Friday, December 26, 2008

December 2008

Out the window, each little twig and every round berry wears a crown of ice! Snowbird loves the frosty weather. It makes his heart sing and his feet want to dance!

When the weather warms, Snowbird flies north, often into Canada, where the winds are cooler. Remember when we sent him off? Well, this little fellow spent his summer in Alaska!

Marigold jumped for joy when his loyal friend returned. Winter Fest is here . . . . snowflakes fall, and now you know who brought them!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

December 2008

A chorus of snowflakes pads the Earth,
Listen and you will hear peace, I think.

A deer moves, trusting through the night,
Be still, and you will see peace, I think.

Stars roam, gazing upon the world with grace,
Join them and you will find peace, I think.

And when the music stops,
leaving only candles and hushed voices

Silent Night,
Then, you will know peace, I think.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Give Thanks. Be Thankful. Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2008

November 2008

November . . . brisk, brazen, things are getting brown and tan. Birds are filling up at feeders. My meadow is lying down, leaning over, creating little nooks and hideouts for the small ones. November is tucking in, covering up, getting cozy for the winter ahead.

Our little groundhog is fast asleep in hibernation. He rests under a large rock in the fairy grove surrounded by dogwoods and silvery Russian olives. He has an “in” and an “out” side of the rock. From time to time we see fresh dirt kicked up in some remodeling.

Now that the cold has arrived, Anthea and Marigold see to it that their new friend is safe and warm. It’s his first hibernation so Mari tucks in with him, just for an hour or so, to make sure it gets off to a good start.

That’s what November is, a time for giving thank-yous.
Thank you for a luscious summer, for abundant berries and pumpkins, for seeds that will give it all again. Thank you Kinglets and Warblers for stopping by and singing on your travels south. Thank you Meadow for nurturing countless honeybees and now curving into frosty, wintery homes. Thank you trees for an effortless and extravagant color show. Thank you winter birds for coming
and staying to keep the garden joyful.

Thank you Mother Nature for giving and giving and giving.
That’s the song of November.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

October 2008

Let the fun begin . . .

Monday, September 29, 2008

September 2008

Mist and fog and drizzle. A beautiful September afternoon. Everything is soaking up the quiet, restful drops. Summer has done her job. The zinnias are winding down now that the hummingbirds have moved on. Goldenrod is shaded behind a curtain of mist. It’s restful.

It’s the changing of guards, the passing of the torch. The gentle walking out of a door, and down the hall; the new door isn’t there just yet, but it will open when you arrive.

You can’t get there without September.

Anthea & Marigold settle down and enjoy the misty fog and drizzle. The quiet of letting summer be on her way . . . and the gentle anticipation of what’s to come. Oh, the beauty of the seasons. Have a soft September day.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 2008

Meadow sweet
Meadow fine
Honeybees all in a line . . .

The meadow is alive. We have goldenrod like a yellow sea behind our house, just past the fairy grove. It waves in the wind, glistens in the sunlight, and murmurs a soft gentle song to the bees. And they love the tune . . . Honeybees – Everywhere!

I understand they are losing their habitat, and for us humans that is a sad story. These bold little workers pollinate our vegetables and fruits.

Here’s how it works: An apple tree, for instance, produces a beautiful flower in spring…the honeybee comes along to drink the nectar inside the flower…she has to go in deep to find the nectar and while she’s wiggling around inside the flower, little bits of powdery pollen get stuck to her “furry” legs … when our friendly little bee flies off to visit another flower, the pollen from the first flower brushes off inside the second flower thereby pollinating it – only a flower that is pollinated will produce an apple. In a nutshell, without them, our fruits and vegetables don’t grow. Surely, you have seen the delicate white flower of the tomato or the bright buttery yellow flower that foretells the zucchini? These work the same way.

And they are losing their habitat. It doesn’t seem very wise, but then again, maybe we just forgot to watch, to listen, and to remember. I am lucky to have a meadow to remind me.

We are keepers of each other.

