Friday, September 28, 2007

Willa Cather's Beautifully Crafted Sentence

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do. --Willa Cather

Yes. Precisely. Gorgeous. True.

At the same time my grandmother was in hospice last February, a pine tree in my front yard was dying. Just all of a sudden. Could have been the ice storm, could have been the tap root was damaged from the new water line, could have been...age. It was 50 years old at least, and that's way up there for a pine.

Anyway, it started shedding sheets of bark-- peeled back like skin-- and there was the white, tender woody flesh underneath. Exposed. The pine beetles and the insects burrowed in, and the woodpeckers after them, and the tree, somehow, put out gobs of pine cones-- they covered the yard...and when the tree surgeon came he said-- yeah, they'll do that-- fruit like crazy right before they die. And then he pronounced the tree dead, and brought his cherry picker and stump grinder, but I waded through all those pine cones-- heaped up, the last gasp of a pine and I thought how the tree had put all its last energy in propagating the next forest, and I found that Darwinian and poignant and comforting all at once. And then I went to my grandmother's funeral.

So...resignation and trees...yeah. The Pecan in my backyard obviously agrees.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"She picked me! She picked me!"

This bell pepper is just damned charming. While volunteering at the community garden last Saturday (trying to get in my Master Gardner volunteer hours..not easy) I was harvesting the peppers and, lo and behold, there he was GRINNING at me, exclaiming (if vegetables truly exclaim and clearly they can) that it's such an honor to be part of Project Host's meals for the hungry, even if that part means being tossed in a salad.

I assumed that he (and of course the pepper isn't a HE...vegetables don't have genders...except, maybe Italian eggplant or the occasional lascivious, waxed cucumber) was only too glad to be plucked and carted off to the soup kitchen, chortling the whole way...beside his pal the scarlet red tomato. Turns out (the Silver Queen corn told me--such a gossip, that one-- in one ear and out the other, and not a kernel of truth) the real reason this jolly little pepper was laughing and the tomato blushing? They saw the salad dressing.
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