7 Reasons For Working Against Nature

“There are no green thumbs or black thumbs,” wrote horticulturalist Henry Mitchell. “There are only gardeners and non-gardeners. Gardeners are the ones who get on with the high defiance of nature herself, creating, in the very face of her chaos and tornado, the bower of roses and the pride of irises. It sounds very well to garden a ‘natural way.’ You may see the natural way in any desert, any swamp, any leech-filled laurel hell. Defiance, on the other hand, is what makes gardeners.”

Blogger CRISTIAN MIHAI recently wrote about the idea of truth being stranger than fiction. Many times I’ve found that lies I’ve told myself are easier to believe than truth and that stories I write about real events seem far more unbelievable than when I’m just coming up with stuff. Novelists take what is natural (chaos) and turn it into gardens.

In the natural world sheep throw their babies away if they’re weak or sick. Some people do the same. Most of us are okay with defying the natural on this.

I like wild places (this is a partial lie because I’m afraid of bears and parasites), but I love manicured places best: gardens, hay fields and beaches with boardwalks.

There is a sense that humans somehow invaded the planet and really should go back to where they came from. Humans write these things and talk about these things. I’ve done it myself (usually after oil spills), but there are valid reasons to stand in defiance against nature.

Back to the Land: I once was a proponent for this lifestyle choice. I went on guided walks in Brooklyn to learn how to scavenge food from Prospect Park. I learned that cattails taste like cucumber. I moved to a farm. I considered (briefly) making my own shoes. Yet every avenue I explored circled back around to leaving a footprint on something “pristine.” Without my help many an animal would have died of parasite overload or starvation after being caught in a bramble. Those natural potato beetles I squash everyday have taught me a lot.

Mr. and Mrs. I. N. Phelps Stokes by John Singer Sargent

Cave Drawings: Okay, I suppose primitive art is interesting in a way, but John Singer Sargent’s portraits prove to me that practice and defying our natural state can be a pretty great thing.

Plumbing: I know it’s cliche, but it has to be mentioned.

Leisure Time: A nomadic existence being one with nature (which again is sort of a lie) doesn’t leave much time to invent the washing machine. Or the novel.

Novels: I like novels–no, I love novels. When you’re doing whatever has to be done to make shoes and to fight off wilderness creatures, writing and reading novels kind of takes a back seat. (don’t forget paper! I refuse to feel guilty about loving the invention of paper).

Computers: How many back-to-the land bloggers are out there? Quite a few. How many times have I found great “natural” remedies for common insect problems online? Many times. Yet sometimes I’ve given myself and my animals modern meds. I want to live!

Garden of Eden: News flash: we don’t live there. We’re not perfect. The other day an old comment I made (2013) on someone’s blog came back to haunt me. I upset a reader by clumsily trying to make the point that in my opinion every race, color and creed have the seeds of evil and good in them. The person wanted me to think that only people with a European heritage were “evil.” I respectfully disagreed and wished her well, even after this person told me to take my bullshit else where and that I didn’t belong on a blog that wasn’t even her own. Can I help it if I see us as all one big, screwed-up family? Can I blind myself to the danger of silencing others by labeling entire groups as “evil” or “guilty”?

When I was young I liked to point the finger and to imagine that with home-made shoes and no novels life would be better. But it was a lie. People may have the seeds of evil, but their defiance of nature has, in so many complex ways, created a lot of beauty as well. I feel sad that human creativity has been channeled so often in ugly directions. Celebrating our degradation is not great art to me. Take me to a garden, however flawed, draw me a picture, write a  novel about love. It’s an act of defiance–life-enhancing defiance.

Are you a gardener in life? Tell me all about it.

THE MYTH OF CREATIVE INSPIRATION

50 WAYS TO FIND INSPIRATION

20 THINGS THAT CAN HELP YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR WRITING

Human paths can be beautiful.

 

Save

A Mother Who Read to Me

mother and daughter

The Reading Mother

by

Strickland Gillilan

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“Blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings–
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be–
I had a Mother who read to me.

Meet Chloe Sevigny (the goat) on Instagram

chloe
Chloe Sevigny in her theatrical debut as Blanche DuBois

I’ve been moonlighting lately. After a month of blizzards, animal births and foster kid drama my mind is a bit fried. But I can still take pictures!

ENTER INSTAGRAM. It’s surprisingly fun. Photo shoots with goats are fun. HERE’S MY LINK:

ADRIENNE MORRIS

I’m also on Twitter now but still haven’t figured out what it’s about. 🙂

ADRIENNE’S Twitter

Magic

loggers-1900
Loggers 1900 (courtesy Old Photo Archive)

“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic — the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.”Charles de Lint

LINK: WHY MAGIC MATTERS

Classic Family Sagas

bcce868f611f1f72960dc0099a9eb30d
Pinterest.com

“The family saga chronicles the lives and doings of a family or a number of related or interconnected families. The typical novel follows the generations of a family through a period of time to portray particular historical events, changes of social circumstances, or the ebb and flow of fortunes from a multiple of perspectives.” (Goodreads)

LINKS: DEAR BOOK LOVER: CLASSIC FAMILY SAGAS

             TOP 10 EPIC FAMILY SAGAS

              WRITING AN EPIC FAMILY SAGA

 

Holiday Gratitude: Husbands with Chainsaws

How nice it is to mention going sledding and having a husband who drops what he’s doing to sharpen his chainsaw the day before a snowstorm. Down came a few “ironwood”  saplings (to be used for winter heating) and up we climbed the next day to have some fun.

You’re never too old to coast down a hill. The goats were not impressed.

WINTER IN STRATHEARN
by John Davidson

The twinkling Earn, like a blade in the snow,
The low hills scalloped against the high, 
The high hills leaping upon the low, 
And the amber wine in the cup of the sky, 
With the white world creaming over the rim, 
She watched; and a keen aroma rose, 
Embodied, a star above the snows; 
For when the west sky-edge grows dim, 
When lights are silver and shades are brown, 
Behind Torlum the sun goes down; 
And from Glenartney, night by night; 
The full fair star of evening creeps; 
Though spectral branches clasp it tight, 
Like magic from their hold it leaps. 
And reaches heaven at once. Her sight 
Gathers the star, and in her eyes 
She meekly wears heaven's fairest prize.

Holiday Gratitude: Blue Christmas

In The Bleak MidWinter

by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart

LINK: The science of sad Christmas songs: Psychologist reveals why feeling bad sometimes feels good