I remembercoming to the farm in Marchin sugaring time, as a small boy.He carried the pails of sap, sixteen-quartbuckets, dangling from each endof a wooden yokethat lay across his shoulders, and emptied theminto a vat in the saphousewhere fire burned day and nightfor a week.Donald Hall, from "Maple Syrup"
I am drinking some fine mead made by my daughter and her beau--they had almost given up on it a few months ago. Honey, water, and yeast, when left alone long enough, make one feel like a part of a universe that matters. We play a part, but just a part.
This week's Perennial Project, my year long observation project, is for the kids to go stare at the tree they picked way back in September. The leaves gave up their nutrients, sugar flowed into the ground, and the trees "died."
And now the sugar returns, last summer's bounty fueling this spring's growth. We don't tap trees in this neck of the woods, but we could. Maybe next year we will.
Miracles continue to happen in the classroom. I ate the freshest rattlesnake bean possible in February--Dina brought it up to show me the bean, concerned that her plant was dying. And it was. Somehow her plant had gotten fertilized, and the bean sprout poured its energy into this lovely bean pod.
Without a thought, I ate it, and it was delicious. Another teacher eyed my basil patch this afternoon and offered to "thin" it out. My student teacher has already confessed to gnoshing on some others.
Dina will get extra credit for getting her bean to fruit, but long after the points dissolve to nothing, she will remember her bean, and the ridiculous look of joy on my face as I ate it, the freshest produce in Bloomfield, righ under her nose.
Mead, basil, and rattlesnake beans make the last week of February tolerable. We teach order and restraint, as we must in a public school setting, but wildness creeps through anyway. We share our room with yeast and daphnia, basil and fish. We've raised E. coli that fluoresce with jelly fish protein. We have tomato plants that are threatening to fruit.
And what will a child's heart follow a decade or two from now? Will it be influenced by a battery of tests designed to create super-citizens who will "outcompete" workers from around the world?
Maybe, just maybe, a heart or two will be influenced by the few moments of pure joy experienced by the oldest in the room, eyes rolling up as he savors the explosion of flavor available to anyone who cares to know. Life consumes the living, and all living today will be consumed by life.
Just ask Donald Hall.
The photo is of Palestine, the great great grandfather of Willow of Willow Manor, via Creative Cmmons 3.0.
Isn't it a great photo?
It's reason enough for a post....