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I recently had the imperative urge to make a wreath. I don’t know why. I’ve never made a wreath before. In fact, my lifestyle up to this point has been unconducive to entertaining whatever hidden forces compel people to adorning thresholds with festooned circles. I have owned exactly two wreaths my whole adult life – both were of the Christmas variety. Both were gifts. I have rarely managed to get them on the doors or take them off the doors during the proper seasons. When October swept in along came the need to stick a bunch of stuff in a circle. It was confusing to say the least.

But mine is not to reason why…I am a mere foot soldier in The War of Art.

When the battle horn sounded, the command rang out:

 "Forward the Brigade! 
Charge the Salvation Army!"
Thus, into the Valley of Forsaken Things I blundered,
Running with scissors and waving glue gun, 
While all the world held its breath and wondered, 
'How dare this warrior woman fight so hard to have fun?'

COVID to the right of me!
COVID to the left of me! 
COVID in front of me! 

A cough and splutter
...eyes sealed and breath held tight against the potentially virulent cough cloud...
...and there...there in the distance 
...buried in obscurity, came the small cry of a weak voice: 

And I rescued the scarecrow from his Circle of Doom. May his golden years be spent in the garden watching the peas grow and giving the crows and hawk something to laugh about.

The circle was then restructured as such:

Keep fighting the good fight,
Sweet Brigade of Light.

The fairy ring showed up yesterday. Last year it erupted on August 20, only it went unrecognized as a ring because of its size. This year the entire circle is obvious, tethered as it is to the sycamore tree.

The radius is longer than the tape measure, so a girl has to do math and calculations involving pi. 🤓The circumference is just over 84 feet.

There is marjoram and thyme growing nearby, but the ring’s inner sanctum is not to be traversed. A girl who is already prone to exhaustive dancing has to draw the line somewhere. There are principles to be upheld. 🧚🏼

Been walking and reading. Time to share the lessons as the ongoing quest to see all Tennessee’s waterfalls continues…

It is all very beautiful and magical here – a quality that cannot be described. You have to live it and breathe it, let the sun bake into you.

Ansel Adams

“It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

Wendell Berry

Make connections; let rip; and dance where you can.

Annie Dillard

It is in the woods we return to reason and faith.

Emerson

Leave no stone unturned. Deeply explore the beauty in your life.

Neil Gaiman
Lyrics to "The Seed"
A Song by the beautiful Aurora Aksnes
(Photos by Lunar)



Just like the seed
I don't know where to go
Through dirt and shadow I grow
I'm reaching light through the struggle
...
...
Just like the seed
I'm chasing wonder
I unravel myself
All in slow motion
...
...
Suffocate me 
so my tears can be rain
I will water the ground where I stand
so the flowers can grow back again
...
...
'Cause just like the seed
Everything wants to live
We are burning our fingers
But we learn and forget
...
...
Feed me sunlight, feed me air
Feed me truth and feed me prayers.
...

All the fresh spring growth has me thinking of the garden and remembering this post today.

My Little Spacebook

hanging onYou reach out with any little part of yourself and rise from the dirt to be what you are.  How you make my heart ache with your sense of belonging.

Vanity of vanities!  We all have the same breath.

(Solomon was right.)

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What started as an urge to try growing corn (again) became an obsession when I learned of the Haudenosaunee tradition of the “Three Sisters” crops.  In this centuries-old system, the three sisters (corn, beans, and squash) are planted in concentric circles successionally.  The big sister, corn, is planted first and provides support for the second sister, beans, to climb. The bean sister hugs the corn and helps to keep her upright against strong winds.  Beans also provide nitrogen in the soil to help her sisters grow.  The baby sister, squash, is planted last.  Her wide leaves shade the ground and help choke out weeds so her big sisters have enough to eat and drink.   The plant sisters are kind to people too, in that they provide a complete and balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.  Other sisters can live in harmony with this mix – sunflowers, melons, amaranth. It’s a beautiful thing.

In past years my failed attempts at growing corn resulted in sad plants that dried up and blew away. This year I was determined things would be different. I did research, I took notes, I drew up plans and I made appeals. Then I drew more pictures and decorated them with washi tape, like so:

Three Sisters Garden Plans

I remember asking nicely.  I might have begged.  For sure I pleaded.  I even attempted bartering. All to no avail. Finally, I  commanded: Earth be tilled!

And so it was.

With 12 x 12 feet of tilled earth at the ready, I could map out the physical space and layout the mounds.  Armed with chopsticks, plastic spoons, and a measuring tape (of the sewing sort) I set to work! Maybe these are not the traditional tools of the trade, but this is what I had on hand to make things happen.

I wound up planting corn, sunflowers, zucchini, crooked neck and straight neck squash, acorn squash, loofa gourds, pumpkin, a watermelon, beans, and peas.  Two interloping tomato plants joined the party of their own accord, apparently from seeds tossed out in the compost.  My three sisters garden turned into an extended family.  Or maybe a commune? I don’t know what to call it anymore, but let me tell you, there’s a lot happening out there. Well here, I’ll just show you:

sister garden

The day I stood in the garden and unwrapped the husk from the first ear of corn, I cried. Actual tears. It was quite suddenly and unexpectedly overwhelming. There was the quiet murmur of tassels, leaves, silks and stalks rustling in the breeze. There was the soft hum of the bees on the sunflower heads above me – all our faces raised to the sky. There was a caress of leaves.  There was a knowing of the circles and cycles, extending away in ever-widening ripples. There was row after golden row of kernels linking one generation to the next. There was something wild and free and profoundly life-force-y let loose in the garden. 

corn

And then, as suddenly and unexpectedly, there was just me again, standing there mundanely amid the corn sniffling and wondering what sort of problem I was having now.

