vendredi 27 février 2009

Winter candies

Galanthus nivalis

Why have I never noticed these before? Could it be that not knowing what they were meant that I did not even see them, but having learned about them, small and discreet as they are, growing in their little clumps here and there, they have become visible to me? I must have at least noticed the clumps of white flowers, even if I didn't approach and see their delicate white bells with green markings. But, knowing them from their images and description, I could see the details even as I walked by with the dogs. I went back for my camera later to take the photos above.

Trust me, I deleted about half of them. That's the problem when I love a flower. It's like documenting your first child's life.

Walking the dogs this morning, I saw even more, as though they are suddenly everywhere, and I can't believe that I didn't see them before. The first that I saw were before we left for Chamonix, in a wild and overgrown lot up the street that serves as a parking area for its neighbors. If Baccarat and Rapide hadn't needed to relieve themselves, and I hadn't made them go that far to do it, I wouldn't have seen those either. I was going to return with a shovel to take some clumps for the garden. Hardy corms, they spread easily, so it isn't like stealing. It's like sharing one's candy.

Besides, all of the ones I have seen are growing along the public ways. Who would sanction me for my several corms of Snowdrops?

These, and the crocuses, narcissuses and the earliest tulips, pushing up through the ground and the leaves of the Bergenia cordifolia in the flower beds along the top terrace, remind me that my work begins now if I want a beautiful garden this year. I was "otherwise occupied" last year, although I gave it some time, late in the season, doing my small part to help make sure that Obama made it to the White House to do exactly what he is trying to do with his budget proposal, as the New York Times reports this morning,
"Departing from the free market orthodoxy of his predecessor, George W. Bush, Mr. Obama would use the government’s powers of spending and taxation to push the private market in new directions."
As I emailed and blogged and passed along articles, raised exceedingly modest sums of money and did everything I could to convince those around me to take a chance on this guy rather than going with the Clinton war horse, I watched my garden flower, and thanked myself for having done as much preparation as I had the fall before.

This year, that was not as true. I haven't even raked everywhere. The ivy overwhelms the lower gate pillars and bits of walls. There was an election campaign to win and then an inauguration ball in Washington, D.C. to pull off for the MyBO folks. Having done both, and having a renovation of the house underway and a garden semi-destroyed from the workers' traversing the upper terrace with wheelbarrows of chaux (or "natural" stucco), erecting and taking down scaffolding, leaving their materials strewn about, I have work to do for us now. Money, we have all learned to our bitter surprise, does not grow on trees, after all.

I personally find it very comforting to know that the Obama administration will hold a 30% to 40% stake in Citibank -- the bank issuing my Visa card since 1986 -- through the treasury. We have seen how responsible the private bankers are with our money, and we have witnessed the extent of their fiscal morality. I think a little social holding of and authority over the fruits of our collective labors is just fine to insure the welfare of the members of our society, the least to the greatest of us, in addition to the security of our nation and the world in which it exists. Those of us outside can remind all of you inside that what you do affects us all.

They know what's going on, in the most removed corners of the earth, where other occupations and worries would seemingly be uppermost in the collective conscience. In the less-than-fancy bars of the ski resorts with the waitresses and guys leaning on the bar and on the oeufs up to the highest elevations with the financiers, the conversation was what things cost now that the leading currencies -- to say nothing of those not so fortunate as to have access to those currencies, like the Czech Republic -- have suffered devaluation owing to the subprime loan crisis and the hedge fund managers trading them through their inflated security mortgage-backed securities for exorbitant profit throughout the heady ethers of the Glass-Steagall, regulation-free 1990's and early 2000's, all while sheltering their immense profits from taxation, hoarding their personal wealth to support their country clubs, rather than to make sure that all Americans have access to equally high-quality, affordable heath care and claiming that this makes a man and his wife patriots.

Don't worry, bonus guys and CEO's, there will still be plenty for you to make and keep for yourselves so that we'll have work building your big houses and making stuff to sell to you. Here, Barney Frank and Chris Matthews will fill you in; we're changing the definitions and playing rules to reflect a greater morality, a socially responsible model of action:

I have invested in the garden, and we cannot afford to let that go to waste, and now we are finally investing our heard-earned (merci, mon mari) money in the house. It would be unconscionable for me to fall down in my duties now. The work dragged along, but now it stands a chance of moving forward (more) quickly, and I need to devote myself to determining exactly what we want, and getting as much of that as we can.

My pride is invested here, in the garden and in the house, and I can't keep putting it off and making excuses, talking about what we would do and will do in order to feel better. I need it to be done.

My nesting instinct has been terribly frustrated.


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