Mountain State of Mind

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“Standing Tall” – © chriscondello 2013 – Coppers Rock State Park – West Virginia – Saturday morning hike on Ravens Rock Trail… I almost skipped this photo as I thought it was of nothing… After a second look… I realized it summed the entire hike up perfectly… I can say I saw very little on the ground… As my head was in the trees the entire time…

Head in the trees… Mind is up high…
Sandstone cliffs and clear blue skies…
Old growth forest scent and smell…
Mountain laurels cast their magic spell…

Even the birds get it… The deer and the bees…
All are made possible thanks to the trees…
Only when we all learn to get along…
Natural harmony… Creates a natural song…

So today we put feet to a mountain…
Climbed to the top… A sandstone fountain…
Stood on the edge feeling powerful forces…
Yet power lines manage to cross these gorges…

You heard me… Wires through my view…
Unfortunately seen by only a few…
How did the power company afford this?..
Vista views… Surrounding are priceless…

And in the middle of a state park?..
Someone must have surely been in the dark…
At least they didn’t fence off this scenic spot…
Eliminate visitors… What city folks call hot…

Sometimes we simply live with the beast…
Money can buy a forest or a feast…
But somehow we all need to play nice…
Before the earth is covered in ice…

Global warming leads to global cooling…
Think about it… I’m not really fooling…
Heat makes the ice pour into the sea…
A deadly formula for you and me…

Well… I guess it’s more about you…
I’ll be dead and gone before that comes true…
I’ll probably be south of heaven…
Eternally working a ghetto 7-11…

Unless I put my money in the churches can…
Illegitimate… Extortionist… Son of man…
Wait a second… I went off track…
This is about trees… Let me bring it back…

Died on a cross… A cross is made of wood…
How is that supposed to make me be good?..
If god can’t stop destruction… Then man will…
But god will take credit… Like man just stood still…

He will ask for your money… 501-c3…
Then act like his services are totally free…
10 percent is the fee for a heavenly favor…
Ask for forgiveness from our lord and savior…

Because Eve made Adam eat the forbidden fruit…
Because if I designed a paradise…
I would include one fruit that would damn all of eternity…
And tell you not to eat it…
I call that a dick move…

But I get it…

An ode to the mountains of West Virginia… Proof that… When you meditate on something the size of a mountain… Though you may be able to keep your feet on the ground…

Like the mountain… Your head will be in the sky…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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Among the Wood Hyacinth

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“Among The Wood Hyacinth” – © chriscondello 2013 – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – In the backyard of a one hundred year old house is a massive patch of naturalized wood hyacinth… Pink… Purple… Blue… And white flowers form a floating carpet of color…

Laying among the wood hyacinth…
Scattered among the leaves…
Enjoying the scattered rain showers…
Blown in the lilac breeze…

Cherry blossoms fall like snowfall…
And apple blossoms drop in the rain…
While sitting in the sunshine…
My metaphysical gain…

Steady rain will soon arrive…
To conquer the tulip petals…
Dandelion floaters flutter and fly…
But soon they’ll gently settle…

In the back of my mind…
The rules break and bend…
Plan for the springtime…
The season never ends…

The seasons all about beginnings…
Breaking new ground…
In the city I am lost…
In the garden I am found…

And the forest is my heaven…
My temple of praise…
A place to write poems…
A place to smoke haze…

And drink my cup of coffee…
With my birds and bees…
The only time that I feel right…
Is hanging out with the trees…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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Government Gardener

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A meme does not make you a warrior…
Style doesn’t make you an artist…
Why would I spend my time writing grants…
Just takes time from my garden…

A government grant, is not a garden nor a farm…
Political bullshit does nothing but cause harm…
They choose your plants, and regulate your trees…
Make sure they control your money and your fees…

So many great gardeners are imprisoned by funds…
Won’t touch a shovel without payment refunds…
This is not about glory, it’s not about your money…
How much do you pay bees for their sweet honey?..

