Thursday, November 04, 2010

Three things

A long time ago, I had a small collection of scented geraniums.  In the winter they were left in too cold a place and died.  Tom always blamed himself, and pledged that henceforth, no scented geranium would die on his watch..  We carefully transported a batch of the lemon ones out here on the back seat of the car thirteen years ago, and every winter they undergo a transmigration of the vegetative soul by means of cuttings, and  enough always survive to be planted out again to ramp merrily in whatever part of the garden they end up.  

Last year however, the survival rate was low, but I had by chance picked a branch in the early autumn and put it in water in the pale blue glass Muscadet bottle on the windowsill in my room, and not only did it continue to stay green and fragrant, but started to grow a very healthy root system, and was quite happy to be transplanted into the open soil in the spring.  

So this year, we saved up seven small plastic drinks bottles, and  the dining room windowsill is now the nursery to the next generation, this time being raised hydroponically.  Contrary to the impression this blog may seem to give, I am not a particularly fond or passionate gardener, I frequently feel frustrated, defeated and wearied by the matter of growing things, yet there is something so jolly and eager and companionable about these little things, with their perfume of Turkish delight; they seem to smile greenly at me when I open the curtains onto the dark mornings, and to offer good cheer.


When I was in England, despite the fact that I have done very little drawing or painting for too long a time, I bought myself a small tin of Rowney pastel pencils, beautifully polished crayons, traditional pencil forms in natural beechwood but leaded with soft pastel, with just the ends painted to show their colour. I opened them and observed how bright the colours seemed - poppy red, lemon yellow, pansy violet, a light phthalo blue.  Nice, I thought, but felt a slight, momentary disappointment; they seemed rather limited and limiting, glib, over-cheery and gay... Then of course I realised there was another layer below, and, see, the deep dull earth and dark colours: raw sienna, Vandyke brown, Hooker's green and Prussian blue.  Ah, that's better!  Now the brights stand out and glow like flowers on the ground.


Please, read this

'I realized that in fact I was born into an atmosphere of grief, into a world of mourning, into a culture shell shocked, guilt ridden, & desperate.

And so, perhaps, were you.'

And while you're there, read the rest of her blog. If Jarvenpa were in a novel, I'd wish that someone like her might really exist.  Reading what she does, makes me feel at once humbled and enlarged, with a sense that, in truth, I only barely dare to live at all.

'Before I become part of the dust that softens the edges of this world, before I am still, I want to care more, dance more, sing more, watch more free flying hawks, love more.

And since every breath could be a last one, and every word a last one, I am not going to be caught saying "I give up" .  With every breath I am going to be saying Yes. Or at least...maybe..'


HLiza said...

What a beautiful post by Javernpa..I love how her words are sewn together and touched the inner core of us..thanks for recommending us to go over hers. And you and Tom do have nice green know. And I'm green with envy.

Kelly said...

I have a secret passion for pencils from days past when I did a fair amount of technical drawing. I still prefer the pencil drawing compared to the computer modeling even though the later is much more productive.

Javernpa's blog is very interesting. It reminds me of a couple of people that I know that will embrace a challenge that most would consider a barrier.

I confess to be one who has caused the death of many plants that have been in my care, not from lack of care but more of a just bad luck I suppose. The only plants I have been very successful with have been cactus and aloe vera, the 2 that most people over water I manage to do well with.

Zhoen said...

Stuff dies. No alternative.

the polish chick said...

i am having a very hard time dealing with that idea, zhoen, and no matter how logical it is and how little i could possibly do to alter anything about it, i feel like i am constantly beating my stupid head against the brick wall of that particular inevitability.

what helps (a little) is mindfulness, that endless and sometimes hopeless attempt to not fast forward through everything, because all it does, is bring the inevitable closer.

it is a lovely link, lucy, thank you.

The Crow said...

Thank you for the pointer to jarvenpa, Lucy. I was lost in her posts for quite awhile.

Rouchswalwe said...

It's when stuff dies before life is over that makes me weep.

herhimnbryn said...

My rose geranium cuttings did not take root on the kitchen window sill. They bloomed and died. The plants in the garden remain healthy, until the summer comes and I have to cut them back. Then when the rains come again, so do they.

Thankyou for pointing me to J's work, thankyou.

Nimble said...

Gardening seems to offer control but calls for nurturing, regular effort and good timing. And letting go as needed. I'm glad to think of the scented geraniums on the sill.

Dick said...

I love the smell of scented geraniums. I'd better drink more Muscadet!

Thanks for the Jarvenpa link. I've stumbled across her blog from time to time, but this particular encounter has had me blogrolling her. One of the great posts.