Thursday, March 7, 2013

Swooning

or The Graceful Art

Pretending to be a ribbon isn't all that easy.  I found that out when I was seven or eight and have never tried it again.

Crocus ancyrensis 'Golden Bunch'

I'd been reading a book, of course.  It may have been Caddie Woodlawn, or something like that—a tale of pioneer communities in the 19th century and the odd smatterings of Civilized Behavior that followed them from non-pioneering places.  One "civilized" thing the girls did was to practice fainting gracefully.*  They were supposed to pretend to be ribbons falling, and then in theory a graceful swoon was theirs for the asking.  I wasn't all that interested in swooning, but what with my parents refusing to buy me a horse or let me start a fire in the schoolhouse (only so I could help put it out, of course!), it was one of the more manageable feats in the book to try for myself.  Pretending to be a ribbon, though—I don't know.  Even on the shag carpeting that graced our home at the time, I mostly ended up feeling bruised and kind of stupid.  I guess you're either a swooner or you're not, and 20th-century girls are just mostly not.

Crocuses are like that, too.


Some of them are as sturdy as all get-out.  The 'Cream Beauty' Crocus chrysanthus that started blooming the first of February have just now faded away completely, a month later.  They withstood snow and wind and the neighbors' cats and looked beautiful for weeks without making a grand fuss about it.

The 'Golden Bunch' Crocus ancyrensis, on the other hand, for all their bold, vivacious coloring, are a lot more delicate.  They balked at blooming through a colder than average February; when they did bloom, they only opened their petals part way.  Dropping a camera on them (ahem) absolutely cr-r-r-rushed their spirits.  Their wounded looks chided me clear across the garden.  Compared to the other crocuses, the 'Golden Bunch' are less likely to come back from one year to the next, quicker to fade away once they bloom, and a lot more likely to


swoon. 

But don't they do it gracefully?

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* Because that's a useful skill for farm women carving out homesteads on the open prairie.

I was doing a search on "how to swoon gracefully," as one does, and came across an actual set of swooning lessons.  As always, be sure to consult with your doctor before starting this or any new exercise program.

22 comments:

  1. Love this post! I laughed!

    My thing at that age was practicing walking silently through the woods, placing each foot directly in front of the other. This was so the deer couldn't hear you, and you left tracks that could only be made by silent Indian woodsmen. My ambition at the time was to be Deerfoot the Great Tracker. It never occurred to me to practice swooning. Good thing I've never had to!

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    1. Elisabeth, that's so funny--I did the same thing, but was so unconvincing as a deer tracker on our suburban, treeless lawn in the Great Plains that I gave it up very quickly! I'm sure you were much more successful, with actual woods to practice in!

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  2. That's quite impressive - not ending up in a crumpled wet mess. I'm guessing that the swooning lessons don't include putting your head between your knees but I think that's what my crocuses are doing at the moment.

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    1. b-a-g, we'd have to have some wet to end up with a wet mess, alas. The swooning lessons do not include anything practical like how not to swoon, no. Your crocuses sound like they're doing their best to hang in there bravely.

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  3. I love the idea of you trying to learn how to swoon, but putting a fire out does sound much more fun. Swooning crocuses always strike me as a little sad, it is one of the few things I have against what is otherwise a beautiful little herald of Spring, they just look untidy. And a little lazy. You'd think I would be a little more understanding ;-)

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    1. Janet, it's amazing how often the most fun things in books are strictly off-limits in real life! The swooners do look untidy--I love Holley's suggestion below of having an iris or daffodil nearby to catch them...

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  4. HI Stacy , it's been a while since I visited your blog, nad Ii am enjoying it now. Great posts!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lula, and welcome back!

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  5. Oh, my! If I had read that book when I was younger, I would have swooned all the time! Or at least tried! Although, just how does one swoon without bruising oneself? It must have helped to have on all those many layers of petticoats! Your poor little crocus! It needs a handsome daffodil or iris to help it up! ;) I have numerous crocus petals - but not blooms. Not sure why mine are so shy this year, or if they will ever decide to show themselves. Perhaps they heard that swooning was required!

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    1. Holley, I think the layers of petticoats must be key--or maybe pioneer girls were made of much tougher stuff than us soft modern types. I'm sure the crocuses would love it if I paired each of them up with a nice beau next year!

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  6. A crocus post? Already? How can that be?

    A friend once arrived at my house after a long drive, gulped a glass of white wine (it really had been a long drive) stood up to be shown her room and TIMBER, dropped like a felled pine tree. No swooning, no ribbon like folding just crash - narrowly missing her head on the spiral staircase as she went down ramrod straight. Nothing graceful about it but a helluva impressive. I should like to learn that. Dave

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    1. Ouch. Passing out like a felled tree at will (rather than accidentally, like your poor friend!) does sound like a good skill, but goodness--make sure the furniture's all out of the way first, will you? Or maybe wait until you're at the Priory, on nice soft lawn.

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  7. I was sure I would see a crocus post soon :) Great photos...Mine just started in one microclimate out front. Swoon...never ever for me. I am too hard headed to ever do that...of course I have always been a bit of a tomboy too!

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    1. Donna, one thing I liked about the book was that the heroine was much too tough to swoon properly! Hope your crocuses are coming on strong now--I just heard from a friend in Ithaca that he's seen some in bloom in town there.

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  8. Had a good laugh! Looking out of the window at my seriously-swooned Jeanne d'Arc crocus,I tried not to see the mushyness caused by torrential rain which had hastened their demise. Swooning seems far more ladylike.

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    1. Oh, mushyness and torrential rain both sound disheartening, Karen. At least if you picture the crocuses swooning, you can also entertain yourself by wondering who said precisely what off-color thing to them, to send them off like that.

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  9. I used to faint. Incense used to tip me over, so I make sure I'm near the door and fresh air. But that was when I was a girl. Graceful? Who knows, but I don't remember bruises.

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    1. Diana, real fainting and decorative fainting are whole different ballgames, one feels. I can't imagine gracefulness was your (or your parents') top priority!

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  10. This really is wonderful article ! I simply love’d it !

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