Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Balm of Home

The mister and I have been camping and hiking and wearing ourselves out in the mountains, and I do plan to post detailed travelogues pretty soon. In the meantime I am my usual post-travel self, however that may be described; I'm too tired to try right now.

It was a blessed day today, with time to give a drink to the flowers, wash sheets and bake a pie. The green beans are coming on -- I think I'll pick a few tomorrow. The begonia is brightening a space several yards in diameter, and the ancho peppers look like small trees.

Even I am surprised at how soothed I am just to be in My Place.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Grief in its corner

Maria posted this poem recently. I am putting it here for the sake of my friend Mrs. Bread and anyone else who is dealing with a loss. Whatever person or gift or intangible that has been taken from us, the reality of it needs to be faced and known in the light of the goodness of God -- even in the presence of God. May all our hurts bring us to Him, and may we experience the comfort St. Paul writes about in II Corinthians:

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.


Ah, Grief, I should not treat you
like a homeless dog
who comes to the back door
for a crust, for a meatless bone.
I should trust you.

I should cast you
into the house and give you
your own corner,
a worn mat to lie on,
your own water dish.

You think I don’t know you’ve been living
under my porch.
You long for your real place to be readied
before winter comes. You need
your name,
your collar and tag. You need
the right to warn off intruders,
to consider
my house as your own
and me your person
and yourself
my own dog.

~ Denise Levertov (1923-1977), English-born American poet

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bluesy Boots

Mr. Glad took me to a nearby art and garden festival mostly so we could hear some music for free. We browsed through some booths and considered buying a painting, admired hand-carved wooden bowls, and pottery. We bought pizza and wine and beer, and then stood near the back of the stage so my husband could keep an eye on the drummers.

Two bands performed during the time we were there: a Santana cover band, and the blues band of Tommy Castro. I didn't think of taking pictures of the first one, though their music was more to my liking -- very much so. And their drummer was amazing.

Quite a few people were dancing close to the stage, and that was fun to watch. I particularly liked one man's shirt with bright birds.

I couldn't make out most of the words to the Castro numbers. That band is famous in their genre, and I did enjoy listening, but after Mr. Glad pointed out to me that the musicians in the front were all wearing cowboy boots, my camera eyes were framing pictures everywhere. The drummer was wearing black athletic shoes, and he didn't seem to be working very hard, so I left him out.

The trumpeter, however, was impressive in his placidity, and for his long gray braid. And Tommy made sure to turn and face three directions from the stage in turn, so that we could all watch his fancy guitar-playing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On the Way to Red Hill

The Russian River

Mr. Glad and I took our friend from college days on a hike at the coast. Up from Shell Beach, near where the Russian River flows into the ocean and sea lions sleep in clusters on the sand, a trail winds toward Red Hill. We didn't make it to the top of anything, and the fog would have obscured our view anyway. But the overcast skies made it easy to photograph flowers.

Before we got to the trailhead we stopped on the bluff north of the river and looked down on the pale shapes of the sea lions, with a bunch of dark birds nearby, cormorants perhaps. 
  The slopes were covered with lovely pink grass, which contrasted nicely with white yarrow, and with yellow and blue flowers, too.

The blooms of this unknown plant remind me of a bouquet of fat and curling pipecleaners. It liked to grow in the poison oak and brambles.

Rattlesnake Grass - Briza maxima


Rattlesnake Grass is darling. Plantations of the stuff hid in the pink grass. It occurred to me to take some home and send it in a box to a grandchild, and as it didn't look endangered I had no qualms about stealing.  Indeed, just now I found that it's not even native to California, and is on the list of invasive plants, though its invasion is termed "limited."

The giant yellow lupine bushes that one often sees near the coast weren't in bloom, but smaller and mostly blue ones 
dotted the sides of the trail. 
Looking down on a lupine

As we trotted along comfortably, the breeze blew warm, though the sun was obscured. Noises from the highway down below were muffled, and the wild rose hid herself among some dead branches.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Gardeners and Bells

I prefer to write about beautiful things, so I don't want to tell about the mess I made this evening of staking a tomato plant about two months too late. It is a robust Juliet cherry with branches 2-3 feet long that had started to send down roots where they were sprawled on the damp ground. I gathered up the legginess as best I could with gardener's tape, around three splintery stakes. In spite of the chaotic result, I expect there will be fruit, thanks to the rain and sunshine that falls on the gardens of the just and the unjust, the diligent and the lazy.
Beautiful tomatoes from the past

A few days ago I ran across Leonard Cohen's verse (below) that has been singing itself in my head ever since, making me notice many ways that our earthly lives fall short of the ideal, often in more significant places than the garden. We fail to do our best, others fail to love us, the banks and the corporations do us wrong -- we populate this list day by day.

It's an aspect of reality that can only be denied at the risk of one's sanity. The humbling we experience when contemplating the "streets filled with broken hearts" and other destruction that Bob Dylan sings about in "Everything is Broken" is the best start toward mental and spiritual health.

Then the Gardener, the Physician of our souls, the Light of the World, can do His work, and give us grace to keep working at repairing the bad jobs we've made. He also gives us Himself as the rejoicing of our hearts -- and nothing is more Real than that.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

    --from "Anthem" by Leonard Cohen