Harbingers of Spring

Some might be wondering (in fact, even I am wondering!) why someone would come to a place named “Desert Hot Springs” when it is already hot.   Who wants to soak in a hot springs when it’s ninety-six degrees hot??  My friend John got it halfway right in his comment on my last post.  He writes, “Sounds like you’re looking for a place to park the rig for a while, while you take a walk on the wild side.”    Only half was true.   I was looking for a place to park the rig…

Love the Palm Springs airport! Much of the terminal is open air!

Love the Palm Springs airport! Much of the terminal is open air!

Who would have ever guessed back in the days of "I've Got You, Babe" Sonny would be so "Honorable?"

Who would have ever guessed back in the days of “I’ve Got You, Babe” Sonny would be so “Honorable?”

It’s time to go back home and check on Mom again, and the easy in and out of the little Palm Springs Airport offers the best option for timing a stop as I meander up the west coast.  I need to get her restocked, refueled, and reset.  There are multiple paperwork projects to oversee.   A giant acreage to mow and weed-eat.  Storage sheds to reconcile and condense.   It can feel overwhelming, as the work never ends on the farm, especially now that my Dad is gone.  Even though he was 94, he still managed a good bit of maintenance.  I am finally starting to accept that I will never get “done” on my trips home.  The best I can do is move things around….blades of grass, piles of paper, rooms brimming with 60 years of memories.

Six A.M. flight requires a brutal 4 A.M. alarm.

Six A.M. flight requires a brutal 4 A.M. alarm.

Here's a little known destination that needs some advertisement. Let's not only feature them in Delta's In Flight Magazine, but include a full color travel guide pull-out section too!

Here’s a little known destination that needs some advertisement. Let’s not only feature them in Delta’s In Flight Magazine, but let’s include a full color travel guide pull-out section too!

Mom actually conceded reluctantly to let me throw a couple of things away this time around.  As a child born out of the depression generation, she clings to everything as “something I might need one day.”   I, on the other hand, am still riding a four year high from having gotten rid of everything I own, including my house, with the exception of a small storage shed.   So cleaning up around the farm is a bit like a game of tug-o-war, in which I rarely win.  Best I can hope for is to “straighten.”  But I managed to get some things accomplished, and even had time left over for a little gardening with Mom, planting a few posies in her back yard as an early Mother’s Day gift.

I’d like to say it’s getting easier being there after the loss of my brother and my Dad this past year.  But it’s not.  The only thing that seems to ease the pain is distraction, but there is no distraction on the Venus Farm.  It embodies those members of our family who left so suddenly.  The pain is still so palpable, particularly as we approach “The Anniversary.”

There were some bittersweet highlights, though.   I got to spend some “quality time” with my older brother as we relived days gone by.  Don is also downsizing and divesting himself of 20 years of memories.   His house was “Party Central” for most of those years, complete with game room, DJ booth and custom-built (by him,) computerized, synchronized, lighted dance floor.   So now, as he prepares for the sale of the home, he faces the dilemma….to remove it would mean renuilding the entire floor.   To leave it means attracting a prospective buyer who has a penchant to “disco down and check out the show.”

Brother Don next to DJ booth, working on lighted dance floor.

Brother Don next to DJ booth, working on lighted dance floor.

Helping replace the light-bulbs below the 1" Lexan floor.

Helping replace the light-bulbs below the 1″ Lexan floor.

Schematic diagram for the light show...in case the future tenants have questions. ;-)

Schematic diagram for the light show…in case the future tenants have questions. ;-)

I helped Don replace the burnt-out bulbs beneath the bullet-proof Plexiglas, kept him company while he repaired the complex woven-like wiring, and then did a few dances reminiscent of my Disco Days while he “spun” Donna Summer’s “Last Dance.”   A melancholy night if there ever was one, as the “For Sale” sign is now on the front lawn

"Sashimi Selfie." Taking a break from the work for some tuna and salmon sashimi and Bok Choy salad.

“Sashimi Selfie.” Taking a break from the work for some tuna and salmon sashimi and Bok Choy salad.

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From behind the DJ booth...

From behind the DJ booth…

"So let's dance....The last dance."

“So let’s dance….The last dance.”

Another highlight was taking my favorite niece Hannah, out for a day of her choosing…At 14 years old, she chose the Dallas Museum of Art. 😉  We shared laughs over the modern art exhibits such as the “Potato Machine,” debated over whether blurred photographs in the rain are really “art,” and marveled at the Masters like Monet.  It was a fun day. My little Hannahgram is good company.

The Potato Machine in the Modern Art section.

The Potato Machine in the Modern Art section.

Just so you don't think I am kidding about the Potato Machine. Glad to learn the two potatoes are "replaceable."

Just so you don’t think I am kidding about the Potato Machine. Glad to learn the two potatoes are “replaceable.”

Art? Or Out of Focus? If it's art, then I need to find a gallery for some of my

Art? Or Out of Focus? If it’s art, then I need to find a gallery for some of my “art!”

The most beautiful "art" in the entire Dallas Art Museum. I call it

The most beautiful “art” in the entire Dallas Art Museum. I call it, “Fresh Flower in the Women’s Restroom.

