Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.

The weather forecast was snow, but we ended up with “sunny skies sweeping (most of) the clouds away!”

Earlier in the day, I alluded to Carson McCullers’ short story, A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud., as inspiration for a blog post if I could get a photo opportunity. Later in the day, after Getup classmate Lynn built a fortress of rocks, Tree responded in his usual good-natured manner when I asked him to pose next to a rock with a cloud above.

A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud. was required reading in my 8th grade English class. (You can read it online at Tree mentioned that he liked the hyperlinks in my last post so I’ll just include a few in today’s post.) In this story, a man strikes up a conversation with a 12-year-old boy (my age in the 8th grade). Married to a woman who made him feel complete, the man was devastated when his wife left him after a year of marriage. Five years after his loss, the man figured out the “science of love”: how to progress from love of inanimate subjects (hence the title: a tree, a rock, a cloud) to love of a woman (complex human being). The man said he mastered this science so “I can love anything.” Yet, when the boy asks whether the man has fallen in love with a woman again, the man says he is cautious and not ready for the last step in his science.

Like the 12-year-old boy, all I could do was ask more questions: Was the man like Simon & Garfunkel’s "I Am a Rock" (“If I never loved I never would have cried. I am a rock, I am an island. . . And a rock feels no pain; And an island never cries.” View and listen to What kind of love was this man talking about? The ancient Greeks had four words for love: storge (family affection), philia (friendship), eros (passionate love), and agape (universal love). By the way, what was my English teacher thinking in assigning this short story to inexperienced 8th graders?

A Tree. Today, I wonder: Maybe the man’s science of love theory is valid—that men should fall in love beginning with a tree? I’m reminded of Shel Silverstein’s book, The Giving Tree, about a selfless tree who loved a boy so much that she gave him everything he asked for. But when the boy grows older, he doesn’t reciprocate; instead, the greedy boy keeps taking from the tree and ultimately ends up cutting down the tree so he can build a sailboat. When the boy grows into an old man, the tree stump says she has nothing left to give. But the boy-man explains, "I do not need much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest." The giving tree invites the boy-man to sit down and rest, saying, "Well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting.” The boy did just that, and the tree was happy. The end. But I didn’t feel this ending was happily ever after. Instead, I felt grief: Did the boy-man ever really love the giving tree, or was he just exploiting the tree’s resources? What’s the boy-man’s relationship with other creations, including human creatures like his wife and children?

(Listen to “Cruel to be Kind” at “You say your love is bonafide, but that don't coincide with the things that you do. . . Well, I do my best to understand dear, but you still mystify, and I wanna know why. I pick myself up off the ground to have you knock me back down again and again . . .)

A Rock. A tree’s roots are covered in soil, which is made of rock. John Jeavons, author of How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine, believes farming takes more than it gives. Therefore, he recommends that farmers devote at least 60% of planting space to growing crops as compost ingredients to build soil.

A Cloud. Clouds bring rainwater, which is free and an ideal source of water for growing plants.

Organic farming is labor of love intensive, requiring special attention and care to everything in the environment—a tree, a rock, a cloud—that affects the growth and well-being of all creation. The Free Farm is a great place to practice “the science of love”—being generous to both our natural and human communities. So come outside and farm with us!
Tree's to-do list
Jordan harvests kale
John picks up dead pigeon
My shadow taking photo of pigeon's grave; bye bye birdie
Tree goes over to-do list with Sophie, Stanley & Emily
Emily puts up clothesline; check out Emily's blog about container gardening at
Rinsing harvested collards
Chef Alena brought wild rice with butternut squash & cranberries
Multi-talented Ricardo, musician & gardener, is also a baker who brought banana bread
Ricardo’s yummy banana bread recipe:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil, then add bananas. Add water and vanilla, stirring to combine.
Add the flour mixture, stirring just until wet.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Evan says grace before lunch
Stanley's painted chalkboard-style sign attracted more visitors to The Free Farm!
Emily harvests while Hannah & Alena continue construction of 2nd greenhouse
Snail gets suntan
Stanley touches up "The Free Farm Come Grow with Us" sign
Lynn built this fortress of rocks
Vegetarian neighbor Pia visits The Free Farm Stand

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Very wonderful work. I dream for a day such as this. I enjoy your new blog. Keep in touch. Best, Anna