Inheritance

city flower

I’ve always bristled at comments made about women turning into their mothers. They strike me as belittling---as though our lives aren't our own to shape. Still, there are moments when I find myself doing something and I swear it’s as though I’m watching my mother instead of myself. I'm reminded of her when I'm brushing my wet hair in front of the mirror, or tucking a checked shirt into a pair of jeans, or pushing my long sleeves up to the spot on my forearms where they’ll stay put. The movements themselves are inherited. There are other things, too. The Brooklyn Bridge Park offers monthly horticulture walks and last week I made plans to attend one. At 5:30 pm, just at the moment when the late afternoon sun is glinting most dramatically off the East River, I trekked down to the park. I had my notebook and camera stuffed in a bag and in that earnest pursuit of knowledge gathering, I was reminded again of my inherited traits.

My mom is a woman who calls things by their proper names. A stand of magenta flowers by the side of the road are not just pink flowers, they’re Sweet William. A small grey bird at the feeder is a Tufted Titmouse. A neighbor’s tree is a Black Locust. As a child this knowledge was impressive and as a teenager it was mortifying. Now, the pattern seems to have cycled around again and I realize that I am the kind of woman who wants to call things by their proper names. Like my mother before me, I'll trek to the local park for a nature walk in order to do it. Lucky for me, living in a city doesn’t preclude my learning. As the weather has warmed up, I’ve spent most of my evenings walking through the park. It’s an incredibly impressive spot. Pier 1 is filled to brimming with native and ornamental species where only three years ago it was an empty concrete lot. If you’re nearby, it’s worth every minute of a visit and if you go soon, you'll see it teeming with juneberries and elderflowers and blueberries that are just starting to ripen. The rosa rugosa are as beautiful as the sea roses near my childhood home and a deep enough whiff of them could transport me right out of the city. If I had any intention of leaving.[gallery link="file" orderby="rand"]