And back in the bosom of the sweet sunny south, where it is pretty much never a kick in the guts and when, after a day of glorious physical labor stolen from the computer desk, after filling the bird feeders with dark seed and fresh suet and watching the menagerie return one by crimson-feathered one, when the sun is setting over these mountains, beers are are only $3.
Oh, hello. It’s been a bit since I’ve been here. Sweetheart and I arrived back in Brooklyn late last night, flash floods, lightning, and Hyundais with no headlights and Jersey plates changing lanes without signalling choking every feeding vein back into New York City, returning to the apartment to find a broken window, a few (dead) cockroaches on their backs in the living room, and a liquefied melon we’d forgotten to take with us. Oh my. To say we’ve been out adventuring is a bit too simple, adventures we’ve had for sure (I’ll share some soon!), but really, we’ve been out searching is more like it. You might could tell that I’ve been bitten by a pretty serious wanderlust this summer, an itch I’ve been doing my damndest to scratch with hot springs and sweet corn, headscarves, big dinners, and old, best friends, but it wasn’t until I got to my dear friend Jay’s house (the one he’s building from scratch with his own Sweetheart, embedding carved Buddhas into their poured concrete footings to protect and serve) that I got it. The heart of the matter: that I’ve been out wandering to find home. I’m not sure exactly where that is yet, honestly at this point it’s more of a feeling than a location, but I’ll keep you posted on my searches and adventures. Because home is where I want to be, pick me up and turn me round, this must be the place.
I went home to Virginia last weekend for a dear friend’s wedding and to deliver my mother some Ramps and Sunchokes from the Union Square farmers market (I’ve been obsessed with this pairing for the past three weeks and can’t believe that there are still ramps available- I read this my first spring living in New York and have made the yearly appearance of ramps at the market a New-York-specific-ritual for myself… but I digress).
I was getting ready to go to this wedding with my mama in what, now that I try to put it into words for the first time, is not just a bathroom but a full on dressing room with a chaise lounge (I have not realized the import of this until this second- I have always just called it “Mama’s bathroom”… well it does have a tub). Getting ready and being in here is always awesome, since I was little snooping around in her stuff has always been the best.thing.ever- the only difference is that now, if I am very nice, she will actually let me wear some of her jewelry.
So, my father comes in and we’re just lounging around looking at old photographs and talking about hair-stuff and he hands me a tiny parcel with this inside:
Immediately the stories come out- first thing you need to know: we are from Williamsburg, Virginia, as in Colonial Williamsburg. So, when my father was a small boy he and his two brothers went down to the CW silversmith and picked out this brooch for my grandmother for Mother’s Day. My grandmother is an amazing lady, a horticulturist and philanthropist, a mover and a shaker, and the grandest possessor of hats, scarves, and jewels I have ever had the good fortune to meet. She, at some point, loses this brooch and secretly goes and replaces it without telling her sons. Then FIFTEEN years later she finds it again out in the garden by the woodpile (because, of course, she’s the kind of lady to wear fancy jewelry out by the woodpile). By this time, my parents are married and now Gramma has two brooches- so she gives the replacement pin to my mother. By this time in the conversation, my mother has pulled hers out. Apparently, they don’t make them anymore, but Daddy has found one somewhere (perhaps out by the woodpile) and thinks that since Gramma and Mama both have them, Nan should too. How divinely amazing!!
As you can see, I filled my tiny vase-pin with water, went right out and cut a peony from the garden, and went along to the nuptials feeling fine, like a classic Virginia lady (albeit in an Abigail Lorick dress), and most importantly- very loved.
Here are some modern options (if you don’t have a southern woodpile that keeps birthing brooches on the world):