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In the language of flowers, lily of the valley signifies the return to happiness.

It’s about time.

Do you know why the caged rose sings?

Why does the caged rose sing?

 

 

This week as the roses are making one last glorious stand against the imminent winter,  I have been running around the yard cheering them on.   Today’s bright chill and tonight’s impending freeze threatens to squeeze the life right out of them.  A surrendered rose is such a sad (though still beautiful) sight.  But tonight we gather close tonight around the fire.

 

November 2013 016

 

It’s not just the roses creating a spectacle. The pineapple basil, of all things, has decided to shoot off some fireworks during its last hurrah.

November 2013 007

 

November 2013 010

Nickel “You Can Call Me Flower if You Want to” Kitty 

And there’s Nickel Kitty, who appears to be a little disgusted by all the attention being lavished on the flowers.

November 2013 022

 

Vase: $1.00 from the Goodwill

Flowers: Free from God.

Fall Beauty: Priceless.

(Who needs Mastercard?)

 

I can’t unsee it.

–El D

The Hungry Raptor

The Hungry Raptor

My beautiful mistress demanded another blood sacrifice this week.

Hiram, our only boy duck that had manners, was taken out by a hungry raptor.

I was headed to work when I met the brazen beast near my car  in the midst of his macabre meal.  At first sight I was so captivated by the hawk’s beauty and proximity that it was all I could see.  I didn’t process the life being extinguished beneath his talon. And then, all at once I did, as the flood of life’s drama rushed in – the hunger, the struggle, and the sacrifice of one life for another.

Sacrifice.  When I was a child, the word conjured terrifying Biblical images of a world that made no sense: Abraham binding his son Isaac, slaughtered lambs, and gruesome crucifixions.  Such interesting tales told to Sunday school children.

Over the years, my understanding of the concept has deepened. When I became a vegetarian I began practicing what the word meant in action: to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else.” I gave up my taste for flesh so that another life might go on for awhile longer.

My current lesson comes in noun form, “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.”

Within the linguistic roots of the word sacrifice is the word sacred.  That tangle of meanings is there for good reason.  The life and death of one thing is contained within the seed of another.  Everything must eventually give way for what comes next in Life’s yearning for itself.

This brings me to the topic of the Japanese beetles.  The scarabs are pretty; their shells are an iridescent mix of greens and golds.  However, they don’t belong here. These interlopers have been fornicating all over the roses and eating up the petals and leaves. Last season I came to the conclusion that while they’re pretty, they don’t smell nearly as good as the flowers,  so I poisoned them.  Then I questioned myself about the ethics of a vegetarian destryoing a happy bug’s life — and about poisoning the air, ground, and plants with hazardous chemicals.  Skattur suggested I pick the bugs off, pack them in a box, and ship them back to Japan.  I entertained this fantastic idea briefly, then I decided to pick them off and feed them to the ducks, who seem quite satisfied with this exotic delicacy.

The first harvest of the season comes at the heels of all this sacrificial obeisance.

june 21 010

I managed to pick about a dozen blueberries before the bushes became just another elaborate system for feeding winged-things.

We have also managed to salvage some lettuce, radishes, and a few raspberries, which made a pretty salad.

july 7 2012 001

May 13 2013 017

How I would love to tell you that life has been all roses and frolicking this week.

That is but a fraction of the story.May 13 2013 019

In the last couple days alone the farm has seen accidents, injuries, delusion, anger, bloodshed, exile, and multiple deaths of various creatures.  If it sounds like Lord of the Flies, it has been to some extent. In fact I believe one creature’s tailless corpse may still be wedged between two bricks in the sunroom now that I think about it. Yip, Moon Pie, and Nickel are savages in their play.

Still, we haven chosen to celebrate in spite of these things.

The voices of three generations rose up to sing gospel hymns and children’s songs.

We honored mothers.May 13 2013 021

We created new things from old things.

We fixed broken things.

We marveled.

We broke things that really needed fixing.

We recoiled in horror.

We stared too long at train-wrecks.

We cried.May 13 2013 023

We simultaneously understood and didn’t understand.

We accepted that this is all part of the giant whirlygig.

…and then we went back to the roses and frolicking.

Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light, nothing flowers.

–Mary Sarton

May1 012

A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.

–Gertrude Jeckyll

May1 004

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.

–Buddha

May1 002

Earth laughs in flowers.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

April 24 005

Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom.  They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.

–Jim Carrey

april 30 002

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. 

–Chinese Proverb

April - Mid 001

But he who dares not grasp the thorn

Should never crave the rose.

–Anne Bronte

april 30 004

a sweet gift from a little friend

a sweet gift from a little friend

The roses surrender.

Defeated by frost:

their heads bowed;

their scent rendered mute.

We’ve been here almost three months now and everyday I still wake up and think to myself, “Holy crap, I live here” (in a really good waking-up-full-of-awesome sort of way).

After four years of my life being complicated by crazy commutes, floods, earthquakes (over 800 in fact), entire flocks of blackbirds falling dead from the sky, getting stuck in horrible snowstorms, and generalized chaos, the quiet is a welcomed change.  A friend shared this song with me recently and we decided it was my theme song for this year.

Everything is blooming all over the place. It makes me downright giddy.  Enjoy the blossoms!

Even the tea blooms thanks to my former Indentured Servant, now current Resident Teaologist (whoohoo!)

These happy yellow flowers actually bloomed a couple weeks ago.

the scribe that came to dinner

Stay at the center of the circle and let all things take their course.

–Lao Tzu

What is to give light must endure burning.

— Viktor Frankl

~~~~~~~~~@~~~~~~~~

My guiding principle this year has been to cultivate joy by going in the direction that uses my energy in the most positive  and productive light.

Life has a way of unfolding in an interesting series of twists and turns, but since acquiring this principle it has erupted quite suddenly in an unexpected flourish.  But let’s be clear on one point: Cultivating joy is an arduous process  –  one that can make you cry, bleed, and beg for mercy.  Such is the blissful life.  There is always the union of opposites. Nothing in creation is in vain.

The first week I moved in to Peace.Love.Home., I fell victim to a brutal rose bush attack. I was only trying to nurture the dying plant back to good health with a little pruning. The vicious thing chewed me up and spit me out of its hideous maw.

Two months later, the wounds have healed over, but the thorns remain embedded lumpily in my skin. The rose bush consumed me and I consumed it.  It makes me feel all superhero-like actually.  Think “Spiderman,” except I’m “Rosewoman,”  my superpower being….smelling good and looking pretty? Ok, not so much, unless you like the smell of dirt, sunshine, lady sweat, and tears. And the appearance of a middle-aged woman with the hairdo of “a 5 year old who’s been playing outside all day,” which is how the Indentured Servant described it when I came in for water the other day.  And then there’s the matter of the rash(es) all over my hands, arms, and legs.  At last peek in the mirror it was spreading up my neck and the right side of my face.  Possibly poison oak? sumac? ivy? or some sexy combination of the three. The rashes mix and mingle with the mosquito bites to give my skin a mottled, diseased appearance. And let’s not forget the sunburn, which is a single strip of red situated across my lower back where my shirt tail didn’t quite reach the waistband of my pants as I was bent over the bed pulling weeds for hours.

Nature is a beautiful, but cruel mistress.

If you don’t believe me, ask the writing spiders in the backyard…

the mate that crosses this lady is likely to lose his head

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