Saturday, March 22, 2008

Seeds of hope and connection

I saw a Golden Eagle tonight- at least we think that is what it was. We were out looking at another, smaller hawk in our neighbor's tree and the eagle swept past, low and close, mainly gliding... Glorious- huge. My oldest son noticed it first. When the eagle glided out of view we looked in our bird book and sure enough- a Golden Eagle.

hawk in our neighbor's tree

And so as the sun sets this eve before Easter I looked online to see where the Golden Eagle might be found, and was delighted to discover that Golden Eagles flies all throughout the Northern Hemisphere. A Golden Eagle might even be glimpsed even in the Middle East- including Palestine.

What an interesting day this has been...We had snow early this morning here in central Pennsylvania. A fast flurry of spring snow.




















A few hours after the snow melted away and the day warmed up my husband got busy planting the cold weather crop in our vegetable garden- lettuce mainly. He mixed sand in the soil so it will drain better. And then he carefully planted the seeds. Amazing really how a tiny seed can be carried far, then planted in the perfect place and the precious speck stirs and opens itself to grow.

In growing a private, personal garden for Palestine touch the earth, and marvel at what nature and nurture can do, out of nothing it seems, after this long dreary winter. Our seasons teach us patience- and hope- and surprise, as well as serendipity. Spring comes again, no matter what. And one never really knows for sure what might grow where.

But goodness can be found everywhere- if only you look.

Made in Palestine

I am from There

I come from there and remember,
I was born like everyone is borne, I have a mother
and a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends and a prison.
I have a wave that sea-gulls snatched away.
I have a view of my own and an extra blade of grass.
I have a moon past the peak of words.
I have the godsent food of birds and olive tree beyond the ken of time.
I have traversed the land before swords turned bodies into banquets.
I come from there. I return the sky to its mother when for its mother the
sky cries, and I weep for a returning cloud to know me.
I have learned the words of blood-stained courts in order to break the rules.
I have learned and dismantled all the words to construct a single one:
Home

Mahmoud Darwish


And in growing a public Garden for Palestine, today I can not help but think of hope- and all the many ways Palestinian artists through out the years have used their time and talent to plant seeds of hope everywhere they can. I suspect the first person they want to please or provoke is only their own self as they work to draw out what they think and feel and believe with all that they might be- but we all benefit from their efforts, and their memories... and their expertise.

A mural here, a painting there, a visual poem... petitions and initiatives such as Return 2008

Return and Coexistence Initiative By Ziad Abu Ein

... seeds of hope and dignity are planted. I'd want artists and thinkers and dreamers welcome and honored in our public Garden for Palestine....


Monday, March 17, 2008

Going Green for St. Patrick's Day

Our maple tree is beginning to bud! I was outside yesterday morning, enjoying the air. I looked up and there it was awake... and reaching out with every twig and tip holding its own proud but delicate bouquet of maple red bloom.

And yesterday I was going to write all about our maple tree beginning to bud- was going to wax poetic on the promise of spring- but a thousand and one things got in the way and here I am again, a day later with even bigger news from our garden here in central Pennsylvania:


yesterday

The first blooms... Our daffodils along the eastern side of the house burst open blooming blooming blooming!

today the Daffadowndillies bloomed!

"Daffadowndillies" my grandmother used to call them... and now I am old enough to know that she was quoting a poem:

Strow me the ground with daffadowndillies,
And cowslips, and kingcups, and loved lilies.

Daffodils are technically classified as Narcissus:

The Myth of Narcissus

…and the myth began like this. In a valley, lived a beautiful nymph named Echo who loved to chatter. However, a sad “spell” fell on her. Echo could only repeat, very faintly, the last few words of the sentence. In the same valley lived a good-looking youth named Narcissus, who was so charming that every maiden who saw him, fell in love with him in less than a second. Narcissus, however, was consumed with his own desires and loved no one else. He rejected all his admirers.

