Tuesday, July 11


Did you know that 'twee'='tiny' + 'wee'?
lady bluebell + + + vintage blue velvet leaf, paper flowers, satin bow

Well, I didn't, until just a little while ago.
mlle. framboise + + + vintage velvet geranium leaf, mushroom, berries

I'm not sure how I feel about the word, but there's no denying it fits these guys.
violetine + + + vintage velvet leaf, violet, berries

(the code is 'forthebirds')

I wanted to show you a picture of something I just discovered yesterday. I love that about Minneapolis--it is textured and layered and secretive. I find things out I've never known before (well, see above) just by walking around.
This is a neighborhood garden near the school where I'm teaching this summer. It's huge; it spans two square blocks. There are raspberry canes (in fruit; so tempting), vegetable patches, flower gardens. People walk through with their dogs, people sit in the early-morning haze and draw, people garden and sip ice water at noon. It is a beautiful place, full of handmade trellises and stakes. Full of people's choices to bring beauty into the world.One of my friends has been down on Minneapolis lately. I understand, sometimes, his dislike of this city: we don't have the public transportation or the hipness of Portland; we're not sophisticated and huge like New York; we lack the specific caché of Boston. We're out here in flyover country. It's easy to assume we're missing the boat in all sorts of ways.
But I don't believe my loyalty to my birthplace is misjudged. There is a beauty to being in the middle (the often overlooked middle) of things. There is beauty in reticence and in plainness and in the long flat lands that I miss whenever I leave. To me, the garden I found is a perfect metaphor for the Minneapolis (and the Minneapolitan) I know: it hides its best things until you are willing to take the time to really seek them out, and then it blooms, spills over. I think in the end this place is a generous place. All it is asking is that you show up over and over to prove you're here in earnest. There is beauty and happiness to be had everywhere, if you look for it.
I don't consider myself regionalist; I have loved everywhere I have lived, and have been happy wherever I've been. But I was reminded of the particular good of this place (among the good of all places) this morning when I walked through the garden--in the middle of the city!--on my way to knit for three hours with five fourth- and fifth-grade girls.


Blogger lisa s said...

love love what you say about the overlooked middle...

and those birds are quite twee...t!!

10:49 PM  
Anonymous mj said...

I live in VA now, which no one can deny is beautiful, but the beauty of MN (where I grew up) still gives me the shivers.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I've lived many places too and have loved something (not always everything and sometimes only just a single thing) about them all. What I find interesting is how that emotion is often tied to a particular time in my life. I loved all that living in New York City entailed when I was a teenager but the thought of living there now leaves me feeling exhausted. And ultimately, though I've loved the landscape of Colorado, the water and mountains of the Pacific Northwest, and a whole host of other things about the places I've lived, *home* has always been squarely in the Midwest. Moving to the Twin Cities from MA involved quite a bit of sadness (Is it ever easy to leave friends behind?) but it was also a huge relief to return to this part of the country. The Midwest and MN in particular certainly has it's quirks but it's unquestionably where my heart resides.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Alina said...

I can't fully tell if this is the community garden by my home but from the pics it looks like it is. I am about 3 blocks from it and my family and I walk up there and explore a few times a months. It does amaze me at all the things that I still have not seen in this beautiful state I live in.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous amanda button said...

the garden is beautiful! what a wonderful treasure to discover. i think community gardens are especially magical....when so many people focus and intent to grow something lovely togehter...just amazing!

and i love the "twee" birds. They are so so so cute!!!!!!

4:23 PM  
Anonymous patricia said...

fabulous post...and i've always thought of minneapolis as hip and progressive but i've never been there -- i'm just going on the fact that utne reader and many of its staff are based out of there...ooh, but gardens, they speak to my soul...

7:29 AM  

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