We need wild places to reconnect with the natural beauty that is Mother Nature; that is ourselves. The beauty of all things can be found in a mirror, or just outside your door. I have done nothing special with my meadow, other than to simply let it be. When I see and hear the bees buzzing happily along the flower tops I am pleased to give them a fresh, organic place to be; we need each other.

This morning Rob and I watched buzzy little bees jump in and out of the golden flowers in his mini pumpkin patch. Hurray! That means pumpkins for October! Thank goodness for bees!

Here is a bumblebee on goldenrod, and a honeybee with Marigold. The honeybees are slimmer and less fuzzy than the bumblebees.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

July 2008

The meadow behind our house is very alive. Every time I go, I see something new. As the weeks roll on, the meadow changes; hay falls, folding over the Yarrow, Queen Anne’s Lace reach for the sun, a spark or two of Goldenrod begins to flower. Asleep are the purples that first greeted us. If we had mowed much of this down, as planned, we would have missed this; the different stories of the meadow.

In every little nook - blackberries! . . . dark and plump, waiting to ripen. You can’t rush those. Beginning a pinkish red, only the sun, it seems, can paint their rich, final coat of midnight-berry-blue. And she takes her time. They look ready, but a slight tug on the vine tells you to wait. And if you do, it’s sugar in your mouth.

The meadow has its own life, its own pace. It’s up to me to sit back and listen. Participate in the unfolding. But not to rush it.

And so the blackberries sing me a song of patience, reminding me to breathe in, step slower, and blend with Nature’s rhythm.

If I sit back . . . and let the meadow come to me . . . I’m always rewarded. I simply have to say, I’m ready.

Anthea and Marigold have a whirlwind of new friends: a dashing box turtle, three dappled fawns and their proud mother (triplets!), a broad and rolling groundhog, baby bunnies that spring on bouncy feet, 13 baby turkeys nestled in the grass, majestic soaring story-book herons and a medley of colorful birds learning about birdfeeders ….. All hail the meadow!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

June 2008

After 10 years, Rob and I are heading out to new soil, new trees, new everything. Moving, as with most things, makes me think of the garden.

I wonder at plants and how long they’ve been passed down . . . what they know . . . how many fingers have traced their blooms . . . what songs have they heard . . . how many noses tingled with their sweet fragrance. Oh the secrets they must know!

I have iris from my Grandparent’s farm in Iowa. Some I will leave, some I will take. Think of it, my grandmother tended the ancestors of these iris. I love that idea. My mom has these iris, as do my sister and I. And so will a lovely new couple.

That’s love. That’s a garden.

That’s that quiet thing you can’t really outline or close in a book. It’s that quiet understanding that Life gives and gives and gives …….. freely ……. to everyone . . . all the time.

That’s the song of a garden.

Anthea and Marigold give every flower a farewell kiss before moving on. Mari tells each one how much it has meant to him and encourages it to keep blooming. Of course, as with all movings on, there are records to keep - Anthea and Marigold carefully take down the names and addresses of every little bird and buglet so they can keep in touch.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

May 2008

Springtime Lullaby

Spring drops

Rain drops
Little Robins hop – hop
Oh how the world sings,
Everything Spring!

Spring cheer
Flowers dear
Little fairies far and near
Sing of all the hope it brings,
Everything Spring!

Spring breeze
Honey bees
Sweet and fragrant melodies
All the world upon its wing,
Everything Spring!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April 2008

So much excitement! Robins nesting on the trellis, English sparrows filling little painted houses with bits of border grass that dangle in the wind. The pond has changed over to Lilly pads and frogs and in one afternoon, we say good bye to the snowbirds and hello to the Ruby Crowned Kinglet.

April is about transition. About changing over, letting go, awaiting new. About moving….keep moving forward, like Cesar’s dogs, don’t lag in the past.

Rob and I were puttering through the garden just to see what was new here and different there when, all at once, a little pack of snowbirds lifted from the top of my holly tree. “Now!” one of them must’ve yelled and they laughed about it as they twittered over our heads – a band of happy travelers merrily on their way. “Good luck,” we call out, “happy travels!”

Rob and I look to the sky and together we miss Taffy at the same time.

