Soon, I Imagine

Spring                                                                                                      Bloodroot Moon

The Daffodils
by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Workin’

Beltane                                                                       Beltane Moon

Flagged off my Latin tutor for this Friday.  Bees, garden, retreat, finishing Missing combined to soak up my good work time.  To do well at the Latin I have to have a full day; it takes me awhile to turn on the neural network that recognizes cases, remembers Ovid’s peculiarities and enjoys the play of connotation and denotation.  Once I get in that place, which may take as much as a morning, then I can translate faster, with more facility.  But.  I need that unbroken time.  Just the way I work.

Rain kept me out of the garden last Thursday so I’ve got to out there right now and plant potatoes and chard.  The garden’s looking good, daffodils and tulips, bleeding heart and hosta, pachysandra and maiden-hair ferns greeting the strawberry blossoms, the asparagus spears, the green shafts of the allium family:  onion, shallot, garlic and the small leaves of the emerging beets.

Today, too, is another round in the Can I keep Gertie in the yard game?  I added another wire and plan yet more moves.  I’m smarter; she’s more persistent.  An equal match so far.

A Garden, Some Latin, Ai Weiwei

Beltane                                                     New Last Frost Moon

The potatoes are in the ground.  The lettuce has two leaves, as does the spinach, a few beets have emerged.  The leeks look a bit droopy, but they’ll pick up.  The garlic is well over 6 inches now as it makes the final push for harvest in late June, early July.  None of the carrots have germinated yet and most of the beets have not either. The onion sets we planted havecropped-free-ai-weiwei mostly begun to show green.  The bees show up now around the property, working as we do, tending the plants in their own, intimate way.  The gooseberries we transplanted look very healthy.  The daffodils are a carpet of yellow and white.  A few scylla out front brighten up the walk with their blue.

Most of today went into Diana and Actaeon.  I’m down to verse 227, the finish line is 250.  I’m close and moving faster now than I was.  One of the things I’ve learned is that doing this at a pace which would allow you to complete a project in a reasonable time frame would require real skill.  I’m a hobby Ovidist, to be a Latin scholar would take decades.  Who knows though?  I might make it.  When I finish this first tale in the Metamorphosis, I’m going to have some kind of celebration.

Buddy Mark Odegard has come up with three remarkable designs for a Free Ai Weiwei t-shirt.   Here’s an example and the one most seem to prefer:

Impish and Knowing

Spring                                                               Waning Bee Hiving Moon

Talked to the grandkids on Skype.  Gabe’s linguistics have made a jump and Ruthie seems to have rocketed past the early years of childhood and landed in an elementary school body.  2011-04-01_0742

Jen went to crossfit this morning.  If you’re not familiar with this gonzo approach to fitness, click on the link.  She’s gonna be tired.

Skype has increased the quality of long distance communication with kids by a geometric factor.  We tickled Gabe, watched Ruth move gracefully through the house.  We saw the expression on Ruth’s face as she dumped out a box of soft building blocks.  It was impish and knowing.  We saw Gabe do his mad face and his happy face.  Wonderful.

I decided the other day that the only way I’m going to get good at Tai Chi is to practice, practice, practice.  I go through the form several times, all the way through the single whip, the last and most complicated move we’ve learned.  Doing it in the morning, as a moving meditation and a general loosening up of the body for the day is where I’m headed.  Right now, though, I’m doing it before I do my aerobics.

The daffodils outside have finally begun to approach the image I had in my head all those years ago when I began to plant bulbs.  My first and most memorable bulb planting event was on Edgcumbe Road in St. Paul.  I began putting them in sometime in the mid-to-late afternoon, just as the snow began to fall.  This turned out to be the Halloween snow storm which eventually dumped 2 feet of snow on the Twin Cities.  I got the message.

Kate made me a quilted piece with a bee and the words Artemis Hives on the side.  I’m going to staple it up in the shed where I store the bee equipment.

Salute to the Spring Ephemeral

Spring                                                  Waxing Bee Hiving Moon

We have hundreds of daffodils just about ready to bloom.  A few scylla have popped up in the front and crocus, too.  Tulips have also broken through.  It’s an exciting time for a perennial lover, especially if you are, like me, a lover of the spring ephemerals, those hardy flowers that have their timing down to avoid the shade of leafy trees and shrubs, opening up and going to seed long before the darkness covers their little patch of land.  These little guys can’t wait to get out of the ground, sort of like greyhounds or whippets.

My next favorite flowers are the lilies and they don’t show up until July.  After that, I’m ok with whoever wants to bloom.

Lunch at Stacy Pydych’s, an Italian, Venetian theme.  Lots of good table conversation, good food and sunshine.  A perfect day with friends.  Thanks to everybody who got there.

Breakthrough!

Spring Waxing Bee Hiving Moon

I have made several entries private and will explain that decision on Sunday. Stay tuned.

The snow has only a few strongholds left in our front yard though the back and the woods still has plenty. The garden behind our patio has daffodil stems through the 06-27-10_marigoldeyeviewearth, a bit yellow at the top, then light green, then a darker green. Soon there should be other bulbs breaking through including some I’d forgotten I planted in the orchard.

This is the transition week for our place, when the snow disappears and the greening begins. I’m excited to see the garden come to life. When the bees come, some time after April 23rd, it will feel like the whole gangs back together. I’m hopeful that the orchard will start producing this growing season. We’ll see.

I want to get some more woodchips down right away in the orchard, perhaps in the vegetable garden, too. 670_0300

It’s also time for serious clean up work in the back. I got distracted last fall and didn’t keep up with the maintenance as well as I could. Then, there’s all those tree branches split by the heavy first snowfall last November. So, plenty of outside work.

