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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Subnivean Sermon

It is a brassy, woody sound between  ringing and rattling that rarely occurs, but when it does, it means the oldest telephone in the back porch has been called.
"Hello?"

"Hello, have I reached the future?"

"Speaking.  How are you, Poppy?"

"Aging, but still in the game."

"And Santa?"

"Jolly, he's jolly. I need your help with something else."

"At your service, ma'am."

"All right. According to future history --where I was born but only visit on holidays now-- your new administration succeeded in confusing Sweden, of all places, this weekend. It won't stop there because 'alternative truth' has become part of the vulgate."

"Yes, Poppy, that was this weekend. How can I help?"

"You can help by resurrecting a counter-phrase from your youth in North America. Something "Job" and "Snow"? Am I making sense?"

"Snowjob? Sure, like when I used to make up phony quotes in high school essays and attribute them to non-existent authors. But I haven't heard the term in ages."

"Do your best then, Geo., even if you have to doodle and, if you can, suggest a solution to its threat of temporal enigma.  The confusion won't stop at Sweden. Bye!"

Hence my doodle:
Observe its four layers: the sky does a snowjob; tree metabolism and residual ground temperature create a relatively comfortable hollow under the packed snow.  Under the snowpack is better protected from predators than above it --and warmer. The hollow is called the subnivean zone. It contains the little creatures who seek shelter from the cold upper air when there are no attics available --or when attics are claimed by larger creatures like bison or low-flying aircraft.  In the doodle, you may notice the weathermouse reporting down a snow-tunnel to the twig-ladder-holding mouse --who relays meteorological information to squirrels, bugs, reptiles and other refugees in the subnivean zone.

Lesson is, we must learn from our little forest friends how to survive in subnivean security when inundated with incessant snowjobs. Your regular pastor will return next Sunday, or whenever weathermouse says it's safe to dig out.

Go in peace.
 
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Addendum: To readers who wish a background to our time-traveling friend, Poppy, please click here.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Invisibility And The Meaning Of Life


I had not considered the enigma of invisibility until this week, while we patrolled the garden looking for rain-damage to our drought. I came upon this creature --Norma took a photo:
I: Well, hello there! Get through the rainy night all right?

It: Yes, thank you...I mean, uh, why are you asking?

I: I thought it only polite.

It: I mean, why are you talking to me?

I: Because you're a living creature.

It: Nonsense! I am some punctuation. One of those Roman things.

I: Roman thing?

It: Yes, Et , in Latin cursive, O and t were contracted to write And as &.

I: You're an ampersand?

It: Well, obviously. Trouble with you humans is no imagination. Think about it!
I: Ah, I see. Wonder why it hadn't struck me before.

It: It's because you jumpy humans spend so much time thinking up unpleasant things to do. Other animals accept our camouflage because their calmer imaginations are capable of it --and they'd rather not attack mighty forest beasts like us squirrels. When threatened, we keep perfectly still and the illusion is complete.

I: How do you remain still?

It: We meditate. We ponder the meaning of life. Think about where you have seen me.

I: Well, when you were growing up last summer, I saw you a lot atop our almond tree.
It: And now you see me carrying the almonds I buried off to my shelter in the laurel bough. I also socked a lot of walnuts away from under your neighbor's tree. That's the meaning of life.

I: You mean...you mean...

It: Yes, life is nuts!

I: You'll get no argument from me.



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Aisle 15 Again: Wheat Or Reality?

You may be wondering why I called you all here today to my favorite Mexican restaurant (I sure am). There was a good reason, having something to do with how flimsy reality has got lately and the best place to sort that out is lunch in a really good Mexican restaurant. With whatever you order, I recommend a bottle of Corona cerveza --one of the most cheerful beers in the world. For those conscientiously disinclined, ask for a pilsner glass --you will be brought a different  drink from the one in this bottle, that is equally cheerful (because it is Corona cerveza too). 
Let me begin by discussing an aspect of 'flimsy reality' that concerns the Muse. We write here, you and I. We found this medium because we wanted a place where we could say what we want and write as we wish. Surely you have all considered the nearly unthinkable importance of that license. The Muse's job is to negotiate between divine impulse and human consciousness.

What happens to the Muse's job when all her gods retire among metaphors in English 1-B classes? Gets harder, that's what. Reality suffers. We suffer. Writers suffer --of course you all know that. But I am not a writer. I am a gardener. I reluctantly consent to reality but expecting everybody to approve of it is a bit much. That's why we're going on a field trip after lunch. Now settle down, it's just to the market next door. Orderly line (and remember where the train's parked!).
Now, here we are in the cracker and cereal aisle, take note. I am pointing at a product of woven wheat. Those of you who insisted upon corn tortillas at lunch wouldn't know about wheat being called THE STAFF OF LIFE for 10,000 years, only that it has gluten in it --our concern is elsewhere. 

