A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Glimpse of the Past--Or of the Future?

Saturday nights in the summer can get pretty lively in my neighborhood. The rumble and squeal of motorcycles increases as the club district starts to heat up. Sirens are more frequent after midnight. But late afternoon is the calm before the storm, especially when it's as hot as today.

The sound I was hearing from my kitchen window around suppertime was definitely not a typical Saturday sound. Well, maybe back when the streets were still cobblestone. It was a clip clop, clip clop, coming from the other side of the park.

I grabbed my camera and bopped out the front door and down the street, and when I got to the Apremont Triangle, this is what I saw. A horsedrawn carriage with a wedding party inside. I followed it down Bridge Street as far as the Salty Dog Saloon, the little flower girl beaming proudly at me the whole way.

This carriage comes from Hollow Brook Farms in Brimfield. HBF is a picturesque rural setting for, among many other things, an outdoor wedding ceremony complete with horse and carriage. For a wedding planned somewhere else, the horse and carriage will travel....and that's what I was witnessing.

Horse-drawn carriages are a common sight around Central Park and in European capitals. Not in Springfield...but they could be. If this city would take itself seriously as a destination point--particularly as a city of transportation firsts--the carriages would be back, I'm sure.

Planting by the Moon

Paul Gauthier has been promising me a division of his blue hosta for some time now. I stopped by late this afternoon, and while Geri was giving me a tour of the latest blooms and acquisitions, Paul was spading up a chunk of the coveted plant. I bundled it in a plastic bag and assured Paul I'd get it in the ground a.s.a.p.

By the time I got home and back outside, the light was failing. I was watering my new baby by the light of the moon. And that got me to wondering...was I doing this task under the correct lunar phase?

I didn't have a Farmer's Almanac handy, but with a DSL connection, who cares? Gardeningbythemoon.com told me everything I needed to know.

Today, July 9, the moon is waxing, in the second quarter. The gravitational pull is less than at the full or new moon, and the amount of moonlight is increasing. It's a good time to plant, but not the best time to transplant.

The best time for transplanting is during the third quarter, when the gravitational pull is high (creating more moisture in the soil), but the moonlight is decreasing (putting energy into the roots). Or during the fourth quarter, when both the gravitational pull and the light are waning--a resting period.

On the other hand, planting by the signs of the zodiac should also be considered. And the most fruitful sign, best of all for planting and transplanting, is Cancer. Which is what we're right smack in the middle of now.

So I choose to believe that, despite the inauspicious timing vis-a-vis the moon, the stars trump. Anyway, hosta is virtually unkillable. And planting at a less-than-ideal lunar moment has got to be better than leaving Mr. Hosta for two weeks in a plastic bag.