Someone gave me a persnickety clematis years ago, and it is supposed to curl around my beautiful moon gate. My effort to embrace gardening has been going better than my turn to yoga, but only just. I have a hard time with the whole patience part. But this particular little (reputedly flowering) vine seems determined not to give up. She makes her way up just a few centimeters, for a few months each year. I just checked this morning, and there are two new shoots coming out of the dry twigs near the dirt. Maybe this summer we will actually have a clematis bloom.
Truthful solidarity seems to me to be that fragile but tenacious. Candid, neighbor to neighbor conversation about the streets, schools and shops that we share are hard-won. With streamlined check-out queues, stamps.com, mega-church anonymity, and segregated private and chartered schooling, I don’t have to make even trivial chitchat with the check-out guy at Kroger, or visit with a woman holding a weirdly shaped package in line at the Post Office, exchange more than a passing peace during worship, or awkwardly discuss bilingual education with a Latina mother. If I am not intentionally courageous – if I don’t risk wary looks and profound disagreement – I can stay happily within my own, myopic, specialized little perspective on our lives “together.” Read more