One day, Narcissus, while with his friends, was walking and saw a flower. After stopping to pluck it, he lost sight of his friends. In pursuing them, he walked past the tree Echo was resting. In an instant, Echo fell in love with him. She could not bear to lose sight of him, so she followed him without letting him know. She wanted to speak to him, but because she was under the spell, she could not.

While Narcissus was parting some branches to find his friends he said, “Is anybody here?” “Here!” Echo answered faintly. Narcissus looked around not knowing who the voice belonged to, and said, “Where are you? Come here!” whereupon Echo responded, “Here!” Narcissus couldn’t see anyone, but he knew that there was someone close by, so he continued questioning and calling. Each time Echo answered with his last words. She didn’t dare show herself, but she just couldn’t help answering. After a while, she decided to take the chance. She showed up in front of Narcissus and attempted to embrace him. However, Narcisuss rebuffed Echo and ran into the deepest part of the forest.

Narcissus had broken Echo’s heart by his rude and unkind actions. She was so hurt that she stopped eating and grew very pale and thin and wasted away. One of the maidens prayed to the gods and goddesses that he was to only love himself and no one else. Nemesis, who was a goddess of punishment, answered her prayer.

One day, when Narcissus became thirsty, he went to a pool to take a drink. Just before he was about to take a sip from the pool, he saw the reflection of his own face, but he didn’t know it was only a reflection. He couldn’t tear himself away from the appearance in the water. And like Echo, he stopped eating and became really pale and thin and also wasted away. After he died, his body “turned” into a flower that was named after him, Narcissus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_(mythology)

Myths are fascinating- their power to draw us in and repeat what appears to be true on a primal level... although as we age and mature the meaning might change. Like every poem, a myth really is open for interpretation. They capture us and are passed around and down through the ages, each generation rediscovering for themselves anew why the myth might have meaning.


Today happens to be St. Patrick's day. Our grocery stores are selling soda bread and cakes decorated with green icing and leprechauns and four leaf clovers. I am what is called a marketing major's dream. I stand in line in the grocery store looking at what ever might be there, while my husband does the hard work of actually emptying to contents of the overly full oversized grocery cart onto the conveyor belt so that the cashier can ring them in. My husband then bags all the groceries, mostly in the green bags we bring from home. A small green gesture.

A few weeks ago, there in the grocery line, looking through the magazines I might buy there were several ones on Ireland and the Irish. Mainly cooking and crafts. Although I know from my years of working at the bookstore that the theme is everywhere there too, to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. But this is the grocery store where most every one goes and standing there looking at the cheerful green cover of "Irish Food, Fun and Crafts" I thought gosh I long for the day when I am in the grocery line and there are cheerful little magazines celebrating Palestine Food, Fun and Crafts!



As I type this my husband keeps interrupting me. He is really excited about a new book I bought called "Palestinian Cookery". He is doing some hard core fantasizing right now! The upside of this cook book is that it is in English so I can read it too. Already I make many recipes that he has taught me, as well as ones that his mother has shown me through out the years. Heavens Teta is an amazing cook, recipes from all over the world really. She has quite a repertoire and a huge kitchen. And she spoils us with delicious foods. Our kitchen here is far too small with hardly enough counter space but we manage to make the most of it. When she visits she packs her suitcase full of food. Zaatar that Baba makes, plus basic ingredients for traditional recipes that we can't find here, and sweets.

Ok- I just got interrupted another ten times- my husband really is excited about this great cookbook! He keeps saying things like- remember this- we had it at my Auntie Samia's house the last time we were there. I like seeing him so happy.


And so in growing a private personal garden for Palestine- celebrate the first signs of spring- the first blooms...simply enjoy them. And if nothing is blooming yet you can always buy a bit of hope: Seeds- or t-shirts-or a cookbook- or art or what ever might have meaning for you... even if you do have to keep it tucked away in a closet- for now at least.


