I appreciate how, when taking part in something annually, you can be awarded opportunities to meet that activity/event anew.
This year, we watched the Wake Up the Earth parade from what we thought was the middle of the route (later, we learned differently.) My partner sipped his coffee and I fiddled with my camera, trying to appear invisible to an intensely compelling group of children-on-stilts and their cheerful parents. The tall crew had gathered and were waiting to join the parade from the end of Paul Gore Street, right in front of the Connelly Branch of the Boston Public Library.
We heard the drums first. Then the kids, most of whom had been walking in place so as to be prepared to join mid-stride, struck out.
My partner and I didn’t see it, but apparently this was repeated further along the route as three separate parades -each originating from and representing different neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain and Roxbury- merged into one then continued together down Lamartine Street, landing finally at the festival.
I am not a farmer. Barely a keeper of house plants, but I’ve heard some things and I’ve read other things about letting a field go fallow. Or planting a cover crop of rye or clover. Whatever the process and the terms, the analogy of letting lay to inspire a future season of fertility -if one is feeling generous- is a suitable fit for what happened to the postcards I send out annually in celebration of National Poetry Month.
They are in a fallow field. That field being my mind.
You see, for possibly a decade, I’ve mailed poem postcards to family, friends, and folks I’m cultivating for friendship. I call them poemcards. I started small -a few poemcards in the month of April, containing a short poem and the inscription: Happy Nat’l Poetry Month! xoxPhoebe. Every year I added more addresses, scoured anthologies, until finally I was stretching to send out nearly forty postcards in a month. Handwritten or cut-n-paste, it took a lot of effort.
This year: nada. The desire was more a soft wind; every time I turned my head, it was gone. Between the busyness of work and life, Ladies Rock Camp Boston, and a slow recovery from winter, the seeds of my annual celebration drowned.
So. A lament, then a hope for next year. In the meantime:
Some stories are so good, a person trips over herself trying to tell them. How to begin?
With my mother and her newly acquired electric keyboard? How she surprised me with an affirmative to my inquiry, asked slightly in jest: hey, Ma, want to do Ladies Rock Camp with me this spring?
With the brief essays we wrote for our applications, mining our memories for favorite musicians and artistic influences (me: Stevie Wonder; mom: Yanni.)
With forty-plus women, in support of girls, signed up for a three-day rock and roll bootcamp? With Girls Rock Campaign Boston, bursting on the scene in 2010, educating girls ages eight to seventeen in the ways of music and self-empowerment.
The story, on paper or on screen, holds more than I can give words to. More nerve. More verve. More vulnerabilities. More inspiration. More risk-taking. More generosity. More skill. More dancing. More surprises. More support.
So I’m not going to attempt to tell this tale linear. Here are some impressions. Here are some photos. Here is a challenge for you to sign yourself up (or your daughter, your sister, your mother, your friend), and find out. Tell your own story.
However this thing begins, you can be sure it ends with gratitude.
Oh. And a video. Rocking out to Maids of Mayhem!
A friend introduced me to Little Free Libraries, small book-lending boxes that exist worldwide for reading-enthusiasts, champions of community, and the just-plain-curious. No less than a year later, such a library appeared five minutes from my house. So, in addition to the amazing Boston Public and Minuteman Library systems, I’ve a hyper-local option that draws my eye each time I wander past.
Who’s spoiled? (Hint: me.)
I heard about Cambridge Street Little Free Library on a community listserv before I saw it in person. Winter tends to tame my wandering and ground my bike, so it’s wasn’t until the weather warmed and I returned to my wheels full-time that I located Little Free Library #3884.
Even smaller than the microwave-oven sized box in JP, the Cambridge Street library is vividly painted and planted in a giant flowerpot.
While I snapped a few photos, another pedestrian noticed and decided to loiter by the box after I departed. I mean, how can you resist?
I was encouraged by the number of people who showed up to Saturday’s sold-out Maple Sugaring Festival at Mass Audubon’s Moose Hill in Sharon, MA. Friends, families, and a few couples like us.
Snow on the group, sap rising, and the sugar house was steaming maple smoke.
Due to climate change and invasive pests, folks claim these woods are endangered. Spying the maples at Natick Community Farm and Moose Hill has been bittersweet. As a kid, having never seen them, I’d envisioned sugar maples as stately and smooth. I’ve since learned they’re more tall and gnarly, holding in their veins a thin, silent treasure.