Showing posts with label flowers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flowers. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Ah Shucks

This past week I stumbled into someone who said we had entered the Age of Aquarius on March 23, 2023. Oh, joy!


I've been looking for the Age of Aquarius since 1967 when I saw the stage play Hair in Los Angeles, California.



"When the moon is in the Seventh House

And Jupiter aligns with Mars,

Then peace will guide the planets

And love will steer the stars,

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius,

Age of Aquarius"*


The Age of Aquarius represents an age of world Peace, where we love one another without prejudice and fear—I was looking forward to that. 


However, upon further investigation, I found that we are still on the cusp of the age. And Astrologers can't agree on when the next age will happen.


I don't know how much stock we can put on the Sun's passage across the sky. Astronomers say that as the earth wobbles, we see the Sun move through the constellations--the 12 houses of the Zodiac.


Ages last 2,150 years, and Pisces began in 68 BC.


That adds up to 2597 years until Pisces ends and Aquarius begins.


I don't know about you but waiting for 579 years is out of my ballpark. We can't wait for the new age to drop on us like the Aquarian lady pouring water out of her urn.



"Harmony and understanding

Sympathy and trust abounding

No more falsehoods or derisions

Golden living dreams of visions

Mystic crystal revelation

And the mind's true liberation"*



So the story goes…The lyrics to the song/poem Aquarius, were scribbled on a piece of paper and found in a wallet in a NY taxicab.


(What a brilliant piece of marketing and/or a contribution to humankind.)


And that piece of paper, the song, a mash-up with "Let the Sunshine In," sung by the music group "The Fifth Dimensions, hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on April 12, 1969. It stayed there for six weeks, on the chart for 17 weeks, and earned three Grammy nominations in 1970, winning for both Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.


The song's album, The Age of Aquarius, peaked on the Billboard chart at the number two spot in late June 1969 and spent 72 weeks on the chart. It garnered two Grammy nominations."


Hair and the song The Age of Aquarius lit a fire under a generation that changed our culture. They protested the Viet Nam war, changed dress codes, sexual mores, championed Civil Rights, supposedly ended segregation, (again), burned bras, draft cards, and gave permission for both men and women to grow hair, for men to grow facial hair, to wear jewelry, and burn draft cards, and for women to burn bras. Oh, and co-ops came into being where people wanted organic food, and natural childbirth was ushered into hospitals.  


Why are we losing some of those hard-fought-for rights and changes?


Why is there so much fear and quick resort to violence when once we championed Peace, put flowers in our hair, knew we could make a difference, and believed in a better world?


I want the enthusiasm we once felt. I want to believe again.


 “You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.” –John Lennon


“Oh, let it shine, c’mon
Now everybody just sing along
Let the sun shine in
Open up your heart and let it shine on in
When you are lonely, let it shine on
Got to open up your heart and let it shine on in
And when you feel like you’ve been mistreated
And your friends turn away
Just open your heart, and shine it on in.”*



*Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Galt Mac Dermot / Gerome Ragni / James Rado

Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Birds and the Bees


As I sit at the window in the cabin in the forest—a rented cabin, not mine, on this Tuesday, April 12, I am watching great gobs of snow that were heavy on the fir branches a moment ago plummet to the ground. The resultant "Plop" awakens my little dog, trying to sleep on the couch.


 A view from my window.


Oh, here come the flakes again—little white fairies slowly drifting to the ground. I am mesmerized. How do they fall while maintaining a distance from the other? Each flake is synchronized like birds in flight. Although the flakes are on a trajectory, the birds can do right turns or left with split-second timing. I figure there is a commander bird with a radio headset giving instructions to the flock via their headsets.


(My physicist husband will tell me that the flake's distance from each other has something to do with the moisture in the air.) I guess each has its own little packet of moist air around it, as some trees emit a deterrent to keep other trees from crowding in too close, allowing each to his own space. 


My own space is one reason I came here. 


There goes the newly plowed road the tractor made about 5 minutes ago. The snow is stacking up.


And I thought it was spring.



But this is fun, and I came to be among the big trees, so here I am. The weather can do whatever. This is my Artist's Date to follow Julia Cameron's suggestion as something people should take every so often to recharge their batteries. She suggested a weekly date—doing something fun, but I took it to the extreme and took two days. She goes to the pet store and pets the enormous bunny they keep on the premises. First, she asks, "Can I pet Howard?" 


"You have to ask Howard," they say.


"He always says yes.


