"The book is kind of antiquated, isn't it?", I asked.
"Well, it's completely out of date," she replied.
"Antiquated and 'out of date' are synonymous," I explained.
"You keep using words I don't know!", she complained.
"I use them so you will learn them."
One evening last week, the kids were going at each other with a never ending volley of verbal attacks. I told them that they were giving each other an endless supply of fodder.
"I don't even know what that word means!", Avery said. So I sang "This is how we homeschool," 90's R&B style, as I danced my way over to the dictionary and looked up fodder. Sure, I can use the word, but I couldn't define it for them on the spot.
fodder: 1. Feed for livestock, often consisting of coarsely chopped stalks and leaves of corn mixed with hay. 2. a. Raw material, as for artistic creation. b. Masses of people considered as raw material for achieving a particular goal <cannon fodder>
How's this for fodder:
I know how to rock girls yoga pants, boys socks, and worn out flip flops, don't I? You'll be seeing this look on The Sartorialist this spring. It's certainly a look (and fodder for teasing from my kids).
I've transformed our backyard garden using raw materials - fodder? - sprawled around our yard: wheelbarrows full of dirt, a bale of hay, shovels and rakes, chicken wire. I planted one row with hundreds of seeds, square foot garden style: lettuce, spinach, arugula, turnips, carrots, beets, kale. You know, all the seeds I bought last fall and should've planted after pulling out our summer garden.
I check on the garden several times a day, anxiously looking for signs of growth, like an expectant mother waiting to feel the baby kick, assurance that she's firmly rooted. I am not alone in the garden. On my mind is a 35 year old Palestinian woman killed earlier this week in Gaza. She and her father were working in their garden when an Israeli bomb hit, killing them both. Cannon fodder. I heard about their death in a brief news blurb on NPR about the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine. Media fodder.
I can't help but wonder about this woman. Was she married? Did she have children? What did she grow in her garden? Did she have a warning, a moment of terror, or did the attack catch her by surprise? Was she happy working in the garden at the time of her death?
Standing in my garden, looking up, the only thing falling from the sky is a light rain. I have no fear that a bomb will strike me dead. Instead, I feel relief that my seedlings are getting plenty of water. I feel hopeful that I will be harvesting greens and root vegetables in several months. I feel excited about expanding my garden, row by row, seed by seed. But if I had to leave this life, I can think of worse places to die. I can only hope the gardening father and daughter in Gaza felt the same way.
When you write, life is fodder.