Very early this morning I had a dream that my grandmother was making a slow perambulation of the field garden. She was wearing a brown and white check dress she favored and vigorously shaking the fence wire all around the perimeter. When I woke up I was still partially in the dream and then I remembered today was her birthday. She'd come to check and make sure what I most value remains safe. Still on her watch of watching over me. Probably has been through all the years I felt no sense of vibratory connection. Waiting for that change. Picking her moment as old women do.
Usually, if I happen to be blogging on her birthday, I prepare a written tribute the day before with just a single image of her at the top. Today I thought I'd work with image prompts I snapped as I moved with my thoughts of her on this morning's inspection tour. Things around the place that remind me of her. Things I believe she would love and/or strongly approve of. And, in the case of above, something she gave me on one of my own tween birthdays.
She would sometimes remind me when I was especially sad (usually about not "having" a father) that we were both born of the summer when everything grows and makes seeds for the years to come. She would jostle me by the shoulders none too gently but her voice held that lion's purr of persuasion at all times. She would insist we understood how to live perfectly fine without parents or siblings helping us understand how because we were born in the season of life itself. And then she'd give me science-y books of successful distraction to read like the one above.
Always - from her to me for all holidays and also just-because gifts that were usually based on sale price windfalls - there were books. Not "a" book (although there was nearly always an extra special book that got saved as the last thing to be opened at her insistence) but books in the plural.
(I don't have many of the books my grandmother gave me and scarcely any of her (many) other gifts including what was stipulated in her will as mine to inherit. My mother systematically destroyed or gave away nearly everything important to me and/or my grandmother, generally right in front of me, in the wake of Pearl's death. So the book above is super-precious to me.)
Having been raised through cycles of somewhat profound deprivation she also survived reversals of fortune borne of the depression, a hound dog of a husband who spent a great deal of his money on other women, and escalating racial tensions she feared would be the absolute death of our democracy. She could be flinty and harsh when passing judgement on those who did not know how to suck it up and get on with things in an absence of emotional overwhelm.
she raised me, a person who is emotionally overwhelmed on an average of two or three times an hour, to get on with things just as she did. This part of my background has taught me a lot over the long haul. Think people who read here would for the most part agree that I do, in fact, get on with things. And much like this complicated and always passionate woman who showed me what's what about being female and living in the world, I can be undeniably flinty and well past my last nerve when it comes to those who weren't raised to come through come hell or high water. Although I wonder a lot , and always have, about what life would be like with those kind of options I'm not sure I'd be well suited to living in such a way myself.
Pearl understood I was a creature of volition long before I did.
The first time it occurred to me that Pearl's spirit might travel to visit and explore our place it was during the meditation portion of my morning yoga practice during the late winter of '17. I suddenly saw her standing in the woods pictured above as they were when I first went outside at quarter of 7. She was in her brown and white checked dress with her hands on her hips and her head thrown back so she could scan the tree tops. She whistled a series of flawless bird calls. And I opened my eyes, pulled out of the meditation and said out loud "Yes that's what she would do first if she came to visit."
If she was alive I can imagine her getting out of the car for the first time and heading directly towards the woods to commune with the bird nations she loved so dearly. Kind of like I and many I know get out of our cars and don't really say hello to any of the humans happy though we may be to see them so much as we go wandering as if magnetized straight to the nearest garden space.
My grandmother's legacy is multi-plexic but she definitely taught me that whatever's wrong in human life can be healed by something you'll find in the natural kingdoms. And unlike many holy rollers of those times and since - my grandmother didn't believe in a strong-armed interpretation of man having dominion over all other life forms. She believed we didn't deserve our brains or our hearts if we didn't act like we knew how to use them. I can easily see her chaining herself to a nuclear facility's chain-link fence or a redwood tree's trunk.
Pearl raised me to take no shit. From anybody. If something was wrong, anywhere for any reason, it was my duty to speak up. To understand the problem from an overview level and help re-arrange a point of conflict's individual parts if I could. She raised me to boycott, to actively put my body on the line in protest, to pray on problems I had no idea how to solve under my own steam, and to never forget absolutely everything and every person connects to everything else and every other person.
