Monday, April 26, 2010

Anna’s Garden


I have a confession. While I love having vegetables growing in my yard, I'm not much for the actual gardening. The feeling of dirt under my fingernails gives me the heebie-jeebies. That's not to say I don't go ahead and do it anyway, I just don't enjoy it much.

That changed this weekend, when I helped Anna start her own vegetable plot. It was a totally spontaneous idea. We had planned to buy starts for our garden and it occurred to me to ask Anna if she'd like some of her own. She's been into random digging in the dirt lately, so it seemed like a natural progression. Actually, I thought she'd prefer flowers, since she's not much of a green-veggie eater (green smoothies and kale chips being the exceptions). But she said she'd like to grow veggies and she made her own selection. So far she's growing rainbow chard lettuce, and sorrel.

Helping her amend her little plot of dirt, working the compost into the heavy clay soil, and getting those sweet little plants into the earth felt so right that I didn't even mind the dirt under my fingernails.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


the Zeda tree

Today I realized I am the cause of my own suffering. Me — not my husband, my family, my childhood, my losses. Just me. This is fabulous news.

I have long understood that, with the exception of the sudden loss of my father, most suffering I've experienced is bourgeois suffering. Lately, sifting through images of the Haiti earthquake and of life in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (as part of a project I'm working on for Mercy Corps), this has been more than obvious. And yet, I still didn't see.

The bottom line is I want to be a better mother. I am a good mother, but I'm an impatient person and that comes out in all of my relationships, including with my 4-year-old. And it breaks my heart. I had impatient parents, and I know what it is to be a child on the receiving end of impatience and anger. At best, it's no fun. At worst, it's terrifying.

Today, while engaged in the chaos of the before-school morning routine, I remembered. I told myself repeatedly to speak with love. When I felt the impatience begin to creep in, I stayed conscious and let it go.

I am using my yoga breath.

I have no need for the suffering, bourgeois or not.

I am letting it go.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010



Anna has always been a process girl. Before she could walk, she would create amazing installations using whatever was in reach (tea and sugar packets were favorites). I've always been fascinated by her process, and have tried to document it when I have the opportunity.

Our tulips are in bloom again, and Anna's been patiently waiting for some of the cut ones to wilt, so she could claim them for her fairy house. I had no idea where this was going, but she seemed to know all along.

She began by systematically dissecting each flower, separating the petals, leaves, stems, and stamens.

Leaves and stems were then cut into smaller pieces.

Once everything was just so, she arranged each pile on a tray to carry outside.

Petals were laid down in front of the fairy house.


Stamens were then placed on each petal. Voilá, fairy beds.