Saturday, December 22, 2007

December 2007

Wishing you all your favorite blessings . . .

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

November 2007

I have an interesting friend out these days. We saw him first in October being carried by his mother back to the nest. I have never seen a mother squirrel carry her baby. It didn’t look like a squirrel at all, but one giant mound of fur hopping gently across the lawn, through the hostas, up the tree, and finally disappearing into a ball of leaves.

A few days later, the baby crawled across the yard to where I had scattered sunflower seeds. He crawled. Squirrels hop merrily wherever they go - it’s one of their gifts. This one crawled. Not because he wasn’t merry, but because his back legs didn’t work. They dragged on the ground. Both of them. He moved here and there using his front arms to pull him along.

I felt horrible. Horrible that he was hurt, horrible that I didn’t know what to do for him.

We set out fresh water low to the ground and seeds where he could reach. Every few days, we saw him. Pulling along. Eating acorns from the driveway and seeds on the path. Even playing with his brothers and sisters by the fairy garden. We thought, perhaps, we should catch him. Bring him to a wildlife rehab where he could be watched over, fed, kept warm. Sheltered from the breeze, the rustling leaves. But whenever we spoke about it, he would disappear and we would end up saying prayers for him instead. Maybe he just wanted to be free.

It had been a week, I hadn’t seen him. The clouds were gray and I looked out toward the pond just to see if the frogs would come out despite the lack of sun, and there he was! Sitting under the hanging feeder picking up seeds. I knew it was him because when he grabs a seed, he has to lay on his belly to eat it. He can’t stand up. He was beautiful. Content. Letting the breeze touch his ears, enjoying the rustle of leaves as he searched for seeds.

Enjoying the rustle of leaves as he searched for seeds.

I watched his fur glisten, I watched his happy eyes when he found seed after seed at his feet. I watched the changing leaves curl by his side.

I enjoyed the rustle of leaves as I search for my own seeds.

P.S. I call him Harvard because he’s just so smart.

Anthea & Marigold, of course, take extra good care with the gentle ones. Mari's been floating around all afternoon storing up acorns!

Monday, October 29, 2007

October addition

Hey there, just figured out how to enable the "comments" part. Ok, I'll give it a try. In the meantime, enjoy the leaves . . . .

Saturday, October 13, 2007

October 2007

They let them go so the deer can eat.
That’s what the oaks do.

Share your song, let go your gifts
- Sing!

Autumn Harvest

Come one, come all

There’s plenty to share -

Crabapples in red,

a seed to spare!

Come one, come all

There’s plenty to share -

A field of Goodness

A glorious fare!

Friday, September 14, 2007

September 2007

I'm a little late with my paintings this month (too many deadlines!) so I'll just go ahead and put up the words for now.

There is a word you might know called Namaste’ From my understanding it means:
I honor the God in you. Or I honor the Good in you, or the Beauty perhaps.

I had two nice apples that fell from our tree that I almost removed this year as it is leaning at a 45 degree angle and practically taking down our fence. I decided to give these apples to the deer that on very happy days, come wandering down our path in the woods. I strolled out, rather hastily at first, when a wood thrush galloped along a pile of brush slowing me down with the chatter of his feet. Oh yeah, I thought . . pay attention.

I arrived at the spot where we set out corn and other goodies in hopes they will be found. I placed the two apples in as pretty a position as I could and asked the fairies to make sure someone found them and put them to good use. With my blessing complete, I turned so that I might head towards the meadow that surrounds the church and there she was. Just a baby. Ears perked up, eyes wide and watching. I paused, motionless. “Namaste”, the word filled my mind and it was sent as a love letter across the 20 feet of path that divided us. The little doe stared back. I have some apples for you, I said silently. Again, she stared back.
This is the time I usually watch, so taken to be eye to eye with such a quiet, peaceful creature, until at last, they turn aside, or spring away into the woods. This time, I turned away. I let her stay with the blessing I had left for her. I took my share. I didn’t use it up like usual. I left full.

My garden is so full of life right now, almost anytime you come out you get a surprise. Goldfinches are chipping away at rich seeded centers of the black-eyed-susans. Catbird is testing out the pyracantha berries willing them to ripen. A set of robins have started to enjoy the crabapples, the size of plump peas with crimson coats. The hummingbird who has been visiting my zinnias all summer long has joined the buffet of my newly bloomed sedum. The large leaves of the black-eyed-susans are peppered with dropped seeds which I turn in my hand and toss to the back of the bed for harvest next spring. The cleome seeds are bursting from their long slipper-like pods preparing for a lush meadow of blooms next year. Everything is giving back, tenfold, or maybe hundredfold. That’s the way a garden works.

Marigold practices drawing the Goldfinch, lucky for Marigold, he is very patient.

