Awake, My Soul

[Poncho just came in and singing, “Greeeen Giant, Yum!” which I am not even sure is their slogan, but whatever. Now he is jumping around going “In the face, in the face” about something. Brothers are so… I don’t know. Half annoying, and half awesome.]

Anyway… what was I going to talk about? Originally I was going to write about Easter, but I don’t much feel like it anymore. My brain dies on inspiration whenever it comes to writing about holidays, I think. I mean, I really like Easter, but it’s un-blog-ish. So I will take the related topic of joy and talk about that instead.

Because yesterday, oh my. It was 80-some degrees in the midafternoon, and never got below mid-70’s as far as I know. I transplanted strawberries from the front flowerbed into a nice pot, and then I got the great idea to go get some lemon balm. I’d found a patch of it growing right near my church. So I dashed across the street and went right up to the church, thinking no one would be there on a Tuesday afternoon. But there were hordes of cars there! So I kind of had a freak-out moment, and felt the Panopticon pressuring me, so I grabbed two plants in haste and ran out of there. I may have to go back because I don’t know if these hurriedly-grabbed plants are going to make it. We’ll see. Darn Panopticon. I felt like the whatever-director lady was going to randomly appear beside me and be like “YOU! PLANT STEALER!” I mean, I can’t even imagine trying to explain responsible foraging to her.
So. Then I went for a long walk to the library. To the library is not a long walk, but I went the long way home for reasons that I care not to admit. (“Blind puppy!” as Jane Eyre would say.) I found some pretty epic patches of purple dead nettle by the abandoned school. Actually, there is a ton of purple dead nettle everywhere around the neighborhood. Now whenever I see it, I laugh, because my herb book says it grows in “wasteland”.
I also found a feather, a flower to press, weird parsely-looking plants, and some blueish flowers growing wild in a field. I was going to transplant one and take it home before the field is cut and the flowers detstroyed. Maybe I’ll make a mini woodland garden, full of transplanted flowers/weeds/plants that I come across in the wild. After I identify them, of course.

I can’t believe I used to not like spring. Everyone makes it seem cheesy, but it’s really not. Usually people describe the flowers, or the tra-la-la stuff like cherry blossoms. And I mean, that stuff’s nice and all, but the real heart of spring is when you go outside and you take a deep breath and you feel like you’ve just awakened. 

I felt so alive yesterday. I felt like I could run and run and never stop. Then I went to bed and dreamed that every lawn was taken over by wildflowers.

OK, so I did end up talking about Easter. That’s how it felt, too, to be in the church as the light in the tomb came on and revealed it to be empty… 

~Pen

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a list, sort of

I am semi-ill today, meaning not enough to barf up a lung, but enough that after I awoke in the middle of the night (read: 5 am) I did not go back to sleep and instead lay on my back reading some angsty novel for the second time. A side note, it didn’t seem so angsty the first time I read it. But this time it was like, whoa, rein it in a little there. Maybe because I’m getting past my angst stage and moving into the mid-life crisis stage. (I’m going to have one of those early and get it over with.) What was good about reading the book was that I actually gasped aloud (I do that a lot, actually, the other day I dropped a fork and I gasped and Dad heard me in the other room and thought I cut off my finger or something) at one of the main revelations, which had somehow slipped my mind.

Anyway, since I am ill, I shall blog. It’s my thing-to-do-when-ill, apparently. I know it has been such a long time, my friends, alas. However I shall not neglect you any further. So… I think I shall list the things that have happened while I was ‘away’:

1. My room has become an indoor farm. I have the whole setup. Grow lights, heat mat, little newspaper pots full of adorably cute seedlings. Which I took pictures of, and was meaning to attach to this post, but I can’t be bothered to get out of bed and upload them. So, some other day. Right now I’m growing parsley (which just started to get its first set of true leaves– aww! The babies grow up so fast!), eggplant, lemon balm, and tomato. It sounds strange, but the seedlings are the cutest things ever. They look so eager, reaching up with two leaves splayed out to catch the light. I’m becoming very attached to them.

2. Dad took Poncho, Dodge, and me shed hunting. Sheds are very elusive. And quiet. And camoflauged. Because they are, in fact, deer antlers that the bucks shed in the early spring. We went to the cemetery, where Dad was positive there are/were at least 4 antlers lying around from the Twins, and we stalked around in the woods at the edge of the cemetery property. I had fun collecting random possibly edible things that were growing, but I got a little creeped out as well because there were lots of abandoned hobo encampments back there. Plywood, bricks, tarps, old tires, ropes… and I was waiting for some scraggy guy with a beard to leap out at us or something. Which, thankfully, did not happen. We found no sheds but we did find a) deer-related things such as tracks and poo; b) a dead and partially decomposed squirrel; c) a hawk’s wing (sad!!!) Then for a while we walked around the cemetery, hoping maybe we’d find the sheds there, but we didn’t. We looked at the groundhog holes and we cleared off the sunken headstones of some veterans. And we heard a hawk shriek. It sounded exactly like the hawk sound-effect that is so ubiquitous on Dr Quinn (“ka-kwa, ka-kwa”, as the boys say). And in Mulan, the evil hawk thing does that screech. I so did not think hawks sounded like that in real life but they do, apparently.

3. My Irish dance life got majorly messed up.
Let’s just leave it at that. Otherwise I’ll babble and rant for hours and none of it will make any sense to you non-Irish-dancing people.
However, I did get to do one awesome thing, which was perform for two ESL (English as a second language) classes. One class was actually on St Patrick’s day, and it was awesome, because not only did one lady (I wish I’d gotten her name) get really into it and sit in the front row and hug me afterward, I finally met Melkamayehu! And she is even cooler in person.

