http://www.anenglishinkentucky.com/ - May 20, 2013 10:46:02 PM - Oct 3, 2010 6:19:05 AM
Monday May 20th 2013
Problems associated with major hacking back of shrubs and trees at this time of year are too many to mention. But a number of considerations are well worth raising. First, it's far too late to suddenly decide that something has to be pruned. Much better to have thought about it up to six months ago, instead of waiting all this time. Then, when a person realizes they made the same error last year and the year before that, it all becomes a little irritating. And without beating a bush, high temperatures with humidity are neither of them conducive to thoughtful pruning to shape of anything.
The second consideration is the nesting of birds. Some way into the ordeal of managing the Apple, I noticed what I thought was some kind of pox, an evil growth of some kind, and I decided that of the confusion of crossed branches, I could at least rip out an infested limb. By sheer chance, with sword in hand, I spotted a very small tail feather and realized I'd seen a nest. She'd been there muttering at me, holding on, and had not deserted her eggs, while I'd hacked away all around her. She's a tiny bird called a Gnatcatcher. Her nest is lichen, bark, Caterpillar silk, Spider web, and there is a slight chance her nest is lined with a hair or two from my own head. Thank Goodness I saw her in time.
Sunday May 19th 2013
Of perennials in the Vegetable Garden, all creatures capable of movement have a special place on their menu for Ripening Strawberry, and this can lead to conflict, anxiety and rattiness, especially if Mockingbird decide that a Strawberry bed makes the perfect nursery for three plump children. The first attempt at creating The Greedy Strawberry, which is the bigger and bigger and fatter and fatter Strawberry, was a 1750 French hybrid of two species of Wild Strawberry, one from the coastal regions of the Western America's and the other the Wild Strawberry that can often be seen anywhere from Kentucky to Virginia and which wisely produces a tiny little fruit that can often go unnoticed.
The interesting thing about the Wild West Coast Strawberry, or Beach Strawberry as it's sometimes called, is it's presence in the Mountains of Hawaii. The argument from some quarters is that the Beach Strawberry was carried to the Mountains of Hawaii by migrating birds. The Wild Strawberry of Europe are as far as I can tell, mostly The Little Woodland Strawberry. Which from around 1500 were kidnapped from their forests and planted by Gardeners in nice straight rows so that all creatures capable of movement could easily find them. The Romans boiled the entire Strawberry plant, roots and all, as a cure for mental distress. Which is an option I am seriously considering.
Saturday May 18th 2013
I thought a Squab was a life form of the sea, that lived in the colder depths where it grew to great size while it pondered the meaning of darkness and the poor dear had suddenly become fashionable amongst the 'eating-out' crowd now that Swordfish and Snapper are in terrible decline.
To discover that a Squab is a nestling domestic Pigeon, that's not yet left the care of it's parent, and can do not much better than flutter, has sent me into a decline, awakened the certain knowledge that so long as I trudge this earth, I'll never again open a cook book.
Friday May 17th 2013
One of the problems of being dominated by The Rabbit is the persistence of his past, which now intrudes. One consequence of this intrusion is boredom for any one who might read these pages and another consequence is such things as for example a name for the Out House. Which in my mind has become a tentative "Saint Teresa of Avila." For his part, The Rabbit formerly achieved Sainthood, in the Year of Our Lord 1099. But as is well known, since around 1100 a person does not usually become a Saint, until he or she has been gone form the mortal plane for a respectable period of time. There are a great many recent exceptions, and I'd argue that these exceptions are primarily a reactionary whim on the part of the modern Vatican, a pandering to populist demand. As well there has been in recent times a horrible habit of what I will call "Mass Sainting." The eight hundred Martyrs of Otranto, may be an extreme example but it is far from unusual. In the 1970's Pope Paul the sixth suddenly announced the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, most of whom had had their moment on earth at around the time tea first arrived in England.
