Garden Quotes

The anthropologist must relinquish his comfortable position in the long chair on the veranda of the missionary compound, Government station, or planter’s bungalow, where, armed with pencil and notebook and at times with a whisky and soda, he has been accustomed to collect statements from informants…. He must go out into the villages, and see the natives at work in gardens, on the beach, in the jungle; he must sail with them to distant sandbanks and to foreign tribes.

Peter stood, cleared his throat, and began to hum softly, then sing, slowly building up the song as his voice cleared. He found the old tune, the song of the Sunbird. And as he sung, as his rich voice echoed off the tall cliffs, the birds and the faeries lent him their voice and soon the tune drifted throughtout the garden.

When you build a building, you finish a building. You don’t finish a garden; you start it, and then it carries on with its life. So my analogy was really to say that we composers or some of us should think of ourselves as people who start processes rather than finish them. And there might be surprises.

Once, I ordered two thousand lady bugs from the local garden center and set them loose in the atrium. I sprinkled marigold seeds in the ficus planters and put gold fish in the lobby fountain. These are things I did with no consequences, no repercussions. My nineteen detentions were for smart answers and missed homework. There is no equivalent punishment for making the world a stranger place.

How unthinkable that, in a country of such bursting plenty, so many people are facing ongoing hunger and poverty. If we are truly each other’s keepers, let’s support school lunches, food stamps, neighborhood garden projects, and so many other wonderful programs working to put an end to this cruel and needless blight once and for all.