I took a break from blogging over the last few months for no reason other than it was time for a break. The last time I wrote I was planting seeds in my garden and musing over my next writing project. Five months later, my garden is in overdrive giving me daily baskets of tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, squash, and bouquets of flowers, and I have chosen my next writing project. Life moves on….
Most recently, I’ve been practicing letting go. It seems to be the work of my mid-70s. By nature, I’m a saver – just ask my husband about my shelves of uniquely-shaped boxes, glass jars, seed packets, vases, old jewelry, and family memorabilia. Some things will be easy for my family to toss when I’m gone, but I should pass on other things now while I can do so with care.
I recently opened my jewelry boxes and invited my teenage granddaughters to select anything they’d like (with a few exceptions). There were a few pieces I had to take a deep breath and let go of but knowing how much I love having my great-grandmother’s amethyst broach, I gave the jewelry my blessing and passed them on.
It took the threat of fire for me to let go of other things. Wildfires are an almost year-round threat here in the Northern California Sierra (and in a scary way, for more and more of the world). We have “Go-Bags” packed by the door with valuable papers, clothing, food, and water. But my drawer of family history artifacts? No room. That’s when I decided to start giving them away for posterity’s safe keeping.
The first to go was my Great-Grandmother Emily Hoppin’s personal scrapbook from 1870s-1915. If you followed my blogs and website, you know how much I loved using it for my novel Heart Wood. Before leaving on vacation this June, I presented her fragile scrapbook to the Yolo County Historical Archives. It was a fair trade because they had digitalized the entire scrapbook for me earlier, so I have it on my computer for continued research of my next book and they have it in their database.
The second album was the history of my Grandfather Charles Jensen’s Botanical Garden in Carmichael, near Sacramento, CA. After retiring in 1958, he and grandma converted three acres of blackberries into a park-like garden. After their death, the Carmichael Park District bought it in 1976 and created The Jensen Botanical Garden, lovingly tending it as a public park known as “The Jewel of Carmichael.” I recently gave them my family scrapbook of historic news clippings for their records.
And last, after a recent fall and broken bones in my left foot, I’ve had more than enough time to practice letting go. It’s humbling not to be able to get up and do what needs to be done, but to have to sit back and ask for help. I’m learning to let go of having a tidy house, of zipping up and down flights of stairs, of walking up the hill to my garden. In exchange, I’m learning patience and gratitude for my husband’s endless generosity (and his cooking!)
I’ll write about my next writing project in the near future. In the meantime, Heart Wood can now be purchased in Sierra County at the Sierra County Art’s Council Gallery in Downieville, the Kentucky Mine Historic Park and Museum, and the Sierra Mercantile in Sierra City, as well as ordered from your local bookstore or on Amazon.