One of My Favourite Things

One of my favourite things about in person conversation…..watching someone become more and more comfortable making eye contact with you. You’re watching a soul unfold, like a flower.

~ lilcowgirl7


Photo: “Cleome” on Morning Walk. 6:10 am. July 16, 2020. Hollow Tree Ridge Road, CT

Truth

This is the blessing for the first garden tomato:
Those green boxes of tasteless acid the store
sells in January, those red things with the savor
of wet chalk, they mock your fragrant name.
How fat and sweet you are weighing down my palm,
warm as the flank of a cow in the sun.
You are the savor of summer in a thin red skin.

Marge Piercy, from “The Art of Blessing the Day” in The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme. © Knopf, 1999.


Notes: Photo – Katharine Hanna with Organic vine-ripened tomatoes. Poem – A Year of Being Here

Sunday Morning


My mother’s need for order has nothing to do with the chaos of a life with too little space and too little money and almost no chance to make something beautiful of it all. The chance to create loveliness is always waiting just past the door of our matchbox rental. She never prepares for gardening—no special gloves, no rubber garden clogs, no stiff canvas apron with pockets for tools. No tools, most of the time. She steps out of the house—or the car, setting her bags down before she even makes it to the door—and puts her hands in the soil, tugging out the green things that don’t belong among the green things that do. Now another bare square of ground appears, and there is room for marigold seeds, the ones she saved when last year’s ruffled yellow blooms turned brown and dried to fragile likenesses of themselves. The light bill might be under the covers at the foot of her bed, the unsigned report card somewhere in the mess of papers on the mantel, but she can always put her hands on last year’s seeds. And later, in the summer, the very ground she walks on will be covered in gold.

~ Margaret Renkl, from “My Mother Pulls Weeds, Birmingham, 1978,” Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss


Photo: Cindy Garber Iverson

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like…

LOANHEAD, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 18: Edite Galite from Latvia, holds up a Poinsettia plants ready to be dispatched for the Christmas season at the Pentland Plants garden centre on November 18,2016 in Loanhead, Scotland. The garden centre grows around 100,000 poinsettias, a traditional Christmas house plant. The Midlothian business supplies a host of garden centres and supermarkets across Scotland and the north of England in time for the festive season. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)


100,000 poinsettias are ready to be dispatched for the Christmas season in a Loanhead, Scotland garden center.  (November 18, 2016. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Don’t other fantastic shots here: Prepping the Poinsettias for Christmas

Seed: I wonder where it is right now.

hand-seed

A seed knows how to wait. Most seeds wait for at least a year before starting to grow; a cherry seed can wait for a hundred years with no problem. What exactly each seed is waiting for is known only to that seed. Some unique trigger-combination of temperature-moisture-light and many other things is required to convince a seed to jump off the deep end and take its chance— to take its one and only chance to grow. A seed is alive while it waits. Every acorn on the ground is just as alive as the three-hundred-year-old oak tree that towers over it. Neither the seed nor the old oak is growing; they are both just waiting. Their waiting differs, however, in that the seed is waiting to flourish while the tree is only waiting to die. When you go into a forest you probably tend to look up at the plants that have grown so much taller than you ever could. You probably don’t look down, where just beneath your single footprint sit hundreds of seeds, each one alive and waiting. They hope against hope for an opportunity that will probably never come. More than half of these seeds will die before they feel the trigger that they are waiting for, and during awful years every single one of them will die. All this death hardly matters, because the single birch tree towering over you produces at least a quarter of a million new seeds every single year. When you are in the forest, for every tree that you see, there are at least a hundred more trees waiting in the soil, alive and fervently wishing to be. A coconut is a seed that’s as big as your head. It can float from the coast of Africa across the entire Atlantic Ocean and then take root and grow on a Caribbean island. In contrast, orchid seeds are tiny: one million of them put together add up to the weight of a single paper clip. […]

In the laboratory, we simply scratch the hard coat and add a little water and it’s enough to make almost any seed grow. I must have cracked thousands of seeds over the years, and yet the next day’s green never fails to amaze me. Something so hard can be so easy if you just have a little help. In the right place, under the right conditions, you can finally stretch out into what you’re supposed to be. After scientists broke open the coat of a lotus seed (Nelumbo nucifera) and coddled the embryo into growth, they kept the empty husk. When they radiocarbon-dated this discarded outer shell, they discovered that their seedling had been waiting for them within a peat bog in China for no less than two thousand years. This tiny seed had stubbornly kept up the hope of its own future while entire human civilizations rose and fell. And then one day this little plant’s yearning finally burst forth within a laboratory. I wonder where it is right now.

