"We may think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it is our garden that is nurturing us."

I read those words in the monthly newsletter published by Wallace's Garden Center and Greenhouses, and thought how true they are.

How many times do I go out in my garden (I'm talking flowers) in something of a bad mood and pretty soon, I'm feeling better. Just to look at the flowers crawling with bees is a boost. These flowers are something I planted and look at them! Beautiful! Pretty soon I'm leaning over, pulling out weeds or dead leaves or spent blooms.

Cutting down the dead stalks in the fall and grubbing out the invading grass and other weeds in the spring ... those are simply enjoyable tasks. I sit on the ground, literally connected to the Earth. The wind blows high in the oak tree, my fingernails get dirt under them, and I feel part of this great cosmos that is wonderful beyond realizing.

Sitting at my desk at the office, I have, through the years, heard coworkers talk about their weekend plans that included yard work. And it wasn't always with a sense of delight. Sometimes it was disdain. Sometimes they actually said, "I hate yard work."

I always winced when I heard that. How can you hate working in/on/with the Earth? 

I also felt sad that they didn't receive this same nourishment that I get. All you have to do is to allow it to happen. Like, "Be still and know that I am God."

I understand that yard work can be physically hard. You get sweaty. Your back hurts. Blisters form. And I can understand that yard work can keep you from something you might enjoy more, be it taking a nap or watching football.

But to hate it. I don't get that.

DAVENPORT CALENDAR: Lots of organizations publish calendars and by the start of each new year I have no reason to buy any because I'm already awash in give-aways.

But when the Davenport Public Library announced that it had published a calendar commemorating 50 years in its Edward Durrell Stone-designed building on 4th and Main streets, I knew I had to check it out.

With all the photos in its collections, I was curious as to what they'd pick to print. I wasn't disappointed.

The cover and two of its inside pages are devoted to the building itself, which is fitting. Quad-Citians should know (and take pride in knowing) that the library was designed by the same architect who designed the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Among my other favorites are a collage of Bix Beiderbecke photos; a picture from the 1920s of the foundation for the first bridge from Arsenal Island to Davenport; and, finally, an eye-opening snapshot from one of the Beaux Arts Balls of the 1950s.

I'm betting Quad-City Times columnist Bill Wundram had something to do with the event it depicts. It has Bill written all over it, from the guy in the clown outfit, to two people dancing, a man wearing kilts and a woman wearing ... very little. 

Beaux Arts Balls are described in our archives as "raucous" and "gaudy" parties that also happened to be fundraisers for what was then the Davenport Art Gallery.

In time, the balls were dropped and there came to be the tamer weekend Beaux Arts fairs held on the grounds, next to the Putnam. They have since moved to the downtown near the Figge.

In addition to photos, you'll find bits of Davenport/Iowa history scattered among the calendar's squares. On Oct. 16, 1854, for example, the Daily Davenport Gazette became the first Davenport newspaper to publish daily.

The calendar is available at the library's three locations for $10. Proceeds will go towards the Special Collections Center and its services in the areas of genealogy and local history.

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