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Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Status Quo

Outside it is raining this morning.

In the pens, we are having a bit of a battle of wills.

Bow keeps gesturing to me that he wants me to give him my hand, and I keep telling him that he can spell by himself.  I want things to change, and he wants everything to remain exactly the same.

When you are in a state of equilibrium, sometimes you don't notice when a major status changing crisis is right around the corner. Things seem the same day after day.

The wildflowers in the woods are blossoming, and in the unmown lawn what look like tiny, miniature irises are springing up.

Soon the mowers will come, and this flower will be no more, and the entire state of equilibrium that it was counting on to grow will be gone. Things may seem like a steady state, but there are cycles that come and go.

When something cataclysmic is about to happen to us, we don't always know. It may seem to come out of nowhere, but there are usually signs.

The ants have been on patrol for three days and counting on the peony by the lagoon.

They have not harmed the flower head, but they clearly have some objective in mind, something not known to me.

Bow is not angry with me, and I am not angry with him. We just each want something different. To try to cajole me, he picks up tiny specks of dust and hair from the corners of his pen and throws them into the potty. See, he seems to be saying, I am keeping it tidy. I am good. But still I will not give him my hand to use as a pointer. So he takes it and grooms it, instead,

Then he takes my hand and leads me to the letters on the glass. "But I want you to spell by yourself, Bow!" I slip out from his grasp. "Write 'give' by yourself," I tell him. In Hebrew, when Bow is speaking to me, it is just a three letter word תני. He spells it many times each day, when he is requesting things. But always he uses my hand as a pointer.

 I try to bargain with him, just as he earlier tried to bargain with me. "If you spell 'give' by yourself, I will let you use my hand for the rest of the sentence." But he is not swayed.

He keeps offering me his hand, but when I ask him to spell by himself, he turns away.

We can go on like this for hours. Nobody gets angry, but the status quo will not change.

It's a delicate equilibrium, but eventually something has got to give.

Just on the edge of the woods, where the lawn meets the trees, the delicate clover flowers sway in the breeze. Their life seems the same every day, but one day the mowers will come.

Just inside the woods, where it is no longer lawn, the cypress spurge is blooming. They say it is an invasive, and it grows in transition areas, that are neither fully wooded nor fully open. The balance of woods and fields on my land is changing. While it may seem that everything is always the same with me and Bow, that is also a delicate balance. Someday the status quo may change, and we might have our next big breakthrough.

You never know when a delicate flower is about to push up from the ground and bloom, not because you planted it yourself, but just because the seeds were there.


  1. The ants help the peony flowers open.
    I suppose we all have to stand our ground when teaching is involved. Just like you are with Bow.

    1. Hi, Susan. I don't know much about the black garden ants: are they really gardeners? Does the peony flower need their help to open? Is it a kind of symbiosis?

      With me and Bow, right now, what is going on is not so much teaching as end of term testing. I need proof of what Bow already knows. It is like the end of year testing season at my daughter's school. when the teachers stop teaching and prep the students for the state-wide standardized tests.

    2. Yes the peonies need the ants.

    3. Thanks, Susan! That is new and very exciting information for me. I will read up some more about this.

  2. I still wonder is that purple flower is a type of iris. I googled it, but nothing looks exactly like it.

    1. I don't know whether it is officially called an iris or not, Julia, but I liked your observation that it looks like an iris, so I am using that to describe how it looks.

  3. Aya, I'm so excited for you - this small, but significant stand by you may be just what Bow needs. He looks like he's pouting in that video. Too funny! Stubborn child! Good for you to enforce a change. I can't wait to hear the outcome - Bow will eventually have to give in - he likes communicating with you too much to not. Please keep us posted on your progress!

    1. Thanks, Kathy, I wish I could say that the big breakthrough happened today, but the most we accomplished is that Bow is going a lot lighter on my hand, guiding it to the general vicinity of the letter, then letting go and doing the actual touch down on the glass by himself. That is not good enough for proof, but may be a step in the right direction.

  4. Maybe a slow weaning process as you're doing now is what the dr. ordered. I like that you're trying different approaches.
    The small purple flowers are called, "Native Wood Violets"....they are so neat!

    1. Thanks, Kathy, for helping to identify the purple flower, Somehow it looks more like an iris to me than a violet, but if it is a Native Wood Violet, I will call it that henceforward.

      I have to negotiate with Bow rather than having it all my way. It is a slow process, but hopefully we will make progress eventually.