And in growing a public garden for Palestine, we've stepped through the key shaped entry and the garden might not be in bloom yet- but there can be tables with crafts- heavens a whole industry of crafts for Palestine...simply to honor Palestine in every possible way. And symbols of Palestine will be as lucky as a four leaf clover- and as well known.


And keys will be everywhere. Keys celebrating home- and family- and Palestine...celebrating a precious heritage...paper keys and crayoned keys and wooden keys and metal keys and one craft will be to string up metal keys to make wind chimes to ring in the breeze.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Embroidered keepsakes

My dear friend "The Lady of the Links" and I were recently discussing how few Palestinians engage in media work to help educate the West. Yes there are some brilliant stars who still dare speak out here and there ..
But really most people I know and respect are what I would call Palestine Underground. Simply nice people who go about the business of living the best they can, mainly focused on their families. Wise and well educated people who have found it is safer and saner to support Palestine in more subtle personal ways- mainly keeping alive recipes and memories- and laughter, and with ever growing families passing on respect for the family, as well as for all of historic Palestine.

As my dear friend "The Lady of the Links" just wrote me: Viva Palestine underground!

In our garden here in Pennsylvania, our bulbs are bursting forth everywhere, pushing old leaves aside. Life goes on and winter ends as new growth fills our garden with the promise of bloom.... Viva Palestine underground !!!

Early Christians who were harshly persecuted for their religion has secret symbols to tell each other where a meeting might be:



We who know and love Palestine might not be stepping out in high profile ways such as on protest marches, or signing our names to petitions, but in countless living rooms and family rooms and bedrooms we have embroidered pillows and wall hangings large and small all remembering and honoring Palestine. In our closets we have treasures from the past, as well as more modern versions. Colorful cross stitch in many colors carefully chosen to blend and contrast... The same patterns that adorn traditional Palestinian dresses.


Overview of Palestinian Embroidery


Only one kind of stitch is used in making Palestinian embroidered dresses, but the patterns and colors used for these dresses vary. The color combinations of the embroidery, the design and the color of the cloth on which the embroidery is made have specific connotations as to the specific region in Palestine, where the article was made or the status of the person owning or wearing the article. (In the case of women’s dresses, called Thobes, the status may be a new bride, an older mother, a pregnant wife, etc.) Also, one can determine where a Palestinian woman comes from through the patterns of the embroidery on her dress; almost each Palestinian town has its own unique pattern. Palestinian embroidery is therefore more than just an art or a craft; it is an integral part of the Palestinian geographical and cultural landscape...[more]





Palestinian Traditional Costumes Map
Copyright © 2004 Palestinian Heritage Center. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2004 Palestinian Heritage Center. All rights reserved
http://www.palestinianheritagecenter.com/Photo_Gallery/Posters%20and%20Postcards%20the%20Center%20Produces/slides/Jerusalem2.html


Palestinian women dressed in Palestinian traditional dresses, are witnesses to the architectural greatness implied in the palace of Suleiman Jasser, which was built in 1914.
Copyright © 2004 Palestinian Heritage Center. All rights reserved

In our pocketbooks and purses many of use have small embroidered keepsakes tucked in like buried treasure, a private secret. No need to advertise, although if asked we might explain. But we don't have to.


And so in growing a private, personal garden for Palestine, today in watching the bulbs shoot up here there and every where with a vigorous green reach- hints of what will be soon enough enshallah... perhaps one can think about traditional embroideries and costumes, many patterns that are based on natural themes and colors celebrating beauty, celebrating life, celebrating flowers and growth- and goodness... and peace... If you don't already have an embroidered keepsake, find one. Try to buy from Palestine- for Palestine.

