Musings + Essays

Foliage Consumes Stone.

By: Jen Shoop

Last week, I took my children by my childhood home, a great stone house on the top of a hill in northwest D.C. The hedges and trees that encircle the property — many of which, in my youth, were new plantings at the hands of my father — have matured to the point that the home is nearly invisible behind their green embrace. I craned my neck; I drove around the block; I squinted, as though such maneuverings could brush back the branches and lay bare the edifice beyond.

“You can almost see–” I trailed off, tilting my head, and —

“This is the funniest thing…” I murmured, peering at the branches, audience only to my uninterested children. I eventually drove away empty-handed though not downcast, curiously finding myself captivated rather than frustrated by the obstruction. The foliage had consumed the stone.

I had been dwelling, the previous few weeks, on a lost girlhood friendship. You see, I lost two close friends in my 20s, one to cancer and the other to — to —

I don’t know what. I have spent over a decade feeling my way around the bruise, hypothesizing about the cause of injury. Even though our breakup felt in some ways like a slow motion car crash, both of us bracing ourselves well before impact, shards and debris visibly gleaming with danger before the sluicing, I still could not tell you the exact sequence of events, or who hit whom, or exactly when or where the collision took place. Just that, all these years later, I still find myself tender to touch when her name materializes. Moving home has splintered planks and dislodged earth in the carefully erected fence between us, and, though she no longer lives here, I find her woven winningly into the near-physical memories waiting at every familiar corner and streetlight of my new-again home here in the D.C. area.

I think, perhaps, this is the way:

To let those branches, now dense and full with age and new growth, soften and screen the dense beyond.

Shopping Break.

+The lovely ladies at Maxwell + Geraldine just sent me one of their gorgeous Kate dresses in the classic blue-and-white stripe. I cannot WAIT to wear it!

+This Zimmermann-esque dress is nearly sold out but SO good — under $30!

+J. Crew has some fab new arrivals especially love this striped cashmere sweater (reminds me of some of the La Ligne ones we’ve all been loving — P.S., you can still find a bunch on sale here) and this plaid top.

+This Emerson-Fry-inspired caftan is restocked — you just can’t beat that price!

+Love Chanel’s Deauville totes.

+Love these bold paper trays for your office desktop.

+Just bought mini these terry shorts to wear over her leotard after ballet!

+Another really good option for a fall wedding, and it’s under $250. Super sophisticated! More wedding guest dress ideas here.

+This under-$20 cleansing balm is a TikTok sensation and keeps selling out. (Read reviews — v intriguing.). It looks like a more affordable but just-as-effective variation on the Elemis makeup-melting balm I love.

+Reformation has further discounted a ton of their pieces — these adorable floral mules are only $70, this gorgeous floral dress is $148, and this timeless white one is $83!

+These architectural lamps are SO good and SO interesting.

+Little boy NB sneaks, on sale. More fall finds for boys here.

+This is my favorite dressing ever. It makes my mouth water just thinking of it. I used to be able to get it at Wegman’s in NYC, and I just realized it’s carried in my local Whole Foods (phew) but there was a time where my mom would actually carry bottles of it back in her suitcase from their home in Naples, FL!

+These napkins are already inspiring me to think ahead to Thanksgiving…gorgeous starting place for a tablescape!

+Emerald green is majorly trending — this top is tres chic. (More chic early fall finds in this hue here.)

+Buy these jellies now while they’re 70% off and save for next summer.

+TBBC just restocked lots of pieces in their popular Belle Mead Bow print — I was finally able to get my hands on one of their play dresses in this iconic print. One of my favorite pairs of jammies on mini in her infant days was their night night in this pattern! (Perfect bringing-home-from-hospital outfit!)

+Speaking of TBBC, if you waited until the last minute to pick a back-to-school outfit, you’re in luck: their entire back to school collection is 35% off with code SCHOOLDAYS through today, 8/25.

+Love the look of these unfussy sneaks.

+OMG this tiny fair isle cardigan and this under-$20 flounce trim one!!!

+Cute dishware for a space-loving little.

+Can’t stop lusting after all the sweaters

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7 thoughts on “Foliage Consumes Stone.

  1. Yes… I just reread this post as it has stayed with me, and the more I think about it, the more the image of foliage covering stone resonates with me. I have a particular friendship that floated off in perhaps a similar way, and I have struggled for years to wrap my head around the loss. I think what I love most about the image is the ultimate hopefulness of it. Growth and renewal are such lovely, life-affirming images, and the idea of branches growing over a foundational relationship of my youth and of my coming into myself is comforting. Thank you for this…

    1. Hi Susan – Thank you so much for sharing this, and for taking the time to write in a few days after the past. To be honest, writing this post was cathartic to me, too. It wasn’t until I sat down to write about driving by my childhood home that everything came into focus, and the imagery was similarly restorative and hopeful for me. Thank you, friend!


  2. I so agree with you, regarding list friendships and “To let those branches, now dense and full with age and new growth, soften and screen the dense beyond”. OMG! You captured it so well! You are so beautifully articulate and I love your descriptions. They resonate with me. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, because honestly I thought I was the only one who changed (or pulverized) a friendship! I still grieve the loss, and feel so responsible for it all! How can you be best friends one day then bam! Ugh! The heartache i chase from my thoughts several times a week never go away.
    Love your words!

    1. Hi Cynthia – Thank you so much for this note! You are definitely not alone. I have commiserated with many friends about the loss of friendships, and it is a seriously difficult experience. I think female friendships can run so deep — there have been periods of my life so deeply entwined with the lives of friends that it’s hard to remember where my story stops and my friends’ begin. Anyway, hang in there. Feeling all the feels right alongside you!


  3. I can so relate to this. And I love the imagery of allowing time and age to soften and screen the tender parts. I will lean into this as I blindly navigate my way through. And yet…. How? Practically speaking. It’s always a balance, of course. But it’s hard to nail down specifics, isn’t it? (At least for me).

    1. Hi Danielle – I totally know what you mean. The in between parts are so painful and awkward, fraught with heartache and missteps and cringes. The only way out is through though — hang in there!


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