Saturday, June 03, 2006

Languages and Landscapes

I like languages. I should be more aggressive about using the internet to learn the languages I am interested in, and practice my ear. If I had more time and a decent internet connection, I would start with Ojibwe: Ojibwe Language Podcasts and Wetootwaag's Podcast of Ojibwemowin.

Yesterday in Saint Paul I found some Arabic language offerings from an organization that was advertising in Abu Nader's grocery and deli (at the intersection of Cleveland and Como). I'll have to come back to this post and add the link to their website later. The also were advertising a talk on a multi-generational female experience in Palestine.

Not far from Abu Nader's is a native plant installation at Commonwealth Terrace Cooperative, at the intersection of Ray Place and Cleveland, that is interesting, if somewhat frustrating to watch as it survives neglect and abuse from the always changing landscape management companies, their often English illiterate crews (this plot is posted "Do Not Mow or Spray"), hired by ever-changing committees of coop members, that don't have the eyes to see it for what it is... or any institutional memory. I am not going to screw around with planting native plants again on such temporary and experimental plots, but the value there if it were noticed and cared for would be great to University studens, their children, and residents in the Saint Anthony Park neighboorhood.

This morning on the lake north of Bemidji, I woke up to hear the sounds of sprinklers and lawn mowers run by returning summer-only residents who don't understand how harmful, temporary and silly bright green English lawns right up to the lakeshore are.

I'll make a deal with residents of Saint Paul and surrounding areas... leave your lawnmowers at home and develop an eye for native plants in their environent when you come up here, and I won't try to plant anymore native vegetation on your city boulevards and public open spaces that end up looking ragged yet diverse (and provide insect habitats) where you crave astroturf :)

Update: The organization with the Arabic language offerings and the sponsor of the Thursday, June 8th event, Teta, Mother and Me: Three Generations of Arab Women, is Mizna.org

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