Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Carl, the Strawberry Bandit

Yes, there is a small problem in the garden. For some reason, Carl, our older Corgi, has discovered that Strawberries are delicious little morsels that magically appear on some plants and now he is rooting for them everywhere, like a little Javalina... only he's smarter than the average pig... and he's sly.
If you click on the photo above, you will see him PRETENDING he is just cruising around looking for a bug or a leaf. He acts like he's not interested in much of anything but this is just a ploy... He's really heading for THE STRAWBERRY PLANT.
It's the same routine everyday. He has mastered the fine art of deception.
He, nonchalantly, walks over to the pot with the strawberry plants. He sniffs the leaves. He checks to see if anyone is watching.... and then.. in goes the nose. He roots around, finds a strawberry and runs with the stolen goods. Lately, he hasn't even been running away. He just eats the strawberry and sashays away like it's no big deal.
"Hey, little man. Where are you going. I want to talk to you. What's with eating my strawberries?"
"Oh!' Farmlady. I didn't see you." He turns and walks back toward me...
Look at that expression. He is looking at the Strawberries.
"I hope Farmlady didn't see me eat those a minute ago. If I just walk past without stopping, maybe she won't notice that they are gone."
He walked right by them...
That must have taken a lot of self control, thought Farmlady. Then he walked around the container and got a drink of water.
"Carl? Are you eating my strawberries again?" He didn't turn around or look at me. He was acting like he didn't know what Farmlady was talking about. "Carl? Are you bla..bla..bla..blaing my blaberries again?"
Then he fuzzy butts over to Cutter who is barking at the turkey in the drive way.
"Hi Carl. Wanna help me bark at those big birds?"
Carl wasn't too interested. HIS TUMMY WAS FULL!
"No cutter. I just ate the last of the strawberries that Farmlady was going to eat. I'm trying to act like I didn't do it."
"Oh. Strawberries? Where?" as he forgets about the Turkey...
"I want some strawberries too!"
"It's too late. I ate them all" Carl says.
"YOU ATE THEM ALL?" Cutter ran over to Carl and sniffed Carl's mouth.
"Yes, I did."
"You're 'spose to share."
"It was a spur of the moment thing." said Carl, "You have to get them when you can. I can't be saving them for you Cut'. You're big now.You have to get your own."
Cutter looked at Carl and then he decided that this was more than he could take. After a day of going to the vets for shots in the morning and then having the turkey ignore his barks, he was not going to take this "dump on the puppy" stuff anymore. He walked slowly around Carl and then he jumped on Carl's back. They wrestled and ran around the yard until they were exhausted and then they both laid down on the porch and went to sleep.
. Farmlady decided that she would move the strawberries to another place outside the reach of Carl as she had done to another pot of strawberries. If she didn't, she would never have any ripe red strawberries because Carl had even taken to eating them before they turned red. He didn't care if they were unripe. He liked them even when they were white with a little pink on them.She moved the plant and started for the house. Carl and Cutter were laying on the porch.
Farmlady wondered, for a few minutes, about having dogs in her life. She decided that a few strawberries were a small price to pay for the joy of living with these two little Corgis and, as she walked into the house, she heard them both get up and follow her.
Later, after dinner, Farmlady thawed and sweetened some frozen peaches to put on ice cream. Fresh strawberries would have been lovely.... but, as Carl curled up in her lap, watching her eat and waited for the "licking of the ice cream bowl", she decided that life was much more about THIS DOG LYING IN HER LAP than not having fresh strawberries for dessert.  Life was about two little dogs that love their people, think the garden is theirs and sometimes take advantage.... but she wouldn't have it any other way.
Farmlady finished her ice cream, let Carl and Cutter share the little bit of ice cream that was left and curled up on the couch with one dog on each side of her.
She fell asleep  and dreamed about a lovely strawberry field, long and filled with thousands of red berries. She was there with two Corgis running ahead of her, They were jumping into the air and looking back at her as they ran. It was a beautiful dream.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Dig, breath, Dig, breath, Dig some more...Rest.

