Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Turning the Page to Springtime

   Ah, early March...Right now I am resting in a pleasant reading lull following the big book club project Bonhoeffer. This is good timing, too, because the seasons are changing and I have more and more gardening tasks to consume my negotiable hours. Hallelujah!!!

    For a couple of weeks I'll be indulging my paper-thirsty soul in three books. First is Typee, a tantalizing Herman Melville novel set in the South Pacific, which transports me to heat, sand, eroticism, and cannibalism. Next is Barbara Kingsolver's fantastic one-year memoir Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I'm actually exploring this for the second time. Don Quixote is the next book club selection, and while I won't dive into the text until later this month, it has lots of pre-reading worth doing. Sometimes this just helps revv up your engine, which is often helpful we reading an old, old, old book like this. The pre-reading for a classic is like a well planned appetizer; it primes your mind and your soul for the literary feast that is coming. This translation in particular has tons of yummy things to offer, and I'm grooving it.

Also, when the house is otherwise quiet, Pacino likes for me to read 
the introductions and author notes and such aloud to him.
His is a very bossy and snobby bird who fancies himself an intellectual.
But he's really not. He just likes to hear people talk. Especially Momma.

Don't even get me started on Romulus.
Something tells me this llama expects me 
to read him Don Quixote en Espanol.
No va a suceder, hombre. 

   Anyway, were you here at the digital Lazy W last spring? Do you remember the rantings and ravings I issued forth about Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? I basically could not shut up about it:

   Well, this time around I am pretty much just reading what I marked from last February (which is only every other sentence), because the Kingsolver family's locavorism story has already been imprinted on my heart. Now I can afford to just reread the tenets, the quotes, and the light bulb paragraphs. What last year suddenly became my gardening manifesto is this spring proving its staying power. I feel a February reading tradition growing here, you guys.

   My early mornings lately have been perfumed with sentences like this...

"Respecting the dignity of a spectacular food means enjoying it at its best." ~Barbara Kingsolver


"That's the sublime paradox of a food culture: restraint equals indulgence." ~Barbara Kingsolver

   These only inspire me further towards a more loving, deliberate approach to our food growing efforts here at the W. Then a few days ago I saw this quote floating around cyberspace as the rain was falling hard and cold on our thirsty fields...

"I said to the almond tree 'Speak to me of God' and the almond tree bloomed." ~Niko Kazantzakis*

   Isn't that true and beautiful?? I cannot think of any sphere of life where God proves His creative, redemptive power more consistently or with more poetry than in nature.

   In Oklahoma we are starting oregano seeds indoors and scattering poppy and cilantro seeds outdoors, where the chickens can't see. Obviously. We are scooping up natural fertilizers and digging new beds. We are counting the weeks, the days, and the hours till the first fresh little verdant harvest bowl. Springtime is arriving with lots of much needed moisture, proving the almanac right once more. Ladybugs are swarming, honey bees are foraging, and the wide blue skies are thawing. One prayer after another is being answered gently, too. We are excited.

   I feel so thankful to have a comfortable place in my life for reading. I am really enjoying these books so far, and I also really really love this rich inspiration for the new gardening season. Last year was good, but this year is going to be amazing.... Can't you feel it??

   What are you reading right now? Have you started anything in your garden yet? Have you noticed any prayers being answered?

"They must often change,
who would be constant in happiness or wisdom."

*Twentieth century Greek philosopher and writer


  1. I'm reading George Saunders' "Tenth of December". It sure is something. Quixote was required reading for me in college and I hated it. But I don't like any of the classics, except maybe Anna Karenina. Melville and Cervantes, I'm impressed.

    1. Ok you've given me two titles to add to my list, thanks lady!! I had to translate Don Quixote for a high school Spanish class and did it badly, so I barely remember the story, just *sorta* the themes. LOL I am on a mission to rediscover some classics, for my own good. Like taking vitamins that are sometimes delicious and sometimes not. hahaha!!

  2. Marie, I love coming back here and catching up with your great brain, awesome library, insights, and beautiful heart.

    I think Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was the first book I read three years ago when we moved to our little farm.I don't think most people know that when we bought it, we had never discussed animals, big gardens, food production, and land stewardship. We were here for a number of other reasons, none of them connected to what we do now. Kingsolver's beautiful words and powerful pen changed something. I had never read a book like it.
    And, without understanding how it could possibly happen, I became urgently needful of connecting to food, flavor, animals,land, life cycles, and production.
    We started with eating seasonally, but that simply wasn't enough (I'm not patient by the way - I think that lasted two weeks before I was chafing at the bit for more...)
    And, before I knew it, this educated in the humanities former college professor and administrator - (read "not too practical") - had without thinking about it started a homestead venture.
    What heights of hope and failure we've known. And,lordy,do I appreciate good tasting food.
    Hmmm- I haven't even answered your question - I've tossed The Aeneid aside, devoured Wendell Berry's "Fidelty: Five Stories" (I think it's helpful to have read some other of his fiction to introduce you to characters and nuances of story that could stand alone, but are better in context of a larger body of work). Tried to get into Craig Bartholomew's "Where Mortals Dwell: A Christian View of Place for Today" and found it too difficult - for now. It's not hard to read, just very scholarly, so it requires more time than I can offer. And, frankly, much to my angst, I'm in a reading dessert. Just can't carve the proper time out of the day. So, I love other people's reviews and the glimpse I get between the covers because of what others share.

    Nothing in the garden yet - girl, it was 16 degrees this morning and another winter storm coming our way in a few days. Patience. Patience. (But I am longing to get in the dirt...)

    And, now I will answer your prayer, by concluding what is likely to be the longest comment eveh ;-)



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