Tuesday, April 30, 2019


I took this photo of my mother when I went to visit her last week.  It may seem like not the most flattering of photos, but the more I look at it, the more I like it.

We were sitting at the kitchen table at Eldervilla and talking...about...whatever.  It was not a serious conversation anyway.

Suddenly she looked out the window at the lemon tree across the yard, on the other side of the fence and she started talking about how beautiful the tree was.

She has always loved trees, and as her dementia has progressed, trees became the most important thing to her whenever we went out.  She never noticed people or things or even beautiful gardens.  If I would point something out to her that I thought she might like, by the time I could get her to look in the right direction, the thing was behind us.

But she always paid attention to the trees and how beautiful they were.  When there was no way to have a conversation with her, I would take her for a drive around Davis and go to where the trees were the thickest.  She never recognized that we had gone on the same block a few times.  She always marveled at how beautiful the trees were.

As her dementia got worse, she stopped noticing trees and I found that very sad.  So this picture, which shows her appreciating the tree again, made me very happy.

Back in the days before dementia started eating away at her brain, I remember driving her to Inverness, and going through lots of places with lots of trees and she always commented on how beautiful trees were.

But the thing that she talked about many times, which has changed my own appreciation of trees, to tell you the truth, was about the color.

Here's an assignment for you:  Go somewhere where there are a lot of trees, and maybe grassy hills.  We did that on the way to Char's party yesterday.  Lots and lots of trees lining the freeway, and especially on the streets on the way up to the party.

Now, look closely.  How many shades of green do you see?  It's impossible to count.  There are dark greens and light greens, yellow greens and grey greens.  And within all of those categories there are hundreds of different shades.  Just sit under one tree on a nice clear, sunny day and look at the leaves.  They aren't all the same color.  They are all green, of course, but each one has its own twist on the color green.

It's kind of like people and the many flesh tones that you can find wherever you go.  There are pink people and brown people and yellow people, but nobody is the same color of those categories.  Pink people can be anyone from a pale hermit who never sees the sun to a sun lover who likes to get a tan--and every shade in between.  Same with yellow and brown people.  There are no truly black people, but just very, very dark brown people.

It's kind of magic, looking at leaves and seeing the visual proof of the millions of shades of green around us.  Kind of makes you believe in a god, somehow!  I know that seeing trees through my mother's eyes all those years ago has given me an appreciation of the beauty of nature around me, and especially how the beautiful color of the trees.  I will always appreciate trees...perhaps not the way my mother does, but she taught me to look beyond just a bunch of "trees" and see the intricate color shades.  It's pretty neat.

We brought home lots of uneaten clam dip yesterday.  I hadn't realized that so many people were going to be competing in the clam dip contest, so I made a triple batch, figuring with so many guests we would need lots of clam dip.  About half of the dip that I brought was eaten, but that still left a huge amount to bring home.

Clam dip and potato chips make a nice breakfast, when you add a banana and a cup of coffee.

In the afternoon, though, I sent Walt out to buy English muffins.  I have a childhood memory of something like clam dip spread on English muffins and broiled, which I think I had at a restaurant in downtown San Francisco one time.  So we had that for lunch.  Actually, it didn't brown like I thought it would and basically it was just warm clam dip on a toasted muffin, but it was tasty, and by the end of the day, with the help of a little more snacking we managed to finish all the dip I brought home.

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