Something previously inexperienced began to happen after I had the vision of her standing in the woods with her hands on her hips. It involves a cat. My grandmother loved cats. So did I but I was forbidden to have one and eventually given a dog who didn't like me at all and vice versa. Be that as it may I associate double-leo Pearl with cats. I once went into somebody's house to discover their most reclusive of four cats, Minerva, sitting expectantly on the counter right by the door I'd entered. I had the spontaneous idea she was conveying one of those silent cat messages but picking up on any specifics was not my reading forte. But the special human to the cat aka the friend I was visiting was an animal communicator. She told me Minerva - who never came out to greet guests let alone wait expectantly for their arrival - wished me to know something:
You're grandmother's waiting for you. Somewhere. In the woods.
Since then it's become my habit while woods wandering to sometimes ask tentatively and sometimes with loud exuberance if Pearl is present and would like to account for herself. To no avail until I started to realize something about the times I've been doing it most recently here at home. Anytime I talked to Pearl, Mama would come racing to the scene. Sometimes I'd see her approach or hear the thud of galloping feetsies but usually she was just suddenly there. And she'd commence scratching like crazy on the trunk of the nearest tree.
and then I thought about the fact that even though my grandmother wouldn't recognize a lot about today's world and the ways my family personally lives within it she would undoubtedly recognize the part of my container garden that remains disaffected by my overall efforts to up my Final Effect game by summer's mid-point.
Am referencing the stuff on the pool skirt. This is how Pearl herself gardened although I didn't make the connection until this moment. If she were somehow here today I have a good idea of what she'd do. Stand over me with her hands on her hips until I took the perennial red sage out of the beautiful pot which is clearly too small and get it duly situated in something larger and lackluster in appearance.
Perhaps that's where I'll start delayed-by-heat chores rounds this evening.
(my grandmother quite successfully taught me that the look of a place couldn't hold a candle to its cumulative atmosphere and effective purpose. In that respect and a good many others she would have approved whole-heartedly in my choice of husband. She would also find him suitably generous of his cumulative resources in a long haul way with just the right level of big flashes to show proof of a kind she always noticed and highly prized - that what mattered to me also mattered to him if only by default.)
took about six pics in a row while Mama sat there gazing at me and I asked if my grandmother's spirit was afoot within her. was figuring it might be one of those occasions where one or two pics in the chain showed obvious activity of anOther sort.
During my first of today's visits to the garden I picked the first ripe tomato. Cut the Blush baby in half so J and I could share this first homegrown taste. Our jersey roots kind of mandate we make something of a ceremony of it for each type of tomato grown. This variety offers a sweet burst of cherry tomato taste coupled with extra meaty full tomato-flavored flesh. Hoped it would be perfect equally for salads, sandwiches and stir frys. And it will. Could probably also handle a barbecue skewer.
Will share small packets of seed for anyone who might like to have a go next year.
the caveat: given enough space, light, and manure these vines are super prolific food bearers that have reached the end of their stake length here at the high summer mark. That's why I'm offering small amounts of seed. Even if I grow 2 plants max every year for the next few I will not be able to use up the seed while it's viability level is close to full potency.
last night I could not sleep - already! - over exactly what I plan to do with all the emergent tomatoes as they ripen. It was a rousing un-success but then just now as I'm sitting here making this post I realized I can chop them up with some of last year's shallots and create a cooked-down stock base that can be frozen in meal-planning chunks. Will experiment also with freezing the fruits whole as well. Even though it brings up immediate flashbacks of a Little Findhorn experience involving several gallon freezer bags full of yellow pear cherry tomatoes that did not unthaw so much as mush themselves into oblivion.
~*~guess it's obvious I have re-thought my level of willing accommodation to the Too Many Words contingent of email consideration points in recent times.
I came back to blogging in order to do it deliberately. And for me that's impossible without words in sufficient number to the themes.~*~