Will They Be Flowers?

“Will they be flowers? Maybe herbs?” As she asked her fingers played with the new leaves on the young shoots. A new leaf came off in her hand, accidently I supposed. She didn’t seem to notice; I didn’t care to comment.

“Flowers. They are coming along nicely, don’t you think?” I admired the growth, hard won over the course of several weeks.

“Yes, very nicely.”

We turned away from the window box and toward the cozy kitchen table. I poured some coffee. “Cream?”

“No thank you, Maria, I drink my coffee black. How long have the flowers been growing?”  We both sat down.

I added a few drops of cream and watched them bubble back to the top.  “I started a few months ago.” I dribbled a few more drops of cream into my coffee and took a careful sip. “A while back I found that big old window box at a garage sale. I fixed it up and brought it up here to the table by the window. The box is filled with a mixture of potting soil and the extra dirt from the front garden, carried up bag by bag. I bought the seeds and began the nurturing. This third floor apartment has the eastern advantage- fresh sun in the morning yet shaded from the afternoon heat. It took a while to find the right amount of water.” I took another sip.

She looked around. “Yes, you did get one of the better apartments here and you are one of my best tenants. But about the water.” She set down her mug. “That is actually why I stopped by. Next week, well, starting tomorrow, the water will be shut off. I have to re-do the pipes for the radiators and that requires the water to be shut off. There is really no alternative.” She took another sip from her mug.

“Seriously?” I paused, taking in the information. “Couldn’t you have given us more time to make preparations? There are 8 families who live here; no one will have water?”

“I am afraid not. You can gather water in buckets or the bathtub I suppose. You could also move out for a week. I’m not really sure what you’ll do and honestly, it doesn’t matter to me.” She stood up with an air of formalness, brushed off her blouse as if it had been soiled by its presence in my kitchen and walked the 5 steps to the to the door.  Without turning around she said, “I just wanted to let you know.” With one hand on the doorknob she turned her head and added, “Thanks for the coffee.”  She walked out.  The door closed with a click.

Stunned by the news, I took a sip of coffee and stared at her unfinished mug. There on top floated one, delicate leaf.

Advertisements

Unexpected Amazed

As I knelt to plant my vegetable garden
the sown seeds, unexpectedly, had been mixed
At some point
by no one in particular
A loose box, open envelopes, perhaps

The vegetables were few and far between
But the flowers
The flowers
They were beautiful mixed with greens
Unexpected
Beautiful

When I stood to paint this mural
To reflect the sea and the sunset
The waves and the gulls
A sudden elbow slip, a few misstrokes
new-strokes
And the sea became a flowing river
All re-framed
With tall buildings reflecting the sky
Beautiful
Unexpected yet
Beautiful 

Sitting at the piano bench to write
The song of minor tones and sadness
Oops, a major third, hmmm, a new progression
With a walking bass line
And a piano solo
Jazzy
Classy
Unexpected and beautiful 

Lettings loose the best of creation
Rolling with the punches
Not knowing the end result
Why did the character sneeze?
Why did the colors blend?
Why did the music roll?

Ahh, the way of creation
Beautiful and unexpected
And beautiful
Accepted and beautiful
For if the end were pre conceived
Would it be art?
Would it be creation?
Would it be life?

Unexpected beauty happens
Be amazed!

Not at the Shelter

While reading with a student today, the book talked about gardening and flowers.  I asked my student, “Do you have a garden or flowers where you live?”

“No,” she answered, “we don’t have a garden at my shelter but I have a flower by my bed.”

That’s how I found out she was homeless.  So, I continue to tread lightly, teach strongly and lend a hand when I can, for the people I meet are carrying some heavy loads.

The Legend of the Poinsettia

8 The Legend of the Poinsettia Screen shot 2012-12-05 at 6.55.29 PM

  • The Aztecs called poinsettias “Cuetlaxochitl.” During the 14th – 16th century the sap was used to control fevers and the bracts (modified leaves) were used to make a reddish dye.
  • Montezuma, the last of the Aztec kings, would have poinsettias brought into what now is Mexico City by caravans because poinsettias could not be grown in the high altitude.

The legend of the poinsettia comes from Mexico. It tells of a girl named Maria and her little brother Pablo. They were very poor but always looked forward to the Christmas festival. Each year a large manger scene was set up in the village church, and the days before Christmas were filled with parades and parties. The two children loved Christmas, but were always saddened because they had no money to buy presents. They especially wished that they could give something to the church for the Baby Jesus. But they had nothing.

One Christmas Eve, Maria and Pablo set out for church to attend the service. On their way they picked some weeds growing along the roadside and decided to take them as their gift to the Baby Jesus in the manger scene. Of course they were teased by other children when they arrived with their gift, but they said nothing for they knew they had given what they could. Maria and Pablo began placing the green plants around the manger and miraculously, the green top leaves turned into bright red petals, and soon the manger was surrounded by beautiful star-like flowers and so we see them today.