Thursday, July 22, 2010

Maryjane on Mary Jane.

Yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, or tranquil; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity and nighttime.
Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, or aggressive; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime (1). 

Every day, I followed my grandfather around the farm and every day he pretended to ignore me. His gentle handling of the cows emerged through gruffness and great physical strength. He worked hard and I admired him for that. However, his love for animals did not transfer to those around him. For some reason, people bothered him. I didn’t allow his disdain for humans to be an obstacle in getting to know him. I accepted the challenge.

The reassuring crow of a rooster intruded, inhabiting my twilight dream. I was ready to embrace the new day. The scents of fresh brewed coffee, maple and bacon mingled with men’s laughter and drifted throughout the boarding house.

I quickly dressed and dashed off to the chicken coop to collect fresh eggs. Musical and clever, chickens amuse. I was enamored with puffy broody hens that march about the barnyard with a line of baby chicks following. I might carry a fuzzy yellow chick – rejected by its mother – in my oversized shirt pocket.

An egg about to hatch becomes a favorite moment. The egg moves slightly; you can hear the peeping inside. Then, a tiny pointed beak begins to poke its way through the shell. I feel each tap alongside my beating heart. Breaking out of the shell is an arduous task for a baby chick; therefore, the hatching time varies from one chick to the next, as the weaker chick requires more rest. To observe the final wiggling free of the shell, is to witness another of nature’s little miracles, one in which I shall never tire.

Rampant roots in my grandmother’s garden nestled safely and took nourishment from the rich brown soil within the breast of Our Mother. Vegetables, herbs and flowers meandered without boundaries, over well- intentioned stone walls. The air – thick, pungent and sweet – overwhelmed my senses, imprinting on my fundamental nature. Pure joy is to pluck a ripe, juicy tomato straight from the stock and bite into it like an apple.

We picked from the garden, my grandmother and I. Quite different from my grandfather, she was simple, affectionate and friend to all, especially to me. We harvested together of earth and soul, sharing in silence and words unspoken. Two Maryjanes, two kindred spirits, one with Gaia.

Old and young shared wisdom. Through her, I learned of Our Mother. Through me, she learned the language of music. I would sing and she would tell me how lovely my songs were and then ask me to sing another. I think her favorite word was lovely.

1  Osgood, Charles E. "From Yang and Yin to and or but." Language 49.2 (1973): 380–412.

JSTOR. 16 Nov. 2008 .

Excerpt from Ballad of a Sandwich Girl, a Memoir.


  1. MJ--I didn't know you were named after your grandmother...hope to see you at the lake!

  2. Hi, Lisa.
    Oh's true. Only my grandmother's name is two names and mine is combined as one. She used to always introduce me as "Her namesake" time when she was quite old, she introduced me as her namesake and then said, "Maryanne"...oops...luckily I do have a cousin names Maryanne...
    I am EAGER to see you guys at the lake...can't wait...hope the weather is perfecto...

  3. A little note in reference to a comment not posted..."baby chicks DO make a peeping SOUND." They make the sound within the egg shell prior to breaking is quite adorable, sort of reminds me of a toy...
    It is a sound and it does happen.