About a week ago, I watched a friend's video where she mentioned the pollination of the forest. Wait a minute, I don't know how the pines and firs pollinate, and I took Botany in college.  I knew about flowering plants, but conifers are gymnosperms, non-flowering plants, how do they grow pollen?

 (My classes were in California, maybe they skipped the conifer lecture.)

 Gymnosperms include conifers, pines, firs, ferns, mosses, and lessor forms like lichens. Angiosperms are the flowering plants.)


Ferns and mosses have spores on their leaves and thus send babies into the world. But Pines? Where does the pollen come from if they have no flowers?


This morning I found that conifers have male cones and female cones. The male cones don't look like the woody cones we commonly call pine cones but are more furry cones that come in the spring on the tree's lower branches. Why lower? 

So they generally do not pollinate their own tree, thus allowing genetic diversity. Instead, the pollen is carried by the wind to other trees. (Perhaps you have parked in the forest to find your car covered with yellow powder—that is pollen.  


It takes two years from the time pollen finds a female cone to it making pine nuts. You have probably seen a pine cone where the scales look glued together. They

 have not yet opened for that pollen can enter. 


After a time, the scales open and an ovule is fertilized, and two seeds mature between the scales. After that, the pine cone falls to the ground. Some ingenious designer created the pine cone so it would bounce and thus disperse its seeds. Since the pine nuts are delicious, critters collect them and bury them for a future meal. Sometimes the animal will forget where they buried some of their seeds, or maybe they had more than they could eat and left some. In that manner, animals plant trees.


Forgive me for the science reminder, but I am in awe that seemingly dead branches bud and develop flowers and leaves every spring. Ground plants make their way through the soil, the grasses turn green, and the world awakens. The plants feed us, give us wood for fuel and shelter, and oxygen for our bodies. We, in turn, provide them with carbon dioxide. What a system.


And this system can remind us, as Eckhart Tolle so eloquently explained, that a "Flowering of Consciousness" can appear in people too. 


See, I flipped from being a biologist to being a preacher.  


Imagine a time when there were no flowers, and then one day, a lonely little blossom appeared. Soon others came, and the forest exploded into color. Insects were attracted to the fragrance emitted by the flowers. Birds came because of plentiful food, as did bees and hummingbirds. (They star apart, though, for hummingbird's little body can't take a bee sting.) came where the bees weren't to drink their nectar and thus disperse the pollen. The flowers accommodate each, specializing in hummingbird flowers and bee flowers. The bees leave behind honey. The hummingbirds leave behind beauty. The flowers make fruits. 


 What a system.


Now I will spend some time contemplating why I really came to the woods.


See ya next week.

Love ya,



Good Morning



Monday, November 15, 2021

What in the Heck is Alohilani?


"Unclose your mind. You are not a prisoner. You are a bird in flight, searching the skies for dreams."

Haruki Murakami


Quote of the day on the Internet. 


If we really believed that, we would be ecstatic to be alive. 


I'm not seeing a whole lot of that lately.


Today I'm taking a turn from talking about life, the universe, and everything and talking about flowers. 


Hold on, Jo, talking about flowers is talking about life.


"Earth, 114 million years ago, one morning just after sunrise: The first flower ever to appear on the planet opens up to receive the rays of the sun."—Eckhart Tolle



Plants had already populated the earth. It's complicated. Ferns produce more ferns without flowers by producing "spores" on the underside of their leaves. Trees produce more trees from cones, and the Banyan tree "walks" by way of a limb touching the ground and sprouting, thus making a new tree. That tree does the same, and so on.


Plants that flower, however, were late bloomers.


The first flower probably did not last for long. And probably for a long while, flowers were an isolated and rare phenomenon.


One day, however, a critical threshold was reached, and suddenly the world exploded into color.


Think of this, my dear friends; we could be like the flowers reaching that threshold. The monkeys did it with their 100 monkey phenomenon. One day a single little lady monkey washed her sweet potato in a stream. It wasn't long until all the monkeys on the island were washing their sweet potatoes, and they had not seen her do it. 


There could be, for human beings, a sudden explosive awakening where we pull our noses out of the mud and look to the glories that could be ours. We could see that we are glorious, powerful beings connected to a divine presence. I want to be alive to see it, experience it, and be a part of it. 


I wrote the following for my other site Jo's Store Books and Coffee (as a Christmas idea, and incidentally, about a man named Joe). Since I was into flowers, I am putting it here as well. 



 What in the heck is Alohilani?

That's what we wondered when we moved to Hawaii. 

