Saturday, June 11, 2011
honeysuckle and hotsauce


they are back They are persistent in the park next to my house. This morning they are permeating the dense, humid air. The breezes are circulating their aroma. Some years ago they had got very bushy and were said to be hiding miscreants and fun couples. They were cut back. They've come back despite official discouraging. I'm happy to see them.
Their aroma can become cloying if the air is hot and still and they have grown too dense. But they are wonderful on a spring day when a breeze stirs them. And they are a natural boon -- a thing you can get for free. The city of Jersey City thinks they are a nuisance and give cover to criminals. True. I think they are a welcome deodorizing element to cover for the garbage that folks throw into the park, too.
And then the name. I'm sure I laughed the first time I heard it -- or smiled. It's so nasty, natural descriptive that it brings on giggling. A favorite song written by Fats Waller is "Honeysuckle Rose" and I'm certain he must have enjoyed -- I know it -- saying these words -- especially the "suckle" part. Though, of course, he didn't write lyrics. His naughtiness is all in the wayward way each instrument approaches the mundane, carefree melody. And, in some versions, he adds ridiculous, double entendre.
But where are the bees? I picked off a few large sprigs of honeysuckle yesterday. I got very close to the bushes -- they grow wild in a place restricted by a wrought iron fence. They have now grown bushy and tall enough to poke through the fence. No bees fed on them. I remember bees before. They were the reason that you didn't walk close to the bushes. They were thick back then. Where are they now? Are they somewhere saying "Where's the honeysuckle nowadays when you're looking for it?"
I say, "Well now where are the bees when you're looking for 'em?"

hotsauce? Is global warming causing colony collapse?

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Onward only! I can't turn back and I won't turn around.

Celebrating eleven years of swimming!

stroking onward and upward
swimming for the wall 2010

“Centuries later historians would ridicule as a numbers game attempts to count the millions forced to suffer the trauma of the transatlantic passage. Yet for those who witnessed the murderous raids by Arabs, Europeans, or hostile black Africans upon their communities, for those who were discarded on their march to the African coast, for those who were banned to the hold of the ships, for those whose bodies were cast overboard, for those who made it to the unknown on the other side of the ocean, every single one mattered. For every single woman, every single man represented the difference between life and death, between the "I am" and chattel, between history and the void, between the voice and silence. For every single one defined the whole.”

from Black Imagination and the Middle Passage by Maria Diedrich, Henry Louis Gates, Carl Pedersen

“As you were speaking this morning of little children, I was looking around and thinking it was most beautiful. But I have had children and yet never owned one, no one ever owned one; and of such there's millions -- who goes to teach them? You have teachers for your children but who will teach the poor slave children?
I want to know what has become of the love I ought to have for my children? I did have love for them, but what has become of it? I cannot tell you. I have had two husbands but I never possessed one of my own. I have had five children and never could take one of them up and say, 'My child' or 'My children,' unless it was when no one could see me.
I believe in Jesus, and I was forty years a slave but I did not know how dear to me was my posterity. I was so beclouded and crushed. But how good and wise is God, for if the slaves knowed what their true condition was, it would be more than the mind could bear. While the race is sold of all their rights -- what is there on God's footstool to bring them up? Has not God given to all his creatures the same rights? How could I travel and live and speak? When I had not got something to bear me up, when I've been robbed of all my affections for husband and children.
My mother said when we were sold, we must ask God to make our masters good, and I asked who He was. She told me, He sit up in the sky. When I was sold, I had a severe, hard master, and I was tied up in the barn and whipped. Oh! Till the blood run down the floor and I asked God, why don't you come and relieve me -- if I was you and you'se tied up so, I'd do it for you.”

Sojourner Truth, 1856

This text of her address was recorded by the acting secretary of the Friends of Human Progress Association of Michigan, Thomas Chandler, and published in the Anti-Slavery Bugle

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