Friday, June 2, 2017

The Artichoke Is a Flower (Life Opens Up)

I've spent too much time alone in recent years--this past year in particular (aside from a couple close friends). Much of that was self-imposed isolation, necessary for me to finish writing the book, but---ugh. I'm not doing that again. Too withering. And over the years, some of it was friendship entropy--people moving, getting busy elsewhere, dying, etc.

I connect with friends online (and with strangers too), which is great, and I like and even need to be alone a lot, but I'm feeling too closed off from people in person. Solitude is good, isolation is not.
Time to open up--like an artichoke.

Did you know artichokes are flowers?
I didn't. 

If you didn't pick them, their chokes--the fuzzy part in the middle that if you try to eat is like swallowing feathers--would bloom, and their outside spiky leaves would open for support and protection. 

Here's a 2-day time-lapse video of a cynara artichoke blooming:

I've really noticed since finishing my book that I'm out of balance, socially.  
Last week, for instance, a fellow-volunteer I like at the grocery moved out of town, and I felt a disproportionate grief at her departure--more than my usual sadness at losing a pal.

And every time I meet new people lately, I'm as happy as a puppy and I practically have to stop myself nipping at them, play with me!
I helped Marz move to a new apt. yesterday, and I noticed how extra much I enjoyed chatting with the people I met. The home owner told me the history of the house; one person used to volunteer at a local museum; another is doing a 24-hour ultra-run this weekend (it's about hours covered, he told me, not miles).

I'd always have enjoyed such encounters, but I was also paying close attention, wondering who these people Marz will live around will be like, and it struck me how much richer the experience of meeting someone in person is. I don't mean spiritually richer or morally superior or anything, I just mean I could tell so much about these people in a matter of seconds, compared to what you can glean online.
So, I miss that kind of engagement, the complexity, the art of it.

I'm having a hard time getting connected again from a cold standstill. 
So far the efforts I've made either haven't for one reason or another flourished (church, Arts & Crafts Resistance group, family), or the connections are too infrequent (like Wikipedia get-togethers--there's one coming up in July). 

I'm not happy, but I'm worried either. It just will take time.  
An artichoke blooms in a couple days, but it takes a long time to grow from a seed. OMG, that sounds like a terrible refrigerator magnet quote. :) 

Of course what I need most of all is a job, and I've been lollygagging about that, but today I found a great possibility: 
Research Associate for the co. that owns MN Public Radio.
I used to say my dream job would be to do research for Bill Moyers, and this is pretty close.
I'm sure it's very competitive, so I called a job coach to get help preparing my cover letter & resumé (I have until the 15th).

So... who knows. 
Cultivate the artichoke.


ArtSparker said...

Huh. Wonder if you should be looking into community gardens, possibly where they grow artichokes - too literal?

Fresca said...

Hey, Sparker--That'd be a great idea, except I don't like gardening--but yeah, something like that... A few years ago I took monthly photos in the nearyby community garden for the neighborhood alliance calendar--that was great.
Something like that that pays would really fit the bill!
I'm looking.

Fresca said...

P.S. Wow--growing artichokes in MN would be quite an undertaking---I read how:
"you can vernalize artichokes....meaning that you plant the seeds indoors very early (like February), give them heat and light and let them grow as though it were springtime for 6-8 weeks, then move them to a cool dark place (50 degrees or cooler, but not freezing) for about a month, then when it warms up again to plant them in the garden. This in theory "fools" the plant into thinking it's the second year, thereby making it produce buds."

deanna said...

We have artichokes beside our driveway. Tasty, and if you forget to eat them, yes, beautiful flowers the bees love.

"Research Associate" sure sounds like you! Here's hoping.

The Crow said...

That's like watching an artichoke version of Swan Lake!

Fresca said...

DEANNA: You Westerners know these things!
Thanks for hoping for me!

CROW: It is balletic, isn't it? Also like a sea anemone or some such sea creature.

The Crow said...

Susan (Phantsythat) posted about sculptor Anthony Howe. I followed her link to a YouTube video, then found another one featuring his work. What caught my eye was a piece that reminded me of your artichoke. See

Susan's post is here: Howe's stuff is industrial arts eye-candy!

Frex said...

CROW: Wow! Amazing kinetic sculptures---thanks for sharing--yeah, it's like nature is one, giant, moving time-lapse art piece! :)