Beware of the radicals in anything you do…
Eventually they move on, and leave the work for you…
They are never satisfied, and they never stay…
They will find the next thing, and swiftly move away…

You see radicals come and go, they follow trends…
They never stay long enough to make many friends…
They get so involved, they wear the trends out…
Take a tip from me, and make them get out…

Out of our way, out of sight, out of mind…
Look around you, abandoned projects you’ll find…
This stuff isn’t easy, but it’s a whole lot of fun…
The little trick to a garden is be the last one…

peace – chriscondello

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Plant Impatiens and Question Everything

100_1517Everybody has a soft spot for at least a few plants, for me it’s Impatiens. When I was younger my mom would plant them all the way up both sides of the walkway that led to our back porch. It would amaze me how small they were when she planted them, and within a few weeks they would completely fill out creating a neon mound of color that would last until frost. Still today when I see Impatiens it immediately takes me back to my childhood and makes me think about catching bees and waiting for hummingbirds to visit the colorful flowers. From this point forward I vow to have Impatiens in my garden every year for the rest of my life, if for no other reason than the fact that they remind me of my mom and make me feel good…

You see, the last couple of summers while I was building and maintaining the urban farm on the street I found myself spending all of my spare time studying data sheets on crops and pests, and basically immersing myself in agricultural research. I still do this, but it has made me realize how easy it is to take something that is meant to be peaceful, relaxing and enjoyable, and make it a daunting task associated with work. When your goal is squeezing as much food out of every square foot of garden space you have, aesthetic qualities tend to go out the window.

Gardening is a spiritual and physical connection to the earth that one could not understand without actually doing it, but the earth does a lot more than just feed us. Over millions of years our planet has developed an incredibly diverse bouquet of plants and animals, some feed us, and some simply blow our minds. Ssome things exist out of necessity, and some things are here as one of mother natures vulgar display of power. With all of the attention we currently invest in growing food, I sometimes feel we are forgetting that part of creating a diverse ecosystem also involves growing ornamental trees, shrubs, and flowers… both annuals and perennials.

Over the past several years I have met some of the most incredible gardeners and urban farmers, people who do things that could blow your mind. But they all seem to be focussed on food… if asked a question about growing tomatoes they could answer you in a second, but if asked a question about normal every day annual flowers they are clueless. Are we so caught up in growing food that the art of growing an old school flower garden like our grandparents used to have is getting lost.

The lack of pollinating insects has gathered a lot of attention lately, wouldn’t it be funny if it turned out to be something simple like a lack of people growing petunias and geraniums. Next time you are buying tomato or pepper plants pick up a pack of petunia or marigold plants and intermingle them around your tomatoes. One of my all time favorite mistakes was a bunch of volunteer petunias growing in my corn patch… It was truly a beautiful combination…

I’m not trying to say that I am done farming as I am just getting started, I have big plans involving multiple urban lots that is becoming a reality much quicker than anticipated, but I am trying to get back in touch with the side of gardening where happiness is not measured in yield, but in aesthetic beauty. I love vegetables and farming, but I also love my ornamentals, and whether you can admit it or not there is a symbiotic relationship between food crops and ornamental plants that goes deeper than science will ever be able to truly explain.

I understand that gardening is a way for people to feed themselves, but it can also bring beauty and lift spirits in a way that little else can. This year as you plant your garden, don’t just fill every square inch of space with food for yourself, remember the bees and birds that make our vegetables possible work up quite an appetite as well. If you plant 3 tomato plants for yourself, then plant a petunia just for the bees. If you plant a few apple trees, then plant a serviceberry just for the birds. Consider it a sacrifice of space that may seem to hurt your personal yield but in the long run will increase the overall total yield of the earth as an ecosystem. Just as people should count compost into their overall garden yield, insects and birds that are attracted to your garden could also be considered yield… If for no other reason than the presence of these animals will increase your gardens yield as well as contribute to the quality of your life and your surroundings.

I don’t normally share this with people because it makes me feel like a dork but every fruit tree, bush or bramble that I have planted for my personal consumption over the last 3 years has a flower from my garden under it. I consider it a sacrifice to the plant gods, I feel if the plant is going to sacrifice its energy into producing food for me than I can sacrifice one of my flowers to it. Just my nerdy planting ritual that helps me personally connect with the earth and how I sculpt my surroundings.

plant impatiens and question everything – chriscondello

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