From the Ethereal

May 9, 2014

From the ethereal to the earthereal, the fun never stops. I woke up Monday morning with my arm hanging limp from my shoulder. A little body English would have swung it around in circles like a mean boy with his sister’s rag doll. Lit-tel story. Sunday I played bodhrán—the Irish frame drum—as I describe it, north-end-of-a-south-facing goat—to accompany a glorious choir, the St. Joseph Valley Camerata. I bought a new suit for the occasion! Know when the last time THAT happened? When I got married-1970. The arrangement was that I was to pound the bodhrán as if I were beating off a large clan of angry Leprechauns, to chaperone a piece of Scottish mouth music, a finale to an entrancing concert of English choral music covering the period from John Taverner, Cardial Wolsey’s Master Chorister in the 16th century, to John Tavener (equally glorious) who died only last year at the tender age of 69 (and you better not laugh, ‘cause that’s only two years older than me). Director Scott Hochstetler and his ruby-throated eight-sectioned group brought me, and the audience, to a state of deep silent contemplation followed by enthusiastic acclaim.

Monday Spring came a-knocking AT LAST. Time to pay attention to DIRT. Driving with my left hand, I was off to the auld lumber garden store, buying a dozen 2X6s a couple 4X4s, some deck screws, and . . . a rose. The rose is to mark my one-year “homeowner” anniversary; the wood was for a couple of 4X8-foot raised garden beds, now completed and awaiting DIRT. In an astounding feat of foresight I started some tomatoes, peppers, squash, herbs, and flowers from seeds about a month ago in the sun room, and the little buggers are actually sprouting. So in a week or so, if it doesn’t snow, I’ll have a garden, and giant sunflowers to keep those pesky birds chirping. As my right arm woke up and the garden bed project developed, I began to get slivers of my auld carpentry mojo back. At first I sawed the 16” corner posts for bed number one by starting at the end of the 4X4 and lopping off 16” sections. You should have seen me trying to balance seven feet of 4X4 sticking off the end of the saw table with various props not designed to that end, at the same time trying to achieve a square cut. It’s the little things in life that’ll kill you . . . The second time I sawed the 4X4 in half, achieving two 48” lengths divisible to 16” pieces with no waste, and the eight-foot timber handled much easier. Logic and labor are not exclusive, they’re partners.

Second-round draft choices this year will be a sour cherry tree for the yard, a couple of trees-to-be-named-later for the verge, and water in little pond, still a cement-lined hole. Then we’ll let nature roll up her sleeves and do her share, with less grass to mow and more pretty things to grow and eat. I mean, why grow grass when you can grow a tomato, or a flower, or a tree. That’s me.

Tuesday I woke up with both my arms . . .