Saturday, April 22, 2017


These two pots of small habanero bushes are grown from seeds inside grocery store habanero chile pods. The pods were dried and turned to little bits for a powerful floral chile flavoring. It's used in near trace amounts smaller than 1/16 teaspoon. 

Genetically this plant is perennial although it is treated as annual. I expected them to bloom last year near the end of the season but they didn't develop fast enough. Both pots were overly densely planted, about 1/3 died wintering inside. 

There were five blooms but no wind and no insects to pollinate so I did that by hand with a Q-tip. Two broke off by my handling and two other flowers fell by themselves, this is the only chile so far. If the flower can hang on after pollination then this pod develops rapidly within a few days. 

When it ripens it will be orange. 

But right now it's a baby and I imagine it gazing back in wordless wonder settled in warm satisfaction that is readable on its little baby chile face by the smile held in tremendous contentment.

"Come on, stop it! You're killing me over here."

It's quite an effort. To be born.

It is aggressive. Assertive. Forceful. Creative.

One time I read a strange thing in a metaphysics book that was interesting to me sufficiently to cause me to read all the woman's books. Actually, I read all the books available at that Dalton's in the whole metaphysical section including all the most wacky ones written by an aging actress from a famous acting family. It amounted to four shelves of wildly strange books. 

This was Jane Roberts. She and her husband played with an Ouija board and that led over time to Jane channeling an entity named Seth. 

Jane, or the entity Seth, said something like, "Birth is aggressively assertive. A flower blooming,  forcing itself into physical reality, creatively assembling from available material, is more aggressive than death which is submissive." 

Strange idea. But I used that one time. 

I must have internalized it.

Here's a brief story for you. It was the oddest thing.

I shouldn't recall it all the way because it's a bummer. It doesn't do good to dwell. It's not how to progress. Nevertheless, this odd thing did happen and it is relevant to the point.

All along coping with unanticipated difficulties one after another debilitating in series then a bright spot opened and everything looked tremendous and bright. I took a train to Glenwood Springs for a weekend in celebration of good fortune, of life itself, and on the way back at Denver I broke my left femur at the hip on the terminal platform and that accident lead to a brief hospitalization and a few weeks in a nursing home and a good deal of therapy.  

All that seems like four lifetimes ago. And I mean it. This is all very far behind me.

Up to then it had been all private rooms. And it was here too at the nursing home until half way through they brought in a man who would be my roommate. 

He was older than myself by a few decades.  His accident had changed his plans considerably and he was having a good deal of difficulty adjusting. He was depressed. He told me that he was bummed out because he did not want to go through his retirement handicapped. It messed him right up. He felt like just dying.

He found me to be a curiosity. 

Get that. Plain, normal, simple, straightforward simpleminded me. For some reason I had his attention. I do not understand why he even bothered discussing his emotional transitions with me. They have professionals there for that. And then maybe those professionals put him in that room with me for a reason. 

I think maybe he was curious how I handled his similar situation given I'm in a similar boat except a few decades younger. I think he was curious how I managed emotionally to see if he could muster a similar attitude.  I don't know. 

We role model types must be very careful. You never do know what goes on in peoples' minds. If he is a religious type, in his worked up emotional state he might imagine me having been positioned in that room by higher power specifically to deliver to him his needed spiritual information or inspiration. Who's to know?  In that moment Jane Roberts philosophy occurred to me. I leaned upon it heavily and said, "Look, dying is easy, you just resign to it. You give up. You let go. Dying is not hard. It is not a challenge. Living is challenging. No matter your condition, age or station, living is the assertive forceful challenge while dying is passive release of control." I spoke as if I knew what I was talking about although I don't and he didn't challenge anything I said.

This guy I found today read Jane Roberts's metaphysical discussion differently. He sums up her discourse on this as aggression vs. violence. By his reading, aggression is forceful constructive energy while violence is the opposite. 


Sixty Grit said...

Sometimes dying is easy, sometimes not dying is a challenge. I just got off the phone with a former coworker and we talked for an hour about one thing and another, grandchildren, the old days, and inevitably, those who have gone on before. There were some sad stories, some tragic ones, some unexpected, some expected.

But the two of us, who had respectively 3 and 4 brothers are down to one brother each, and we really can't explain why we are here and so many others aren't.

Anyway, we are both retired, both somewhat worse for the wear, but both of us are still here.

I have no idea why or how, but there it is. Enjoy.

XRay said...

I remember Jane Roberts, friend of mine was into that type of stuff. She made a lot of money off that character, 'Seth'. Good for her I suppose.

I think you did pretty well on advice giving to that old guy. After all there's only so much you can say to someone in that situation. If they don't have the internal gumption to pull themselves out of it, then they won't.

Well, Sixty, I'm still bothered on occasion by my survivors guilt from that escapade across the pond. But yep, I'm still here too. Hopefully I've had a positive impact on a few here and there, to give some meaning to it.

chickelit said...

That's an interesting planter in the center of the photo -- the one that looks like cypress roots. What an interesting juxtaposition -- putting something that grows in a desert on top of something that grows in a swamp. You've really cornfused nature there Chip and she's rewarding you with sparsity.

ndspinelli said...

Sixty, You seem rather melancholy of late. Maybe more pensive, than melancholy?

Sixty Grit said...

No, not melancholy, as I say, I am incapable of getting depressed or even sad for more than a moment or two.

But I was reflecting on old times with an old coworker, and as I say, I was kind of surprised by some of the people who had died. One was a woman whom I remember as young and vibrant, a real firecracker, and of course when you don't see people for 35 years your memory of them remains frozen. In my mind she was still lovely young Gwynn, only now she is gone.

But the upside to all of this is - I reconnected with my former boss, thanked him for helping me at what could have been a much tougher time in my life had I not had his help, I sold him a bowl, the bowl will go to his daughter on the day of her wedding and you can cue The Godfather music, please.

We are in the middle of a multiple days-long gully washing rainstorm, and while I miss the sun, at least I can't whine about the drought, at least for another week or so. Plus the fires are out now.

Did I mention that we had a couple of days recently where a pall of smoke hung over the area? That happens sometimes - fires in the mountains to our west will do that, one year it was smoke from the Great Dismal Swamp fire that enveloped us, but this year the smoke blew up from fires in Georgia. I was impressed - that must have been one heck of a fire, just sayin'.

Sixty Grit said...

This is a habanera. Julia Migenis, at that time hypen Johnson, she really breathed life into that role.

chickelit said...

"Habanero" is a gerundal form of habere (to have, hold in), first declension. You know, the one when you realize it's burning twice.