Thursday, September 23, 2010

a conversation between god & st. francis on nature & human nature

as i watch the suburbanites daily i cannot help but think of this little story about god and st. francis having a conversation on nature and the ridiculous nature of humans.  it's an old one that's been passed around plenty but worth another read because of it's truthfulness.

God: Hey St. Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there in the Midwest? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect "no maintenance" garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.

St. Francis: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers "weeds" and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

God: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

St. Francis: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. The begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

God: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

St. Francis: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it... sometimes twice a week.

God: They cut it? Do they then bail it like hay?

St. Francis: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

God: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

St. Francis: No Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

God: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

St. Francis: Yes, Sir.

God: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

St. Francis: You are not going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

God: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.

St. Francis: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

God: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?

St. Francis: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. The haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

God: And where do they get this mulch?

St. Francis: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

God: Enough. I don't want to think about this anymore. Sister Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

Sister Catherine: "Dumb and Dumber", Lord. It's a real stupid movie about.....

God: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

speak to us of children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you

from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran

Thursday, September 9, 2010

morning musings

i often wake up early and make myself stay up while the rest of the household sleeps. morning is my favorite, actually best time for reflection.  past, present, future...all my considerations can present without hindrance, revealing themselves in the stillness and dimness of early morning.  it's just me, a cup of coffee and a smoke or two.  yeah, i still have the habit.

mornings now find me, weather permitting, on the back porch.  mark's mom thinks i'm a bit strange i am sure, as often i'm sitting on the back porch in the near darkness, barefoot and bushy headed when she gets up.  but then, she doesn't let me smoke in the house and i am a wee bit strange anyhow.  wtf?  i am me and for a long time after moving in here i tried to do what all good girls are trained to do; make a good and proper impression.  after all, i was living under her roof and with her only son.  i better be good!  but it's been nearly a year now and even though i have tried hard and been through a lot of inner (and outer) conflict, she is just going to have to accept me for me.  actually i think she does, but that doesn't necessarily mean she adores the real me.  but you know what?  that's ok.  i haven't been one to care so much what others think of me for a long, long time.  circumstances here just took me back to an earlier, less secure time when i felt i needed to be approved of.  now isn't that crazy?  as long as i treat her respectfully (and i do) and i respect her home and offer my help (which i do) and contribute financially (which i do) then that is sufficient.  she can plainly see i am not a bad person and that i love her son, so there ya have it. 

i never dreamed the past eighteen months or so would bring about such change.  i miss my country life and likely always will.  it's unlikely i'll get back to it and that's ok.  i don't know if i have it in me anymore to do everything i did before, but, eventually i will get back to living day to day life according to my priorities rather than my mil's.  eventually i will rule my own home and kitchen again.  it is a hard thing to do; giving up authority over one's surroundings.  oh how i would love to be surrounded by things that express me or to use my own cookware and dishes and design a more user friendly home.  my previous life was all about home.  how i loved to care for and nurture that spirit.  here, i find my greatest comfort outside on the back porch and in the basement where i've been given room to create.  someday that will change and this girl will create an atmosphere that accommodates her vision of comfort and warmth.  amen to that.