Friday, February 18, 2011


I adore my wonderful city of Washington, D.C. There isn't a morning that I drive over the TR Bridge and see the gleaming Lincoln and Washington monuments and the distant statue of the Goddess Columbia that I don't ground and feel a deep privilege. And, living here, it's been, more times than I can say, my privilege to march in national demonstrations, starting when I was a kid and my dad and I stood underneath the guns of Nixon's guards on the Capitol grounds and he said to me, "If I tell you to drop, you drop and don't worry about what comes after."

This week, I'm watching what's happening in Wisconsin and feeling what the rest of the county must feel when all of the action is out here in DC. I keep hearing Henry V's speech at Agincourt.
Enter the KING
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home/Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd. The feast of the Wisconsin Uprising.

I just got off the phone w/ a dear friend of mine who is inside the capitol, and has been for days. His spirits are high. He and the others there are ready for tomorrow when the tea baggers show up. He's prepped to start doing teach-ins. (I'm an old woman. Long time and long since I heard @ teach-ins.)

What they need, he told me, is bottled water. A lot of bottled water.

I don't know how to get it to them, but I am going to go sit at my altar and begin manifesting water. Cold water. In bottles. Lots of it.

Can you help?


Update: If you can get through on the phone, this place will deliver to protestors at the WI capitol

Weary Traveler 1201 Williamson St Madison, WI 53703 (608) 442-6207


First crocus of the year. At least two weeks ahead of last year.

All of last year, the garden was two weeks ahead of the year before.

Not sure how many years we can keep this going.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

For Wisconsin: In the Beauty of the Day

As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: "Bread and roses! Bread and roses!"
As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for -- but we fight for roses, too!

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler -- ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!

Daily Practice

I should post more tonight, but there are a handful of my best friends putting themselves on the line for collective bargaining, the American middle class, and the right to peacefully assemble, tonight, in Wisconsin. And I have been sending energy and reiki to them, in gratitude for what they are doing to make my G/Son's world a better world.

I came home and sat down at my altar and noticed how the floor beside my altar has become polished with my regular sitting down. And I laughed and thought, "Well, one can hope that my soul has gotten a bit of polish over the years, as well."

There is something so cynically evil/evilly cynical about first giving big tax breaks to those of us in the upper 2% and then declaring that "there's no more money" to pay basic benefits to those who keep our traffic moving, educate the next generation, put out fires, investigate child abuse, inspect our food, etc., that it's almost difficult for me to wrap my mind around it. I don't want to live in that world. I don't want my G/Son to have to live in that world.

Will you sit down tonight for those who are standing up for all of us in Wisconsin? Polish the space beside your altar. Polish your own soul.

Meditation is like showing up for demonstrations. We can always think of reasons not to. Or, we can just show up for the practice, for our own lives, in our own times, in the places that call to us. I'm sending my energy to Wisconsin.

You come, too.

Picture found here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ivo! Evoe!

We're here in this bursting period between Imbolc and Ostara, one of the most dynamic sections of the Wheel of the Year. The "Sun Band" on my Ecological Calendar has been growing wider and wider.

If you've learned to look with love and to pay attention, the trees, at least here in the miraculous MidAtlantic, are no longer the dead brown and grey of Winter. Every branch seems to be suffused with green and, when you cast your eyes over a grove of trees, there's the tiniest, almost-here-almost-not haze of pink, a pink that long-term lovers of the Potomac know is the first color to precede that yellowish-green!-alive haze that happens just a week before ACTUAL LEAVES burst forth. It will be a few weeks, yet, but you can hear the gentle beginnings of the sound. And no branch is still "just" a branch. Every single branch now sports buds, buds that have somehow developed between December, when the snow drove me inside and, well, and today, when I was able to go sit on my rock and make love to my maples and my birch and my crape myrtles and my figs and my . . . . You know.

The app on my iPhone tells me that tomorrow's Full Moon is known as the Quickening Moon. Everything in my blood says: Yes, yes, and, ah! yes! Almost paralyzes you.

And, I have snowdrops in bloom!


This morning, when I left for work, they were no where to be seen.

