Lately I’ve been waking up at 3 in the morning to worry. Not on purpose of course. It’s probably that I’ve gotten back in the habit of drinking a few cups of coffee in the afternoon AND having a glass of wine when I’m cooking dinner at night. This is not good for me. Coffee and wine mess with my sleep but sadly, I’m not always on my best behavior and sometimes these vices, disguised as treats, sneak in. Sometimes might be all the time.
Super early yesterday morning, after ruminating in the dark for what seemed like hours, I finally just got up and decided to walk the dogs at dawn. I love doing this because there are less people out and lately it seems like there are people everywhere. Running into people with three not-so-well-behaved dogs (I still have my mom’s dog, Spreckles) AND navigating social distancing etiquette is challenging. I’m always finding myself taking weird routes I had no intention of taking just to avoid people. Hello, stranger. I guess I’ll just take a right turn here to avoid you! Doesn’t it seem like everyone is always out these days? Not that I blame anyone. I’m sick of my house too and sunshine and space are all that’s keeping us sane these days.
I often listen to books on Audible while I walk. I also listen to podcasts and I call my dad regularly. This is a good thing and a bad thing. The books I’m reading are often stories about social injustice and while they are super educational and meaningful, they often make my habit of over-worrying even worse. Podcasts are great too but the health and wellness spectrum that I often find myself in also tends to make me over-worry. And even though I love my dad to pieces, sometimes talking to him and absorbing his problems ALSO makes me worry too much. I am just the worriest worry wart there ever was.
This worrying tendency makes me think of my grandma who passed away forever ago. She was known as the worry wart of the family. I miss her so much. I wish we could talk about this worrying habit. But maybe it’s good she’s not around today to see all the things that are going down. It is not a good time to be a worrier.
The other day, I walked out into the orange light of mid day (due to all the fires burning in California) and there on the wall of our entryway was the biggest green bug I have ever seen. I looked it up and I think it’s a green Katydid. I’ve seen small bugs like this a lot. Small finger-nail sized versions but this thing was HUGE! It was as big as my palm. And then later I walked out into the backyard and there in the track of our sliding glass door was the hugest slug I have ever seen. All I could think was, it’s the end of the world! Giant bugs, heat waves, weird orange light, pandemics, crazy political scenes, the country on the brink of a civil war… I just wanted to hide like Chicken Little.
I decided books and podcasts and phone calls were just too much for my poor stressed-out brain. (I know. Eye-roll-worthy.) I often walk without listening to anything but I decided to turn on my favorite “chill” playlist and a Moby song came on. I don’t know why I don’t use music to calm myself more often. I don’t remember which song it was but as the softly repeating base line echoed around the inside of my head, I felt my cortisol levels lower. I gazed up at the trees that line the sidewalk path and I started to notice how they were pruned.
Every tree was pruned differently. I know a lot of this is dependent on the tree and how it grows but the more I examined the branches of each tree, the more I thought they looked like individual works of art! Some were trimmed to flay out symmetrically in all directions. Other trees were pruned to turn in on themselves in spirals. Some were weirdly pruned to grow over the sidewalk…It got me to thinking about who pruned them. I bet there is a tree-trimmer on our neighborhood route who decided to create his own masterpieces on every tree he comes across! How cool is that?!
I’ve always thought our neighborhood was a little over-aggressive with their gardening (seriously, it seems like every day is a new and different very loud gardening task: blowing, edging, trimming, mowing…) but today I actually appreciated it. In a community where everything looks the same, I thought, how cool that it actually isn’t!
Then I started to imagine the cool animated graphic I would create with long willowy purple trunks and branches spiraling around each other to pretty music and wished I was an animator with 3d graphics skills. But that’s just a typical Brenda rabbit hole to fall down.
But let me tell you, it’s a whole lot better than all the other worry rabbit holes I’ve been falling down lately! A whole lot better than worrying about civil war!!!
On Sunday night we went as a family for a stroll through Huntington Gardens at Golden Hour. It’s a thing. You can buy tickets. It really is one of those good things that has come out of Covid. Maybe it existed before but I’d never heard of it until I saw it on a friend’s instagram feed. I’ve been to Huntington Gardens before but last time I went it was really really hot so the thought of strolling in the evening seemed like the perfect idea to me. And of course golden hour doesn’t hurt anything. I should probably even say it was a photo walk. My favorite!
Here I am posing in the Rose Garden.
The roses were reaching their blooming end but they were still nonetheless impressive. Maybe even prettier in their late summer decay. There are just so many varieties. It’s fun to walk the rows and read all their names… some of them are quite unique: Sexy Rexy, Vogue, Hanky Panky, Marilyn Monroe…
It was a photoshoot every which way we turned.
I do feel kind of stupid posing in the rose bushes but even though roses are the most beautiful thing to photograph, you’ve seen a million photographs of them. They sort of fall to the back of the pile while we pore over pictures of people. So I take pictures of people with roses.
I love the Shakespeare Garden. I think I’ve over-color-corrected these because they were in shade. This is what they look like to me in my mind but the original photos were quite blue. Maybe I should nudge them back to blue.
I don’t have a lot to say about these photos. Just us, exploring and being goofy.
The two places that I really wanted to see were the Rose Gardens and the Japanese Gardens. Since we were only there for the limited sunset hour we had to move quickly. I wish sunset could have lasted three more hours. The Gardens are so big you can really get lost there. It’s almost like exploring Disneyland but prettier and with less rides. It was perfect for Payam’s mountain hike training.
After the Japanese Gardens we strolled the Chinese Garden which I actually hadn’t seen before. It was a nice surprise.
So many photo ops! I have to remember to bring people here for model shoots when I have them. It’s really a beautiful setting.
The girls thoroughly enjoyed it as well which is a big win with teenagers these days. I don’t even think I caught one of them playing games or watching YouTube once!
So peaceful and serene.
Payam enjoyed it as well. Though he was a little less enthused with the picture-taking.
Bug impersonating a Bonsai tree, like you do.
And then before we knew it it was time to leave.
Which was way too soon for me.