When we first tried shredded wheat cereal in the 1950s,  my brother theorized it was baled straw from some sort of miniaturized field operation. I disagreed, said if it looked like wicker and squeaked under pressure like wicker and...well, I thought it was wicker. Then came woven crackers and I imagined wheat woven on tiny looms by tiny slaves in tiny countries and, if I ever became a writer, I'd write about it --but the Muses never brought any divine impulses to encourage or contradict me, so I avoided the subject (and the whole occupation) because the reality wasn't anything I could always consciously consent to. 

As a human being, as a gardener, I consent to the basis of free expression, of true civilization, that is, I consent to compassion --and, if we're done here, another Corona.



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tracking The Longbilled Barkbird

When not tracking the wily turm (governments and other corporate irritants prize their oil and pay good bounties on big ones) I like to scan Normaphotos for other enigmatic wildlife.  Resulting essay will examine this commentitous aspect of zoology.  

Deep in the Great Amaryllis Veldt far to the south of here --about 200 feet-- there may be found, by the keen observer of nature, a curious creature that has not to my knowledge been photographed before. To all who have never seen or heard of this remarkable bird (and those who dubiously claim otherwise) my reference to the Longbilled Barkbird is obvious. This creature, known for its bright green eyes, protective coloring and planar physique, peels itself from eucalyptus trees to unfold in search of food.  

While our Barkbird pecks up whatever it finds under itself (usually the wriggling turm), let us turn our attention farther south, to the Amazon or Rio Grande or perhaps this nameless creek another 200 feet away. It is swollen now. Yes, we have had rain but there is a legend among natives that high water indicates Freds. Freds is a giant two-headed frog produced by Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant --which has been decommissioning for 40 years and counting. Freds dams up the creek downstream where he sits in it. Whenever the creek dwindles to a trickle, California Weather Service declares a drought, but locals nod knowingly and say, "Well well, Freds has got out again."

Whenever the creek goes dry, we print up posters to get people alert for Freds. Posters are instructive and cautionary. They say, "Attention,  should you encounter a giant two-headed frog that answers to 'Freds', be advised that he is intelligent. Find a ladder immediately and hold a map up where his heads can see it. He will thunder his own way home."

200 feet beyond the creek, you can make out an olive orchard --if you squint-- which will someday produce olive oil. We are hoping operation begins before an intended refit of Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant --200 feet even further south-- as a turmoil refinery, intended to produce fuel for this country's new experiment in driverless cars and government.

It is the purpose of this essay to describe the Longbilled Barkbird and I have done so within the limitations of my research. That the subject gives on to oil sources, mutant frogs, politics and the strange enthusiasms of a brash new century only serves to demonstrate that one enigma leads to another and another --and we must keep track of them to seek the truth, despite the stubborn illusion that it's already been found.

 


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Where The Past Is

In recent weeks, there have been several inquiries about my reticence to restore Anonymous access to the comments section of my three blogs.  Five years ago, I wrote a little poem about being a grampa. Its title is Where The Future Is.  This has been a very rainy day, a good one for very rainy day activities such as going back in time to locate the temporal coordinates of that decision. I have done so.  Here is a post from "Gardening With Geo."  that illustrates the need for such boundaries. It is transported whole and includes the comments it got --strange as they are.
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Monday, February 27, 2012


Where The Future Is

(Norma photos)
I will tell you
Where the future is.
I step beyond my
Shadow on the green
Back door to
Where she put a
Hat on him

And grandmothered dreams
Into memories.
The future roams our
Work in short steps
Under boughs and birds,
Seeing all, startled
At wind-eddies, awed
At assemblies of
Ants and daffodils.
I am paid in pebbles.

