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52 vignettes and 1/52.

Every time I step away from this blog, I give a half-ass apology to the readers when I finally return to it. I also tend to play the “I have five kids” card.

2020 has given me a full 52-card deck I could play.

There is the “off-grid-living-no-internet” card or the “started-an-outdoor-learning-centre” card or the “guiding-twenty-teenagers” card and of course, the “pandemic” card. And of course I still have five kids.

And it is the five kids that keep it real for me. They are the ones that inspire me to write again. After reading some old blog posts out loud the other night, they ask for more. They wonder why I don’t have recent posts since there have been SO much tomfoolery and shenanigans.

I do love efficiency and I admit that I miss writing. So as I return here to write, I plan to explain where I have been while also sharing moments of my life by playing a full 52 cards of excuses, crutches, graces, and random snapshots of 2020…all in posts that have less than 500 words.

Project 52 Excuses didn’t quite sound right. When I look back on the moments that had me somewhere other than here, I can see and feel the details.

Then it hit me. Vignette.

52 Vignettes. Sounds classier with a touch of the poetic.

As I am still obsessed with the origin of words, I immediately go to my favourite site: the Online Etymology Dictionary.

vignette (n.)

1751, “decorative design,” originally a design in the form of vine tendrils around the borders of a book page, especially a picture page, from French vignette, from Old French diminutive of vigne “vineyard” (see vine). Sense transferred from the border to the picture itself, then (1853) to a type of small photographic portrait with blurred edges very popular mid-19c. Meaning “literary sketch” is first recorded 1880, probably from the photographic sense.

And then from Wikipedia:

A vignette is a short yet descriptive piece of writing that captures a brief period in time.[1] [2] Vignettes are more focused on vivid imagery and meaning rather than plot.[3] Vignettes are often stand-alone and do not connect with other ideas, chapters, or stories, but can also be a smaller part of a larger story, such as vignettes found in novels.[2]

A sketch. Blurred edges. Imagery and meaning. Smaller part of a larger story. Stand-alone and disconnected. A vine.

Speaking of vines, Frankie and I planted little passionfruit sprouts that a neighbour gave us in exchange for empty buckets. Passionfruit is one determined vine. Every day we watched it and placed tiny little sticks around it to signal that it wasn’t a weed to be chopped and also for me to remember where I planted it. The jungle takes over and I often lose the plants and trees I plant due to my very random and unscientific process – I walk around and stick things in the ground. One day I noticed the tiny little tendrils climbing up the ugly dog fence. The fence was supporting the plant to reach sunlight with a minimum investment of energy. Vines use whatever they can for support to help them get to the light.

All I used to focus on was the eye-sore of a fence, a necessary barrier for the dogs. Now I like to zoom in and see the curly “I think I cans” and am grateful the fence is there to help them grow.

We all need an unexpected helping hand once in awhile.

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