The Rabbit was born around 720 and died around the time Offa came to the thrown of Mercia, which according the Anglo Saxon Chronicles was near enough to the year 757, though of course the calendar has changed a little, so it might have been 758, or 756. And during The Rabbit's time upon earth, it was more likely that in order to be a Saint a person had first to have held a very respectable office within the religious hierarchy, and as admirers gathered for a final farewell there would be graveside discussion of Sainthood, and onward the process would quickly go all the way to the Pope, who'd pretty much gloss through evidence of Sainthood and make the decision on political grounds. Then there would occasionally arise a rascal, who for one reason or another would be made a Saint for purely political ends. Which is why one of the phenomena a commission on sainthood considers worthy, is what's called the Odor of Sanctity. And here "St. Teresa of
Avila" became a Saint because her grave exuded a sweet scent for nine months after her death. Saint Teresa was one of the founders of the order of Barefoot Carmelites, who are called to a cloistered existence of "prayer, penance, hard work and silence."
Thursday May 16th 2013
William the Second was a son of William the Conqueror. "Hateful to almost all his people and odious to God," he well might have been. After the death of Archbishop Lanfrac, an Italian Norman who had been Archbishop of Canterbury, William was reluctant to name another Bishop to the postion and that way he was able to secure Church Revenues for his own purposes. Then one day William fell sick, and he was able to convince himself that this sickness was a punishment from God, and he set about the business of appointing a new Archbishop of Canterbury. He chose another Italian Norman called Anslem, a brilliant politician who a hundred or so years after his death was recommended for Saint Hood by none other than Thomas Becket. Saint Anslem of Canterbury died in the year 1109.
William the Second's nickname was William Rufus. He had a "red faced" appearance and probably suffered from some sort of red blotchiness as I do. He was 'flamboyant' and without entail. And it's possible that the good scribes of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles added this aspect of William's personality to their understanding of "odious to God." William died while hunting. The Anglo Saxon Chronicles suggest he was "shot by an arrow from one of his own men." The arrow pierced his lung, he fell from his horse, and there in the forest he was abandoned by the nobles. His younger brother, Henry, raced to Winchester where the Royal Treasury was kept and within days Henry had himself crowned King of England. And I have told the Rabbit of Usk that I have no intention of going hunting with a marksman.
Wednesday May 15th 2013
OK. I will wave the white flag. And I'll try to argue my surrender has nothing to do with any wimpy-ness on my part, or fear of Grocery Store encounters, or boiling head syndrome, or Tic. Nor do I want you to think my surrender follows after some form of enhanced interrogation technique on the Rabbit's part. Rather, I have endured everything I am prepared to throw at myself, and after last night's long conversation with Walking Stewart he has agreed to merge briefly with the oneness on the understanding that my conclusion brings out the shine in Pythagorean thought, and, so long as I take care to offer detailed accounts of the Rabbit's horribleness.
And I guess there are some who when they attempt an account of their own existence, their Ecce Homo, if you like, have some sort of control over the course of what the technical device calls 510,643 words. A summation so callous I can feel my heart break. And grudgingly I can understand the importance of structure, when the Rabbit of Usk shrugs off his sulk and now begins to insist it is his turn to take the lead, otherwise anarchy and unwarranted innuendo, some of it very risky, will reduce me to a gibbering wreck, a chaotic pile of confused inconsequence. And of course The Rabbit's first words to me after the months of his silence had to be a quote from the Anglo Saxon Chronicles. "You're like William the third," he said to me, "hateful to almost all your people and odious to God." An un-auspicious reemergence, I'd suggest.
Tuesday May 14th 2013
The Rabbit of Usk faces such a conundrum there's a possibility I'll never again be able to have a hair cut. The problem lies in the relationship we share, I am unwilling to compromise and his response for some time now has been silence. It's been a long impasse in communication. So around the beginning of March, which is when one of us last made a decent contribution, I drew a conclusion that perhaps if I let my hair grow through the March hair cutting deadline, my hair would become intolerable as the warm weather arrived, and this would force me to achieve an increasing intensity of concentration that might permit progress.
