Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thoughts and Progress

I got tired of that one. I have enough photos to do maybe 20 more, and then I plan to write a mini-manifesto about how 19th century it is to want people to identify plants, and I bet the guy who generated the statement wouldn't be able to name 100 magazines or newspapers or 100 professional musicians or 100 musical instruments, or makes of automobiles. NO WAY could he name 100 movies or actors or TV shows!

I wrote the above notes months ago. My yard is full of budding, sprouting, greening this'n'that.

Recently I've added to a couple of posts. There's a real-time video of a moonflower opening (I didn't make it; I lifted it, but you can follow the link back). There's a photo of some tulips that came back up this year (more now than before, as evidenced by last year's photo).


I do still intend to add to this blog, but the initial steam has cooled. That's okay. I don't mind projects taking years. Maybe someday I will get to 100 and maybe I won't, but my yard continues to improve little by little every year either way. And when I can't take care of it anymore or if someone lives here after us who has different priorities, some of the plants might go dormant, or die. Much of what is here was here for years, unwatered and unloved, but when we moved in and watered and dug around, things came up! So some of the things I've brought here or that were here that we nurtured might similarly surprise someone else in a few decades. Cool!

But back to my original thoughts about naming 100 of ANYthing, I re-read this, about my visit to Kirk Ella with Holly eight years ago.

I read it because I'm corresponding with some unschoolers in the U.K. about a visit I'm making there in July. And I realized that knowing a lot about one town in England ("a lot" meaning some history, some people, some geography, when the store opens and whether they have Dr Pepper, where the snickleways are, how far to Beverley) is different from seeing and naming 100 castles, or 100 towns, or 100 parish churches. But reading all the names on the gravestones in ONE church, hearing the bellringers practice the changes, finding a big toad in the churchyard... that's better than remembering the name of the church.

If I take photos of my grocery-store tulips every year and document their divisions and growth, that might be better than naming 100 strains of tulips. Planting tulips and not EVER taking their picture is better than feeling agitation about what a dead guy thinks about whether I can name 100 species.

I'm treating this like a game, and not like a test, and if I get distracted and start doing something else, I'm still playing. And in the end it's not whether I win or lose, its whether I knew it was a game.

I don't know what those flowers are. I don't remember what little town we were in that day.
I remember Holly touching flowers growing on an ancient wall in an alley across from a pub that wasn't open yet.