Mrs. Goldfinch hasn't as bright a coat as her husband, but Mari loves her just the same!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

August 2007

August, even the name sounds pretty. It conjures visions of peach, dusky skies, open prairies dotted with white Queen Anne’s lace and a sort of quiet that you don’t get when things are gearing up for the summer. Everything’s here now, there’s nowhere to go. Nothing to do but watch,

and let it come. . .

Can you see it in the field wading between the branches of milkweed working its way toward the breeze who moves it slowly in and out through the fence poles and gently, in the next moment, the very next moment, right into your breath? Peace.

Can you see it in the catbird who lingers softly on the edge of the birdbath, dripping, content, not ready to leave the poolside just yet? Can you see it in the spider webs, in the circles and circles of gentle work? Can you see it on a morning when you are lucky enough to have nothing to do and you sit for no reason, unaware that you’re yearning . . . and there it comes . . . Peace.

I saw for the very first time this afternoon, as I was bargaining with the raindrops to hold off just a bit longer while my clothes dried on the line, something I had never seen - 8 or 10 herons flying side by side overhead, above my trees. Silent. Completely silent. In three more seconds, they were gone. Their long legs showing the grace of flight. I had sat myself down, for the briefest of moments while my kitty decided whether he was going in or out of the porch. And for some reason I looked up.

August has its own quiet way of whispering – and with her clever disguises, shows us peace.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July 2007

My backyard is like an envelope of trees, a horseshoe of black in the evening.

The fireflies have come.

Sparks of light, one answering the other’s call. Surrounded by a curtain of black, I feel as though I’m in a magician’s pocket full of magic and tricks and the unexplained. I can almost hear the faint sound of chimes as surely, somewhere, someone is celebrating this work of art. My cat leans against my crossed legs and he’s content that I’m actually paying attention rather than wondering how I might finish a painting or get my haircut. I am completely enthralled, grateful, and he loves it.

The Universe is always calling. Perhaps there is no way it does not call – that would mean we all get to be right. To me it calls through nature; through fireflies, purrs, a falling leaf. And when I’m smart enough to pay attention, I get to remember that all is well.

Here's a tiny little 4th of July story for you . . .

Saturday, June 30, 2007

June 2007

I have a knack for finding secret places. Like this morning when I convinced my husband to trek out with me on my walk. There was an opening, well, a space really, where the wild roses were not so tight. An invitation.

We had to step high, like fancy horses, to avoid the prickers that reached in front and in back of our legs, “tread softly,” they seemed to say, “slow down, this is worth the effort.” Somewhere, I could hear on the other side of the brush, the pull of water. I was not disappointed. The shale was black and wide and stepped like a staircase. I don’t know who was happier, the water or the shale for making an ocean out of a 4 foot wide bend of stream that I had never seen before. And the tree roots, wider than both of your hands, form large quiet trees begging us to follow their winding and dipping curves. Sheer curiosity moved us along and suddenly, there it was . . . an old weathered rope swing. Someone, perhaps someone like you, had shimmied to the top of the tree and wedged a knot of rope in the little crook where the tree could not decide which way it wanted to grow. Or maybe the tree knew that crooks make wonderful playgrounds and planned it that way. Your guess is as good as mine.

Me first! I swung out curling my legs above the clear water. I was 12 again with my best friend in Maine where we took deep breaths before swinging wildly into the air, doing our best to hold hands, and dropping into the cool black lake, then the flapping, flapping, flapping until we reached the surface and breathed again. I swung back with a smile. Rob next; I didn’t ask where he went, but he looked 10 to me swinging over a fishing hole he never had.

I have a knack for finding secret places.

Crooks of hollow trees where messages were undoubtedly sent from one captive to another; a fairy tree where the keeper of the forest surely resides; the leaf of the nasturtium after a rain, and have you ever seen the center of a Shasta daisy – it has its very own yellow brick road. The universe waits for us in these places.

I just read a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye about a man who gave his Love two skunks for a valentine. She cried. But he had seen such beauty in the skunk’s eyes. My favorite line goes like this,

And the poems that had been hiding

in the eyes of skunks for centuries

crawled out and curled up at his feet.”

Keep your eyes open, you never know what’s in there.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

May 2007

Everything happens in May.

The trees are in bloom and my favorite maple is throwing little whirly helicopters into the air. When the sun is behind my woods and the wind blows hard, it looks like a whirl of snow passing through in short sleeves. Each little helicopter catching the light and showing us how to fly.

The birds are choosing houses and gathering sticks and my crabapple is blanketed in pink and white blossoms that sweeten the air; the whole world is changing over, ready to believe once more in the promise of life. It’s everywhere.

Blades of grass are green with summer and reaching reaching for the sun. The bees are buzzing buzzing at the cotton candy on the trees. And you, I suspect keep looking looking outside until you can get your bare feet in the grass and your face in the sun. And so it is with May.
Dreams abound!

