Hearing Plants growing and other wonders

February 10, 2012


The fog has cleared and the temperature has dropped. The sun is still shining through the clear, cold air that is bothered by a brisk wind. It is cheek sparkling weather.

Glenn is still tucked away on the 6th floor of the Health Sciences Centre, beating back a slight infection which appears to be at bay. Shauna has gone home to Toronto and Lori and I are keeping watch. He is in good spirits. We want him home to complete the mending.

Little blooms of good fortune keep popping up both in business and in my other life as an inveterate volunteer board member. I care only if the good fortune extends to Glenn.

Last Sunday, Shauna, Mr. Tomato and I had a good time on my radio show, talking about wondrous things that we have learned while writing 10 Neat Things. Mr. Tomato had a few wonders of his own to tell. He says that in the springtime, on a still June night, he can hear plants growing. He says that if you are very quiet, you will hear the pops and crackles and tiny snaps that herald the emergence of new shoots from the ground and leaves breaking open their waxy covers. He has told me this before and I believe him. Next spring, I plan to test this myself on one of those magic nights near the solstice.

I wonder if hearing plants grow is like the sensation of lying on the earth and “feeling” its magnetic pull on my body, curing any ills inside. I like to fall asleep like this with only a thin blanket between me and the sod. I awake refreshed and renewed. This connection with the earth goes back a long way.

When my sister and I were very young, growing up on the prairie, we were told that the Indians used to lay their ears against the ground so they could hear the thrum of hoof beats from many miles away. We tested this theory for ourselves, but we never did hear the hoof beats. We did hear, though, the approach of distant trains when we laid our heads against warm, steel railroad tracks that crisscrossed the land then.

Carole and I found such mystery in the everyday things of the earth. This delight is with me still. Now Glenn and I watch the pigeons acting out their imperatives on the gabled roof of the old hospital building outside his hospital room window: the puffed up male and his courtship of the female; their brief coming together; their winged celebration when the deal is done as they swoop up into the sky together in an airborne dance of joy.

Glenn remembers when he decided to keep pigeons. “You were supposed to lock them up in the coop for two weeks so they would bond with their new home,” he said. “I did that, then finally I let them out. I waited and waited for them to come back, but there was no sign so I locked up the coop door and went on my way. Later our neighbor said to me, ‘Hey. Glenn. Your pigeons were back trying to get in, but they couldn’t, so they left!’” Glenn laughs his wonderful spontaneous laugh, thinking of the temporarily disillusioned boy he once was and how he was taught a lesson in patience.

Life is beautiful.