Time passes but there is always more beauty. The never-ending beauty that simply shifts form, changes tune, taps you on the shoulder, “Look at me now. Did you expect this? See how I’m changed – it’s still me. I Am.”

The little snowbird, whose real name is “Dark-Eyed Junco”, is ready to make his way back to cooler climates. Anthea & Marigold send their friend off with hugs and well wishes (though Marigold is never really comfortable with good-byes.)

Anthea takes a moment to remind snowbird which way is North.

Mari welcomes the Ruby-Crowned Kinglet with a special poem though he can't help giggling through some of it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March 2008

There is a song to Spring. The crocus know it…even the frogs sleeping below my pond can feel its tune. In my apple tree, it was the little house finch who sang it out loud.

“Take note!”
He seems to say, . . . remember to remember! His bright and cheery way always reminds me I am not alone. He sings – even with the bare branches.

Then the robin joined in with her “I’m-not-ready-to-go-to-bed-yet song. You know the one that comes when the afternoons begin to stretch out just a little longer and the sky begins to give just a little more color: Deedle-lee, deedle-lee, then a very high tweedle-lee! It reminds me of Taffy. He loved to watch them from the bedroom window of our old apartment. He knew it meant the dark times are over. It meant spring was just under cover, but only just. It meant all the believing was worth it.

I think, too, there is a song of flowers blooming on branches, like the kind my apple tree will sing. But you have to listen with more than your ears!

Anthea and Marigold love music, to them, every ounce of spring is worth celebrating. This little chorus is especially for Taffy.

It is the White-throated Sparrow, Tufted Titmouse, House Finch, and House Wren.

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

February 2008

Marigold was too sad to pose for his picture. And, besides, his wings weren't feeling good either.

It was not an easy month. Our beloved kitty, Taffy, passed away. He was 17 ½ years old and if you had the pleasure of truly knowing him, you’d be better for it. He was the essence of Love and Wisdom and Joy, and we were blessed to have him in our family. He taught us how to forgive . . . how to play with reckless abandon . . . and how to be in the moment. I was going to write something about the resting garden this month, but Anthea and Marigold thought we should write about Love.

Really, they’re not all that different. Outside, the garden waits, trusting that the sun will come. That it will come enough to warm things up, to brighten things up . . . and when it does, the flowers come too. Truly they know that it never left them. So it is with Love.

This little picture belongs to a story I wrote after Taffy passed away. It has to do with love and saying good bye, and the beauty and unendingness of Life. Maybe I’ll have it published one day.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

January 2008

Where there is darkness,
There is Light.

Where the soil is black,
Sprouts appear

Where winter trees darken,
A window emerges

When hope cascades
Into a pile of rubble

There it is.

Ready, to lift you back up.

I like to think of this as “Church of Trees” or maybe “Cathedral”, as Rob likes. Doesn't it look just like a stained glass window? This little scene emerges out of my back window every evening through the woods. Thank goodness for that. And reminds me that no matter how frightening things get, or how very sad or unthinkable, where there is dark…….there is light.

When an animal or any loved one is not feeling well, Anthea and Marigold spend lots of time praying and thinking good thoughts for them. They imagine their friend light on his feet and romping through the warm, green grass. Anthea is very good at joyful thoughts, she has lots of them. Marigold sings tiny springtime songs to remind their friend what is to come. Together, they make the most wonderful bedside company. They know that no matter what happens, all is surrounded in Love.

It’s terribly hard, isn’t it, when loved ones don’t feel well. Send them a prayer and a happy thought - One that would make them smile if they thought it themselves.

Rob showed me how to do this. He learned it in 4th grade. First, paint a background in any sky colors you choose. You must let it dry. Then, wet some darker paint and paint a horizontal streak across the bottom., use plenty of water, it should be very wet. Now, take a straw and blow upwards on the paint, the most beautiful trees will appear. As the trees begin to grow, move your straw further up and you can aim in different directions and blow the most delicate little branches into them. (Rob's is on the left and reminds me a quiet winter evening, mine on the right looks like walking trees) You should give it a try.