Saturday, June 11, 2011

Euro Bobbles & Clary Sage

Three nights ago, I went to the Firemen's Fair in town.
It was a hot night - magic with the glowing lights from the rides, the rhythmic cranking and whirring of the mechanisms, the murmur of hundreds of people's voices together, and the ecstatic shouts of kids flying through the air.  There were all sorts of people... one in particular was a body-builder-type wearing a slinky, muscleman t-shirt with spaghetti straps.  The straps delicately cascaded over his tattooed muscles, he had curiously feminine legs, and he was carrying two plastic bags from Food Lion that were bulging with things that seemed to be cube-shaped.  I imagined what steps he took to dress and groom himself before coming to the fair, and what sort of person would like to meet him for a blind date.  And what in the heck was he carrying in those bags?  I saw another man, with no shirt on at all, who exuded aggression, but when he walked, he leaned on a wooden cane, similar to the one my great-grandpa used.  There were lots of girls wearing shorts the size of underwear, and a large woman who stood still in the midst of all the chaos, holding her very tiny baby close to her.  They both looked around blankly with the same dark eyes.

In one area, there were kids in harnesses, suspended by stretchy straps and gracefully bouncing way up high and then down to touch their toes on individual trampolines.  Most of the kids were very delicate in their bounces, and went up and down in slow motion with tentative looks on their faces.  But there was one girl wearing glasses who bounced with real enthusiasm and a big smile on her face.   Next to the quiet, dreamy jumpers was a loud, towering ride that swirled the passengers up and around and upside down in little metal cages.  Then, just across the grass path, was a dingy little pool filled with brownish water and attended by two robust men.  The pool was surrounded by half eager, half anxious kids watching the middle of the pool, where a boy was rolling around wildly inside something that resembled a clear plastic beach ball.  He seemed to be in a state of hypnotic rapture, throwing himself against the inner walls of the ball, and splashing in a puddle of water that had leaked into the bottom of the ball.  When his time was up, the two men pulled the ball in to 'shore', which was a set of wooden steps down from the side of the pool.  They unzipped an opening in the ball, and the air drained out of it almost immediately, and to try to get the boy out of the ball (which had become nothing but a pile of deflated plastic) so he could breathe, the two men grabbed him under the arms and pulled him quickly out of the zipper opening, his legs limp behind him.  Grinning and damp, he descended the stairs with wobbly knees.  Next in line was another little boy, who climbed the wooden steps bravely, but then when the men took his arms and told him to hurry and put his head into the opening, he panicked and went back to his mom.   A little girl dove in and squatted in it, like it was a giant placenta, and one man quickly zipped it up, leaving a little opening into which the other man jammed the end of a machine resembling a leaf blower, which inflated the ball.  Meanwhile, another boy was sobbing inside one of the balls, but you couldn't hear him... You could just see him inside the clear orb with a red face and tears streaming down and his mouth wide open.  So as soon as the girl was all blown up, the men roughly pushed her ball out into the pool to make way for the crying boy.  The girl was in heaven, in high-speed, super-hyper fashion... inside the ball she let loose with kicks and wild thrashing and tumbling.  Meanwhile, the boy was pulled out by the men and walked down the steps with his chin tucked under and wiping tears off his cheeks.  That is what it is was like to see young humans in 'Euro Bobbles'.  It was weird.  But maybe a good illustration of how funny people are.

Last year I bought a little clary sage plant and now, in its second and final year of life, it's blooming right on cue.   I would've liked to try to make some essential oil, but I'd need to build a small still to do it... maybe I will try it when I'm an old woman, but for now, I settled for making a quick tea.  I boiled some clary sage leaves with a few mint leaves for about six minutes, let it sit for a while and then sweetened it with a teaspoon of honey.  The tea smelled like melted butter.  My little sister said it tasted just like milk.  My mom thought it was revolting.  I thought it was pretty good at first... and I'd be happy if it does all the things clary sage is supposed to do...  help with mood swings, menstrual and general muscle cramps, supposedly can help you have vivid dreams...  I've got some left over in the fridge, but I can't bring myself to drink it again today.  I wish I could say that I loved it and I'll be drinking it each day and that it has enhanced my well-being, but I think my mom was right about the taste.  Supposedly it is good in beer, another project for another day...  But if anyone would like to try using it for beer soon, let me know and I will bring you leaves and blossoms!
(More info on Clary Sage )

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