Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Poetry Month: Problematizical by Dave Bonta

Posted on


Up, and to the office, where busy all the morning, and then at noon to the ’Change with Mr. Hater, and there he and I to a tavern to meet Captain Minors, which we did, and dined; and there happened to be Mr. Prichard, a ropemaker of his acquaintance, and whom I know also, and did once mistake for a fiddler, which sung well, and I asked him for such a song that I had heard him sing, and after dinner did fall to discourse about the business of the old contract between the King and the East India Company for the ships of the King that went thither, and about this did beat my brains all the afternoon, and then home and made an end of the accounts to my great content, and so late home tired and my eyes sore, to supper and to bed.

which to be
a ropemaker or a sun

the old East India Company
or the rains

no end of accounts
to tire my yes

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 25 January 1668.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Love Letters to My Life #34: Taking a step changes the path

(We know the day we were born, but most of us do not know the day we will die. This love letter to my life is written on the day I've designated as my death day: the 17th of every month, and reminds me to be grateful for my incredible life.)    

It began when I bought a tent. The yearning for kayaking time on a lake had already prompted the purchase of a lime-green kayak and an easy-load rack. A couple of day trips to lakes close to Reno, though, had failed to scratch the itch for time on clear water surrounded by big trees. Turns out, my yearning was quite specific.

Camping appeared to be the only answer. Thus, the tent. Which lake was prompted by a decades-old memory of one night spent on the beautiful Lake Almanor, two hours north of Reno. So off I went for a four-day shake-down cruise on what I imagined might be my get-away plan to balance my urban life in Reno.

The lake was everything I remembered and more. The camping had some rough edges which I assumed would be smoothed out over time. With the pandemic in full swing, campgrounds were forced to close half their sites in an effort keep people socially distanced. At the same time, people were desperate to get away from their locked-down lives. Simply getting a camping spot required lining up at the break of dawn (or earlier).

Kayaking toward Mount Lassen

Leaving Reno at 5:00 a.m. mid-week, I lucked into a ponderosa-shaded beach site and settled in to a lazy schedule of kayaking, reading, napping, and making lists of things I needed to improve the camping experience. Afternoons were filled with exploring and kayaking other bodies of water in the area and the small town of Chester which has a lovely outdoor coffee shop, a tiny bookstore stocked with treasures, and the Blue Goose Gallery, filled with incredible art. This felt like my place.

Driving around the lake on day 3, I saw a sign: Vagabond Resort. Who could resist that name? I turned in, drove down toward the lake and saw the sign that changed everything: For Sale, posted on a beautiful lake-view deck alongside a 5th wheel RV. It was lust at first sight.

Three weeks later I was moving in to what I thought would be my summer get-away from Reno. It didn’t take long to realize I no longer wanted to live in the city, any city. Vagabond Resort is only open five months a year (something about 10 feet of snow making the rest of the year iffy); so I started thinking about possibilities for the other seven months. As much as I loved Reno, I wanted to live in nature, making friends with big trees, wildflowers, wolf lichens, and mosses.

The next six weeks were a head-spinning series of synchronicities that wound up with my seven-month winter home being in an RV park on the outskirts of Julian, in the mountains east of San Diego. This past winter was a steep learning curve teaching me how to live through winter in an RV while falling in love with the oak forest around me, and renewing connections to close friends in San Diego.

It’s now time to get ready for my migration north, from mountains to lake, from oak to pine, from walking trails to kayaking shining waters. A year ago, if someone had told me this would be my life, I wound have thought them crazy, and included myself if I gave it a moment of thought.

 However, although I didn't know it at the time, buying that tent was taking a step toward what was calling me. I truly had no idea I would wind up here in this rather unusual two-RV lifestyle, but I do know I’m deeply contented and grateful.

What is it you still yearn for?

Perhaps it's time to follow Sir Francis Bacon's advice:

"Begin doing what you want to do now.  

We are not living in eternity.  

We have only this moment, 

sparkling like a star in our hand - 

and melting like a snowflake."    

      -- Sir Francis Bacon

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Flower anatomy

Tulip from Crystal Hermitage Garden at Ananda

I never tire of taking photos of flowers. For some reason though, I’ve long neglected the process of understanding them. Like all living things, they have organized themselves to survive and reproduce. Beauty is their strategy for success and their anatomy is carefully designed to interact with their environment. I truly appreciate this flower anatomy lesson found at ProFlowers.

Petals are what give a flower its unique shape, and are often brightly colored to attract insects and critters, which unwittingly aid in the fertilization of ovules through pollination.

Sepals are the small, leaf-like parts growing at the base of the petals. They serve to protect the flower before it blossoms.

Peduncle refers to the stem or stalk of a flower.

Receptacle is the thickened part at the bottom of the flower which holds its major organs.

Pistil is the female organ of the flower. It consists of four major parts:

    1.    Stigma – The head of the pistil. The stigma receives pollen, which will begin the process of fertilization.
    2.    Style – This is the name for the stalk of the pistil. When pollen reaches the stigma, it begins to grow a tube through the style called a pollen tube, which will eventually reach the ovary. The style therefore acts as a buffer against pollen contamination, since only compatible pollen is able to grow a pollen tube.
    3.    Ovary – The base of the pistil. This organ holds the ovules awaiting fertilization.
    4.    Ovules – These are the flower’s eggs, located inside the ovary. Upon fertilization by pollen, they will eventually grow into a seed. In fruit plants, pollen will not only spark the growth of a seed, but a surrounding fruit as well.

Stamen is the male organ of the flower, consisting of two major parts:
    1.    Anther – The head of the stamen. The anther is responsible for the production of pollen, which will hopefully be transported to the pistil by animals or insects, such as bees. This is a crucial part of the reproduction of the plant.
    2.    Filament – This is the stalk that holds the anther and attaches it to the flower.

Making More Flowers
It’s amazing for nature to provide a flower with the ability to reproduce without the need for a mate, but not all of them do!

Some flowers have only male or female organs, and require a separate flower of the opposite gender to reproduce. We call these Imperfect Flowers. Perfect Flowers, on the other hand, have both a stamen and a pistil, and are able to reproduce on their own.