All through my childhood, we had gardens. We had vegetable and flower gardens every year. My father always put in a large field of corn which was outstanding when it came in. We also put up lots of corn each year. One of my favorite memories is a steaming bowl of buttered corn at Thanksgiving. You could taste the freshness of the corn and it brought to mind the heat of the summer.
We also had lots of flower gardens that had mostly been put in during my grandmother's tenure in the house. Old bearded iris beds, lots of peonies, daffodils, and so on. I loved the flower gardens.
But my mother's gardens were always vegetable gardens. Immensely practical, and immense in their scope. With six kids, it made a lot of sense. But her gardens were beautiful. Her favorite vegetables were tomatoes, cukes and, I think okra was also at the top of her list. Besides that we had peas, beans, lettuce, radishes, zucchini, spinach, and she always tried something new. We put up food in the fall, including tomato juice, and lots of pickles. I do love pickles, especially good bread and butter pickles. The best commercially available bread and butter pickle is Bubbies (in the refrigerator section.)
But what does this have to do with dyeing?? and me?? Well, shortly after my mother died in 1991, I had a dream about her garden. And she basically told me that her garden was incomplete, and I was to finish it. Obviously the garden was a metaphor for her life, but the unfinished part of her life was that (I believe) she had not done all the things she "wanted" to that would have allowed her to feel that her life was complete.
Well, I was driving to Atlanta a week or so ago and it hit me, that the dyeing of yarn, being involved with color, enjoying my work, building a business...much of it with garden-like imagery was/is the completion of her life's work.
My mother and I were very close, often in unspoken ways, but with Mother's Day coming soon, I feel her presence with me, and wish I could talk to her about what I am doing face-to-face and see how excited she would be with it. My mother taught me to knit and sew when I was 5 or 6, she taught me to put food by, she taught me to pile rather than put things away, she was there to be excited when new things happened and to encourage me to try new things.
Thank you Mom for the Garden Path you put me on.