Monday, December 31, 2007

Angry Salt Guy, Happy Pepper Pal

Random Neuronal Firings, New Year's Edition

I know I'm writing this only for myself, but sometimes writing one's thoughts as if someone were going to read them helps to get the pesky things in order.

My New Year's musings have been particularly melancholy this time around. There have been ups and downs, but some of the downs have been been very low, and the highs were mostly just middling. Just say 2007 wasn't one of my favorite years.

One of the tasks I usually do around New Year's is tending my large collection of houseplants. I have had many plants for 10 or more years; the very oldest, for about 30 years. So you see these are old friends, not just household decorations. Early winter is a good time to evaluate what needs repotting, pruning, or general TLC, and the habit of evaluating them leads to thinking about my own state at this junction of the years.

Haworthia grows in a shallow clay pan decorated with incised markings. The pot came from a favorite farm stand/nursery that has gone the way of much too much fertile land - sold for development. I don't even remember the name of the place, but I vividly recall the shock of overhearing two men on the bus talking about how the place was being bought up by the college across the road. "Say it ain't so!" I inwardly cried, and drove out a couple of weeks later to find that it was indeed so.

And that's what this year has been like for me. A couple of rugs pulled out from under me, some events entirely out of my control, and the creeping realization that I'm no spring chicken anymore. (Yes, I should have probably have caught on to that one some time ago.)

So what does this have to do with Angry Salt Guy and Happy Pepper Pal? Happy is always Happy, never seeing the smallest cloud in the sky, and Angry - nothing can cheer him up or soothe him. But they're just salt and pepper shakers; our moods aren't indelibly painted on our faces. We can adapt, and we can cause change as well as be passive before it.

The old adage to change what you can, and accept what you cannot change, is a good thing to repeat to one's self every now and then. So I'm going to go out into the gloomy weather, lay in some provisions for the long winter ahead, and plan a quiet New Year's Day with my plants, a good dinner, and a nice bottle of wine. I'll prune and repot, browse the seed catalogs and dust off the gym shoes. Another year is coming.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007



There are times when one sees
that many things may happen,
and the time when one sees that not all things will happen
comes when it does and not when one is wanting it.
There are edges to things.
There are squares, circles, cliques, and webs.
All of them have form, and what is form
but the decision of something
to be this and not that.


A poem about unrequited love, surprisingly enough.