“Davy Jones of the Monkees at a press conference in Sydney, 1968,” photographed by Greg Lee for Australian Photographic Agency, State Library of New South Wales Collection
The small carrot, broccoli, and beet seeds we’ve potted are sprouting in 2.5 inch plastic pots that incubate by the kitchen light overnight. Once green stems rise from the dirt, we take them outside to fend for themselves in these warm California days. If it gets cold overnight, sometimes we coddle and bring them back in, trying for the first time ever to grow our own food.
“Spirit of ’18. The World Cry FOOD. Keep the home gardening going,” ca. 1917 – ca. 1919, U.S. National Archives, College Park, MD
The basil shown here is grown by a friend in Kentucy whose summer crop is wild. Our small bucket of basil doesn’t yet compare as we have been fending off feral chickens and so succumbed to starting the young seeds indoors before moving them out in tall pots. But neither of these is Holy Basil.
Holy Basil, with it’s second name, Tulsi or Tulasi, is from the Lamiaceae family. It is cultivated as a medicinal plant and used in Ayurveda for its adaptogen qualities — helping headaches, stress, inflammation and more. It has, for centuries not only treated illness, but flavored food and been observed by many as a powerful and healing plantlife.
This is how it looks to settle into a life. The water foams as it pulls back further from the sand to rest from the push and pull of the daily grind. The sky races to catch the weighted day and the clouds rush in to convene on the passing time now coming to a close.
Moving across the country, starting work in a new geographical location and riding the roads that wind between who I was and who I am becoming is exhausting, even with eight hours of sleep. Settling in and being unsettled vary. Perhaps a few cold days signalling winter and a screen-less window might help.
Prone to sea-sickness, I never liked our Saturday travels to the Long Beach Pier where we’d load the 16 foot boat into the lapping sea and climb in. I wished I’d been reading in my room rather than clutching my belly as I leaned out the side of the boat to expel whatever breakfast was rocking inside. But I went anyway, filled with salty air and wind, hooking the baits gills and casting it into the waters with my fishing pole. Age eight can be a tender time. The images seared onto that child’s script carry through decades and surface on Superbowl Sunday when for no reason, I remember the bait flapping on the boat’s floor while I squirm to grab it’s slimy and translucent self.
“Priolepis hipoliti, Juvenile (Rusty Goby),” by Belize Larval-Fish Group, 2002, National Museum of Natural History, division of Fishes, Smithsonian Institutions photostream
North Carolina winters spin between cold and ice with either clear or frosty mist-filled days. Callie (or Cali) has no similar claim on what is meant to be cold weather. This February winter is shaped by the Santa Ana winds that dry whatever moisture arrives in scattered showers. None of those rains harden like the ice in Amsterdam but roll instead into the parched and cracked winter soil.
“Winter in Amsterdam” created by Anefo/Bogaerts, located in the Nationaal Archief