So, I went inside and googled it.  Yes, I did.  That’s when I learned of Hun Hunahpu.  Life is weird.

Harvest

The corn, zucchini, and sunflowers in the picture above were picked this week from the sisters garden. The butternut squash and cucumbers are from the raised beds garden, but that’s a different tale for another day.

Hi! I’m still here poking around in old posts trying to figure out what this blog is about on its 10th anniversary year.   Creativity? Collaboration? I don’t know — I’m still working on it! I don’t have a master plan here. That’s probably why so many people that have blogs with posts on the topic of things like, “Make Money with Your Blog” like or subscribe to My Little Spacebook —  it’s painfully obvious I have no idea what I’m doin here. Despite my planners and goal trackers, I’m not the sort of person who has a 5-year plan. I’m just trying to get through today so I can give myself a gold star.

But Look! Here’s dance video of a duet we worked on for a bazillion hours. I haven’t shared this one yet. Hope you enjoy.

Mystic River Dance presented this dance in the show “Nature’s Rhythms” (February 2019, Memphis, TN).

Music:  “Mergence” by Safaa Farid’s Orchestra Negum (edited), and “Shimmabulous” by Issam Houshan,

Choreography: based on Ahmed Hussein, adapted by Jasmine, Sameera, & Valentina

Dancers: Mystic River Dancers Sameera & Valentina

Over the course of the last several weeks, in order to remain a functional human being, I’ve had to put myself on a strict media diet and step away from the computer, the Internet, and what Abha Dawesar refers to as thedigital now.”  The analog here-and-now, with its bicycles, trees, rivers, paper, pens, and printed words on actual pages in books with heft and texture and scent, has been grounding.  There I spent time self-soothing with the words of Mr. Rogers:

“The media shows the tiniest percentage of what people do. There are millions and millions of people doing wonderful things all over the world and they’re generally not the ones being touted in the news.”

Like many others this year, I’ve found myself in new and uncomfortable roles with my regular routines disrupted as a result of the pandemic. Though not dubbed “essential” in any official capacity, staying home has not been an option. I have been out and about throughout the quarantine on a near daily. In the last three months I’ve made more trips to various hospitals and clinics than I have in the previous four decades of my life combined – and that includes the time I spent interning in one. I’ve seen for myself that there are many people doing wonderful things right here in my own city.

“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has – or ever will have – something inside that is unique to all time.  It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.”

–Fred Rogers

Coming off my blog hiatus I discovered that My Little Spacebook turned 10 years old this week. One decade and 542 posts later and I’m no closer to understanding anything that’s happened.   As such, this seems an opportune time to drill down and do some retrospective and reflective work to figure out what exactly I’m doing here; with this blog, I mean.

I will say, the media diet has made more space for silence and wonder, for creation, and for appreciation of beauty.  I think Mr. Rogers would be proud.

“Our society is much more interested in information than wonder, in noise rather than silence…And I feel that we need a lot more wonder and a lot more silence in our lives.”

–Fred Rogers

Iris

And the answer to the cake question is a resounding, “Yes.”

“When jarred, unavoidably, by circumstances, revert at once to yourself, and don’t lose the rhythm more than you can help. You’ll have a better group harmony if you keep going back to it.”

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

…or in other words….

“I feel better when I’m dancin’! Yeah, Yeah!”

-Meghan Trainor

 

Dancing on the Beach 3

~*~

My little world has changed a lot since my last post. And the big world has too. One thing that hasn’t changed is my obsession with plants and flowers.  I’m still doing weird stuff like this…

Garden Journal

That’s my garden journal and bed mapping system.

There is a newly-tilled bed out front that I’ve mounded for a “Three Sisters” garden. I seeded it over the weekend with corn. This is my first serious experiment with a sisters garden. I will keep you posted on further developments.

In other news: nearly eight years ago, a friend gave me a small prickly, pokey yucca plant. A few weeks ago, quite unexpectedly – KAPOW! – this happened…

Yucca Bloom

For the first time ever she bloomed a stalk of soft white blossoms nestled in her fortress of spikes. It seems my yucca is not a little girl anymore. I kind of/sort of knew yuccas could bloom because my grandmother, Kiki, had a couple yuccas in her back yard and one year they bloomed unexpectedly.  Kiki was all beside herself about it in a way that I didn’t understand then, but that I totally get now.  It strikes me as odd that some part of me held this memory seed below the murky waters of consciousness. When I received this plant as a gift, I knew it was special. I also knew without looking it up that the plant was a yucca – just as well as I knew my own name, because that’s what Kiki taught me.  But somehow this plant needed to show its petals for the details of the memory to fully bloom in my own awareness and understanding.

The lamb’s ear in the sensory garden is also doing a new stalk-bloomy thing that it has never done before…

 

 

Lambs ear

 

How can you not love this plant’s architecture?  Just look at the symmetry, the geometry, and the texture! Every time I pass this bed, I want to jump in and roll around in it…which reminds me: I have sweet nothings to whisper into the little lamb’s ear.  Until next time!

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