tiger lilies

I’m eating a sandwich with a buttery lettuce from our garden while sizing up the tiger lilies along the front of our house. With bulbs maybe 60 years old, strong and many-bloomed, they stand up to my shoulders. Urges in me want to cut at the thick stems to bring that shouting orange into my kitchen, but I don’t do it. If I cut for one bloom, many others would be wasted, and I can see them peak over my window seal in my living room, a few of their clothes worn out, but mostly, they’ve an open closet-full ready to wear.

water liliesI think about my Mamaw today. She loved the outside. She loved to plant tiger lilies. Lawnmowers keep to their business, and my yard smells like weeds and clover. Ashes from the honey suckle in the burn barrel waft toward me.

I can’t tell if the markings in the concrete next to the little fish pond say “HAINES 1967” or “HAINES 1987.” The water lilies have taken over and bloomed yellow and pink. The tadpoles underneath will turn into giant frogs. They bubble up and make the water look like a boil. The fish are the ones Grandma had kept in a tank in the living room. When she wanted new ones, she released the old into the pond. The great grandfishies swim now, I suppose.

My small boys won’t stay out of the green water. They obsess over the circle of life. I do, too. They fall in or rebelliously dive in, so we’re going to fill the pond up with soil and make the past a nice fertilizer for an herb/flower garden.

tadpoles and the little great grandfishies

Sometimes we reap what we do not sew. Sometimes it is right to linger and grow limp with awe at the things we’ve been handed, and sometimes the right thing to do is dig up and throw out, fill in and start over.

basil, thyme, dill, sage, oregano, lavender, rosemary, parsley, roses, peonies, tiger lilies
blessings on a future generation

About me


Wild in the Hollow Book Club: an Introductory video
August 28, 2015
How Right Living Was My Brokenness: a guest post from Kelly Smith
August 11, 2015
Marriage Letters: On Home
July 06, 2015
A Final Haines Home Companion: a Secret I’ve Kept
June 06, 2014
On Broken Parts in Regular Towns: Alabama, Arkansas, and Haiti
April 03, 2014
On Losing Place
September 05, 2013
How the Light Peeks Through
August 26, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: A Little Eden
March 13, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: Alter
February 22, 2013


Aunt Pam
Reply June 5, 2009

I can't see the pics!!! UGH!!! I want to see your new place! :-)

Lora Lynn
Reply June 5, 2009

I love lilies. I have planted them in every home we've had. And my lilies are blooming for the first time here. Every day there's a new tiger lily bloom. Normally I WOULD cut them, but I just haven't yet this year. I'm enjoying the view from my dining room. Sometimes I guess it's better to just leave things be.

Lora Lynn’s last blog post..Crazy: It’s Not Just For Little People Any More

Reply June 5, 2009

i so love your writing!
(but i couldn't see your photos, either?)
hope you are well and settling in! ((H))

patty’s last blog post..baby birds and hope

Reply June 6, 2009

Amber- such beautiful simplicity here. How you can write about the sandwich you're eating and still have me riveted...
Three cheers for the herb garden growing in the fertilizer of the past. And the great grandfishes! I just love this. All of it.

Jo@Mylestones’s last blog post..Stories in my Pocket: This Wasn't The Plan

Ann Voskamp
Reply June 6, 2009

"If I cut for one bloom, many others would be wasted..."
" make the past a nice fertilizer "
"Sometimes it is right to linger and grow limp with awe at the things we’ve been handed..."

I carry home a fragrant bouquet of words...
The pictures didn't display... but yout words painted masterpieces.

I like the Haines 2009.

All my love,

Ann Voskamp’s last blog post..Think How They Made the Walls Sing!

Aunt Pam
Reply June 9, 2009

I can see the pics now... even though I didn't need them to see what you discribed so clearly. I just wanted to see a part of your world. Beautiful! Love & kisses!

Reply June 9, 2009

unrelated....have you ever laid it all on the line ....to everyone you know....like a crazy gospel preachin email lettin all who read know that you love them and all they have to do is acknowledge Jesus to have eternal life kinda email.....seeing death does this to me and I am feelin sorta bold..ish. sorta. what to write? what to say?

Reply June 12, 2009

Amber, congrats on sending off for the app. Are you using Gladney - we are very thankful we did. More on that, if we ever see you guys again for a lovely dinner and some wine. Bring your boys over, meet Olly. Miss you guys...

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