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Watering In

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For Yule, Landscape Guy gave me Jenks Farmer‘s wonderful book, Deep Rooted Wisdom: Skills and Stories from Generations of Gardeners. I finished reading it on my last business trip. I’d recommend the book just for the pictures and for the stories about the great characters/gardeners from whom Jenks has learned over the years. Muriel Rukeyser was right about stories.

In one chapter, Jenks recommends, whenever possible, watering by hand rather than with an automatic irrigation system or with sprinklers. You know, carrying water to the plant in a watering can and standing there making it rain in just the right spot and by just the right amount. Or taking the hose (and, when we do it here in the South, a glass of iced tea or wine, depending on whether it’s a morning or an evening watering) and standing in the garden, watching it, listening to it, watering by observation. At the end of the Watering-In chapter, Jenks says:

Collect and focus the energy of moving water in the soil and air around a plant. You might call it chi, positive energy, lining-up, or paramagnetic force — whatever you call it, it pulls together your own energy with that of moving water, plants, and life in the soil.

Those simple actions and involuntary connections make life rich. One tiny action can set off a chain of scenes in our minds. Sometimes during a watering conversation, I’ll hear in my own voice an inflection, a tiny change of tone when I’m getting excited. I’ll then recall an afternoon, years ago, on a road trip with a friend, looking over a vast desert, my friend fixated, holding my shoulder, imploring me, saying “Now? Now you must be excited! Say it out loud!” Or when I water with a coffee can, I see the smooth twisting of water becoming a muddy stream of cypress pond water, pouring from the bottom of a tiny tin that my father picked up to nurse along a newly planted ocean tree seedling behind a barn that he dreamt of renovating, of making into our house.

Watering-in does all of that for me. It’s so elemental, something that builds unforgettable connections. When you teach someone to water-in, make sure it’s a fun experience, an important moment; it may be a moment they associate with watering for the rest of their life.

It’s such a sensual thing to do, watering plants. The feel of the water, the sight of the plant, and the soil, and the water being sucked into the soil. The smell of wet dirt. The sight and sound and presence of the birds who show up and want to play in the water. And when it’s hot, of course, I water myself a bit, too.

How do you water? Do you have a memory of learning how to do it?

Picture found here.

Perhaps I Need to Write More About That

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Like Rebecca, I have been rising very early all Winter to luxuriate in the morning dark. I make my coffee, and take my medicine, and cook myself the same breakfast that countless Southern women have cooked, and then I sit under an afghan, shawl on my shoulders and socks on my feet, and I do my morning meditation. The Winter dark surrounds me like a lover, like a safe blanket, like the arms of the Goddess.

I’ve been traveling for work this Winter and, so, I’ve sat wrapped within the loving arms of Columbia, St. Francis, the Angels. And wherever I’ve been, I’ve grounded, cast a circle, and called the powers, and spirits, and beings of that place, and done my morning magic — same as if I’d been home. Because we Witches, we’re only at home in our own landbase and we’re always at home wherever we go.

I introduce myself: Hello St. Francis and thank you for welcoming me to your place. I come from Columbia’s District and I am her devotee. Please let me work my magic in your place. Here’s some crumpled camellia leaves and a bit of dried rosemary from my bit of Earth, made of the Potomac River, just outside of Columbia’s space. May my offering be worthy. May my offering be accepted. May my offering do good. Here’s why I’m here . . . .

And then I head off to the federal court surrounded by mosaics of Goddesses, to the 20th floor of an office in the financial district where I am the only woman at the meeting, to an airport beside the bay, to dinner with clients at a restaurant fed by Buddhists, to my computer to write.

Through it all, a devotion to The Bramble Bush unites everything that I do and perhaps I need to write more about that.

May it be so for you.

Picture found here.

Wordy Wednesday

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I can’t think of a better gift to give you than to suggest that you go read Terri Windling. Here’s a tiny taste:

Here in Devon, it’s been a long grey winter…but every now and then the sun breaks through. I put on muddy boots, whistle for the dog, and we squelch our way through hills that glimmer “in the rustling wet” (to quote Van Wyk Louw’s poem) like the saturated colors of a watercolor painting. These colors remind me that grief will pass. Winter will pass. The months, the seasons, the Great Wheel will turn. I have re-learned joy many times before, and I am simply doing it one more time. The land that is now my home lifts and sustains me.
And spring is coming.

So mote it be.

Picture found here.

Tuesday Evening Poet Laureate Blogging

Former Poet Laureate Philip Levine has slipped between the veils.

May the Goddess guard him. May he find his way to the Summerlands. May his friends and family know peace.

As CNN reported:

He was 14 when he began working in auto factories, a formative experience that would inspire his work even after he left Detroit in the 1950s to pursue writing.

. . .

Detroit and the struggles of the working class were persistent themes in his work as he aspired to “find a voice for the voiceless.”

“You grow up in a place and it becomes the arena of your discovery,” he told the Detroit Free Press in 2011. “It also became the arena of my discovery of the nature of American capitalism and the sense of how ordinary people have no choice at all in how they’re going to be formed by the society. My politics were formed by the city.”

Here’s his poem, Burial Rites, which I think says what he wanted to say about his own death:

Everyone comes back here to die
as I will soon. The place feels right
since it’s half dead to begin with.
Even on a rare morning of rain,
like this morning, with the low sky
hoarding its riches except for
a few mock tears, the hard ground
accepts nothing. Six years ago
I buried my mother’s ashes
beside a young lilac that’s now
taller than I, and stuck the stub
of a rosebush into her dirt,
where like everything else not
human it thrives. The small blossoms
never unfurl; whatever they know
they keep to themselves until
a morning rain or a night wind
pares the petals down to nothing.
Even the neighbor cat who shits
daily on the paths and then hides
deep in the jungle of the weeds
refuses to purr. Whatever’s here
is just here, and nowhere else,
so it’s right to end up beside
the woman who bore me, to shovel
into the dirt whatever’s left
and leave only a name for some-
one who wants it. Think of it,
my name, no longer a portion
of me, no longer inflated
or bruised, no longer stewing
in a rich compost of memory
or the simpler one of bone shards,
dirt, kitty litter, wood ashes,
the roots of the eucalyptus
I planted in ’73,
a tiny me taking nothing,
giving nothing, and free at last.

I think this poem shows how, all the way through to the end, he lived in his own landbase, a land base rich with lilacs, roses, hummus rich with bones, and eucalyptus. And, Goddess knows, I respect that.

Do I hope that, in death, he is free of his land base, taking nothing, giving nothing, and free at last? I just don’t even think it’s possible. But I do hope that he’s free.

Monday at the Movies

I’ll probably go see it, if I can convince myself she’s not Rose from Downton.

Sunday Ballet Blogging

Saturday Poetry Blogging

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A Winter Twilight

~ Angelina Grimke

A silence slipping around like death,
Yet chased by a whisper, a sigh,
a breath; One group of trees, lean,
naked and cold,
Inking their cress ‘gainst a
sky green-gold;

One path that knows where the
corn flowers were;
Lonely, apart, unyielding, one fir;
And over it softly leaning down,
One star that I loved ere the
fields went brown.

Picture of the poet found here.