Monday, March 14, 2011

A floral bouquet of randomness

I know that it is possible to move a large tree, if you have enough money and large equipment and men with shovels, but as with many things (miracles for instance) I really need to see this operation to believe it.
And we did see it.
Down the road from us is a beautiful stone villa built around 1840 that is being demolished, probably this week.
This is the sort of thing that upsets CSB.
CSB does things like salvage wavy old glass from demolition sites in order to have a supply of historically correct glass available to replace any broken panes we might incur. Did you know that an expert can date a pane of glass by the degree of waviness and distortion? Many of the windows in our house go back to the late 18th or early 19th century, and for them we need glass that is thicker (about 1/8th”) and more distorting. Hence we have a stash of old glass in the shed.
But to return to large trees on the move. The stone house that is about to be no more is surrounded by several massive wisterias. And they are being dug up and stored in enormous wooden boxes. In order to expose the roots, they first had to dig holes about the size of station wagons. Several holes, one for each separate plant. Then the root ball, about the size of a VW bug, is bundled. Then comes the heavy machinery.
Unlike so much else that we hold dear, wisteria is actually native to the eastern United States. Depending on whom you ask, it was named for Dr. Caspar Wistar or Charles Jones Wister, Sr, both of Pennsylvania. But as you can see, the names are spelt differently, and that signifies.
Massive as the uprooted wisterias down the road are, they are mere fledglings compared to the largest wisteria in the US. That one is in Sierra Madre, California and covers an entire acre and weighs 250 tons.
Because of its ability to climb either clockwise or counterclockwise, wisteria is the Patron Plant of the Ambidextrous.

Saint Seraphina, or Fina is not the patron saint of white violets, but she should be. (This is not an entirely arbitrary sequitur; her feast was 2 days ago.) During her short lifetime (1238-1253) she was known chiefly for her illness and her determination to increase her suffering. She refused to rest in a bed, and instead insisted on lying on an oak plank, where she remained for 6 years in one position. Beneath her the wood rotted and was filled with worms, but still she did not move. Then she died and the townspeople moved her body and discovered that the formerly rotten wood was now a field of sweet-smelling white violets. That is the sort of miracle I think must be seen to be believed. The best we can offer is Ghirlandaio’s famous painting. In San Gemignano, where she lived, white violets bloom about the time of feast day.
We are not in Sam Gemignano, so the chicken yolks are not bright orange and we have snowdrops in bloom. Every year around this time I head for the woods to find the snowdrops (galanthus nivalis). Because memory and its losses are much on my mind these days, when I remember, I have been very excited to learn that galantamine, an extract made from the flower and bulbs of snowdrops, can be used to treat Alzheimer’s. But that is not all.
I had never heard of Lucid Dreaming, or not as a distinct phenomenon, separate from plain old dreaming. That is, I regularly dream and I am occasionally lucid. Lucid Dreaming has its own entry in Wikipedia. Lucid Dreaming has given rise to some very delightful acronyms: WILD, DILD and MILD, meaning Wake-Initiated Lucid Dreaming, or Dream etc or Meditation etc. And galantamine (C17H21NO3 ) is also taken to induce Lucid Dreaming. Which makes me wonder why we don’t have the acronym GILD. But not as much as I wonder how the same drug can be used to treat Alzheimer’s and induce super-vivid dreams or oven out-of-body experiences (OBE’s).


pond said...

why, for heaven's sake, would someone bother to lay on an oak plank for 6 years? Is this something she thought God would approve of? happy about? ..think is a good use of her short time on earth?

Diggitt said...

Who are we to question God's ways? Clearly, this saint did as she was told.