What is it about obsession and youthfulness?
Perhaps the obsession keeps one from, well, obsessing over stupid things and working themselves into a frenzy, hence protecting synapses... perhaps being obsessed about something, anything, keeps you you too busy to care about your own mortality (I mean, me...die? But I have more roses to plant. I most definitely don't have time to die today.)
He turned 92 years old this week.
Wait, I'll rephrase - he turned 92 years young. I now know why one says that - it's reserved for the kind of person who several months before their 92nd birthday decide they need a new (and larger) chainsaw because - of course - they must use it atop a 20' ladder because they have to cut down branches that are producing too much shade over the camellias.
Makes perfect sense, don't you think?
I write about Skip quite often here - the last time was in the early days of 2011, when the camellias were struggling during an unusually cold stretch of weeks. Fortunately most of the japonicas refused to come out and play - and their buds remained tight and protected, with the only exposed blooms damaged by the cold. However when the warm weather arrived and I once again went to visit Skip and his camellias - I was greeted with one of the best camellia displays I've seen in awhile - so many of the japonicas that might have bloomed mid- and late-season arrived all at once.
Once again we wandered the paths that run through his 600 or so camellias - stopping at many of the flowers that we could reach, with Skip knowing instinctively to hold the flower so that I could take a photograph of it, often while he would tell me a story about that specific camellia - the one that was used for wrist corsages, the one he rooted from cuttings that arrived in an envelope, the ones that he called 'seedlings' - camellias that have hybridized over the year and that are now ten or more feet tall.
As always, the time comes to let the camellias speak for themselves, so here's a small sampling of the camellias in Skip's garden - flowers tended and adored by a man who is now 92-years young.
(I'm tracking down where I wrote down the name for some of these - I'm bad about that tiny scrap of paper thing for writing down important things!).
Previous visits to see Skip and his camellias: