Jerry and I had an opportunity to spend the weekend in historic New Ulm, MN. We were scheduled to do a performance of our “Love & Garlic” show Saturday night at “The Putting Green” (a garden and miniature golf course made from recycled materials!) after the Moonlight Market. (www.puttinggreen.org) In exchange we received two nights at the amazing Bohemian Bed & Breakfast. (www.the-bohemian.com) After our arrival on Friday we spent the first couple of hours huddled in the basement with the other guests – as Jerry checked his laptop tracking tornadoes as close as 6 miles away. Our ever serene hostess, Bobbi, kept her toddler Savannah on a hip while liberally pouring wine and beer for the guests.. Deep in the belly of this grand old house I crouched on a stuffed green six-feet-long crocodile inhaling laundry soap fumes, quietly wishing we were staying at a “Bed & Dinner”, as my primal stomach growled and town sirens screached.
The most startling moment was when the others had ascended (not spiritually, but to the main floor) and Jerry and I were left alone with 9 year old Max, visiting from San Diego with his father and younger brother. The radar was looking pretty dicey again. Max asked, “Will it be a direct hit?” as Jerry tried to asses the information on his screen. Then Max said to both of us, “Well, I’ve had a good life.” I laughed out loud. Looking directly at me with old-soul eyes he asked, “What are you laughing at?” I realized that I had dismissed his 9-year old life as being too short to say whether it was good or not, while I, with my 58 years on the planet, would have some more meaningful perspective. Reorienting, I replied, “That’s a wonderful way to look at it. I’ve had a good life too.”
Lawns were left littered with large chunks of hail and branches. We finally strolled downtown for some hearty German soup as immense gray billows kept re-stacking.
That night I dreamt of people putting their heads inside of crocodile jaws.
Fear of tornados and more severe weather kept the crowds away Saturday’s Market, but we had a lively impromptu discussion about how to further ignite the local foods movement, and Jerry shared ways that the Sustainable Farming Association of MN (www.sfa-mn.org) might support that in their area.
With more threats of bad weather 40 minutes prior to our show we were invited by Putting Green member Laurel Gamm and her husband Charles into their home for an intimate concert. Their sturdy old house blocked out screaming winds as we sang and talked and laughed and ate, so what a surprise to see downed trees and big branches littering the entire city the next morning!
Sunday morning we toured the Wanda Gág house. I was delighted to find out about her translations and illustrations of “Tales from Grimm”, so I scooped up a new copy to savor. Best known as the author/illustrator of “Millions of Cats”, Wanda (1893 – 1946) was a fascinating woman who lived a highly unconventional life.
It was sad to see devastated corn fields between New Ulm and Hutchinson, but great to get home again, filled up by new friendships and experiences.
Another new poem:
TALKING WITH LEGS
Out of the dirt
onto blades of grass
raising and lowering each spindly thread
in a delicate march.
Daddy-Long-Legs befriended me,
crawling on my own gangly limbs
as I inhaled perfume of bridal wreath
and nestled into cracked steps under our sagging porch.
They quieted me,
as I moved them from hand to hand.
They kept step-stepping forward, tickling my skin.
We held counsel on the zen of being,
of afternoon easing into twilight.