We ate the last of our potatoes just two weeks ago and still have garlic, yellow onions, honey, and canned vegetables from several years.  We couldn’t make it as pioneers but we’re doing well at supplementing our diet.  More.  We tune our lives to natural rhythms, especially in the growing season.

That original revelation to us that Emerson talks about is coming along out here in Andover.

In and Down

Fall                                          Waxing Harvest Moon

60 pink daffodils have a new home in the soil surrounding two cherry trees and a pear tree.  These trees are the first ones visible out our kitchen window, so the blooms will cheer us up as spring begins to break winter’s hold next year.  Bulb planting relies on, requires darkness.  Beauty, like Snow White, goes to sleep beneath the autumn sun and lies as dead all winter long.  With the kiss of the sun prince flowers emerge.  Perhaps the years I’ve spent planting bulbs in great numbers, as many as 800 in some years,  triggered my affection for darkness.  In the first few years of daffodils, hyacinth, tulips, snowdrops and croci I often thought of those bulbs, covered in snow and cold, waiting out the winter in their castle of food and nascent stalks, leaves and flowers, a feeling similar to the one I get now when I’m at work in the garden and a bee, a bee from Artemis Hives, alights on a flower near me.  Both of us, insect and human, have valuable work to perform in the garden and we labor there as colleagues in every sense.  The patience and persistence of the bulbs beneath the snows and cold of December and January has always touched me, a sweet feeling, a well-wishing for them in their lonely underground redoubts.

That’s part of the darkness focus.  Another, earlier part, came when I began to feel uneasy with spiritual metaphors that took me up and out of my body.  Heaven.  Prayers that go up.  God being out there.  The minister lifted up above the congregation.  A sense that the better part of existence lies beyond the body and this moment, somewhere high and far away.   I began a search for spiritual metaphors that took me down and in.  Jungian psychology helped me in this search, but the clincher came after I had decided to study Celtic history in preparation for writing my first novels.  A trip to north Wales and two weeks in a residential library there tipped me to the existence of holy wells, springs that had sacred meaning to early Celtic religious life, long before the arrival of Christianity.  Here was a metaphor that went down and if used in meditation, could stimulate a spiritual journey in the same direction, no longer trying to get out of  the body or up and far away.

The spiritual pilgrimage that began from that point has led me on an inner journey, into the deep caverns and cathedrals of my own Self, traveling them and finding the links between my Self and the larger spiritual universe, the connection not coming on an upward path, but on the ancientrail of Self-exploration.  I do not seek to go into the light, but into the caves.

Weed

Summer                                            Waning Strawberry Moon

Nice weather for weeding so I took the opportunity and finally got into the second and third tiers of our back perennial garden.  Out go the raspberry canes.  Out go the stinging nettles.  Out go the dogwood suckers.  Out go the switch grass and and other weedy plants.  In stays the poison ivy (one small plant) because I kill them.  Out goes the slumped daffodil stems.  I’m not finished, but it already looks a hell of a lot better.

Kate planted marigolds this morning in the kitchen garden and in long narrow window boxes.  This all nourished by last nights meal from the garden and the currant jam this morning.

Paul Douglas had a big happy sun on the forecast for today, but so far all I’ve seen is  clouds.  I’m glad.  It kept the air cool enough for a good session outside.

Life is a Conspiracy Against Nature

Spring                                         Full Flower Moon

Dicentra in deep pink, iris in deep purple, tulips in yellow, red, orange and purple, daffodils in many combinations of yellow and white, plus, amazing for this time of year, lilacs, fill out the full flower moon here.   The moon’s light, silvered and slight, gives no presence for the flowers so they close up, invite no visitors.  When I walk in the garden at night, under the flower moon, its namesakes here on earth sleep, perhaps dreaming of bright days, bees and warm breezes.

Emma has recovered almost to her old self, and I do mean her old self, not even her mature self.  Her old self is wobbly, a bit eccentric in motion and attention, but she enjoys the sun, a small dinner and a warm spot on the couch.  So do I.  Life is a conspiracy against nature, wonderful and delightful while it dances and spins, mocking the tendency of all things toward chaos.  That it exists at all is a miracle.

A good day, productive and educational.  All except for that sting on the posterior.  A bit of humility administered by an aging worker bee.

Important Document? Read While Driving.

Spring                                                 Awakening Moon

Warning:  Rant ahead.  Not texting, not brushing teeth, not combing hair, not eating cereal or drinking coffee, no, this young woman I passed on my way to the MIA yesterday read while driving.  By reading I do not mean look down, then follow the road, but eyes glued to page, peripheral vision guiding her used buick down Highway 252.  I encountered her three times on 252, each time her head and eyes had the same position, eyes on the page, head tilted down.  Each time.  Then, after I had put her out of my mind, as I drove on 94, the last stretch of the drive in until city streets, she passed me on the left.  Yep.  You guessed it.  Still reading.  At this point I honked several times and pointed.  Exasperated, she looked at me, then put the several page document on the seat beside her and drove on.

I have a clump of daffodils in bloom, tulips with broad leaves and iris beginning to peak back above the ground.  I put cygon on the iris yesterday.  This is my one remaining chemical. It kills the iris borer which lives in the soil and wrecks havoc on iris rhizomes.  If you’ve ever lifted iris rhizomes after an attack of iris borer’s, you will know why I continue to use this one pesticide.

The parsnip and the garlic look good.  I poked into the carrot patch where I left the carrots in past ground freeze last fall.  Sure enough I have carrots composting in the soil already.  Very mushy and yucky.   The garden and my spirit for it are gradually coming to life.  I hope we get some rain.  The plants need it.