Culture vulture

Back to the garden
What with Easter approaching and Mel Gibson’s sadistic new Jesus movie creating such a ruckus in the media and the weather turning lightly toward thoughts of spring and all, the Culture Vulture household has of late been caught up in a whirlwind of quasi-religious renewal and redemption.

The garage has been emptied of a Dumpster full of extraneous junk; the Salvation Army has become the recipient of a Tercel load of assorted clothing, luggage and headgear; and the back garden has been supplemented with two freshly planted trees, an olive and a cherry, both, thanks to the miracle of modern grafting techniques, self-pollinating.

’Tis always thus around our house: The coming of warm weather generates not only mosquitoes but also the urge to get out among them to churn up some dirt with the rototiller and scatter some seeds around to see what comes up. The lilies of the field may toil not and neither may they spin, but somebody has to plant them before they begin their life of leisure, and fairly often that someone turns out to be Culture Vulture under the gentle guidance of that vegetable goddess, the lovely I. Daphne St. Brie.

We haven’t yet seen, and frankly have no plans to see, the Gibson flick. Watching people getting brutally tortured (Is there another way to be tortured?), for religious purposes or not, is simply not our cup of wine (or blood). But, as we were digging up a lush but unproductive artichoke to make way for the new cherry tree, we couldn’t help but reflect on the rather brutal nature of springtime renewal.

Stripping last year’s string bean vines off the bamboo tripod that suspended them so picturesquely and pouring the last of the stinkily fermented seeds and goop out of an abandoned squash shell, so, as it turned out, our dogs Sam and Stella could have a good roll in the resulting viscous mess, we were reminded once again of our privileged place in the great chain of being. For a moment the universe seemed more benevolent and less scary, so we offered up a furtive prayer of appreciation tempered with the usual stipulation that we’d prefer a world that involved more choice and less brutality.

Lucifer and his hubris ain’t got nothin’ on Culture Vulture and his humus.

Back to the garage
Along with the gardening urge, spring always renews the musical drive of Culture Vulture. Suddenly the garage is no longer the frigid dungeon where we pay penance to our muse while puffing spouts of foggy condensation and dreaming of warm honky-tonks. And neither is it the crucible it will become as summer warms the walls to oven heat. Spring is the time of languid ballads and sensuous grooves. The flame that sustains our rebellion against winter’s chill can be allowed to die down and the gentle warmth that draws new growth out of the Earth can be channeled into refining our version of Cream’s “Badge.”

Well I told you ’bout a kid, now he’s not a tomato.