Tuesday, May 14, 2013

basket case, part 2

When I told Steve I was going to blog about the theft of my planter basket made of t-shirt yarn, he asked, "Are you going to excoriate the person who stole it?" This was a difficult question, as I always try to maintain a positive tone. I said, "No, I'm going to lay a guilt trip on him." (Note the stereotypical masculine pronoun. This was what I said. I was too angry for my typically high level of political correctness.)

In his Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, a touchstone of literary theory, William Wordsworth wrote that "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." The same can be said of most art forms, including blogging, and so, having reached a state of relative tranquility, I set about analyzing the emotions in which my "spontaneous overflow" had originated.
My 'guilt-trip' approach originated in the emotion of anger. It was based on emphasizing the amount of skill, work, and time involved in:

  • cutting and spinning the yarn,
  • making the basket,
  • planting the haworthia and donkey-tail sedum inside, and
  • tending the little planter on a daily basis.

In fact I must confess that I have no idea how much of my time was involved. I had so much fun with all parts of the process that I would gladly have prolonged the time it took. Thus the "powerful feeling" of satisfaction ultimately triumphed over that of anger

Recollecting my satisfaction as an artist actually led to a feeling of pride as I entertained the possibility that my thief had a great appreciation for fiber art. But wait! What if he was only interested in the plants? What if he repotted the plants and threw the basket away? Oops! Here comes anger again. But the plants did have some value even though they're more abundant and easier to get than one-of-a-kind artisanal baskets.* 

At the end of basket case, part 1, I had said I would move my surviving basket to a perch high up on its prickly host. Well, I changed my mind and actually placed it in a more natural nesting spot on the sidewalk side of the cactus. If anyone wants to steal it (thereby demonstrating appreciation for my work as a fiber artist), I think he should be able to do so without personal injury and (especially) without damaging our giant cereus. Imagine walking out in the morning and finding a basket thief sprawled and bleeding on the sidewalk, tangled from head to toe in long cactus branches. Or, he has been able to walk away, finding a pile of branches smeared with blood and bits of torn clothing.

Unfortunately I did not take a 'before' picture of basket #2. It originally held a couple of scraggly epidendrums (about seven inches long and with unkempt-looking aerial roots) along with another hopeful start of the donkey-tail sedum and a branching, reddish green succulent whose name I do not know. Preparing for the great re-hanging, I cut the epidendrums back to one or two leaves apiece, and wove their white aerial roots loosely through the top edge of the basket. Check it out:

Here's the side view, showing tall cereus shadows on the sidewalk behind:

If these epidendrums bloom, it will be the first time I have had any success with these 'poor man's orchids,' after more than twenty years of trying. Will I owe that success to the infamous basket thief?

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* In line with all this soul-searching, I have to admit that I had stolen the donkey tail myself -- but only about five little (separate) sections, and those from a part of the plant that would not be noticed. The haworthia was one of two I won in a garden club raffle and thus it would have cost me fifty cents or less ($1 a ticket, 6 for $5).

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License