Hello Ecofriends,

At this time of year we traditionally, with the Kindergardeners, begin a little project on growing spider plants, Chlorophytum comosum. These tropical plants have long, narrow,  arching leaves. When they are ready, they develop long arching stems dotted with delicate white flowers. When the flowers are finished,  they leave behind the primordial beginnings of a new plants, clinging to the stem,  miniatures of their mother, complete with leaves and a straggle of roots hanging down. The leaves and the roots vaguely resemble spiders. The babies can be clipped from this umbillicus, and set in a jar of water where they will steadily increase in size, both leaves and roots. After a few months they are ready for planting in soil, and beginning the cycle again.


That is what we normally do with the kinder kids, and if you have a spider plant, and a kindergartener, you might try it at home. A very low risk experiment.  When I showed the kinder-kids a spiderplant this week, one child burst out: “We have that! You gave one to my sister and now it is HUGE!”
The project comes with a slightly absurd and a-scientific song and story about a spider that falls in love with a palm tree, gets married and has kids. It is on the watersecology.org website under Kindergarden, and is linked here. The song, I wrote, and the recording is of my grandaughter Nicole and I. The artwork was done by my grandson Salim.

(BTW, the weird crusty, crackling part in the middle is when I ask the kids to make the sound of a spider walking up a palm tree) Some years ago I asked my son Jamal to translate the song into Spanish, and what he produced far exceeded the original. Apparently, in Latin America, the name for Chlorophytum comosum is Lazo de amor, a ribbon of love. In Jamal’s version,  a ribbon is vaulted aloft in the air by a wind, and is tangled in the leaves of a palm tree. So wonderful was this experience that the ribbon and palm married, and the children that resulted were “lazo de amor”, spider plants. This wonderful song ends with a chorus that says: 

Between the ribbon and palm tree There is a lazo de amor

Between a tree and the earth, There is a lazo de amor

Between the clouds and the treesThere is a lazo de amor

Between me and my mother There is a lazo de amor…..

It is a wonderful thing to think about how many things can be paired in this way ,things held together by un lazo de amor, extending the song to infinity. I stopped singing this song several years back because the fast clip of the spanish verse is daunting for kindergarten kids. But the choro  (the response) at the end is easy:  “Hay un lazo de amor”. I hope they, and you, will try it, and that you will invent new pairings, things held together by “un lazo de amor”.

lazo de amor, written and performed by Jamal
érase-un fino listón que llevado por el viento-
-en las bellas ramas de-una palmera se-enlazó
tan a gusto se sentían que-al rato se casaron
y tenemos como resultado-este lazo de-amor
entre el listón y la palmera
(hay un lazo de amor)
entre el agua y la tierra
(hay un lazo de amor)
entre el árbol y las nubes
(hay un lazo de amor)
entre yo y mi mamá
hay un lazo de amo o or

Be well, stay well, Mr. Leki