But when I came home this afternoon, a good dozen of the 75 that Landscape Guy and I planted last November were in bloom in the Northern (I know!!!) cottage garden. I walked past. Did a double take. Walked back. Literally fell on my knees. I can't think when anything has made my heart fly so high or my spirit soar so wildly. ("Too easily pleased," my mother used to say of me. It's true, but it's a blessing, not a curse.) I think that I need to make this an annual event, a hanami when I can text all of my friends and say, "Come over this afternoon for champagne, dates w/ goat cheese, radishes with bread and butter, and snowdrop viewing!" Next year, if you're on my email list, be ready!!!

What makes you foolishly happy in the early Spring?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

You Dropped a Piece of Sod on It

I completely lifted this from Margaret Roach's A Way to Garden. I've done all of these and more. You?
Why Did My Plant Die?

You walked too close. You trod on it.
You dropped a piece of sod on it.
You hoed it down. You weeded it.
You planted it the wrong way up.
You grew it in a yogurt cup
But you forgot to make a hole;
The soggy compost took its toll.
September storm. November drought.
It heaved in March, the roots popped out.
You watered it with herbicide.
You scattered bonemeal far and wide.
Attracting local omnivores,
Who ate your plant and stayed for more.
You left it baking in the sun
While you departed at a run
To find a spade, perhaps a trowel,
Meanwhile the plant threw in the towel.
You planted it with crown too high;
The soil washed off, that explains why.
Too high pH. It hated lime.
Alas it needs a gentler clime.
You left the root ball wrapped in plastic.
You broke the roots. They’re not elastic.
You walked too close. You trod on it.
You dropped a piece of sod on it.
You splashed the plant with mower oil.
You should do something to your soil.
Too rich. Too poor. Such wretched tilth.
Your soil is clay. Your soil is filth.
Your plant was eaten by a slug.
The growing point contained a bug.
These aphids are controlled by ants,
Who milk the juice, it kills the plants.
In early spring your garden’s mud.
You walked around! That’s not much good.
With heat and light you hurried it.
You worried it. You buried it.
The poor plant missed the mountain air:
No heat, no summer muggs up there.
You overfed it 10-10-10.
Forgot to water it again.
You hit it sharply with the hose.
You used a can without a rose.
Perhaps you sprinkled from above.
You should have talked to it with love.
The nursery mailed it without roots.
You killed it with those gardening boots.
You walked too close. You trod on it.
You dropped a piece of sod on it.

“Why Did My Plant Die?” is just one piece of the wisdom in Geoffrey Charlesworth’s book “The Opinionated Gardener: Random Offshoots From an Alpine Garden,” a collectible must for every gardener’s bookshelf.

I had dinner tonight w/ Son, DiL, and G/Son, and G/Son and I were planning our weekend. He asked if we could plant some vegetable seeds and I said, "Sure, I have some squash, tomato, and cucumber seeds," and G/Son said, "Carrots!" (His mom makes the most amazing dilled carrots and they're his favorite vegetable.) I promised to pick up some carrot seeds.

I think when we're planting them, I'll tell him Michael Pollan's story about learning to think like a plant. Pollan's carrots were short, stunted, and knobby (one is tempted to say: mean, brutish, and short, and indeed, I have known carrots that were, indeed) and he couldn't figure out why, until he challenged himself to think like a carrot. Imagining that his finger was a carrot, he stuck it into his garden soil to see if he could figure out why a carrot wouldn't be happy there. And, he found that his soil was -- wait for it -- hard. His finger could only go in a few inches before it stopped and more pressure wasn't able to move it any farther down. That's when Pollan learned not only to till his carrot garden soil so that it was nice and loose, even very deep down, filled with soft, loamy, composty soil, but also how to think like a plant.

Last night I was reading David Abram's chapter about how thoughts come and go (and talk of Michalengelo -- no Hecate! not everything is a reason to segue into poetry! control!) depending upon our physical surroundings and how:
What if there is, yes, a quality of inwardness to the mind, not because the mind is located inside us (inside our body or brain), but because we are situated, bodily, inside it -- because our lives and our thoughts unfold in the depths of a mind that is not really ours, but is rather the Earth's? What if like the hunkered owl, and the spruce bending above it, and the beetle staggering from needle to needle to needle on that branch, we all partake of the wide intelligence (be still de Chardin! Abrams is talking about something that undergirds and will, perhaps, outlast, the noosphere) of this world -- because we're materially participant, with our actions and our passions, in the broad psyche of this sphere?