4 comments:

  1. This the ARYAN BLOG with GEOLOGIE HURE?
    You with DARLENE- PLO?
    FLAKSTE- ORFLAST - DYST?
    USTECO- KENCO?

  2. No, Anonymous, this is the blog about quantum horticulture. I believe you want the blog down the road.


  3. Новинка сезона - мазь для о*****а. Из инструкции: "...1 сантиметр пасты выдавить на ладонь и втирать в ч**н до наступления о*****а...
    Устали сидеть и флудить на форуме? Предлагаю сделать перерыв и п*******ь!
    Эротическая фотогалерея от Mr.Wobbly

  4. Thank you, Anonymous,  for offering such a creative, if confusing, use for pasta. Best of luck with "Mister Wobbly".
                          ************************************************
    I trust this post offers some insight into the reasons for my comment adjustment.  To those who have requested I allow Anonymous access, I hope this helps ease the discomfort of commenting via Google I.D.s that have been disused but are still functional. I have installed your current blog links in the sidebar blogrolls at my sites so that you may be reached at other hosts and private domains that don't support Google Friend Connect and wish you every success in your new frontiers. As for me, I am trying to update my understanding of this new system --still confused about what Google+ is (help?!)-- but for now, it fumbles around where the past is. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Over-And-Under Enigma Retangled In Time

Having lately found myself in an awfully busy state --I'd ask for help if I knew what I was doing-- I decided to have fun, this New Year's Week, with some distracting matters that have no particular relation to worldly demands (or each other besides my affection for them) and am content to be guided by photos that have not yet figured in this blog. Let's start with one end of the top dining room shelf:

These are books I keep overhead. When I want one, I make a long arm and tease it out of its stack or however it leans into its neighbors. It is a friendly shelf because the books all like each other and arrange themselves accordingly, without troubling any alphabets or Dewey Decimals for order, so I like them right back.

Another overhead thing I like is doorway inscriptions. Here comes one now:
This is an entrance to the Fine Arts Building on S. Michigan Street in Chicago. Overhead is a line paraphrased from a poem (Ars Victrix) by Henry Dobson, "All passes. Art alone Enduring, stays with us.", which Henry Dobson in turn paraphrased from a poem (L'Art) byThéophile Gautier: "Tout passe. L’art robuste / Seul a l’éternite'."

Skywritten, overhead, on high shelves, stone, marmoreal clouds. Time emits an image in my mind: 1964--I watched Lyndon Johnson deliver his speech in a Valley Forge dingle. I was high above on a forward slope, but higher even than I, a Piper Cub pulled a banner around the sky. It read, "Goldwater, 64!"

My camera was back at the campsite, but the mind takes a good print --sometimes. Today, I found a print from 1977 in my email. It's from from Wendy, who has been a sister to Norma and me since the 1960s. I don't remember this photo being taken, but am pretty sure I'm holding my nephew who is enjoying eye-contact with Norma Over my left shoulder --still a very pleasant pastime-- while I seek out his owners with my infra-red-x-ray vision --or maybe that's just '70s-camera red eye.
Point is, it's not so much what happens over things --heads, presidential lectures, doorways, shelves and shoulders-- that owns all the thunder. Over gets a lot of credit it doesn't entirely deserve. What happens Under is a big show too. And sometimes what goes on behind our backs is quite lovely, even if it takes us 40 years to get the picture.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Winter Faces

A proper post about Winter Faces should begin with a sundial face. This one is in Norma's garden. She went out early and Normaphotoed it cold and covered with frost --so was the sundial.  I can't see it very well with all its ice but calculate it reads about a million o'clock in the morning, which is earlier than anything should be up or about. In fact, on winter nights especially, the whole world, populations, oceans and landmasses, should be brought indoors by sundown. 

And yet, there is some charm in finding a face in rose leaves. Its frosty beard and brow remind me of a favorite childhood relative...
...who never tried to pinch my cheeks or kiss me like other aunts did --who just liked me and played checkers, took walks and said things that made me think. 

On cold days I often think I'll go inside and see what the smell is. Sometimes it is a gingerbread man or, historically, an homunculus --a tiny but fully formed being from which a human is believed to develop. The idea took hold of theology after scriptural editing of the Septuagint (or, for argument's sake, Ἡ μετάφρασις τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα) off which text the following snippet was snipped from Genesis as the archetypal  humans were being created: 

Passing angel to God: "Well, You seem to know what You're doing!"
God: "Whatever gave you that idea?"

Which brings us to the closing enigma of spontaneous generation.  We see this most commonly when rainfall creates earthworms on sidewalks. We step carefully lest we demolish miracles. But in California, after 8 years of drought, we find this enigma elevated to the top shelf of the barn. That is where I keep boxes of old VW engine parts, all dark gray in color, and have noticed life-forms emerging from among them. Observe:
They grow fur and stare back at us with the implied question: "I am some old car parts you'll never miss that have transmogrified into a barncat, problem?"

Norma takes her photo. I grant this miracle hunting rights on our property. It does not say thank you. Miracles are like that. Yes they are!