Adam was a young lawyer during our nation’s historic and hopefully never to be seen again housing bubble crisis of 2007-2009. He held a position of counsel in a firm that was accurately labelled as a “foreclosure mill.” It was fast-paced demoralizing work, the kind that left you feeling starved for something better. He didn’t last long. It was such a poor introduction to the legal profession that he actually left the field entirely after that, causing wide-eyed glances among friends and family as he took a job with Connecticut Soapstone. Day after day he installed gorgeous stone in the homes of people that were living peacefully, and safely. They were not in fear of wolves at the door. He was not the wolf at the door. It was bittersweet of course, because while he felt better about how he earned his pay, those in fear of losing everything, were still out there.
He didn’t earn much money installing stone, or even enough, really. I think from the beginning we both knew it wouldn’t last forever, but he was so happy, we hoped that it could. His body was engaged, the earth-based material felt good in his hands, and while the initial fabrication took place in the shop by folks specifically trained for the task, on site installations still required final stone manipulation and finishing that afforded a degree of craftsmanship. It was solid work. If a person could earn more than sixteen bucks an hour doing it, he’d probably still be there today.
I loved the stories he’d come home with; stories reminiscent of the one I shared when renovation crews were here over the winter. Except Adam’s stories were from the flipside: He was the tradesman observing the homeowner. One night, he came home in a particularly good mood, and when I asked about his day, he rolled right into a story about an elderly couple that he did an install for. He was in their home for a few hours and during that time, noticed how kind they were to each other, how much attention they paid to one another and how he saw us, in them. That he knew we’d be the hand-holding old couple in rocking chairs, sitting in comfortable silence or whiling the afternoon away with stories of days gone by. This couple may have looked at the young, strong bodies in their home with a certain longing for their own youth, but to Adam, they presented a glimpse of our future, and he was comforted by what he saw.
I often wonder why I’ve been the recipient of such generous, thoughtful love. I can get a little wrapped up in the wondering, actually. Not in a “I don’t deserve this” kind of way, but in a “what are the odds of this happening” sort of mind loop. No matter, I feel fortunate, and our love remains the greatest treasure I have in life.
Yesterday, within an hour of laying my heart on the page, Adam sent a text: What are you doing this afternoon? I’d like to come pick you up, take you anywhere you want to go.”
(Oh, he’s good.)
Willing to cut out of the office with a half day’s work undone, to spontaneously shake up my day and offer a change of scenery. I couldn’t say yes fast enough. And I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Because if you live in eastern Connecticut and it’s late March with snow still covering every inch of your property, and if you’re feeling helpless over your father’s health or the health of the entire world quite frankly, you bust out of dodge and head to the holy land.
More than a typical retail plant nursery, Logee’s is a living collection of rare and tropical plants, all housed in the lush, antique greenhouses of a 125 year old family business. An endless maze of trailing ivy, sweetly scented moss, and healing warmth that is felt bone-deep. I was struck by how my senses were simultaneously heightened and soothed; so different from the heightened and over-stimulated feeling I often experience in most “worldly” places. Honeysuckle, jasmine, gardenia, hibiscus, and a hundred other flowers I could not identify, all in full bloom, dripping with intoxicating aroma, offering it up as communion. Nearly century old citrus trees were heavy with ripe fruit, one particular tree having ten varieties grafted onto it. One stop citrus shopping! We were completely swept away in tropical greenhouse magic, and I couldn’t believe the one-eighty I felt compared to earlier in the day. I was reminded of what happens when you just do the next right thing, when you do not allow yourself to remain stuck. Moreover, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for being in partnership with someone who after all this time, still has my back like no other.
Thank you for being there yesterday; I was so touched by your generous words on my last post. As you can imagine, I had a moment of hesitation prior to publishing it, but it’s been my experience that we’re never alone in our humaneness. That by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, essentially inviting others into our world, we all somehow benefit. We all feel less stuck.
If you’re within a day’s drive to Logee’s, I’d very much encourage you to pack a lunch and take a trip over. It’s totally free to roam the greenhouses, though you might want to stick a few bucks in your pocket because their fig trees (and scented geraniums, and lemon trees, and...) are legendary.
We’ve got a few days of rain on tap which should put a serious dent in melting the snow. We have plans to purge three spaces in our home as we prepare for our move to nowhere (haha... must keep sense of humor), but to be honest, I wouldn’t mind scrapping those plans and heading back to the greenhouse. Because as much as I needed the warm-sunshine-through-glass-therapy of yesterday’s visit, the only thing better than a sunny afternoon in a couple of old, charming greenhouses, is a rainy afternoon in a couple of old, charming greenhouses.
Maybe I’ll see you there. xo
All photos in this post (last pic aside - which is of my new Logee’s grown fig tree!) were taken in the greenhouses. You can read more about the interesting history of Logee’s here. And definitely watch the video of Byron giving a partial tour at the bottom of the page. Even better, you can visit their YouTube channel where they have quite an extensive collection of videos. "Wealth of knowledge" does not begin to describe Byron's skill set. And I'm not even saying this because I am biased due to our children going to school together. I hope you get to visit soon.