Or teach yourself HOW TO CROSS-STITCH


The dresses (thobes) appearing in this web site are modern replicas of traditional Palestinian designs. They were obtained, and can still be purchased, from various Palestinian embroidery centers throughout the Middle East especially from Palestinian refugee camps. They are also available from the various town markets in Palestinian cities. One such prominent embroidery center which has a variety of pieces and which we visited frequently is run by the Society of In'ash El-Usra located in el-Bireh. The designs on these dresses are uniquely Palestinian and represent Palestinian identity, although they evolved over the years with influences from outsiders as well as transients through the area. These are only a small and incomplete sample of the range of designs that exist or what is available on the market.

The embroidery on Palestinian dresses is always structured in a specific way, and when new patterns are introduced, they are ingeniously incorporated into this structure. The embroidery is arranged on a chest panel, on the sleeves, on the sides of the skirt, and in a rectangular panel above the hem at the back of the dress. The chest panel is usually rectangular, although in the Gaza- district it is V-shaped. In some areas, such as the Jaffa area and in Hebron Hills, the embroidery on the skirt is heavy and solid, and in others, such as Ramallah area north of Jerusalem, it is often lighter. The dress back panel is always rectangular. However, it varies in size according to region and period. While each region of Palestinian has its distinct pattern and design, modern Palestinian embroidery has mixed various designs and patterns from more than one region.

"Thobe" of Beit Dajan (Jaffa district)

Beit Dajan "thobe" is rich in embroidery; its main color is red touched with lilac and green. It has "manajel" on the sides. It is usually worn with a belt.

"Thobe" of Beer Sheba District

Beer Sheba "thobe" is covered with embroidery (heavily embroidered). The color is usually red and it has "manajel" on the sides. "Saya" material is used on the shoulders. It is usually worn with a belt.

"Thobe" from Gaza District

Gaza "thobe" differs a little from other thobes. It has a pointed chest panel. No belt is worn with it.

"Thobe" of Salameh (Jaffa District)

Salameh "thobe" has heavy embroidery on the front, sides and back. The embroidery in front has a square chest panel. The colors are green, lilac and red. It is usually worn with a belt.


***************************************

The Art of Palestinian Embroidery
by Laila El-Khalidi

Book Description
The Palestinian folk arts have a rich and fascinating history. Silk thread and embroidery, together with an expanding repertoire of symbols, are known to have made their way from China to the Holy Land along the Silk and Spice Routes before being introduced to Europe by Christian saints, holy men and pilgrims. Mainly using cross-stitch, Palestinians have continued to embroider their traditional motifs, giving them their own appellations and developing their own terminology. As clothing was of prime importance, Palestinian women wanted something personal, distinctive and handmade. By adopting the traditional styles and motifs of her area, a woman expressed her wish to identify and be identified with her cultural roots. Samples of late-nineteenth to early-twentieth century Palestinian costumes are considered to be representative of folk art at its best.

Through the vicissitudes of war and occupation, Palestinian folk materials have been dispersed, though samples are to be found in published material, in museums outside Palestine and in small private collections. Leila El Khalidi's work in identifying and recording the history and motifs in Palestinian embroidery will be of interest both to craftspeople and to students of folk traditions and is an important step in preserving the Palestinian heritage. The book is illustrated with a detailed appendix showing the principal motifs and with photographs of traditional costumes.

http://www.amazon.com/Palestinian-Embroidery-Hussein-Fakhri-El-Khalidi/dp/0863560385/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206358113&sr=1-1


And in imagining a public Garden for Palestine, I'd have gifts from Palestine in our gift shop, including embroidered keepsakes that can be kept inconspicuously tucked away in a pocket as a precious secret... a hidden strength like a magic talisman...
Viva Palestina underground!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Getting distracted by snow geese


I just saw a chickadee nip in and out of our new bird bird house! What a thrill !!! Being so close to the window, it catches my eye right way when any bird explores it. So far most birds have been landing on top of the bird bird house and hopping around curiously. The day before yesterday a chickadee popped inside for half a minute, then she left. I am thrilled to see she is back... such a pleasure to think that this delicate creature might be part of my view for many weeks to come as the birds go about the business of building nests. I really do enjoy watching birds. It's a lovely way to day dream....