4. I’m getting all rabid and weird and crazy due to a combination of inter-related factors such as no good new books, too much internet, et cetera. I have made up my mind that I shall duly finish the first draft of my novel as soon as possible– no, not definite eough– by the end of the summer– too soon?–   Well, sometime rather soon because I feel ike my life is becoming a race. I’m in 10th grade, which is fast fading, and it’s like I have two more years until the floor will drop out from under me and I’ll have to support myself, I suppose. Not that the day I turn 18 my parents are kicking me out, but I’m not going to college, and thus I can’t really afford to be a “writer” with nothing to show for it once I graduate high school. I’m a failure of a teenager at everything else (driving = I hate it and have no desire to ever do it again in my life; getting a job = I don’t want to hand over control of my schedule/time/life in exchange for money), so I have to at least make some sort of progress in relation to my future.
Pressure. I actually work well under pressure so maybe this is good for me, after all. But at the same time I sort of wish that I had a completely pressure-free existence. or at least, that I lived by measureable pressures, survival pressures. Like, food and water and shelter. That sort of thing. You can bring in baskets of tomatoes or peaches or beans or whatever and go, yeah, that’s going to be enough food, or you can say no, it’s not. And then you can act by it. But with pressures about the future and whatnot, how am I supposed to do anything about them? I can’t peer into my life 3 years from now and see if what I’m doing and what I have will be enough or not. I can’t be sure about anything.

Well… that is all for now, I suppose. I guess that last one was a glimpse into what I said earlier, about having the midlife crisis early on. Getting it out of my system. Hopefully.

Peace,
Pen

Vampires Have Invaded My Bedroom.

Well, vampire bugs, actually. And now THEY MUST DIE!!!

The only way to ward them off? According to the internet, garlic.

See, there these like microscopic grey bugs. They blend in really well to the egg cartons I’m growing my poor lavender seedlings in; the only reason I knew they were there is because there were little specks running in circles whenever I watered. Well, my lavender was doing fine and dandy until these stupid bugs come along, and then there’s plants getting yellowish and wilty, and basically their stems are all deteriorated so they die. The bugs seem to suck out juices from the stems or something, resulting in my lavender dying. For some reason they like the lavender. GRR. But they’re spreading to my basil, too!!! And possibly my Bonsai Crassula!!!

Which means war, of course.

So I concocted a potent mixture of garlic, water, and a few drips of dishsoap and spritzed the plants for the life of me. Then I discovered a beetle chewing on some of my very successful basil. Now what can I do?

Gr. I HATE VAMPIRES AND ALL THEIR KIN, including these little bugs which are OBVIOUSLY their EVIL MINIONS!!!

You know, a few days ago I had a weird plant-blood experience. Mom had ripped out some coneflowers (don’t look at me, I would have kindly transplanted them), but she hadn’t got the roots. Sticking up out of the ground were these wrinkled, blackened stumps. Which was gross enough. But a few days later I was weeding and I happened to brush against the stumps with my fingers, and I could feel this oozy liquid on my skin. It looked exactly like blood. For a second I really thought I’d cut myself. It was freaky and I can never look at that stump again without thinking of how it was… bleeding. A creepy reminder that plants are alive. Sometimes I think we forget that they’re alive, and not like rocks or whatever. But they react to music, and voices, and changes in the air. Some move their faces to follow the sun as it moves across the sky. It’s really odd to think that even though they don’t move or make any noise, they’re living organisms.

And that they have blood. Or something like it.

Anyway. The whole point is: vampires suck.

Yuk yuk yuk,
Pen

Tweeblaarkanniedood

First of all, I’d like to assure you that I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Just in case you were wondering. Secondly, I have a post about Easter waiting to be posted, which I promise I will do very, very soon. Once I get the pictures on it.

Okay. Now that that’s over…

I love trees. All plants are amazing to me, but trees are definitely special. There’s something different, something deep about them, perhaps because they live so long. At any rate, there is a book that I got for Easter called Lives of the Trees. It gives name origins, legends, descriptions, et cetera about 100 types of trees, including one called Welwitschia.

Now, the oak and the sycamore have always been special trees to me, especially the oak. But when I read about welwitschia, it touched me. It’s definitely up there with the oak now, in terms of my affinity for it. Of course, it grows in deserts in South Africa, so it’s unlikely I’ll ever see this amazing tree. But let me tell you a bit about it, and why I love it so much now.
Here’s what it looks like:

I know what you’re thinking. U-G-L-Y… And yeah, I’m not saying it’s a very pretty plant. (Though I will call it beautiful… beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, I guess.) In fact, it does not even look like a tree. This is because most of the trunk is growing underground. Only about two feet of it sticks up above the surface of the ground. It has only two leaves, which are thick and leathery, and never stop growing. It looks like more than two leaves, though, because over the years sand and wind shreds the leaves into smaller strips. This tree can live for up to a thousand years.
The Africaans word for it is Tweeblaarkanniedood, which means “two leaves that never die”.

I think that’s very compelling. Powerful. Beautiful, even, if you think of the life of this plant… Lone living thing in a vast, hot, barren world, enduring extreme temperatures and the abuse of sand and wind. Its leaves torn and shredded, yet it does not stop growing. It’s like this shy thing, buried underground, but at the same time it has the boldness to thrive despite harsh adversity.

We could learn a lot from welwitschia.