Finding The Roots In Our Stories

Seventeen years ago, my husband’s mother died. She had not been in the best of health, but still her death was unexpected when it occurred. It happened fast. She had put a bunch of cut branches from a twisted willow tree in her garden into a vase of water to use in a floral arrangement not long before she went into the hospital. The cuttings were still in the vase with almost no water left around the new roots when my husband John noticed them a few weeks after her funeral while stopping by to check on his dad. He picked up a handful on his way out and took them home to plant around his house. Over the last seventeen years, he’s moved five different times and always taken a few cuttings grown from the original twisted willow while leaving the the larger plants behind in the ground for the new homeowners.

I loved the twisted willow that John planted in the garden here, at first because it was so pretty, and even more after he told me the story of how bits of it had moved with him over the years. My grandmother was always picking up cuttings or passing them on and the story he told reminded me of her and how she would pinch off a piece of something I’d admired and send me off with directions on how to make it grow.

Last summer I met Sarah online when she left a comment on this blog post. Later on when she and her sister Suzanne came to Cornwall on holiday, we had a chance to meet in person. Earlier this week Sarah sent me the picture below after reading my blog post here. It is a piece of twisted willow that I gave her when they were here last summer.

She planted it in a pot and now it has new roots and another story to go with it should she pass a cutting on to someone else. Sarah can tell them about her American friend that she met online because of cows and caution and how she brought home a bigger memory than just a walk through the buttercup field with her sister Suzanne and their new friend Elizabeth who kept them late that day because she had one last story to share about John, and his mother, and the twisted willow.

Suzanne, Sarah, & Elizabeth 2009

 

If Cows Could Talk

IMG_3689

I spend a fair amount of my time in the company of these great beasts when I’m walking with John on the moor or cutting through a farmers field while out on a run. It never caused me one minute of concern even when they had horns as sharp and pointy as these at least not until I received a comment from Sarah. If you remember, Sarah read this post after searching for information about a coast path walk she was interested in doing in Cornwall. If you scroll down to the last comment on that post, (from Sarah C-S) you can see the comment that marked the beginning of our friendship.

After a series of emails back and forth, along with this post designed to talk more about potential safety issues on the coast path, we arranged a meeting. Being able to meet people in person that you enjoy talking with is one of the best benefits of blogging.  Sarah who lives north of London, came down to camp near here with her sister Suzanne who is so funny she really should consider doing standup comedy. Between the two of them I laughed and smiled so much my jaw actually felt a bit sore by the end of our visit. I spent a delightful afternoon acting as tour guide showing them the area around the village where we live. I took them around to some of my favorite places..we even posed for a picture on a footbridge you may recognize. It’s one where several pictures of both me and John have been taken near the buttercup field.

It’s been about a month or so since they were here and I have to say that whenever I see a cow or bullock that might look as if they’re sizing me up, I think of Sarah and remember that occasionally these gentle animals may charge and trample people passing through their space.  As I said before, it’s usually when a walker has a dog with them that is not on a leash (or lead) and the cows are really after the dog.

Still, I’m not sure Sarah would like to know that whenever I see a cow now, I think of her. It’s kind of funny, but I do appreciate the increased awareness and so far the only direction the cows seem to be running is …away.

"Look Out Bessie, Here Comes That Woman Again."

"Look Out Bessie, Here Comes That Woman Again."

" Shush...Just Pretend You Don't See Her."

" Shush...Just Pretend You Don't See Her."

" Oh Good Grief...Is She Following Us Now!"

" Oh Good Grief...Is She Following Us Now!"

Here is a picture of us near the buttercup field.

Suzanne, Sarah, & Elizabeth

Suzanne, Sarah, & Elizabeth