I don’t know if my father really liked plants and nature, or if he just fell into the floral business by birth. My father, Sidney Edward Wilensky, was the son of Jacob Wilensky, who peddled fruits and vegetables on the streets of Waterbury, Connecticut, at the turn of the 20th century. He came from Vilnius, Lithuania, but I don’t know much about him.
Sometimes I helped at Cherry Hill Gardens, my parent’s flower shop (not shoppe). I watered or unwrapped newspaper from holiday plants in the garage out back. Did I even notice the flowers, their colors, shapes and dreamy fragrance? I’m not sure.
On our road trip to Eugene, Oregon we stopped in Mt. Shasta, California. Lilacs were everywhere! I so miss the purple and white lilac bushes in my Southwest Harbor backyard. But there they were! And when we arrived on the cosatal part of our trip in Yachats, Oregon, roadside clumps of lupine greeted us, along with purple iris poking through the lush green oceanside paths.
I don’t think about my father much. He died in 1969 after a long illness. But I call myself “nature girl,” and am happiest ambling along the beach, a desert trail or in the woods. I usually start humming without realizing it.
During the past few days, every time I venture outdoors on the windy Oregon coast, which is very similar to the coast of Maine, I pick something leafy or flowery and add it to our little bouquet sitting on the windowsill in our cabin overlooking the Pacific. Dan’s walking along the beach. Before he went outside he counted many seals on the rocks. I have to go see.
Shall I thank my father, even if he didn’t know how much he loved nature, because he showed me the way?