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Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Goddess at Green Turtle Cay

On my last night in that place, the goddess came.

She came in standard guise—a snake—

I should have known her right away.

But didn't.


Fear intervened.

Too close, she was, too close and too intense,

locked tight around the slats of the blind

above my head.

And I was blinded by the sight,

By her nearness, by the surprise.


How could I know she'd show herself so close,

so close?

I saw her skin—how new it was—

and still I saw just snake,

invading, threatening.

"Uninvited!" I cried. "Uninvited!

Just go. I'll help you go.

And don't disturb my sleep."


Others came to help, bringing tongs, a bucket—

And lots of indignation at the nerve!

And without ceremony, reverence,

or even rudimentary courtesy,

we turfed her out.

We tossed her out the door.

That's that!

Now we're safe once more.


It wasn't until light of day—

the light that brought back courage--

only at that time of second thought

did it come to me.

Only then did I know the gift I'd had,

know the offer made to me,

know what I'd rejected

yet again.


And now I wait.

Again I wait

determined next time to remember

and to acknowledge

and to take into myself the gift,

the goddess gift.

If ever she comes

(in whatever guise)

if ever she comes to me again.


Copyright 2008 Ann Tudor   

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Caring for Plants



The plants that languish inside all winter are out on the deck now, feeling the sun, absorbing every raindrop, experiencing weather. But whether they are in the house or outside, they are always bounded by the size of their respective pots.


Would they rather be put into the ground? Does my big jade plant long to feel the chill soil of spring on her tender roots? During the summer, those roots would lengthen and grow straight down, no longer boundaried by clay pots' sides. What would happen to her if I didn't watch over her? What would happen to my Spanish lavender if I put her directly into the soil and let her wiggle her little toes? What would happen to any of them if I just plopped put them into the ground one spring and let them stay?


Well, during the glorious heat of summer they'd be so happy to be free. Leaves and fronds would dance with joy and roots expand with abandon. They would grow and grow and grow.


In autumn, however, abandon would change to abandonment. That first deep frost would shock the life out of them. Leaves, stems, and blossoms would be the first to suffer, their cells dying from the cold, their cell structure collapsing, the perky leaves of summer becoming slimy ribbons. We've all seen it happen.


Perhaps they'd still have hope. They'd think that their deep summer-freed roots would carry them through the cold so that they could flourish again in the spring. Oh yes, the leaves are gone, they'd think, but roots are sturdy and can survive. Hope springs eternal, apparently, even among houseplants.


They don't know our winters, do they? They've seen our winters only from the safety of sunny windows. What do they know of this cold that freezes the earth and turns the life-giving water to ice, ending growth? They know only safe warm pots.


So I guess it's up to me, again, to play God, play mother. I tell them I know best. I keep them in their pots for their own good. They'll thank me, won't they, when they're sitting in my sunny alcove next winter, safely potted and completely protected from the winter's death-blows.


But I secretly wonder whether they might prefer that summer of freedom. Perhaps they are willing to pay the price for a summer of unbridled joy. I think about that. And then I let those thoughts go and I make a note on my to-do list to water the plants.



Copyright 2008 Ann Tudor   

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Morning in Ipswich

Early in the morning, I climbed to the top of the hill behind their property. It was heavily overgrown, though most of the trees were only as thick as a sturdy thigh. A strangle-vine of some sort had invaded the woods, and the trees were spiraled by these heavy vines, which had already killed many of the trees.


I was a basket-maker at the time, and I itched to pull down those strangling vines and see if I could weave baskets with them, creating something useful from this pernicious invader. But I didn't. Instead, I continued to climb to the top of the hill. No one else was awake yet, but I heard a woodpecker pecking out his breakfast from one of the dying trees.


When I reached the top, I saw before me a broad expanse of meadow, part of a farm owned by a nunnery. I was sure the nuns wouldn't mind if I stood on their land while I sang. Only the birds heard me as I sang a full-throated greeting to the sun, which was rising on the other side of the meadow.


Finally I turned to retrace my steps down the overgrown hill. Halfway down I noticed (it took me this long to notice) that at the tip of each needle on each evergreen was a drop of water. The sun illuminated these drops, making a diamond of each one. As I picked my way carefully down the unclear path, ridged with tree roots, I was surrounded by diamond-studded trees.


No one saw this but me.


I say that with some pride. But let me turn it around. It is not unusual, surely, for dew or a light rain to deposit a drop of water on an evergreen needle. It must happen all the time. And it is not unusual, surely, for the sun to hit those drops and transform them to diamonds. So the question is this: if such a miracle happens all the time, in overgrown woods and in evergreen stands in parks—if this happens on a regular basis—then why had I never seen it before? And why have I never seen it since?


What else am I not noticing? Perhaps it's time to open my eyes.



Copyright 2008 Ann Tudor