Yesterday we went on a local birdwatching adventure- to see the snow geese. Migrating north, in March they tend to congregate in the thousands in a large "Wildlife Management Area" called Middle Creek, about an hours drive from our house. My husband heard about the snow geese and wanted to take me to see them.

Snow Goose

It has been a cold dreary drizzly gray week and I was worried that the rain would make for an miserable outing, but yesterday the sun came out full blaze and the sky was brilliant blue. The day was still quite nippy with a frigid wind, the type that snatches away hats and chaps lips and turns your face and fingers numb... But we braved it anyway, bundled up in our warmest clothes, and equipped with maps and bird books and binoculars and digital cameras off we went and gosh it was sooo worth it!

The drive there is very pretty, right through Amish country with all the farms, as well as through some charming old small towns with intriguing architecture.

Flocks of white snow geese dot the rural landscape as you get closer to Middle Creek Park, looking very much like random drifts and patches of snow. But in the park itself the flock was utterly massive! And everywhere!!!


There is a nicely designed visitor's center with racks holding fliers about local wildlife, as well as rooms with easy to understand interesting exhibits. They even had hands on things for the children, such as pelts of various soft furry animals like rabbits and minks. There was also a small table with baked goods for snacking, or hot dogs for those who want to feel like they are having more of a meal. And an ice bucket with soda and bottled water. Very simple, well thought out- and the people there were so friendly and kind and helpful. But what really impressed me was on the far side of the visitor's center, a large room that was all window looking out at the fields- and the snow geese. A narrow table ran alongside the wall of windows, with chairs for sitting, and every few feet binoculars were attached by long cords. One could easily just stay in the visitors' center- but there are better ways to enjoy the place, including a self guided driving tour (March 1- September 15).


You can pull over alongside the road simply to gaze, or you can go to special lots to park and take an easy hike where you quickly find yourself simply surrounded by nature. There are woods as well as wide wintery fields of long dried grass, and ponds with many different birds, including swans, and Canada geese, ducks and even the occasional eye catching hooded Merganser. But the snow geese were the star of the show. I've never seen so many all at once! Most stayed on the ground in the fields not far from the path we were on, but every once in a while they would startle up and the sky would be filled- they'd fly right over your head and the noise of their honking (more like a dog barking) was everywhere. It fills you - takes your breath away. It was a wonderful wonderful birdwatching adventure, especially as my eagle eyed husband would notice and point out things I would have missed otherwise. We'd stop and watch with bare eyes, then binoculars and/or cameras, then bare eyes again. Simply amazed- awed by the beauty of all the many birds.

Jaffar

Yesterday for hours after we came home every time I closed my eyes all I could see was snow geese and that blue blue sky- such a beautiful day. And today I am reluctant to do anything but think about the snow geese... it really was an enchanting afternoon.


Heavens how to tie this into growing gardens for Palestine?!


Well I really don't know- I keep getting distracted by snow geese... I do know that I worry about the this earth of ours, and all its natural beauty. We have to take care of it- or will be gone. Going green is crucial, and hopefully it will become a bigger and bigger industry and people will once again rely on more natural, balanced ways to manage resources- and care for cultural treasures.

Where we live many old one room school houses have been turned into homes. One near where I grew up was owned by a retired school teacher who nailed up a black board by her front door and every day would write a "lesson" in white chalk, often a bit of poem- something to inspire.

One by one, simply as people with personalities we make our homes, and we tend our gardens and create enchanting communities as we get to know our neighbors and our neighborhoods.

Communities change through the years. Natural change is best, especially when it respects what was.... I know of more than one local art gallery resurrecting an old abandoned church. Its a perfect place for any kind of congregation. Just as our wildlife centers are a very good way to preserve the natural habitat all wild creatures and native plants need in order to survive, it is good idea to preserve nice things from the past that people have built. Not only the huge obvious things, but the small town things too, with flavors of the past. Homemade touches.

