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June 7, 2013 / annakpf11

From Bud to Blossom


“The bud stands for all things, even for those things that don’t flower, for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing…”  Excerpted from “Saint Francis and the Sow” by Galway Kinnell (1927— )

The weeks tick by, the long winter recedes, and we witness another English spring: tiny green fists on bare branches, and then the slow unfurling of broad fingered leaves.


Once again, the heart irresistibly lifts at the sight of lambs in the field; the gaze brightens at the metamorphosis of muddy ground to a green and flowering sea.


We find Bluebells in the Beech tree woods, birdsong everywhere,


and twice, a surprise visitor in the back garden:


Shelley, a very clever, and very pregnant pig who realizes the electric fence around her pen has lost power and she can sneak out unscathed. She works her way through the dense hedgerow dividing our land—probably in search of the apples I often lob into her yard—and it is only with the assistance of several neighbors and continuous food bribes that we are able to lure her back through the hedge to her side.


After her second great escape, Shelley gets a new pen, now contained by wooden siding instead of mere strips of theoretically electrified wire. Just as well, for the countdown has begun to the birth of her piglets, and according to the “rule of hoof” for porcine gestation—three months, three weeks and three days—the blessed event should occur any minute now!

Meanwhile, as happens every year on the first weekend in June, our village hosts a traditional Fayre.


A real community undertaking, everyone pitches in to help, setting up and staffing a variety of stalls, pouring tea, baking cakes, and organizing a variety of games, raffles and prizes.


A live band plays on the green, featuring Dave on lead guitar, impressing villagers who had not yet realized that he is a musician and rock star.


The sun shines all day and plenty of ale flows at the pub.


A chance for old and new friends to meet, the Fayre offers diversions for adults and kids alike, from face painting to Pimm’s Cup, to plate smashing to football in the toilet. (Sounds worse than it is.)


There are real bargains to be found at the book stall, Bric-a-Brac, plant sale and jewelry table, and spectator sports include ferret racing, a tug-of-war contest and a karate demonstration.


From all over the county, visitors arrive early and stay late. We dance until midnight, the band still going strong.


Mark your calendar: same time, same place next year. Until then, Piglet Birthday Update available upon request. And here’s the rest of the poem:

“…though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;

as Saint Francis

put his hand on the creased forehead

of the sow, and told her in words and in touch

blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow

began remembering all down her thick length,

from the earthen snout all the way

through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,

down through the great broken heart

to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering

from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing

beneath them:

the long, perfect loveliness of sow.”

One Comment

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  1. Wish I could have been there! It sounds wonderful!!! Hope you and Dave are doing well and enjoying life. All good here. My book is going well and I am doing author events a lot. All the best! Bee

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