Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advent and the Calla Lily's Call

Post 17
Bare Tree, Bright Tree
Hello and welcome to Advent, the last part of the darkening year, the first part of the yet-to-be-born year.  Traditionally it's a time for quiet and meditation --after the garden's bounty, after the harvest and feast, before the light.

"God beyond answers
Lord beyond words
Spirit beyond imagining
Move us today. Amen"

This prayer, from the Church of Scotland's website, greatly moved me when I read it.  Unbidden, there arose in my mind's eye a globe, alight and vibrant with uncountable,  invisible connections.  And accompanying it, a bit like an inaudible trumpet's call, was the urge to write this...

"What if you could thank everyone who has ever prayed for you or blessed you or wished you well?

Who would you meet?

The stranger who once saw your stricken face through a car window?

The cashier you were impatient with?

The patron you were able to cheer?

Your spouse, in mid-argument? Your spouse, in mid-pleasure?

A teacher you can hardly remember?
Someone who read something you wrote, or heard secondhand something you said?
The atheist who wished you well?
The person whose dog played with your dog in the dog park?
The child or sibling or relative who never understood you, or whom you never understood? The child or sibling or relative you think doesn’t understand, but understands you too well?

The friend who sympathizes?  The friend who has outgrown you?  The friend you have outgrown?
The enemy who wishes you were not so easy to despise?  The enemy who wishes you were not so hard to despise?  The enemy who is no enemy at all?

The parent who wishes life could teach you more gently?  The parent who wishes life could teach you at all? The parent who wishes love had more power in this world? The child who wishes they could save their parents?

What if everyone you had prayed for, or blessed, or wished well, could thank you?

What if we found out we had all prayed for each other or wished each other well? Wished each other better?

What if we all forgave each other?

What if we were all grateful?

Would, even could I?  Would, even could you, any of us?

Or is that what something like heaven is for? I do not know, but I wonder."

If you think it's a bit treacly, well yeah, it might be. But why are we so overly afraid of treacly in our culture?  Cool is like a gangster boss inside our souls demanding cash for not much of value.  I chose not to give in to that.  So while I'm not much for mortifying my flesh; I am for mortifying my cool.


How-to Calla:  The white and maroon trumpeting flowers you see above are scientifically no longer either Calla or Lily, but thankfully, such a melodious name for such a fetching plant remains. Their flowers remind me of the elongated instruments played by etoilated angels that brighten Medieval manuscripts.

Zantedeschia aethiopica, originates, as you can guess, in Africa. As such, our climate is a bit too cold and wet for them to overwinter. You can dig out their rhizones in the fall and overwinter them as you would a Dahlia. This means dig up the gnarly rootstock after cold has damaged the leaves, dry the rootstock out, then pack up in moistened perlite. In spring plant back up with plenty of water. Callas like some shade and water, while good drainage and rich soil is a plus. But all, in all, they are easy. 

They can be expensive though, which is why I only grew them one year.  (Should have overwintered them.  Should have overwintered them.)  I found the two varieties pictured above at Produce Junction, for a price too low to resist. (Produce Junction is a thrifty grab-bag of whatever they can pick up, fruits, veggies, plants, garden supplies--you never know week to week.) There is something fun about not knowing what pleasantly surprising plant you might find. And these Callas took my breath away.


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