Already I have been called 'madam' in the Post Office, and I've been offered a biscuit recipe by a large round man with bad hair plugs in the Grocery Store. And now that Tic season has conjoined with Out House Construction season I am possessed by a twitchiness that defeats all attempt at clear thinking. But I will not surrender. I will not kill off Walking Stewart by causing him to discover his lost button then disappear into the ethers of the Ottoman Empire. And I will insist upon knowing the names and life history of the Advocates for and against Timothy's canonization. And whenever that's done, I'm going to get my hair cut. As well I believe somehow the failure of Carrot Rows has contributed to the Rabbit of Usk's continuing stubbornness. And who knows what might happen to thinking when Beans might be ready to pick.
Monday May 13th 2013
The late afternoon of May 12th 2013, less that six weeks this side of mid summer's day, and a frost advisory issued by the National Weather Service. It's these sorts of dramatic moments that pulls a mind into closer and closer affinity with the men and women of the weather service. It's their opportunity to express emotion in their prose, wax lyrical, share mood. EER was unusually blunt: "Sensitive outdoor plants may be killed if left uncovered." I heard relish and keen anticipation in his voice, and I don't know about you, but I suspect EER is not person who likes his vegetables.
JH, who I am convinced grows his tomato on a balcony somewhere, offered: "Potted plants normally left outdoors should be covered or brought inside away from the cold." I could hear the nervousness, see the telephone call to a grandmother and the worry. But for understatement, and pure cocktail drinking calm, a person had to go to Geogerian/Dusty, my own hero of the National Weather Service: "Those with agricultural interests may consider taking precautions to protect tender vegetation." Myself, I thought the frost last night, "Spiteful and inconsiderate." The Artist for her part, called it a "A farewell love pat, because nobody was hurt."
Sunday May 12th 2013
A pair of Blue Grey Gnatcatchers. A Least Flycatcher. The butterfly flight of a courting Yellow Chat. One Hummingbird, who paused a while to sit in sunshine, warm himself on a cold morning. Indigo Bunting, bad tempered in the cut grass. Three Tree Swallow. One Confusing Warbler, he or she was greenish and had the sharp beak. Two Nightjar. It's a list for this morning's coffee clutch with migratory birds. Which, I'd suggest, is the only possible reaction to the Pope canonizing just 800 of the 813 Martyrs of Otranto who were beheaded in 1480 by Ottomans following a dispute over who might own the One God.
I don't call Phoebes, or Snow Birds migratory any more, nor can I call the Northern Harrier a winter visitor. The two Bobwhites are residents. And we are getting a little too much attention from Crows, so full we are of eggs and nests and rushing around. And the Red Squirrel is guilty of something, I'm certain. He has the happy smile. And late tonight into tomorrow's sunrise there could be frost on the Iris. So, if for some unaccountable reason you care about these sort of things, it's all very exciting and well worth waking up for.
Saturday May 11th 2013
Pontius Pilate as he attempted to maneuver a way through a political impasse, must have decided that if he could demonstrate that Jesus was no more than a person, those agitated by the possibility of Jesus being divine, would come to their senses. He had Jesus whipped, crowned with thorns and with the words "Behold The Man" he presented a much humiliated Jesus to that part of the populace who had been following the various flows in idea. And you have to wonder what Jesus might have been thinking through the course of that particular ordeal.
If ever you read "Ecce Homo" which is Nietzsche's "Behold The Man," pay no attention to the idea of it being an autobiography. If you even begin to think that, you'll get badly irritated and you will fall to the vice of scholarship and you'll start rambling about this and that and you might cease being true to the existentialist cause. Instead think of Nietzsche putting himself in Jesus' place, with Pontius Pilate grinning in the back ground, and blast of expectant faces out there in front of him. And with this scene in place, as you read Ecce Homo, ask yourself the question "how did I become what I am."