Art in the Vegetative State

These last weeks have been a blur of AYSO soccer playoff games, fifth-grade current event projects, book report dioramas, and Hurricane Ana preparations. Each event has passed with relative ease (the hurricane nearly swirled to a stop 85 miles off the coast of Kauai, but then picked up the pace and moved along, causing little damage to our island). Hurdling deadlines and buffering for natural disasters takes work.

As we pull the plywood from the windows, and Jeb turns in his latest school project, I sigh and take stock. My internal meter reading suggests that resources are on the wane.

If my artistic expression were vegetative, I think I’d be right there with the cucumbers.

2014-10-22_dried cuk leaf

Now, passed their prime, crinkled, dry leaves hang lifeless on the fence line. A few stunted cucumbers dangle mid-mission, never fully having matured. Potential, unrealized. Pickles anyone?

However, I will not sour. Despite its fading glory, I see the beauty in the brown of lacy leaves hanging in sunlight. Their precious transparency whispers of readiness to return to soil. It’s time pull the roots on this once-prolific plant. Complete the circle of life. Compost.

In this garden, all aspects of the Cycle are represented. Just beyond the dying vine, zinnias and marigolds bloom in gold and fuchsia. And around the corner, in the water garden, our first lily flower is just about to break the liquid surface with a bud.

2014-10-22_lily bud

Tomato Time

Being the parent of an only child, I don’t know what it’s like to try to spread my mothering between siblings. Jeb gets 100% of my mama mana.

But beyond the parenting sphere, I tend to a multitude of other projects. Whether its my note cards, the succulent garden, or the family meal menu, I observe that each requires my attention, some needing more love than others, depending on the timing.

In the artistic realm, I may not be crafting volumes of words as of late, but the time is Now for the garden, as it prolifically produces art forms of its own. My job is to harvest the masterpieces.

A first attempt at growing tomatoes has proven fruitful.

Loving the creative process in all of its forms.


2014-10-16_tomatoes close


2014-10-16_tomatoes overview

Floating Fractals

I remember my uncle – a farmer and a lover of bluegrass music – standing on the wooden porch of his old farmhouse, clad in denim overalls. His big, fat beard fluffed about the base of his fiddle when he pressed it to his chin. The toe of his workboot tapping in tune, beside an old claw foot bathtub. It was filled to the brim and brewing with algae-ed water, teeming with plump pollywogs.

We don’t have tadpoles but we recently got a free bathtub, and we’re working to transform it into a serene water garden. We’ve nestled it in among the succulents and plugged the drain. Picked up our “starter kit” at the local water garden supply. Included were the clarifying plants, two “good” snails, and three Plattie fish. These all work together, keeping the water clear and the ecosystem balanced.

On the car ride home, Jeb sat in the back seat holding the plastic bag of fish naming each: “Leo Messie”, “Big D”, and “Small D.” He says he thinks Big D is dying, but as I drive I assure him he’s probably just a little stressed and resting.

But Jeb was right. By the time we’re ready to release the Platties into their new world, Big D is belly up. The fish were $2.00 a piece and he was our biggest one. I wonder if it’s worth it to go back to the supply store and request a replacement. I wonder if Small D and Leo will make more fish. Then I suggest we let Big D’s body stay in the tub because the other fish may eat him.

Though a bit disappointed, Jeb seems relatively unphased by the death. I notice that I seem downright callous about Big D’s demise.

We move on to those that are still living. The snails are healthily attaching to the tub walls. Small D and Leo are swimming with excited freedom in the largest sphere they’ve ever seen. Our water-lily, the “Blue Beauty,” is stretching out its lanky stems. The mosaic plants are fractally floating.

So far, the bathtub garden is doing well. I do hope Big D is at peace wherever his spirit may be. And as for me, I’m grateful for the ease of buoyancy I feel each time I look into this watery world.

2014-10-14_mosaic overhead


2014-10-14_mosaic close


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