Sunday, February 20, 2011
Outside, Over Here
It did not stay quiet for long. In fact our day was so full and busy, I can hardly believe it was only one day. For now, I will reflect on the parts of the day when Maria and I were playing, in the garden, between storms.
I found our box of sidewalk chalk... in the rain, and full of water. Some misfortunes are not as bad as they first appear. While Maria was inside adoring the new the batch of coloring books freshly shipped from Grandma and Grandpa Valentine Boo-Boo, I was overcome by an urge to color too. The water logged chalk acted like pastels, or thick paint. It was fun dragging the creamy chalk across the porous sidewalk. Out came a rainbow, then a chicken, some flowers and vines, a leaping bunny. Then came a phone call, or the dryer buzzer or some other distraction, and I left my sidewalk world to the rain.
I wish you could have heard the exclamation and amazement that came from Maria's being when she turned a corner and found the pictures. She was delighted and confounded, mouth agape and hands gesturing who and how?
Oh, this is such precious age, when she is in awe of the world, and thinks her very own momma is a chalk artist.
She asked, rather solemnly, if she could hang her art with my art, in the sidewalk gallery. And of course I was honored... and so the princess Maria appeared, and more flowers and vines, some grass, and also a cube, which does not appear in the pictures.
I took her picture. And Alex and I were amused by "the stance." My mom has pointed this pose out to me, and yes, it does appear frequently. Casually, we said, "Okay. Now stand another way."
She was perfectly obliging.
After thirty one days of January Summer, the ground was hard packed and dry. Thank goodness for these new storms, and all the rain. I realized that this would be the perfect time to plant the gifts Geoff and I shared on Valentine's Day.
The earth is soft, and willing to be dug-up. Once again, Maria was back to her coloring books, and I was outdoors playing... this time in the dirt. I added a dozen more nasturtiums to the orchard, while the chicas kept me company. I love to be in their clucky company. They are so silly and amiable when new garden corners are accessible.
Look! A bud. This is very graftifying! <----- I so punny. This bud is from a graft that Doug the Arborist taught me how to do. My uncle was here about a month ago and he came with cuttings, marvelous fruit varieties, that together we added to our young trees. I am so utterly amazed to see them already showing signs of a successful union.
Here is our generous apple tree. This is the third, fourth? bloom she has displayed in a year. We have harvested three times already! I feel like she merits a name.
Do people do this? Name their apple trees? Yes, I think they must. I am thinking "Lucia," or perhaps "Mabel."
This is from another apple tree.
Hmmmmm... one apple, four children. It's a good thing we are not relying on our garden to sustain us.
Which reminds me... I really must plant more peas. When peas are ripening... oh peas! I just know nothing will compare with the deliciousness of these peas! We will want to have plenty, or more than plenty. A plethora of peas, please!
Tending the tender tendrils. Maria came back outside, and together we resumed planting... Hollyhocks and Rosemary.
Dear viola. I love you. Your sweet and earnest face. You brighten the garden with your tiny blossoms. I know... I know some would question the purpose or need of such an unassuming flower, but for me they are a symbol of the good a garden does, the small and yet miraculous endurance of their lives cannot be taken for granted or crushed.
Maybe that is a lot of poetry and glory for a flower, but I am reminded of all the small yet vital things in our lives that are in peril. I am thinking of Public Broadcasting and NPR, of the threat that they will lose their federal support. I understand that the economy is a shambles, that a bad economy hurts, and I have seen these days coming... but this is absurd. We fund prisons, we fund wars, we fund dictatorships, we arm terrorists... our taxes go to a lot of destructive corners. We give corporations huge tax exemptions and monetary incentives, in the hope that their success will eventually trickle down to the laborers and citizens that are paying taxes...
In the face of all this, is it really asking too much to fund Sesame Street, and Nature, Live From Lincoln Center? Why would we want to forfeit Nova, All Things Considered, The McNeil Lehrer News Hour, Masterpiece Theater? Art, science, educational programming... these are small tokens of our culture and innovation, our heritage and ambition, but they yield huge returns. They are an insightful, affordable means of providing thought provoking, informative lessons, and engagement with our community and the world. They are evidence of our nation's creativity and resourceful history. Why would we devalue and cast aside an investment in our minds, in our access to diverse, entertaining, educational, meaningful programming?
Wars and prisons are not privately funded. We don't have pledge drives for bombs, for corporate jets, for congressional buffets... I want my taxes, my contribution to this country to go to Public Broadcasting. I want to invest in art and beauty, in topical discussions of the news of the day. I want my share of the American Dream to go for science, nature, world news, technology, history, and diy programming. I value the voices, and perspectives, the awareness and insight I gain from Public Broadcasting. And if you do too, I hope you will join me in supporting 170 Million Americans For Public Broadcasting.
We need to nurture and support beautiful things. We need to make room in our lives for the seeds of learning that insure a bright, intelligent future. Without flowers, without tending our gardens, we may find ourselves with a bleak, hard-packed, dry, reality.