But of course, my favorite part of the visit was the harbingers of spring themselves, the bluebonnets.   The state doesn’t hold a lot of appeal for this Native Texan, but I do adore the bluebonnets.  Although they were beautiful this year, and visitors with foreign dialects descended on the fields in droves, they were not as prolific as the last time I was home for the bloom back in 2012.IMG_9918

Hannah admires a bicycle built for two at the Bluebonnet Flea Market.

Hannah admires a bicycle built for two at the Bluebonnet Flea Market.

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Interestingly enough, though, what the fields lacked in blue, they more than made up for in red this season. I have never seen so many Indian Paintbrush. Central Texas wildflower fields are typically a sea of blue punctuated by red, but it seemed to be a reversal in palette this year. The Indian paintbrush has the landscape awash with brush strokes of crimson red, with a few isolated pockets of blue…just like the state. 😉
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Hannah amidst the Indian Paintbrush

Hannah amidst the Indian Paintbrush

Teaching her proper photographic composition. ;-)

Teaching her proper photographic composition. ;-)

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25 thoughts on “Harbingers of Spring

  1. The red flowers are just beautiful. I love the last photo, I think it could replace the out of focus print in the museum. Your brother’s mechanical ingenuity always impresses me. That disco floor is pretty cool.

  2. Great photo of you amongst the flowers!

    Yeah, Moab needs no more promoting. When we were there the first week of June 2010 there was nobody around town. I mentioned it to a shopkeeper who said that the week after Memorial Day is always quiet. Bet it isn’t that way now 6 years later.

  3. Beautiful flowers! My mom and dad lived in Texas for a couple of years when they were first married. She always talked about the gorgeous bluebonnets.

  4. Where are Don & the Missus going after their house sells? Will they become nomads, too?
    Hope your mom is well. I’ll be up there this weekend if you’re still around….
    Reta

  5. I do love that photo of you in the flowers! I somehow haven’t had notifications showing up and decided to go find you! Geez. Not only am I behind in writing, I am way behind in reading! Glad you were able to be home without breaking completely at least. Now I gotta go read the previous posts!!

  6. Life is never the same after a family loss and you had two in short order. I love, love love the pic of you in the Texas wild flowers. When ever I think of you I shall think of you being hugged by the wild flowers.
    Karen

  7. You did take every copy of the in-flight magazine with you when you disembarked, didn’t you? Certainly no need to tell anyone else about Moab, unless they’re friends. I liked your art in the women’s bathroom much more than the out of focus picture!

  8. Wow – as usual your photos are spectacular! Funny, but the one that struck me most is the first one with the flowers in the foreground and old car in the background. I just love that photo. Anyway, you’re such a good daughter, your mother is so lucky that you come home from time to time to visit and help out. :)

  9. You do have a busy life. Beautiful photos. Looks like the Indian Paintbrushes are overshadowing the little Bluebonnets. Both are pretty. Quite the disco floor, too.

  10. Bet Brother Don was one cool dj back in the day…I could shake a groove thing on that floor for sure! Well, once upon a time. :-) As always, thank you for sharing introspection and lovely photographs.

  11. It is always hard going back home, things just are never the same. I like to recall the happy memories and smile inside. We too become overwhelmed when we visit a house that has soooooo much stuff! Barb and I talked about it today actually, we find ourselves with a case of anxiety when we walk into a house with so much stuff.

  12. You are a great Aunt. Love Don’s dance floor, hopefully you put a good vibe in the house so it sells pronto. Great photos and the one of you in the field of flowers is priceless.

  13. I too am moving lots of things around as it most certainly is not possible to throw away very much at my parents house!

    It’s good you got to spend some time with family before the area heats up too much. Hopefully you won’t need to return till the fall!

  14. We understand the emotions well when going back home to visit your mother, as we walked a similar path with Terry’s parents. “They” say time is the big healer, but is seems that time slows to a crawl where some things are concerned.

    One day I would love to see the Texas bluebonnets. Photos always look so lovely. Glad you were able to enjoy this little snippet of spring.

    That’s quite a dance floor your brother has in his house. “Let’s dance the last dance”…a metaphor for so many things in life.

    Safe travels Suzanne. Hope to see you again somewhere down the road.

  15. How nice to have some time with your mom planting flowers:) And speaking of flowers…Wow! The fields of Indian Paintbrush and Bluebonnets are marvelous. How beautiful:) Your photos are so impressive.

    Love that Disco Room your brother created. What a very cool floor:)

    • I forgot to mention Moab in the magazine. They do NOT need to advertise this place. In the last three years hundreds of people have found it. Every day is like Saturday. It is getting too popular. We need to keep them away! It is no longer a hidden gem or unknown:(

  16. Such a poignant post. I’m glad you’re finding moments of beauty and respite — the wildflowers, your delightful niece, your very cool brother — in your visits home.

  17. And yet, another interesting post. Good to see you in a photograph as they are scant at best. Photos again continue to inspire. Glad you could connect with family. Keep going, lady, keep going.

  18. Really beautiful pictures of the gorgeous flowers of Texas. I’d heard others say it’s a field or red with a little blue this year as well. Love you, your niece and the car all surrounded by them. Seems there are many full timers dealing with the health issues of members of their families. It definitely complicates life for both parties in many ways. I can attest to that. Pretty amazing party room your brother has. I’ll be it was a fabulous place to “get down”. Must seem like the end of an era for him to be selling it.

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