And I think that the thoughts of the carrots and the thoughts of the gardener make, when gardening is done right, one thought. And yet, we gardeners, (We few, we happy few, we band of -- stop! It's carrot seeds, not Agincourt!), we do still keep killing plants, often with the best of (watery) intentions. Indeed, someone once said that, if you are not killing plants, you are gardening below your abilities. I, myself, am guilty of many, many, many (mea culpa, mea . . . stop! you're not catholic anymore) things, but gardening below my abilities is, Flora knows, not one of them.

So, G/Son and I have a lot of plans for this weekend. Something outside if the weather is at all fine. A trip to the toy store. A game of "Calvin Ball Chase," which for reasons both obscure and occult, G/Son and I call "The Power of Salt," (where G/Son gets to change the rules at will) in the basement. An experiment to see which fruits taste best dipped in chocolate. (G/Son is holding out for watermelon and croissants (not exactly, scientifically a fruit, but, well we are mad scientists) and I am voting for oranges, but DiL thinks maybe bananas will be best. We are going to take pictures, put them in a document, write something about each one under the picture, and let G/Son take it to school on Tuesday.) Nonna got a book about Dr. King that she wants to read before we go to bed. And we will probably watch some Scooby Doo and snack on some spiced nuts because, well, because that is how we roll.

And, we are going to plant carrot seeds and think like carrots. We are going to be, in Abrams' words, materially participant, with our actions and our passions, in the broad psyche of this sphere. No, seriously, that's what I think is happening when an old woman and her G/Son plant some carrot seeds. I do.

You come, too.

Picture found here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

In Love With Solid Ground



Stop whatever you're doing and go read What Sia Said.

What keeps certain Pagans in your rolodex?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Red Curried Lentils with Apples

When I have time, nothing says "Sunday" to me as clearly as the chance to do some cooking for the coming week. I work a lot of hours, so coming home to something that's already made and easy to heat up is one way that I work on my physical presence in the world, as the alternative is too often a meal out or "cheese/crackers/martini."

Today I roasted a chicken, sliced the meat for sandwiches, and made chicken soup. I also tried this recipe from Washington Green Grocer, albeit w/ a bit of tweaking.
Olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons curry powder
7 cups water
1 pound dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 cup tomato puree or 1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups of chopped greens of your choice...I used [kale, which was the freshest green at Whole Foods this morning]. You can skip the greens too, but this is a great way to get them into your diet!
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste

Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil into a dutch oven or stockpot and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add chopped carrots, celery, and onion. Saute until the vegetables are just beginning to get tender. Add garlic and curry powder. Continue to saute, stirring, for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Add one cup of water to the pot, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom. Then stir in the remaining water, the lentils. Bring to a boil. Once the stew comes to a boil, stir, reduce heat, and simmer for about thirty minutes, stirring occasionally.

Check the lentils for tenderness at about 30 minutes. When they are fairly tender, stir in the tomato puree and the greens . Let simmer until the lentils are tender but not mushy.Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.

When you are ready to eat them, poach a couple of eggs, and lay them on top of the hot lentils. Dollop some plain yogurt on top and enjoy! You can serve it as is or with toast or tortillas, or pappadums...whatever you like.
Makes enough lentils for 8 servings.

I used red lentils and substituted a chopped (bit past lunchbox prime) apple for two of the carrots. Added a teaspoon and a half of Tumeric, which has demonstrated anti-cancer properties and which you won't even taste under the curry powder. I skipped the poached (my favorite) eggs, which, although they would add protein would also up the cholesterol content. This stuff smells so good cooking you can hardly stand it. It makes a lot; I ate a bowl; froze a lot, and put some in the fridge for the coming week.

Sunday Ballet Blogging

I'm pretty sure this is the first ballet performed in between solar panels.