Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pursuit of the Passion Flower

If you're not a gardener quit reading now because this will be BORING.
But if there's any botanical fervor in your heart, you'll get it.

Last year I spotted an exotic flower along the fence line of my neighbor's tobacco field. Not where you'd expect to find anything lovely. Later I saw one trained over an arbor in a garden shop and my friend identified it as a passion flower.

I vowed to have one in my yard. I snagged one of the pods from the wild plant to see if I could dry it. Unfortunately the pod rotted. I learned they supposedly don't have time to produce seeds in our climate.

I watched for it to sprout again this year. How horrible to see my farmer-neighbor uproot everything with a bulldozer! I held onto hope and kept watching just in case some little root survived. Actually, several plants have developed where there was just one. So much for the seeds-don't-work theory.

Not going to lose my chance again, I vowed to dig up the treasure as soon as it rained.

But I didn't have to, because in the ditch in front of the house, there are two, TWO! blooming there.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Forget Enlightenment - Go for Relishment

I have achieved relishment. (If enlightenment is a a word, a state of being, why can't relishment be a word too?)

Saturday may have been the last 80 degree day we will see for seven months. So I set out to putz my way around the yard, a little trimming here and there, tending the raised bed. Nothing long or strenuous. 

Here's how you can achieve relishment too.

R-Relax. Crumple up the do-list and toss it in the trash.

E-Enjoy the task. If you don't get pleasure from it, quit! 

L-Linger over every little accomplishment.

I- Let imagination, rather than industry, rule. Turn off the timer in your head. Let your mind meander and some new ideas may have room to slip in! 

S-Savor the moment. Take time to sit in your favorite lawn chair and look around. Listen quietly to what's happening around you. Run your nose along the warm green pepper you picked and breathe in its spice. Close your eyes and let the sun warm your face. 

H-If you're healthy enough to get around on your own, live in a place you love, and have a little money in the bank, be happy!  You're not forced to escape from war,  shepherd your family across oceans or confront hostile borders. 

Relish tomorrow! And let me know what you particularly enjoyed. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Don't Need a Calendar to Know it's Fall

I don't need a calendar to know fall is here. There are signs all around:

Spiders spin webs between any two or more points in the yard and house.  :(  

By the way, if I put the period after the frowny face :(.  does it look like a mole?  

A cluster of stink bugs lurk outside hoping to sneak in. When they do, Bill drops them into soapy water to backstroke until they drown. 

The dogwood adorns herself with red berries. 
(Dogwoods are not dioecious, that is specifically male or female.)

The last watermelon in the garden just won't get ripe and we're in a race against the first frost. 

The corn is harvested.

As we near the equinox the sun shines like a klieg light directly through the west doors. The flower arrangement of rosy sedum, purple basil and zebra grass lights up until it glows as if lit from within. 


                       The usually dark hall turns golden.

Welcome, Autumn. I hope you are long and fair. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Last link to another century's authors

The University of Missouri had an old library, my link to nineteenth and early twentieth century American novels. I browsed when I could, and they stoked my deep desire for more time to just read!  When a history course required a research paper on social history, I decided to read as many of the first ten years of bestsellers as were available. 

1896   from Wikipedia[edit]

      I didn't head for the heavy duty classics like Quo Vadis (1896) even though my grandmother had once seen it in my high school library and remarked that she'd enjoyed it. 

       Instead, I concentrated on the lighter reading, what she called "good stories."

      Some of the titles, like Pollyanna, The Virginian, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and Trail of the Lonesome Pine became movies. Remakes kept a few alive for another generation. But even updated film versions only draw new readers for so long. I've never talked to anyone who actually read Girl of the Limberlost which had four adaptations. 

      These old novels have vocabulary far beyond that of most casual readers, and the settings seem so removed from today, most are just titles on a Wikipedia page.

      Yet they transported me to early America, and led me to imagine an arduous, mostly rural society. Still, I empathized with the characters' struggles, the injustices they bore, the satisfaction of conflicts resolved and wisdom gained.

      What contemporary youngsters will grieve with Jody when Flag destroys the corn and and his mother demands he kill the fawn (The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings)? Who will live in Jewish Poland through the folk stories collected and  written Isaac Bashevis Singer? She won a Pulitzer for her book, he, the Nobel Prize for literature.  

      Cleaning out my old books (written before 1960) makes me sad. Half a century later, I know many of those gems of style and story will be lost to  future generations. Many of my favorite titles are on an endangered list now. Eventually they'll be as extinct as the quagga.