We've had an unusual thaw and hiatus of winter recently.
December's snow has disappeared and the new snow is sparse and stingy,
disappearing even before it touches ground.
These conditions have turned loose a strange phenomenon on the garden;
and part psychological.
I can describe some of the physical evidence:
neatly stacked trellises were found smashed to bits far from where they were stored;
limestone, stacked and ready to be used for new pathways,
is discovered as gravel, looking like they had been struck by an asteroid;
clay pots, and plastic ones too,
that had been stored behind the shed,
are found disintegrated all around like strange bacterial colonies,
heavy wooden pallets have been dragged fifty yards and placed in such a way as to suggest conscious building of structures of some sort;
a hundred yards from the shed, deep in the prairie area, a stone altar was found;
the little water play table had its cover broken to bits,
apparently via use as a trampoline.
More evidence of this phenomenon can be gained by visiting the garden soon after dismissal,
3:20 or so.
Stand very still and listen.
You will soon hear the squawk and shrill of what could be a visiting eagle,
or the wind picking up as it turns into a tornado.
The sound builds in width and intensity, until it is almost one continuous shriek,
like how witnesses spoke about Hurricane Katrina.
And if you focus intently,
you can start to see the blurred outlines of physical bodies moving at incredible speeds,
images are blurred:
a smear of blue, then red, then grey and blue again, then orange.
The frantic stream swirls first one way, then loops back,
threading through every passageway of the garden like a swarm of bees searching desperately for a new hive.
And with each passing moment the frantic shriek rises and plunges,
and the whole thing is an experience both terrifying and amazing.
Once, when the frightful noise suddenly subsided,
like a freight train passing back into the distance,
I was awakened from my trance to see children hanging from the branches of the walnut tree by the compost bin,
like strange fruit.
And not 5 feet away from me,
two little boys gazed at a pile of flagstones,
one saying to the other,
"Ya wanna smash 'em?"
It's this anomalous mid-winter thaw, you see,that brings this on.
Usually it starts in Spring.
But with the ground bare and thawed (and vulnerable)
new life is drawn out, like the miraculous emergence of gnats from the compost on a warm mid-winter day,
or dogs and their walkers at Horner Park, when the temperature rises and the sun peeks through.
Amazing as this phenom is,
it can be destructive and disheartening.
It is entropy set free to wreak havoc on our attempts at orderliness.
It takes hours to repair, put-back, re-assemble things that are scattered in a single day.
Like with most of nature,
there is no ill will on display here,
more a euphoria,
a desperate need to move and do,
that builds and builds as long as the window of opportunity stays open.
I'm going to try to re-direct this tornado to the sports field,
a place more safe (and less exciting)
by standing guard in the garden after dismissal whenever I can,
or until a giant snow storm calms the world
and covers the garden with its protective cloak.
On Tuesday, February 7, 2nd grade Room 203 will walk to the River at Berteau to see what mysteries will there unfold.
Volunteers will meet at 1:00 in the Conference Room and we will be back before dismissal. We will be singing:
"We're all water
from different rivers,
That's why it's so easy to meet.
We're all water in this vast vast ocean,
Some day we'll evaporate together.
On Wednesday, Feb. 8, 3rd Grade, Room 202, is off to Sauganash to probe scat, track animals, and cut buckthorn. Hope for snow and cold! Meet at 9:00 by the fish tank for a briefing. Back by 12:30 for lunch in the classroom.
On Thursday, Feb. 9, 3rd Grade, Room 204, will do the same as above. Please join us.
Friday's 6th grade trip to the Wilmette locks, sewage treatment plant, and Evanston Waters Utility, has been pushed back a week to allow the kids to take part in Valentine's Day activities. Ah! Love.
One of my favorite holiday's, devoted to L-O-V-E.
Here is one take, by the Rev. Al Green
"... I can't explain this feeling.
Can't you see that salvation is real,
I would give my life for the glory,
just to be able to tell the story about Love.
Love is a power in my soul,
Love is a story that can't be told,
Can't you feel it growing more and more ....
Love is something that's so refined,
Love is a feeling that's a friend of mine,
In the water, in the mind ..."
Happy Valentine's Day to all.