Monday, August 19, 2013

Love in the Moonlight

Mmmm, cantaloupe!  Warm from summer sun, vine ripened and slightly damp from the earth…  I’ve been told of a melon strain being cultivated here in Fairbanks, from seeds of Russian farmers.  I’ve yet to see or taste it.  I hope to find the seed one day, and plant them in my greenhouse.  Cantaloupe was my very favorite fruit when I was little.  I remember my father teaching me about puns, the treasure hunt to find the secret other meaning of words and phrases.  And I remember the day, maybe 5 years old, sitting at the dining room table (the maple one now in my fathers lab/studio, its surface scratched by the hard use of a lifetime of family meals and projects), with a slice of cantaloupe and a spoon.  For a few minutes, moments? I couldn’t eat it.  I knew then, with the sure and blinding clarity of the very young, that if I took this bite of my most favorite food, I COULD NEVER RUN AWAY AND GET MARRIED.  I’d been listening to the sad ballads out of Ireland, the ones that speak of fateful love between ladies and highwaymen.  I’d begun to dream of the romance of eloping, the secret thrill of defying conventions, the surprise of coming home with my new husband.  And in that moment, I knew I had to either abjure cantaloupe for the rest of my life (oh terrible prospect!) or resolve to never run away and get married.  So I took my budding stubbornness, my urge to defy conventions and rebelliously resolved that I was going to eat my cantaloupe, that my parents would have to love and respect and approve of whoever I chose to marry. They would just have to deal.  And if my parents loved and respected my choice, then I’d never need to elope!  That next juicy bite of chilled orange sweet fleshy melon goodness was my defiance, my demand and my dare.

Next weekend I’m marrying two of my dearest friends in the world.  They actually did elope, last fall, for a courthouse wedding.  But the power of friends and family, of community, of love as the force that brings people together urged them into having a grand reception party this summer.  Preceded by a ceremony in front of family and the closest friends, at which they've asked me to officiate.  So this week is all about crafting decorations: buntings and signs sewn mostly of thrifted clothes I've collected and cut up for cloth over the past many years, party planning, and welcoming far-flug family and friends.  And then on Saturday, I get to hold sacred space for two beautiful souls to affirm their love for and commitment to one another.

Driving into town last night, the just-shy-of-full moon hung low over the hills. Breathtaking.  It seemed equal in size to hills it rested upon.  It glowed like a giant pearl in the sky, against a backdrop of periwinkle, pink, lavender, blue, rose sky.  What is the full moon bringing you?

Friday, August 16, 2013

If only I could grasp the Korean alphabet..

I like birch as a collective noun.  I think that it expresses the unity that exists in a monoculture - the beauty in it, rather than the mundane.  I also just like collective nouns.

Today was a day of finding out what section of Spanish 105 i'll be teaching (starting on wednesday!!), of bureaucracy and excitement.  A high summer day where everyone wears sweaters when it dips into the sixties.

To show all of the incoming TAs how scary it is to learn a new language, one of the professors in the department, who is from South Korea, gave us a 'shock lesson' in Korean.  So I can say hello!  and that I'm american, that I speak english, that I speak spanish, yes, no, and pleased to meet you!  I don't quite remember how to say the numbers, or the formation for question asking.  The cool thing is not, however, a few words in Korean (cool as that is), but that he taught an entire hour without using ANY english AT ALL, talking to people who had never studied any Korean (except for one of our lovely incoming PhD students, who is from South Korea) - and it worked so well.  I was so impressed.  It's so different than any beginning class I've ever seen, even those that pretended on the first day that they would be taught only in the target language.  And yes, it was only one class, and if I were truly trying to learn the language, I would have had a lot of questions that I would have probably needed to ask in english... But if that had been the first day of a class?  I would have been so very psyched for the next one.  I can only hope that my students feel a fraction of that.

There's a melon tasting at the Farmers' Market tomorrow.  Fancy some local cantaloupe?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Today is a day: Words from Fairbanks

Last night the thermometer showed 53 degrees and Raif made me fear for my (beautiful! Vibrant! Amazing!) Calendula blooms, and the finally flowering  and one squash growing squash plants with dire considerations of the spectre of 32 degrees.

The birch are dripping yellow leaf lace here and there along the long drive into town.

Sunset in town and sunset at home begin to move apart noticeably.  We left Freds last night (late) with a bag of bulgur.  The spectacular light of the most glorious moments of sunset already had faded by the time we came out of the store.  As we drove home, we drove into the spectacular light of the most glorious moments of sunset along the Elliot.  Its amazing the difference a handful of miles closer to the arctic circle can make!

Today is a day for drinking mugs of steaming black coffee, curled up with a blanket and a book on the chilly porch. 
Instead I’m at work, meticulously maintaining the codified structures of ownership, description, access and rights by way of which we as a culture have “tamed” the deep freedom of the land we live on.

** my word (TM) -based grammar and spelling editor tells me that “birch are” is incorrect/ that “birch is” or “birches are” are my correct options.  

Birch, singular, as a collective noun?  What are your thoughts? I like it.