Temporal Matters

I am not at Ragdale; my residency doesn’t begin till next week, and ends a week later than I’d planned.  I’m blaming the hard drive crash for having the dates wrong on my calendar, but it’s probably just my brain.

This is good because it will be just a wee bit cooler, I’ll be in residence for optimum milkweed harvest time at the end, I am home for another week to eat my delicious tomato harvest and to make pesto from the big pot of basil (something I have not done in way too many years), and I have more time to practice integrating physical therapy into daily life. Unfortunately I learned this week that I will need to also find ways to do more work on an outside, non-art project during Ragdale time. Regardless, I’m packing and getting excited about the work I will be making, and simply about being in that gorgeous studio. There’s less prep than usual, because I will be coming into town once a week for PT sessions close to home.  Fibers and cooking pot are coming with me, so I can prepare beforehand to beat what I need as I need it while I’m off working on my knees.

This business of shifting bones is strange.  Already, I’ve run a gamut of sensations from the initial grinding pain to over a week of constant hot (literally hot, to the touch) ache in my knees to several days of having both legs feel dull, rubbery and leaden from the hips down. Currently, below the skin, my knees are numb. It’s weirdly interesting to experience. I am working on a lot of other things as well, but mornings are pretty much dedicated to therapy.  I won’t pretend that I don’t have to talk myself into it every single day.

Plants have things to teach us, particularly about time.  Today’s photos are of a ponytail palm I have had for ages. I bought it during a time of heartbreak, and since then, its presence has always enriched my winters. But, last summer I was so overbooked and frazzled that I never hauled it outdoors for its season of light and rain, and when I returned from Penland this spring, it was very nearly dead.  Three of its six branches had stopped producing, and the live ones only had thin, pale shoots left among dead leaves.  In May, I trimmed its roots, re-potted and it, and set it outside in a protected, shady spot.

The viable branches quickly began to re-grow, healthy and green. Just a few days ago, I turned the pot and saw that the branches I thought were dead have each sprouted; not three but four vigorous new shoots. It’s coming back more abundant than it ever has been, though in different directions, forming a new shape.

It tells me things, good things, about rehabilitating my own body.  I write about it here for friends who are now going through painful, fallow times. I’ve been saving its trimmings for a few seasons, and with all the dead leaves I took from it after Penland, I now have a pound of fiber to transform into paper, into something new. When I make that paper, some of it is coming to you.

Double!  And if you look in the center, a third beginning…five new branches.