This is how it went down:
It was the heat of the summer, I was maybe 7 or 8.
We were bicycling through the Yosemite valley floor; Half-Dome and Bridal Veil Falls loomed overhead. I was riding on my dad's handlebars, my brother rode in front of us on his borrowed ten speed. It was a dry summer afternoon, the air was thin and hot, and smelled like pine trees, smoke, DEET products and mildew. Our campsite was typical, closely surrounded by other families having their "out-in-nature" experiences, in carefully delineated areas so minute we could hear each other's bacon frying in the morning, and whispered arguments at night after campfires burned low. We were not tent camping that summer, I believe it was an Airstream trailer-a silver bullet shot out of a suburban cannon, bound for Curry Village.
"We're Going To Crash!"
So there we were. On bikes. Me on the handlebars. My brother rode off ahead of us.
After following flat concrete for some time, we suddenly veered off the road and began to bump and pitch over forest floor. I'm not sure why. I was afraid. I remember my dad saying, sort of into my ear, because of our position, "Oh no! We're going to crash into the creek!" and sure enough, it looked like we were out of control and about to crash. I let go of the handlebars and held my hands up to my face, palms on cheeks in an "Oh no!" sort of way. You can guess what happened next. Yup, I flew off the bike and landed face down in the pine needles & other forest detritus. My next memory is my dad standing over me, still sort of laughing at me, asking if I was alright. I pulled my face up and tried to sit up. It was hard to see, my vision blurred by warm sticky stuff. It seems, I fell right onto a twig, which went into the area right under my left eyebrow. A quarter of an inch above my eye.
The rest of the story, the stitches at the infirmary and the markers and coloring book with which I was bribed all sort of fade into the pale category of After Event; not integral to the plot line, serving only to finish out the anecdote. There's only one remaining thing, though-
What He Said
See, my dad's version of this story is very similar, except for the following: he maintains that I let go of the handlebars and jumped off. We weren't headed for the creek, he never said anything about crashing, I just got it into my head that I should let go and jump.

Do I look traumatized in this photo? Because I was. My brother & step mom look like it's been a grand old time in the woods, but I look like I've been through the ringer. And yes, that is a Trees of Mystery T-shirt.
It's so hard not to be believed, or listened to. I think that was the hardest thing, growing up with this story, is that my voice was not heard, and even if it was, it was not believed. And that's what's so wonderful about Jesus. The hearing and the gaze held. He is the Arbiter of Truth, and the Compassionate Counselor, all at once.

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Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.