A handwritten sign about two feet long and eight inches high with handwritten letters spelled Alohilani existed on the right side of the highway. It was our marker to turn onto the road on the left. That road was practically obscured by cane grass as tall as our vehicle. Many times we would have missed our exit had it not been for that sign. The road to our house road was virtually invisible from the highway, as it took off through cane grass as high as the car.


We had purchased ten of the most beautiful acres at the end of the road—the end meaning as far as you could drive. The road at one time transported pineapples from Pahoa to Hilo. At that time it was impassable beyond our property.


Along our two miles of lumpy, bumpy road leading to our house, a gate and a park-like setting existed, indicating that something spectacular lay beyond. We must have lived there for two months before we found out what it was. It was Alohilani, an orchid farm.


As we were preparing to leave the Island about a year later, I called Alohilani. Joe, the owner, invited us to visit his beautiful spread.


The portion we saw after driving through his gate and away from the road was acres of green around his house, manicured into a park-like setting, populated by three dogs, three horses, a multitude of sheep, and pigs who played with the dogs and slept clean and sleek under the palms.


"Isn't this what a farm is about," asked Joe, "having animals?"


My kind of guy.


Joe told us that when he first moved onto this property, the land was raw, untamed, and wild. He bulldozed and planted and built the highest treehouse I have ever seen. It must have been 100 feet in the air, and not in a tree but on poles. He built a packing building and erected rows of shade-cloth-covered structures, and filled them with orchids.


Growing orchids is labor-intensive we found out.


The day my daughter, grandson, and I arrived, Joe was in the process of breaking bottles.


The bottles were about a foot long, squared on the long sides, and about two inches in width.


Holding a bottle over a trash can, Joe gently tapped the end of each bottle with a hammer, broke the glass, and then poured the tiny orchid plants into a bucket of water. Two young women then placed a single sprout into a one-inch peat-pot.


The bottles were filled with a gel substrate that nourished little green sprouts. Joe said that the suppliers did not throw in the seeds randomly, but carefully, with long tweezers, placed each plant in rows on the gel. In two years, those tiny plants would become exquisite flowering orchids.


Joe, now a widower, told us that the climate on the Island was perfect for orchids. The plants grown there are much hardier and healthier than those raised in greenhouses or imported from the orient.


We told him we were leaving the Island and moving back to the mainland. Here we were neighbors and had only just met each other when we were about to leave. I looked over at the pigs sleeping contentedly under the palm trees. They were of the wild variety, black and sleek and grunting contentedly on clean grass, paying us no mind. They were free to come and go at will, and those sleeping under the palms, Joe told us, had been born on the farm. The wild pigs had found a haven, even if—we discovered later, once, in a while, one becomes food for Joe.


As I was preparing to leave, Joe said, "You eat pork, don't you?" He opened a refrigerator packed to the brim with packages of meat, took out an entire pork shoulder, and thrust it into my arms. A parting gift. How wonderful to have met him.


I was investigating the possibility of importing orchids when we got back to the mainland. At the time, Joe was willing to provide me with the opportunity of importing orchids. However, when we returned to the mainland, I found orchids in shops and grocery stores less expensive than I could provide. Joe found a way, for he was constantly exporting them. As he said, his plants had been grown on native soil and were thus healthier--perhaps specific companies, florists and others appreciated that.


As I said, we were preparing to leave the Island. First, we had decided that while we made great tourists, we made lousy Polynesians. Island living was not for us. Second, my husband had developed a heart condition, and the doctor asked me, "You know about the Big Island, don't you?"


"In what regard?" I asked.


"If your husband needs further treatment, he will have to go to Honolulu."


Holy smokes, I thought, I'm not commuting to Honolulu.


We couldn't get off that Island fast enough.


Incidentally, we saw a golden orchid—really. It was as gold and gold, and alive. This orchid was not at Joe's but at another tourist- display-farm. (Perhaps that was the reason for Joe's tiny sign, only to show delivery trucks where to turn--and us--not for tourist's directions.) The golden orchid had a price tag of $25,000.


However, the golden orchid was not for sale. I wondered at the time if this was like the old ploy of having a thousand-dollar bottle of wine listed on a menu, so the others seemed like a bargain.


Joe was the real deal.


If you want one of Joe's orchids, I will try to get it for you. I can provide types and pictures. But it has been 10 years since our visit and my communication with him, so I will have to see how that would work.  


You can find Christmas gift suggestions on



Alohilani in Hawaiian means "Full of compassion."