Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday

Congratulations! to all those February Birthday Girls and Boys out there...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Aunt Augusta in her Garden Attire

Richardson Wright, in his Another Gardener's Bed-Book published in 1933, offers this item for these first days of February...

They tell the story of a botanist on one of the scientific expeditions to a desolate corner of the world, how he came across a rare plant, and, instead of rooting up the whole of it, took only a piece and replanted the rest. Would that some of our wild-flower enthusiasts exercised the same discrimination and thought!

That item I would place first if I ever wrote a book on garden manners. To it I would add the suggestion that a good gardener, however soiled and clumsy a person he may appear to be, is invariable worthy of respect. Gardeners perhaps suffer from the fact that, except for an occasional apron, the craft now wears no distinctive livery. Once the blue apron was their insignia and if one gardener wished to speak contemptuously of another, he would call him a "blue apron pretender." Now even a porter wears that blue apron.

Today the jockey displays his master's colors, the maid has her uniform, the chauffeur is clothed according to this rand, but the gardener is happy in baggy pants and an old coat. We must respect him for his intelligence and love for green growing things.

Monday, February 2, 2009

fourth annual bloggers (silent) poetry reading

In Memory of...

The Farmer's Mother

There, in that rocking chair his mother
Sat, watching the restless mill
Follow the wind, and hearing sheep
Nibble the corn...She was so still.

Like Whistler's mother at her rest,
She sat sewing a bit of clothes.
"The storm has ruined half the corn,"
She heard, "And more may come. Who knows?"

She watch the marking of the pigs
By notching round their ugly ears;
The kittens steal the separated
Milk--as she had watched for years.

Slowly the dusk came on, and stars,
And lovely was the sound of whistling rye.
The wind was cold. She did not stir.
Beautiful was the night to die.

Like Whistler's mother in repose,
Or a frail Madonna weary and still,
She left the sheep and pigs, and the rattling
Of the tin Chicago mill.

-Benjamin Rosenbaum, Green Nakedness, 1929.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

To my son, xoxoxo, Mom

Yesterday was strangely a very sad day for me. It was my daughter's birthday. A day to celebrate, right? Her brother called from college to wish her a "Happy 15th!", and because I was up early, I answered the phone and heard his voice on the other end of the line. I was surprised because he is a life-long member of the "Up at the Crack of Noon" club. This was too early for him to be talking, much less dialing his phone. Most importantly, this voice was one I was unfamiliar with, so I asked if he was all right. He assured me he was OK, and then asked to talk with Tess. As I started to lay down the phone, I heard him speak, asking me to hold on a minute. My heart stopped. He had something to tell me, but it was difficult. I assured him I would listen without speaking until he was finished. The floodgates burst open.

He has a broken heart. It's a classic tale of boy meets girl. They fall in love. After a year of dating, promises are made. Boy travels to a foreign land for a semester. Boy returns home anxious to be with girl, but girl has found another. To make matters even crappier for boy, before boy leaves on study-abroad, girl suggests he move into a house across the street from her apartment so they would be close when he returns. Girl introduces him to friends that live in the rental; they need a roommate to sublet for spring semester. Boy signs on the dotted line before leaving for India...

I wanted to say all those things a protective mother would say, like "she's not good enough for you", or "you'll find someone better", or "maybe it will work out", but I didn't. I knew that would hurt him. Instead we had, what I think was, one of the most honest, loving conversations a mother and son could share. The hollowness in his voice, the devastation in his heart, was almost more than I could bear. He is lost and alone. His friends are her friends, too. Everywhere he turns, she is there. This is the first woman he has really clicked with; dated lots of others, but never got serious...until this one. I just hurt so much for him.

Before I turned out the light last night, I got out the little bag holding the Guatemalan Worry Dolls that Peggy wrote about in her post. Thinking about my son, I chose a doll to take away his worry. He couldn't put it under his pillow, but I could under mine, and I did, for him. As much as I would like to kiss this boo-boo, his broken heart...he'll have to figure that out for himself.