Paths and places along the way to stop and gaze. Whatever the season. To be able to stop to smell the roses. It's aways nice to have a bench or a chair- or at least a rail to lean on, or a wall of windows to look out, so that one can stop to reflect- to feel everything and simply be in the garden.


In growing a personal private garden for Palestine, one can't exactly command a flock of migrating birds to land- but one can have wind chimes to play on the breeze. And one can have a bench or a garden seat strategically placed. A resting spot where one can go to restore one's spirit, even in the wintertime.


In remembering Palestine, already most people connected by family history to Palestine, treasure Palestine primarily in private ways. There is great pain right now as various politicians and religious leaders all seem to be at odds, each vying for crumbs of power... but Palestine is so much more than petty politics, and so much more than one religion or another, just as it is so much more that simply the "Holy Land" and its shrines. Palestine is both the land, and the people of that land and all their progeny. Palestine has a long intriguing multicultural intricate history that includes personal stories right now of what once was, not long ago, within living memory...The untold stories (IMEU)

And in growing a public Garden for Palestine, having stepped through the key shaped entry, I can easily imagine paths meandering every where- and places to sit. Palces under trees. Places to rest, both to be alone and to congregate with family and friends. Places to make new friends. Places to chat, or to simply gaze... For a hot summer's day large arbors to provide shade here and there, And for the wintery months wind screens.


Our deciduous trees here in Pennsylvania drop their leaves so that while lush green leaves shade our homes and gardens from the hot summer sun, the leaves drop in autumn so that we get a glimpse of sun during long cold winter months. Pin oaks however, do not drop their leaves. The leaves turn brown but they stay on the tree, loudly rustling as wintery winds blow. And empty acorn caps crunch underfoot as you walk under an oak... "Mighty oaks from little acorns grow"...

And the sound of the loudly rustling leaves reminds me of loudly rustling leaves in another garden we were in only last summer... growing children- and good memories.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Carrots

Today I was delighted today to find a comment from another blogger who loves both gardens and Palestine. A





http://www.shammout.com/ "Palestine: The Exodus and the Odyssey" is a collection of 19 large murals painted by Ismail and Tamam Shammout from 1997 to 2000." Ismail Shammout (1930-2006): Artist, Activist, Legend

Tamam Al-Akhal. She married her artist colleague Ismail Shammout, moving various places and sharing with him the art exhibitions held in various countries of the world. They moved to Amman Jordan in 1994. http://www.shammout.com/bio-tam.htm

Jaffa: Bride of the Sea by Tamam Al-Akhal, 1997
http://www.palestinecalendar.org/march.html

Her inspiring paintings illustrate the Palestine online calender- and one of my favorite ones is

Do Not Forsake The Steed by Tamam Al-Akhal, 2000

And so in growing my public garden for Palestine today I want to step into a total Utopian fantasy of the very best I can think of- a large rambling garden where we have enough land to have horses. Right now dreaming as big a dream as I can dream, my imagined garden is on the West Coast, close enough to overlook the ocean, echoing historic Palestine as its far western edge borders the Mediterranean sea. And our garden is big- huge- and intricate, with many sub gardens and greenhouses- our budget is limitless... and off to the side, off the right side are meandering meadows where the horses are. And we'd have Arabian horses and riding trails where people could hire the horses to ride... or simply lean on the fence and watch the horses play. And we'd have gentle ponies and maybe donkeys even for children to ride on a special garden path created for the little ones...

And children could pull up a carrot or two in the children's garden- and be taught how to hold it out in an open hand, and how to tuck their thumb out of the way so that the horse doesn't accidentally nibble it off as he nuzzles up his crunchy garden fresh morsel of food.



notes

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bulbs & Birdhouses

It is easy to become overwhelmed hearing all the terrible news today. But onward we must forge in positive directions as much as we can any way, no matter what, for the options otherwise are simply too terrible to contemplate.