This little picture happened last May, but I didn’t have a Garden Diary then so I’m sharing it with you now. Something you may not know about baby bunnies…..their mama is very clever, rather than hiding her nest in the bushes where a predator might go searching, she digs it right out in the open. Right in the middle of my backyard! It is about 6 inches deep and wide and covered with her checkerboard fur; a patchwork quilt of softness, comfort and affection. I’ve already told you she is very clever, now listen to this . . . she only visits the nest a couple of times a day! - and only for a couple of minutes each time. That way, no one can watch her and discover her precious babies. She can’t go hemming and hawing about how gorgeous her new bunny-lets are and put up pink and blue signs and fancy balloons; it wouldn’t be safe. Lucky for me, I knew this. (Well, I looked on the internet and then I knew it.) So I watched silently from my deck, a good 20 feet away. Sure enough right around dusk, she hopped quietly to the nest, gently removed the fur covering, and nursed her children. When they were full and satisfied, she covered them once more and hopped back into the woods. Clever, huh?

So if you come across these little delights, don’t assume mama has abandoned them. Remember, she only visits a couple of times a day so keep a watch out for her. If you take a peek in the nest, as long as the babies look plump, they’re okay. And remember, mama’s probably watching you, so, as with all living things, be gentle and filled with love.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


2007 Entries uploaded soon. Got a little back logged......stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

April 2007

If the titmice and cardinals and chickadees never ate any of the seed I put out for them, I would have a mound of seed piled a mile high in my garden, and I would be a very sad person. I’m thinking of giving and receiving. I imagine a giant, gentle hand taking care of all. And I get to be a little hand doling out seed here, a smile there, and, in the same breath, I remember it is also my job to receive.

What good are cherry blossoms without the wind to carry their scent, the eye to sit beneath them and ponder their shape, the heart to float among them and dream? They are beauty, yes. But that beauty is tripled a thousand times with each note of thanks; with each nod of appreciation; with each breath of wonder. And so I’m glad the birds receive from me. They show us a very good lesson as we look to follow our dreams. Are we receiving the opportunities, the helping hands, the cherry blossoms, or letting them pass unnoticed?

Think of a time when you helped someone (or some thing). Remember how good it made you feel? Remember to return the favor! R e c e i v e.

So this month’s diary is devoted to giving and receiving because they really are the same thing. Next time you receive, take a glance at the other person’s face, notice how you give them the opportunity to smile, how you allow their heart to flutter with happiness…..hearts always know, don’t they.

As you can see, Anthea & Marigold are experts at both giving and receiving; they’ve had the best teacher – Mother Nature!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

March 2007

If you want to smell Spring in the middle of Winter, all you need do is ruffle your nose into my kitty cat’s fur. Fresh breeze, tulips dreaming, and a promise of hope, it’s all there in his fur. (I wish I had hair like that.)

On the first day of this month I was greeted with a batch of bright, buttery, yellow crocus in my front bed. Today, they are closed tight with a few inches of new snow on their heads. They came when they did, I suppose, to remind me to keep watch; a change is coming. They are covered in snow now, I suppose, to remind me to be patient and not to interfere with the natural timing of things. So, I have hope and trust and patience in a little batch of crocus and my kitty’s golden fur.

So it is with Spring!

Here are my crocus, you can almost hear them singing for Spring. Anthea and Marigold keep very good watch over the bulbs in the garden, singing them to sleep in Autumn, and waking them with gentle taps in spring.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

February 2007

Our Carolina Wren stays a warm burnt sienna brown, even in winter. She doesn’t gray like the other birds. I like the idea. Although winter is the essence of sleepy wistful rest, the spirit is never still.

This morning I found my favorite stream to be thickly frozen over. It’s about a mile from my house and makes for an invigorating walk, like knowing you’re going to win something when you arrive at the fair.

I sneaker skated leaving wide uneven trails where the fine snow had already fallen. How does water turn to land? I saw places I don’t normally see. The echo under the old, stone bridge was more hollow than I imagined. And on the other side - running water; pure, whispery, alive! Just like us . . . in winter.

Anthea and Marigold enjoy the beauty of winter – At first, Marigold is a little uneasy on his skates, but Chickadee promises to go slow.

This is the dark-eyed-junco, (otherwise known as “Snowbird”), as you can see, he is quite agile on skates.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

January 2007

With windchills hovering at a meager 0 degrees, we finally have a day that feels like January.

The woods call, don’t they, on a day like this. Still, cold, but very present. Wondering if I might disturb their silence, or swim in it. I leave the scurry of birds at my feeder – finches, titmice, cardinals, nuthatches and a brave flicker – and enter into a hush of winter.

The woods smile. They hold a deep knowing of almost everything…faith, perseverance and a silent gentle welcome, that if I listen to, always invites me in.

Always what I need.

If you were a bird, you would undoubtedly enjoy the special perks that come with winter - a silent, slower world; feeders miraculously filled with treats and cool wind lifting beneath your feathers.