5.02.2007

Non-Book Meme: Parts 3-4

Item 3: Puddles

When I was very young I would walk up the fire road where the eucalytus leaves hung down in silver green tassels. I was joined by Papa- my grandfather, Alex- a silky golden retriever, and a walking stick. We walked up the fire road between a narrow ravine and a sandstone cliff face. Engraved in the sandstone was a sailboat with 'Liz' & 'Coll' etched into the sails; carved by Papa for my cousin Lizzy and myself. It's still there, getting more shallow with each year. And in the road, puddles. It was here that I first discovered the universe contained within a puddle. The puddles on this walk usually were full of: silt, rocks, eucaplytus leaves, and eucalyptus nuts. Contained within, I also saw a bustling community in miniature, and I wanted in. I was a visitor from Brobdignag, kept out by my size, frustrated by my inability to enter that world. These were early glimpses of imagination, from whence came a lot of my early play. Crouched over a puddle, setting things afloat, squinting at the sun's reflection, stirring up silt. I remember wanting so badly to be small so that I could ride on that leaf, or hide under that eucalyptus bark that is floating by. By it's diminutive size, it seemed safe and small and cosy, and I wished I could crawl in and live my tiny life with the nuts and rocks and leaves. The only way I could participate in the world inside each puddle was by carefully dipping in my walking stick and doing something I called "filling up": Soaking the stick so that I could drag a wet line from one puddle to the next. I think I will name this walk.....
Item 4: Walk with Papa & Alex,
because as I am remembering the puddle walk, I realize how I have 'read' this walk, and how right I felt while I was on it. I felt comfortable in my skin, completely loved and accepted by Papa and Alex (and Grandma, who waited at home with game shows, macaroni & cheese and a TV tray.)
Every walk, the scenario was the same: Papa lets Alex off the leash and Alex runs on ahead, around the bend in the road. The woods fall quiet. Papa looks at me, grinning and I giggle back in the sudden stillness . "Now!" I squeal, and Papa throws back his head and lets loose a piercing whistle. It is still quiet and then we hear it: dog tags jangling and toenails clicking, Alex returns, barking joyously and I am laughing. Muddy, slobbery and eager; golf balls in his mouth, waiting for his reward. Papa gives him a dog treat and a pat on the head. Perfect.

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Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.