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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Heartbreak in the Garden

Yes, emotions are the meat of the human experience, but still,  so many of them are unpleasant! Sorrow and grief certainly suck. Jealousy, anger, fear, dread, shame... 
And as if sloshing through the mandatory emotional stew isn't enough, there are those days of extra helpings. It could be blood sugar level, PMS, jet lag, the result of a sleepless night... and BAM! Suddenly feelings are dialed up to super-hyper-excruciating. Everything seems unbearably poignant, unutterably sad, overwhelmingly touching.  
I’d been out of town for a week. (long story) So this morning, I took my coffee into the sunshine, to survey the empire, and see how all fared in my absence.  
Someone had shred toilet paper in the azaleas. It had to be either my husband or my dog since they were the only ones uncaged. And neither of them had watered.  But in spite of the abuse and neglect, my carrot patch had flourished.  In fact, it had grown so crowded it needed to be thinned.
I’ve never had luck transplanting carrots. Instead of re-rooting they'd always faint and wither.  Thinning therefore means putting some plants to death so the ones around them can grow.  
You see where this is going.
Luckily, I have a bunny and a Guinea pig who are happy to eat the delicate tops and tiny pale pre-carrots, so it isn’t exactly a waste. 

But still, how do I pick? Just reach in blindly and pull? Comb through looking for the smallest?

I choked up over the jumble of hopeful green -- the magic combo of water, sunlight, and dirt, growing exactly where I'd once cavalierly scattered their seeds.   

The arbitrariness of life and death was suddenly breath taking. 
The inequality of power between myself -- large, and mammalian and determined -- and the baby carrot plants --  innocent and entirely defenseless.  

Wally Dog watched me get weepy and offered to shred another roll of toilet paper to snap me back to the business at hand.
Thank goodness for dogness.   

P.S. Dear Dears, Three months have passed & it is now time to harvesrt those un-thinned carrots. They are a bit motley, some knobby & misshapen, some teenie-tiny, but there are lts of them & they are all sweet. No regrets. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Amy's Believe it or Not!

Dearest Dears,

Starting tomorrow, Monday, February 6th, I, Amy Goldman Koss, am off for six days to grade THE NATION'S REPORT CARD! Yes, me and 59 other volunteers (read unpaid) shall be sequestered by the United States Department of Education to do whatever it is people like us do under the circumstances, for the NAEP, National Assessment of Educational Progress to evaluate the writing skills of American students. (Training on site.)

There is an unofficial pool afloat re. how long I will last before either being drummed out by the government project leaders when they discover that I am a high school drop out who cannot spell,  who harbors an intense hatred and distrust of authority, as well as a bone-deep skepticism regarding formulaic evaluation of creative skills.

OR I bolt for the airport in screaming boredom and/or horror.

Love and Kisses  

PS. I have indeed signed a confidentiality agreement, so will report back in full upon my return.
     In the interim, please feel free to weigh in with your feelings about The Nation's Report Card, our current system of evaluating student writing, or my likelihood of completing this six day, 8:30am -5:30 pm project, intact.