Click on photo to enlarge.                                                                                                                                              

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Beach at Linda Mar

Have you ever, slowly, learned to love something that you were afraid of?
As if you woke up from a scary dream and realized that the fear in the dream was gone and the reality of being awake was  beautiful?
... and when you walk closer to the edge of the relentless, noisy tide of this fear someone runs passed you and dives into the waters as if their life was determined to destroy itself...
and they disappear into the unfathomable water.
And you say, "How could they do that?"
Beaches always bring me thoughts of mortality.
It happen one summer. I was on vacation with my aunt and cousin, in the late 50's, in southern Calilfornia. There was  a diving platform that was held by a rope out beyond the surf at the La Jolla Beach and Country Club that some wealthy relative belonged to. It was a hot day and the water looked so good. My cousin, being older and a much stronger swimmer decided that we should swim out to this platform so that we could mingle with the rich kids.
She reached the platform before I did. I was swimming slowly out over the waves and into the depths of the Pacific Ocean, knowing full well that I shouldn't be out there. I had never swam in the ocean before and was not a good swimmer at all. I was a floater in swimming pools, a pretender... a dive down and swim under the water, with goggles on, and see the bottom of the pool kind of swimmer. I didn't know how to breath properly or use the right kind of strokes. I should not have been swimming in the ocean.
This was not a swimming pool and there was no "bottom" that I could see or feel. My mind played this game of watery vertigo with me. The warm and cold currents clutched my fear like fish touching my body as I tried to keep swimming into the waves of water that would sometimes block my view of the platform ahead.
Then I saw my cousin swimming past me in the opposite direction toward the beach. She said something about a dead seagull floating in the water, blood and the attraction of sharks for that sort of thing.  I froze.
I knew, at any moment, a shark was going to find me flailing about like that dead bird and I would feel this huge monster grab my leg.
I turned around and with all the effort that my thirteen year old body could muster, I swam for shore but my breathing was impaired and my strokes were immature. I was "in over my head". The old saying  finally took on an urgent and stark reality I had never understood before.
As I tried to swim.. as my face went into the water and filled my nose with salty liquid, I noticed, for the first time,  that I was swimming right next to the heavy rope that was tethering the diving platform. I grabbed the rope and pulled myself into shore with the certainty that if that rope had not been there I would have been eaten by this unseen shark or drowned from fear alone.
I will never forget the feeling of sand under my feet and the warmth of the sun when I reached the beach and lay there shaking from panic and the horror of being so hopelessly left to fend for myself in an ocean so vast that there was no hope of anyone finding my body until it was swepted onto a distant beach and someone would be running to me screaming "Oh my God!".... Flipping me over, as in the movies, they would find me missing a leg and covered with seaweed. The awful phone call that would have been made to my parents... the cousin who would have been blamed for letting me swim out there.. because she was older... because she was suppose to be with me. It was a  tragedy that never happen, of course, because of a ROPE.... but the memory has never left me.

So when, on this beach, last week, I watched my sister pick up a stranded crab

, walk out to the serf and return it to the water...
and how the crab greatfully seemed to move into the ebb and flow of the surf and become a part of this vast sea. It's home...
.. and how beautiful it looked in it's marine environment.
I looked at the delicate flowers that grow in the sand dunes...
and felt the winds that shape the trees...
I watched my sister stand for long periods of time and looks out toward the horizon... smiling, relaxing, rejuvinating... and walking too close to the foamy water.
I wanted to tell her not to go in too far, but I didn't.  I even walked down closer to the sand that holds reflections... the sand that is so filled with water that it mirrored her feet and the sky above. This is what I needed to see. Not the ocean of fear that almost took my life so many years ago. I needed to see the ocean that reflects the sky and the life that lives around it. I think I'm coming closer to seeing this vast childhood monster as a life giving sea of endless resources, not only for the creatures that live in it, but the beings that come to find solace beside it.
I have never been close enough to see my reflection in the wet sand. It's a reflection of life that I hope to see someday. Maybe I will stand there the next time I'm at the beach and see my own likeness in the mirrored sand.... and maybe I will let the white foam move over my bare feet and once again feel that strange sensation I remember as a child, of going backwards and forward at the same time.... being pulled into and away from the shore....and have no fear.
I'm still afraid of the ocean.... but I'm learning that not all monsters are bad. Some are just misunderstood. If you watch someone who loves something long enough, as my sister loves the ocean, you understand what William Wordsworth said when he wrote....

"...Thanks to the Human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."

Ode~intimations of immortality from recollections of early childhood~