We had snow here in central Pennsylvania this week end. Several inches. White wonderland, brilliant and sparkley- but only briefly...today it mostly all melted away.


Bulbs are starting to push through. My first sighting of real green this year. I took an exploratory tour of our back yard earlier today when the sun was up and it was relatively warm. There is storm damage from a mid winter ice storm that might have destroyed one of the lilacs. It is tipping over precariously, as if wanting to be ripped out. But we are waiting to see if maybe it comes back to life this spring.

And everywhere the early bulbs are beginning to push up through the leaf litter.

We are also being visited by a large flock of robins this week who carefully watch our every move from up in the trees. They quickly swoop back down to the ground to poke through the leaf litter every where when we go inside.

The bird bath needs to be scrubbed and made ready for spring. We keep it under a tree so in the summer its water won't evaporate quite so fast.

One year, during a severe August drought, my husband had the hose out to water the parched vegetables and a very thirsty little sparrow came right up to him and flitted in to drink from the hose in his hand. The little bird kept flitting in to drink- it was amazing- magical- to watch. My husband so big and so strong- and always so busy... and yet so able to freeze as still as a statue in a very awkward position for a very long time so that the shy little sparrow could flit back and forth drinking its fill.

Our bird bath is placed near the bird feeder, in line with the kitchen window so I can watch all the birds' antics as I wash dishes. You can see both bird bath and bird feeder from the large bay window too, which doubles as a window seat as well as a catch all as it is right next to our large kitchen table, where we usually eat and where the kids do their homework, and where everyone does various projects. It's a good solid table for a busy family.

But the big gardening news today from our household is we put up a new bird house. It's small and carefully suspended at just the right height, near the window in our Garden Room I tend to look out when at my desk. Its a folkarty piece, shaped like a bird and painted with bright flourishes.

It is high enough right now that it does not block my view of the birdhouse we have in the maple tree. Already birds are popping in and out of that one, trying to figure out if they want to nest there.

My husband had to go to the hardware store to get just the right hook for our new bird bird house. He drilled a hole in our house, up under the far eave, and then screwed in a sturdy hook. Then he suspended our bird bird house and I kept running inside to sit at my desk to eye ball the right height from every possible angle while he shifted it up and down. Heavens that man has patience sometimes! But now it is perfect and I am delighted. I like folk art- I also like fine art:

One of my favorite painters is Ismail Shammout. His paintings, filled with so much symbolism, intrigue and refresh me and fill me with hope. I like poking around the website http://www.shammout.com/ where much of his art can be found. In one section it is organized by decade http://www.shammout.com/oil-ism6.htm and you can really see how as he grows older both his talent as well as his idea of Palestine blooms- and becomes brighter- more optimistic- more meaningful- and more and more beautiful.

I've seen a real Palestine Sunbird. It's iridescent- becoming colorful in certain light. I like to watch birds where ever we might go. Every region has its own. Just as every region has its own artists.


And so in growing a personal private garden for Palestine today is a good day to think about birdhouses- making welcome all the feathered things that might want to visit your yard. Many birds can nest in trees and bushes. We never know where or what birds will be nesting where we live. But it is always a pleasure to watch them build their nest sand then tend their young... and to listen to their songs.

Birds are fascinating to watch- and they have inspired many a poem... world wide. As well as many a folk tale....

And in our public garden for Palestine, having walked through the key shaped entry, and stopped to admire the mosaic map of Palestine, and smelling the herbs, hearing splashing water, we can now add in swooping birds... for there will be places for birds to nest. And places for birds to eat- and drink... places for birds to simply be.

I want our garden to be a welcoming place- for all. A sanctuary to share with any who simply want to enjoy the day, savor peace, goodness, and a beautiful inspiring place.