Here are a few more beauties that just appeared as I was going around this morning. I have no idea what they are called but I will try to find out. Lovely, aren’t they? It is very interesting to see all the nesting pairs of birds and see how they are enjoying the bird feeder. We saw a pair of Jays this morning. Lots of people think they are noisy and bossy and I suppose they are. I love them, though. Part of the crow family, like Magpies they make their presence known. The little nesting pair in the shed are still holding us hostage. I don’t know what we will do when it is time to go to Montreal as we can’t close the door. I hope the little ones will have hatched by then. The days are long but as soon as it gets dark we can hear frogs making that high spring chirping sound that means….what exactly….we’re getting ready to do our springy thing?
Now, about the title – I had this feeling when I found the little pink flowers this morning. What will come next? What is all this? Where does it go in winter? Why and how does it all come to life in Spring? Who am I in all this? Was I like this, springy and innocent when I was young? Am I now like an old tree with a rough bark and what will happen when I die? Will I be like some old fallen trunk rotting away on the floor of the forest? Am I a tadpole? So all these questions come down to one question. What is the meaning of this? So many philosophers and religious leaders, writers and thinkers have wrestled with this. Do we always come to a tie, a draw, a no contest? I think so. These little pink flowers brought forward this question. They are more profound than any newspaper or TV show or book. I bow to the little pink flowers and recognize that I am helpless before them.
Here in Montreal our winters are long and hard. Winter does not retreat easily. He hangs on month after month, week after week. We tear off pages on the calendar and fool ourselves that “soon…next week……on the weekend” it will be milder, sunnier, warmer. It takes a long time for these wishes, these hopes to come true. Winter has its own schedule. For years my benchmark was St. Patrick’s Day. The turning point…we’re in spring now, right? Only when I stood like a pillar of salt in biting cold and saw my grandson dance in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade did I finally give up on this idea. It is not Spring. It is winters with a little more light. It is St. Patrick’s Day, no more no less. Even when the light draws green shoots out of the cold dark earth, snow can come. It does come. Many times I have covered the tender shoots in my back yard with newspapers to get them through a frosty night or to protect them from a heavy wet snow. They are beloved to me. I cannot bear to think of them being pinched, overwhelmed by cold and snow.
So when at last blooms come out, it has a meaning, a significance for us. The perfection of waxy magnolias is a sudden glory that comes to bless us even before leaves have come out on the other trees. This white beauty made me stop the car to take its portrait. The fleeting perfection of these blooms has a heartbreaking quality. Before you even have a chance to drag a dear friend to ” look, just look at this!” it’s shedding its petals. Carpe diem…hurry up and look…fall in love with me and be damned the knowledge that I will leave you…and soon.
And here’s this sober statue holding his rose right out there in public. This picture was taken the morning after Mother’s Day. So, what does this rose mean?
And this little Japanese almond that was planted in my garden long ago by a dear friend. It blooms very early but last year it became infested with gall, a disease of its bark that produced ugly growths. It was sick and I cut it back without mercy. I even tried to pull it out by the roots. I was a little disgusted by its sick appearance and I was a little angry wih my friend. I wanted it gone. But the roots were deep and it would ‘t come out. Here it is, the first blooming bush around. Saskatoon berry bush in the lane to come, lilac to come, mock almond still later, still to come. Even though I wanted to give up on this blossom, it wouldn’t give up on me.
There’s the thing and there’s it’s meaning. There’s the flower and there’s its story.
That’s what they used to say to us in school. What a useful phrase! Awkward questions, objections, arguments against nonsense were quickly silenced with this phrase. It had the added virtue of reinforcing our image as possessers of “little”knowledge. Those who spoke to us in that way, naturally held much knowledge, and it was not our place to question. Life gets in the way of acquiring knowledge. I was busy with falling in love, getting married, having children, working, bringing up children, falling out of love, working, divorcing, taking care of my parents, looking at the world, working. . . . . but what a cop out! I was lucky, privileged to be able to do those things and I chose to do them. I chose to busy myself. Now I have time and it is my duty not to accept “a little” knowledge but rather to read, to study, to search, to find some truth. In the face of terrorist actions, it is my duty to put aside facile answers, to put aside fairy tales accepted as dogma, as rules for my precious life. In the face of chaos it is my duty to fine order, in nature, in science, in philosophy.
And the image? If I were guiding at the museum, I would ask the visitor to look at everything in the image and observe, observe what is important, in the foreground, colors, textures, materials. What is obvious and what is hidden? What, what, how, why? All the questions of one who has ” a little knowledge”
I embark on the dangerous life – embarquer – to step into the frail boat of the search – and to set out on the dark sea of ignorance and knowledge.
What a strange picture for Christmas Eve! I am posting it in utter relief at finding this contraption .An acquaintance lent it to me almost a year ago. It is a frame for doing rug hooking. I am rather inclined to “enthusiasms” and took up this very pleasant hobby but like so many other virtuous and constructive activities I have tried my hand at, I abandoned it. My only justification is doing a bit more writing in my blog and some other scribblings. Anyway, one of the women in the group ( no jokes about happy hookers please) offered me this thing so I could do my hooking when I went on vacation. Over the past year I tried to return it to her but we just kept missing each other. Last week I met the lady in the Museum. I confess to not having the slightest memory of who she was even after she told me her name. Such incidents are a bit worrying but I put it down to her being ” out of context”. Anyway, she mentioned the hooking rack and panic immediately set in. During this most chaotic and rather ” tender” time of year I was sporadically struck with the utter urgency of finding this damned thing. I rooted around in unlikely cupboards and even, horrors! the ” cold room”. The cold room is a dark and cheerless space full of abandoned pictures and suitcases where the occasional horrible centipede scuttles around. I had a faint memory of my middle grandson playing with this contraption which haunted me. His recent session with a caulking gun yielded results surprising even to him. The day before yesterday I found half of the pieces and spent a few fruitless moments trying to convince myself that I could actually put it together somehow. My mechanical skills are a bit weak as some dear friends can testify. There was a little incident at a gas station. . . But as they say in Irma La Douce. . . .”that’s another Story”. Anyway, I did find the other pieces as I was searching for some obscure Christmas item, in fact. More joy in heaven over finding the one lost sheep than the ninety and nine, as sone say.
Now, all this searching and scrabbling around in ” things” gave even more energy to my current de-cluttering phase. I have been visiting the charity depots with surprising regularity lately. More importantly, it made me think about some useless ideas and assumptions that are rattling around in my head. Surely it is more important to examine the ” cold room” of thoughts that we all fear to peer into. There are worse things than centipedes in there. When I come back from Mexico I’m going to enrol in a philosophy class to try to understand things a bit better. I ask my readers to call me to task on this.
now to make arrangements to get this damned rug hooking thing out of my house! Merry Christmas to you all