Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Lessons of Plants and Flowers

This plant, a gift from Ben and Wendy, was practically outgrowing its pot at one time. Its branches were tall and abundant. One day, it's abundant branches were bone dry and its leaves were brown. Matt and I had a dispute. He was adamant that the plant was dead. I disagreed. "Let's give it a chance," I said. "I think it will grow back again." I cut the branches down to stumps and put aluminum foil on the ends to preserve whatever moisture they'd retained. One day there was a miracle. I looked at the plant and saw that a new tall branch had grown overnight. No, not a miracle, but a joke. Matt had taken a branch that he had trimmed from a backyard bush and put it in the pot. We laughed together at this, Matt repeating his verdict that the plant was dead. Life proved him wrong. Thankfully he lived to see the new growth and I got a chance to say, "Ha ha, I told you so."

The plant to the left may eventually reach the ceiling. Such is the way of a healthy plant. I've attached a string from the ceiling to the supporting pole so that it can do this. Eventually I'll cut the plant down, shear off its proud growth, so that I can entrust it to Rachael's care when I take a multi-week vacation. Such is the life of a plant and the whims of a human. The plant to the right was a Christmas gift from Rachael. Small yellow roses bloomed from it and perhaps will bloom again when the season is right.

I found myself thinking about the message of flowers when I received them in sympathy for The Recent Event. Flowers seem to be the all-purpose messenger. They speak of love and forgiveness, of get-well-soon and condolence. I balked at this when I saw that the flowers I was given were starting to die. It would seem to me that I've had enough of Death without having to witness it in the friggin flowers. But flowers always, no matter what the occasion, teach us about the whole process of life. Some flowers die before others. Leaves can last much longer. Eventually death will seek every thing and every body. In the meantime, there is beauty and there is joy, not diminished by its eventual passing, but exalted in It's moment for the moment we share and the next one if it is granted to us.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Avatar

When I gave Zwinky permission to enter my computer, I thought that it would create a cartoon version of myself using a photograph that I would download to the program. Instead my choice of options was only what was available. Voluptuous (as Lorraine would say) was not available. Nor was gray hair. My choice was between cutesy and hot. I chose hot. I have to admit that she's growing on me even though she's not what I had in mind.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Curmudgeonly Comment About the Friggin Ball

I may have written about this before, about how we get used New Years' Eves here in Northern California. As if there is no New Year's Eve celebration in San Francisco where fireworks blaze in front of the ferry building. Or in Southern California, the home of Hollywood. Well finally Matt and I settled for Las Vegas because it is at least in the same time zone as us. Within minutes they announced, "and now we go live to New York" which was, of course, a rebroadcast of what was live three hours earlier. And so we settled again, since all the world is apparently focused on the friggin ball falling in friggin New York. Why not Greenwich, England, the official time-keeper of the world? Or further to the west where the crooked date line is drawn?

And they were excited, the crowds. At least according to Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest and probably Anderson Cooper and the boringly outrageous chick on the stage with him. Yes indeed, the crowds went wild with anticipation as the moments drew near. Their collective nerves quivered as the ball descended. And then there was an orgasmic cheer. The New Year had begun. Matt and I yawned and showed our age. Having been through 63 New Year's Eves, we know that nothing changes. The most narcissistic species on this and possibly any planet has arbitrarily decided that a particular moment in time begins a Whole New Year. And time goes on, one tick at a time. The Cosmos doesn't even bother to shrug.

And yet, just a bit, no more than that, I would give up some of my hard earned wisdom for the youthful exuberance that had me tossing into the air in front of the princess's castle at Disneyland a pack of cigarettes that I'd resolved to quit smoking on a New Year's Eve so very long ago.