Thursday, June 29, 2006

So, I guess that an intro would be customary?

I hesitate to even try to describe myself. For one thing, who can honestly say that they know who they are? For another, I suspect that I would be tempted to downplay the negative aspects of myself while accenting the "better."

So, a basic biography. I am a 39 year old mother of four, married nearly 20 years, primarily a housewife but with a part-time retail gig. An avid reader, gardener, loving friend.

But does any of that really tell who I am at my very core? Does it describe my 39 years, show that my husband is my grounding wire, my children my spark, my home a sanctuary for my heart? Does it tell you that my friendships run deep and sustain me, that I read to breath clearly, that I garden as a dance and meditation?

Can I admit to my many contradictions and subtle hypocracies? I fancy myself a gentle soul, yet when angered I can storm and rage and spout invective in words and phrases that would make a longshoreman flinch. A hippie wannabe who uses hair dye and makeup and razors, and really does not "get" the Grateful Dead. A health food champion with a pocket full of candy. Mother Earth type who is sometimes too damn lazy to recycle, and who would often rather sit in front of a computer screen than go for a hike.

Think late model mini-van blasting Hendrix and Joplin and Led Zep and Pearl Jam. Organic rice milk over Captain Crunch. Granola with Twinkies and ding-dongs.

Think combat boots with peasant skirts.

Follow along if you wish.

So why did I post the poems?

I do not fancy myself a "poet." Really, I have never, ever, sought to make verses that flow and speak and scan. I wasn't born, like a dear friend of mine (hi, you know who you are), speaking in perfect meter.

But lately there have been pictures in my head that cry out for convience. Images so clear, so very real, that need to be brought forth. And I can't sing. I don't know any notes or chords. My drawings are shaky and inconsistant.

But the song needs to be sung, the music needs be played, the lines need to be traced.

So the poems were written. Or maybe their message intends to write me, so to speak.

"Daughter" came to me one day last September, as I pondered the changes in my garden that were soon to take place, and how I live in it's rythyms and am touched and transformed by it. How it has become very much a personage of great worth to me- living, breathing, and yes, female.

Learning to breath, as I am calling it for now, still reads to my ear as somewhat stilted, and not quite up to the task of showing forth what was in my head when I wrote it. Quite simply, I was struck by the easy give-and-take that exists within the natural order, and by how none of it is based upon worthiness, or trying hard, or all of the numerous grace killers that we humans can put apon our own relationships. Just give/recieve, ebb/flow. And I very much see myself as part of that process, as a creature of nature, my very cells composed of elements that spin around a center like the earth to the sun.

And yet I struggle ever day to rest and accept the love I have been given. And I am one who has been greatly, outrageously, and fully loved. My cognitive aspect knows this, and can name and quantify as to source and evidence and effect. But I am flinching and fighting and struggling because I am too busy questioning whether or not I deserve the many graces given.

And that struggle blocks the very air from my lungs.

So, there they are. Two poems. Not so much offered up because they were in any sense "good," just given because I found it necessary to do so.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Basic Gardening Theory

1. Most importantly, be mindful that the health of your soil is the health of your plants. You can not just ignore your soil, and then periodically sprinkle "Miracle Whatever," and expect healthy plants. Just as you can not ignore proper nutrition and think that vitamines will make up the difference. Look at your soil as much as your plants, make sure it has lots of good organic matter added, is kept free of noxious chemicals and salts, and is protected by a proper mulch in hot weather.

2. Referencing above, be aware that a true gardener gets just as excited by healthy soil, teeming with life, and smooth and crumbly with happy earthworms, as he or she does by the flowers growing out of it. Maybe even more so, because the soil is like an empty canvas, full of possibilities and hope.

3. Natural lines undulate and curve. Look around you--trees grow in circles when unhindered, the rivers and streams find gravity in a meandering course, the waves hit the sand in rounded archs and leave uneven strokes. Look at life begining, the curve of the pregnant belly and the fullness of the mothers breasts. A garden that celebrates nature will not have its inhabitants lined up like soldiers in formation, and every flower accounted for and in its humanly decreed placement. Allowing many plants to sow themselves with seeds and roots, and to weave in and out of their places often results in a beauty that the gardener could not have forseen, as the flowers find their chosen companions.

4. Everything has a cycle or rythym. Ebb/flow, advance/receed, wax/wane, sleep/awake. Allow your garden likewise. Do not let it be forced into the "all year garden" paradigm (I suspect that is pretty much just a marketing ploy for nurseries who would like a longer selling season anyway). I tend to plan for a short time in the summer to be so beautiful that it makes my heart hurt, a huge explosion, the ground gone orgasmic, if I may be so bold. And I "bookend" this time, generally around July in my climate, with slightly lessor times of beauty. The rest of the time she is a scraggly girl indeed, sleeping with her green hairs gone wild and brown and frozen and blown over. But I honor and cherish that time, because I know that its when the groundwork is lain for next years climax.

5. Share your garden, the beauty and bounty, with every hurting soul sent your way. And you will know those who are "sent" by their kindness and respect. It gives a good loving energy to what you are creating, and while it can't be quantified or documented, I do believe that it adds to the harvest.

6. When all else fails, and in case you find yourself getting terribly pedantic and serious with all these high garden ideals, find a good pillar rose for a prominant spot in the closest bed to the street. Make sure that it is especially lovely, such that passer-byes will ask about it. And when they do, and then when they ask just what exactly is a "pillar rose," look them in the eye and say "that means she is good in a bed, but even better up against the wall." If they run the other way, they were not worthy of your time. If they don't get it, maybe they will later. But if they laugh so hard their belly shakes, you will know you have found a new friend.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Learning to Breathe

Greenery's worth lay undecided,
still the waters fell on leaves when the clouds collided.
Moons increased, then divided,
don't resent the tides they guided.

Summer's rays don't beg deservedness,
of blossoms near the ground.
warmed, touched, the petals come unbound.

As the sun climbs east, then falls west,
colors invoked don't ask if they deserve twilight's quest.
Stars come to spin, and sing and spark,
and take freely of the sustenance of the dark.

But if I know I am a part of all these things around me,
if the certainty of this dance between the earth and sky-- well, it grounds me,
and if I know its as real as the air that surrounds me,
Then why can't I just breathe in all the love that found me?

With my every intake and exhalation,
there's a gasping hesitation.
I am waiting for my soul's full summation,
calibrated exactly from my birth.

Help me, help me please to breathe, without first measuring my worth.

Help me to breathe without first measuring my worth.


Years apon years I sought her-
child never born of mine,


Here. Now.
Alive in every blossom, born of soil and water.

Brought forth by another Mother,
Yet nurtured at my hand.


a winters sleep, my child,
cradled by the Land.