Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Connecting the Human Family Step by Step...

Every May , often around the time we go to the Riverfront Arts Festival, our irises bloom... Irises are one of my favorite flowers.

In Greek mythology, Iris was a messenger god and the personification of rainbows.

Every May, over Memorial Day Weekend, there is a wonderful Arts Festival in Riverfront Park here in central Pennsylvania.... and every every May we go come rain or shine.

I am fascinated by the many ways many different people make our world a better and a more beautiful and interesting place.

Our Riverfront Arts Festival is a pleasant way to spend the day, and no matter how long you stay you never get to see everything- there is just so much! Something for everyone.

Every year we try to find at least one treasure at our Arts Festival-some kind of handcrafted whimsy. This year we bought an oval bowl that seems to become a swan, and two "matched" mugs made to look as if a blue heron is holding the mug with his wings, with his arced neck shaping the handle. As the mugs are handcrafted they are not exactly alike, but close enough to look like a set.

There are many whimsies fashioned for home and garden. One of my favorite garden whimsies are the fountains. More and more artists use recycled material to come up with some new.

This year our garden has been full of birds. Busy birds building nests.

All are a pleasure to watch- but most fascinating and magical to me to me are over in my Fairy Garden, off in the far corner of our back yard.

Up under a bower of blooming clematis is a nest

with one egg

that already hatched.


& Mrs. Cardinal

Cardinals build nests, rather shallow nests, off the ground- but not too high as their fledglings often tumble out before they are ready to really fly. The parents continue to care for the fledglings, feeding them and then teaching them what they need to know about being a bird.

I did not see ours tumble out of his nest- but I know he found refuge in my fairy garden.

I'm rather sure that his perspective on it is very different than mine!

My own perspective on our garden is shaped by my own life. Stories I have been told that recall the teller as much as the story itself, and stories that I have read. My memories of other gardens and my childhood. My mood as well as my deep admiration and respect for the gardener my husband. His history and his good humor as well as my own history and good humor and all the many stories that have become part of me- and part of us.

On Monday an iris might make me think of a stylized figure on an urn in a museum or a Wedgwood bowl... whereas on Tuesday the same iris stirring in the breeze might evoke a lively myth illustrated by my own active imagination with the various Gods and Goddesses looking very much like people I might know. On Wednesday the iris might simply make me see the color- and a whole rainbow of possibilities.

In Growing Gardens for Palestine today I am thinking about possibilities, of nesting and building new things out of old... and of travel:

The recent Palestine Festival of Literature Blog captivated me... their website is very much worth exploring. In writing about Bethlehem Michael Palin says "From Raja I learned some of the history, of the old villages of Palestine which were destroyed after the war in 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs were forced from their homes, to become refugees. I also something of the beauty of these stony olive-grove-covered hills which I wouldn’t have appreciated without Raja." http://palfest.org/authorsblog.html

Raja Shehadehis the author of the book Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape http://books.google.com/books?id=aYQ_8FnVfO8C&dq=raja+shehadeh+palestinian+walks&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0

Palestine Walks: Vanishing Landscape slide show with Raja Shehadeh narrating excerpts from his book http://annies-letters.blogspot.com/2009/04/palestine-walks-vanishing-landscape.html

There are interesting projects popping up, endeavors that help educate and enlighten a person, endeavors that respect both history and all religion as well as help local economies that are in need of money. A win win situation means everyone benefits- such as by Celebrating Palestine with the Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies

Another project that I am really interested in is called The Abraham Initiative. One can take a virtual tour- or an actual tour.

The Abraham Path (Masar Ibrahim al Khalil) is a route of cultural tourism which follows the footsteps of Abraham / Ibrahim through the Middle East. The story of Abraham / Ibrahim's journey, which has been kept alive for some four thousand years in the landscape and memory of this region, records the origin of a spiritual tradition shared by more than three billion people in the world today.

By retracing this journey, the Abraham Path provides a place of meeting and connection for people of all faiths and cultures, inviting us to remember our common origins, to respect our cultural differences, and to recognize our shared humanity. The path also serves as a catalyst for sustainable tourism and economic development; a platform for the energy and idealism of young people; and a focus for positive media highlighting the rich culture and hospitable people of the Middle East.

Thanks to the generous welcome which has been extended by host communities along the way, the first walking sections of the path are now open to travelers: www.abrahampath.org/visit.php.

As the path unfolds, we invite you to join us in this historic endeavor...