[ news from the remaining schools...]

We travelled up to Philadelphia this weekend to see the annual international flower show and I got to revel in moss-covered logs, unfurling fiddlehead ferns, delicate branches of pussy willow, and a treasure trove of succulents.

They had the unfortunate theme of "New Orleans" jazz, which meant that some horticultural designers thought throwing gaudy beads and plastic saxophones into their designs would be a good idea. Green, purple and gold plastic really destroys any amount of "naturalness" that a design has really ruins the experience for me. There were way too many people of course, but it was great fun just the same.

We walked down to South Street after the show to get something to eat and along the way I saw two very interesting things: a tree that had draped itself over the wrought iron surrounding an 18th century gravestone and a cement pillar thingy that had been painted into a resemblance of the leaning tower of Pisa.

I've been using a lot of tree motifs lately, especially in my embroidery. I think it's the result of gazing every day at the bare skeletal trees in my world. I never tire of their shapes -- whether harsh and angular, or gently undulating across the sky. They pattern the sky with lace and throw the gorgeous colors of air into relief.

From some notes on Pessoa yesterday:

We are who we are not and life is swift and sad. The sound of waves at night is a nocturnal sound, and how many have heard it in their own soul like the constant hope breaking in the dark in a dull thud of dense foam! What tears were shed by those who failed. In my stroll by the sea, all this came to me like the secrets of the night, the whispered confidences of the abyss. How many we are, how many of those selves we deceive! What seas break in us, in the night of our being, along beaches that we only sense in the full flood of our emotion!

I often wonder if I would be more willing to be honest with myself if I weren't sure that, in being honest, I would invite the advice and judgment of so many people in my life. To say "I don't know" or "I'm not sure" is to prompt a conversation on awareness, reality, practicality, etc. To say "I wish" or "I hope" is to provoke condemnation and sententious pragmatism. Or, alternatively, to say anything with feeling, intensity, and honesty is to make the person I'm speaking to uncomfrotable and fidgety, eager to change the topic of the conversation.

I know I deceive myself -- in innumerable ways -- but I think that it's mostly to show that I'm moving through life with purpose and direction, when in fact I really just meander and wonder. Why is it not OK to live one's life without a precise intention? What if I want the liberty to grow freely, to take whichever shape is most apt? Like the tree in the graveyard which enfolded its obstacle --