted my appetite–but of course I’ll do as Gareth says and wait a few months.
So now we will have a flowering/fruiting bonsai, a flowering/berrying bonsai, and a deciduous bonsai forest. Threesome for a lady who has no time to pursue bonsai but will anyway.
Which brings me around to the point of this story.
When I opened these pages, in order to do justice to them, I set aside the novel I’d been working on. It was 2021. I’ve been thinking about it all this time.
I’ve decided that at this point in my life–eighty-nine in two months!–and all things considered–husband, grandson, German Shepherd, children/grands/great-grands, friends, garden and bonsai, daily walks, gym workouts, meal cooking PLUS in my heart of hearts wanting to write what I hope will be compelling fiction–my best use of time is to focus on the latter. Put my beloved blog (and I dearly love these conversations) more or less on hold while I create something out of my head.
But! fortunately I have a stash of pieces written through the years that I can tip into these pages, and from time to time will do just that. They are principally about my subjects of decades, cuisine and the garden.
And as the spirit and events move me, I’ll likely pop in with my two cents’ worth about what’s going on in the real world. This is a crucial year, as you well know.
Thank you for tagging along so far. Do come back please, now and again.
Then should the novel be finished and maybe even published, likely you’ll hear an enormous explosion from Santa Cruz and you’ll say to yourself, “Oh, good. Sylvia’s done it!”

12 Comments. Leave new

  • Oh dear. I completely approve of your redirection, because it is what you want to do. On the other hand, I will very much miss seeing these posts. We will have to get together for tea to just talk I guess. Perhaps we can have an occasional salon for your Santa Cruz friends and fans.

  • Elizabeth Worden
    April 17, 2024 3:42 pm

    Sylvia, many years ago I was sufficiently fortunate to discover your cookbooks: Economy Gastronomy and The Budget Gourmet. I liked and used them because the recipes were good tasting, affordable, clearly written so as to be easy to follow, and made enough to leave tasty “planovers” for another day. I enjoyed your descriptions of the sources of the recipes, which were informative, sometimes enchanting but neither overdone nor self laudatory. I still use them as well The Kitchen Garden Cookbook, for thoughts about how to use an excess of produce from out garden. Thank you for adding tasty and fascinating and enlightening pleasure to my life for the past 45 years or so!

    • Oh, gosh, Elizabeth, you make me swoon with joy. Thank you SO much for taking the time to write me. Your warm comments mean the world. Just hoping there will be more to come ~ maybe not altogether about food! Stay well and I’d love to hear from you — what you’re up to these days. Hugs!


  • David Thompson
    April 17, 2024 4:25 pm

    It’s not true that “Every day is a gift.”

    What is true is that “Every moment is a gift”


  • Oh no. I really enjoy your musings. Time is precious. Use it well. So glad we still have our dinner club. Love you,

  • I’ve said this before. My motto is Someday is Now! Go forth and conquer. Do what makes you happy in the moment. Hugs to Bill. I can envision him eagerly awaiting to talk all about the bonsi.

  • So lovely your day could reach into the unknown. No time for stress, just the enjoyment of something new and lending a helping hand. And bonsais are sensational.


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