We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee. Marian Wright Edelman
Last night at the community garden volunteer training workshop we brainstormed how to get a neighborhood more involved. The Valencia Community Garden was established four years ago and the neighbors are still not working in the garden or participating in the monthly veggie of the month food demonstration or yearly taste-a-thon. I listen to ideas that sound similar to the ones we come up with every year at this training.
Early that afternoon I was the adult assigned to a table of four young adolescents in the youth summer gardening program. The tasks were to fry green tomatoes picked from the garden and to make a remoulade sauce. Two of the guys began the job of slicing tomatoes (carefully tucking fingers out of the way of the sharp knife) and then coating them with egg, flour, and a cornmeal mix. The only girl in our group took over the frying, diligently stirring and flipping the prepared slices. The youngest member of the group (whom I affectionately call Tigger) measured and whisked together the ingredients for the sauce.
There were no cuts, no burns, no big spills…and no arguments. All I really did was watch, amazed.
Hey y’all. Maybe we’re overlooking something here. For four years we’ve been grooming the next generation of neighbors. And they are very involved.
Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way. Edward de Bono
I’m smuggly content at being able to spend a pleasant, somewhat productive day alone. But…
One brother is playing blues in a cozy little neighborhood bar on his 60th birthday. The other brother will be there with his new girlfriend from New York City. I don’t think I’ll go.
Why not, Laura?
The day has been so nice I could easily slip into pajamas and return to the book I’ve been reading. Anyway, I’ve seen both brothers within the last 24 hours.
About six o’clock, as Buddy would be beginning to play, I think, “Why not, Laura?”
Yeah, my thought exactly.
So I slip on a clean shirt, put on a little lipstick, pick up the car keys and head out the door.
How is it?
Wonderful. I sit with a childhood neighbor, meet Bruce’s girlfriend and note a new confidence in Buddy’s presentation. And then…
This young guy with an African djembe comes on stage. Buddy starts playing his guitar and the drummer adds rhythm. It isn’t long before the guy’s lost in the music. By the last song he has jumped off the stage and is beating the floor with drumsticks. It is incredible!
Better than pajamas and a good book?
Probably so…however, in the middle of all this energy, I wonder what this kid was like as a third grader.
It is by teaching that we teach ourselves, by relating that we observe, by affirming that we examine, by showing that we look, by writing that we think, by pumping that we draw water into the well. Henri Frederic Amiel
Yesterday in our after school folk tales class we read another Anansi story. Anansi, the trickster in West African folklore, often takes the form of a spider. Sitting on the table was a pipe cleaner spider with wiggle eyes and a Jolly Rancher sucker abdomen. I had the children’s attention.
We read the book, discussing the difficulty a spider might have taking a large python and forty-seven stinging hornets to the Sky God. The children were impressed.
Then we made our own spiders. The younger children’s chaotic spider legs were subtly adjusted as I hot glued the eyes. Everyone left happy.
Alas, I was so completely involved in the lesson I had no time to take pictures of the children.
When I got home last night a book I had ordered was waiting in the mailbox…The Tao of Teaching.
Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear. Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
In reality, we are still children. We want to find a playmate for our thoughts and feelings. Wilhelm Stekel
Yesterday I was heavy with thoughts and spent a lot of time writing. This morning I wake with all kinds of new ideas.
Is it because I moodled around with Muse, my imaginary playmate?
Is it because today my long-time best friend and I are going on the garden tour together?
Could it be a bit of both?
Sometimes (actually most of the time) I think too much. Writing helps move me through the thoughts, but I need to balance all this inner work with some out-in-the-world playtime. Cathy and Mother Nature are just what I’m wanting today.
Here are some tiny blossoms from my garden.
blue daze from last year…I thought it was an annual
white oxalis…sold as shamrock
from Lowe’s discount cart
Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time. Georgia O’Keeffe
- To Have a Friend Takes Time (janaandthestone.wordpress.com)
What we do today, right now, will have an accumulated effect on all our tomorrows. ― Alexandra Stoddard
1. I’m going back to the foot doctor this morning. Five months of pain in and out of a “boot” is getting on my nerves. Surely there’s something else that can be done.
2. In a few minutes I will plant two golden peppers and two green eggplants that were purchased on Tuesday.
3. My four groups of after school children will take a five senses walk outside. With umbrellas, if it’s raining.
4. Tonight will be dinner and a movie and catching up with a dear friend.
Somewhere within in this “schedule” my intention is to…
5. write for an hour in the library
6. spend an hour working on final paperwork for interns.
I see how this quote works.
This weekend the arts festival was open to the public and I was assigned the booth most likely to have the highest traffic. Noodle Kaboodle.
Swim “noodles” had been cut into discs by the wonderful women in the supply room. Each child gets a paper plate with one disc hot glued in the center (also prepared by aforementioned w.w.) The child then builds a sculpture using several loose ones, toothpicks and other plastic foam shapes.
My job was to hand out plates, foam and toothpicks, engage the artist (or not) in conversation about their creations, and help he/she put it into a plastic bag to take home.
It was non-stop. Friday night 5-9, Saturday 10-9, and Sunday 1-5. A huge success. I’m exhausted!
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso
Interesting…after a week of children and creative people these words of Lao Tzu are what I am drawn to.
Silence is a source of great strength.
When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.
The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.
The words of truth are always paradoxical.
- The Wisdom of Lao Tzu (roadundiscovered.wordpress.com)
- Making Peace With Paradox (yinyangyogis.wordpress.com)
- The Tao Te Ching: An Introduction (beyondthedream.co.uk)