Untangling My Chopsticks

“As my grandmother discovered long ago, the Japanese excel in cultivating nature. Their gardens come in numerous styles, including paradise gardens, dry-landscape gardens, stroll gardens, and tea gardens. Although each type has its own goal, tray all share the same principle: nature is manipulated to create a miniature symbolic landscape.
A paradise garden is meant to evoke the Buddhist paradise through the use of water dotted with stone “islands.” Dry-landscape gardens, usually tucked away in Zen temples, use dry pebbles and stones to create minimalist views for quiet contemplation. Stroll gardens offer changing scenes with every step, a pool of carp here, a mossy trail there, and a small bridge to link them both, while a tea garden provides a serene path to take you from the external world to the spiritual one of the teahouse.”

― Victoria Abbott Riccardi

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Eating Light

“There is a bench in the back of my garden shaded by Virginia creeper, climbing roses, and a white pine where I sit early in the morning and watch the action. Light blue bells of a dwarf campanula drift over the rock garden just before my eyes. Behind it, a three-foot stand of aconite is flowering now, each dark blue cowl-like corolla bowed for worship or intrigue: thus its common name, monkshood. Next to the aconite, black madonna lilies with their seductive Easter scent are just coming into bloom. At the back of the garden, a hollow log, used in its glory days for a base to split kindling, now spills white cascade petunias and lobelia. 

I can’t get enough of watching the bees and trying to imagine how they experience the abundance of, say, a blue campanula blossom, the dizzy light pulsing, every fiber of being immersed in the flower. …

Last night, after a day in the garden, I asked Robin to explain (again) photosynthesis to me. I can’t take in this business of _eating light_ and turning it into stem and thorn and flower…

I would not call this meditation, sitting in the back garden. Maybe I would call it eating light.

I’m going to sit here every day the sun shines and eat this light. Hung in the bell of desire.” 

― Mary Rose O’Reilley

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Peacock Pie

A poor old Widow in her weeds
Sowed her garden with wild-flower seeds;
Not too shallow, and not too deep,
And down came April — drip — drip — drip.
Up shone May, like gold, and soon
Green as an arbour grew leafy June.
And now all summer she sits and sews
Where willow herb, comfrey, bugloss blows,
Teasle and pansy, meadowsweet,
Campion, toadflax, and rough hawksbit;
Brown bee orchis, and Peals of Bells;
Clover, burnet, and thyme she smells;
Like Oberon’s meadows her garden is
Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees.
Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs,
And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes;
And all she has is all she needs —
A poor Old Widow in her weeds.

― Walter de la Mare

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A Privileged Space

“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space — a place not just set apart but reverberant — and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.” ― Michael Pollan

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Boredom can be a lethal thing on a small island.

For me, it’s the restlessness. I can hardly sit still. I keep fidgeting, crossing one leg and then the other. I feel like I could throw off sparks, or break a window–maybe rearrange all the furniture. Or dig the whole garden and starts anew. Yesterday I killed five giant Choisya Ternata (Mexican orange blossom) for no reasons other than boredom and wanting something new. The other day I killed three Great Maple trees and planning to dig up two more when I came from vacation. They are in the wrong place for God’s sakes! I put them there because I wanted shadow for my Hydrangea Macrophilia but I’ve read somewhere that their roots are shallow depriving other plants around them of moisture and hydrangea is hydrangea for the obvious reason so they have to go. See? I have some pretty valid excuses. I will replace them with trees with purple leaves like Acer or Sambucus Nigra Black Lace or Catalpa x erubescens ‘Purpurea’ to break up all the homogenous green that seems to be dominating my garden. I will buy a few Azaleas also to replace the ones that died from drought last year. And a couple of Nepeta and Peonies. Oh, God, It’s so easy to break the bank when it comes to buying plants for the garden. I think I will dress up now for my appointment with the doctor at six. You see, I’m feeling quite queasy lately, especially when I lie down or turn my head left right up down. So much so that I gave over in bed first time in history. And I’m losing my vision ever so often. That or there are these zigzaggy flickering patterns floating around. Sometimes black dots or multi-colored blinking stripes dominating my view. I wonder if it’s normal. Okay, Have a wonderful weekend and see you next time.

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Honey-Sweet May

In the deepening spring of May, I had no choice but to recognize the trembling of my heart. It usually happened as the sun was going down. In the pale evening gloom, when the soft fragrance of magnolias hung in the air, my heart would swell without warning, and tremble, and lurch with a stab of pain. I would try clamping my eyes shut and gritting my teeth, and wait for it to pass. And it would pass –but slowly, taking its own time, and leaving a dull ache behind.

― Haruki Murakami

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April Love

“April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.”

― T.S. Eliot

Why it reminds me of a May-December love affair? Or a gigolo manipulating and conning older women for personal gain? Or the grandmother of D. who fell in love with her nurse and holds onto her unshakable faith in his innocence and integrity even after he was convicted and found guilty of cheating his patients out of their money and valuables. Or my mother falling head over heels with one of my boyfriends she was inconsolable and remained in bed for three weeks on ends when he and I broke up. She refused to cook since then till the day she died. Funny people.

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Expect The Unexpected

It’s raining steadily for three weeks now but that’s not the problem. What makes it so difficult to go outside is the accompanying wind of 100/120 km per hour. Trees are falling, roofs are flying, cars, heck even trucks turned over on the road, what’s happening? And it doesn’t stop there. I never have seen a combination of hail, melting snow, rain/storm thunder, and lightning punctuated by intense sunshine you’d think it’s high summer all in one day for weeks! No wonder plants are confused they become bonsai image of their former selves. 

Emergency numbers are blocked. They are getting as much as 78,000 calls a day. Firemen and other social workers are at the end of their wits, so are the people who are affected by this strange weather. Where do we go from here?

Places that never saw snow are witnessing this strange phenomenon. I heard that in my country of origin they are expecting longer days and shorter nights. The previous summer is still fresh in my mind when no single drop of rain had fallen for three months causing vegetations to die and wild animals to perished. Now, this…

If we can only know in advance.

But__

You Know what they say__

Who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand.

When all is said and done, the weather and love are the two elements about which one can never be sure.

Right?

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climate change isn’t an “issue”

We’re so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. I’m tired of this shit. I’m tired of fucking Earth Day. I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is that there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that someday in the future they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.

The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles … hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages … And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE are!

We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam … The planet will be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet will shake us off like a bad case of fleas.

The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed. And if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice toward plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?”

Plastic… asshole.

― George Carlin

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Spring Is Here

“Now is the time of fresh starts
This is the season that makes everything new.
There is a longstanding rumor that Spring is the time
of renewal, but that’s only if you ignore the depressing
clutter and din of the season. All that flowering
and budding and birthing— the messy youthfulness
of Spring actually verge on squalor. Spring is too busy,
too full of itself, too much like a 20-year-old to be the best time for reflection, re-grouping, and starting fresh.
For that you need December. You need to have lived
through the mindless biological imperatives of your life (to bud, and flower, and show off) before you can see that a landscape of newly fallen snow is THE REAL YOU.
December has the clarity, the simplicity, and the silence you need for the best FRESH START of your life.” 

― Vivian Swift

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