~ Hope Jahren, Lab Girl 


Notes:

  • Photograph:Katherine with Mmm.
  • Related Posts: Lab Girl
  • Inspired by: Albert Einstein: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Now look again. Did you see something green? If you did, you saw one of the few things left in the world that people cannot make.

hope-jahren

PEOPLE LOVE THE OCEAN. People are always asking me why I don’t study the ocean, because, after all, I live in Hawaii. I tell them that it’s because the ocean is a lonely, empty place. There is six hundred times more life on land than there is in the ocean, and this fact mostly comes down to plants. The average ocean plant is one cell that lives for about twenty days. The average land plant is a two-ton tree that lives for more than one hundred years. The mass ratio of plants to animals in the ocean is close to four, while the ratio on land is closer to a thousand. Plant numbers are staggering: there are eighty billion trees just within the protected forests of the western United States. The ratio of trees to people in America is well over two hundred. As a rule, people live among plants but they don’t really see them. Since I’ve discovered these numbers, I can see little else.

So humor me for a minute, and look out your window. What did you see? You probably saw things that people make. These include other people, cars, buildings, and sidewalks. After just a few years of design, engineering, mining, forging, digging, welding, bricklaying, window-framing, spackling, plumbing, wiring, and painting, people can make a hundred-story skyscraper capable of casting a thousand-foot shadow. It’s really impressive.

Now look again. Did you see something green? If you did, you saw one of the few things left in the world that people cannot make. What you saw was invented more than four hundred million years ago near the equator. Perhaps you were lucky enough to see a tree. That tree was designed about three hundred million years ago. The mining of the atmosphere, the cell-laying, the wax-spackling, plumbing, and pigmentation took a few months at most, giving rise to nothing more or less perfect than a leaf. There are about as many leaves on one tree as there are hairs on your head. It’s really impressive.

~ Hope Jahren, Lab Girl 


Lab Girl was selected as an Amazon Book of the Month for April, 2016.  These are the opening lines from Hope Jahren‘s book which is described as “an illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world.”

New York Times Book Review: ‘Lab Girl,’ Hope Jahren’s Road Map to the Secret Life of Plants

Reading in Sanctuary. With Chia.

chia

Susan comes in with a spray bottle. I lift my head, but otherwise don’t move, following her silently as she moves across the room. She waters a small green plant on a white marble end table. She leaves. I drop my head back to my reading.

I’m in the Sanctuary. Sunday mornings and the end of each working day. The bedroom door closed; I’m on the bed. Zeke, with his head between his paws, is snoozing and leaning into me. We’re in the decompression chamber.

I glance over to my right.
I have never seen that plant.
I have never seen that end table.

I’m in the middle of Patti Smith’s memoir “Just Kids” and recall a line that stuck: “Nothing is finished until you see it.” Thank God for me for that. There’s a lot left to See.

Susan’s on the ground floor. I send her a text.

“How long has that plant been there?”
“Really, Dave? It’s been there for over a month.”

One month? It’s five feet away. I didn’t know it existed. I send a follow-on text. [Read more…]

Autumn Lights

autumn lights


Love these. What are they?


Source: Elinka via German Photographer stefanie-d-b. Her bio with google translation: “i photograph. much. passionate. whatever I want, and how I want it. I show the things not as they are, but then, as I see it.


Do Good = Feel Good

zinnia35 members of our team participated in a volunteer day yesterday.  We spent the day weeding, cutting, seeding, planting, scraping and painting for a non-profit organization that works with children with social and learning challenges while providing care for animals and nature.

If you’ve followed my blog, you’ve seen a number of posts on the importance of doing what you love. The staff at this organization who was guiding our team through various lawn, gardening and fence painting projects was all-in.  You could feel their commitment.  You could feel their love for the children, the gardens, the animals and their work.   Inspiring?  Over-the-top.  Good people?  Crazy Good.  And yet more Good…

[Read more…]

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