Saturday, December 26, 2015

christmas (past)

the bird holds on,
despite the fact that his tail is coming unglued
and his balance is less than perfect
and the trees are getting smaller
every year.

he is comforted by the presence of the wooden angel
and the crackled glass ornaments,
both keeping their place on the tree despite
the culling of so much else,
so many beautiful things deemed
unnecessary now,
by the powers that be.

still, he is here—
present for another christmas,
carrying with him the memory of all the others,
merry and bright, those
happy golden days of yore.

Monday, December 14, 2015

christmas, florida style (and other musings)

It's been a warm winter, even by Florida standards, and I haven't felt much like decorating for Christmas. Fortunately my garden now boasts a "bead tree," thanks to my darling husband and daughter and my 60th birthday, which I am now trying to disremember (the "60th" part, at least.) The bead tree adds a festive holiday touch to an otherwise empty patch where the wild orange used to be. (Its thorny branches were a favorite hangout for local wildlife, but a worry and a menace when children were playing in the garden. After 20 years and the few pitchers of juice it managed to give us, it finally gave up the ghost and was suitably dispatched.)

And thus the bead tree became a part of the landscape. It's lovely and whimsical and shimmers at even the barest touch of light that filters through the canopy of oak and magnolia and slash pine. Today is breezy and the garden is alive with light and movement and sound. The chimes sing while blue jays argue over who will have the last black sunflower seed and the chickens next door chuckle amongst themselves over a bit of juicy gossip. The old slash pines sway gently, joints creaking, as they whisper, "shush, shush," to all the young things who dare to disturb their afternoon nap. I am sipping peppermint tea and vaguely wondering if this nagging sore throat will turn into a full-fledged cold (the nasty one that seems to be going around everywhere you turn) and whether enough good thoughts and prayers and hot tea and vitamins will stem the tide. 

So that's the update from this part of the world, on this 14th day of December, in my tiny garden on the gulf coast of Florida. Not much to report, unless you count those gossiping chickens, and they never let me in on their secrets. 

Wishing you all, as always, in season and out—light and laughter and love abounding. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

november light (and a cat for good measure)

november light is grace—a holy kiss 
to wake the weary structures of wood and straw and stone,
illumining worn edges and surface cracks,
consecrating dusty sills with dappled shadows,
flecked with gold.

the cat is a pragmatist
light to her means spiders floating in gossamer silk
and lizards idly sunning, all fair game for her sharp teeth
and dragon eyes, her pupils a slash of india ink
in the brilliance.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

more fall color

I live in Florida. I grew up in Illinois. So every year I long for the sights and smells of autumn. I've become quite adept at noticing the slightest breath of fall color or scent in my tropical environment. YOU may not think these photos look very autumnal, but to me, they are (almost) as satisfying as a flaming maple or oak or beech. And speaking of beaches … there are a few other advantages to living on the Florida gulf coast ;)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

of deadly perils and filling the void

Sometimes life gets really tough, and you feel like you're swimming in circles.

No matter which way you turn, the the endless sea of pain and suffering stretches before you.

And you feel very alone.

Then your friends appear out of nowhere (and everywhere)

filling the void with their love and prayers,

offering to swim beside you until the crisis has passed—

and beyond.

That's some kind of miracle.

"We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many." 

II Corinthians 1:8-11

Thursday, October 1, 2015

virtual fall

October 1st. That's the date on the calendar and the date on this post. But in Florida, October 1st almost never heralds crisp, cool days—and today is no exception—the thermometer reads 82˚ as I write this. So I'm inside my air conditioned living room, wearing fall-ish clothes and looking for autumn colors wherever I can find them. A "virtual fall", if you will. We Floridians are great at Virtual Fall. It's practically an art form around here. Here's my contribution to the gallery:

My neighbor's Cosmos very obligingly posed for their fall portraits. 
They wore their "seed pearls" well, don't you think?

Here we went with a contrasting blue and red background with an impressionist vibe.
(Note the lovely notes of autumnal red in the finished blooms. We have an eye for that sort of thing.)

Now this is just a blatant beauty contest. In my opinion the seed wins, hands down.

This one was camera shy. But that pumpkin orange flounce still gets my vote.

So there you have it. Virtual Fall, presented by my neighbor's Florida garden. I could add some great quotes about "finding beauty in the everyday," or maybe that one about making a silk purse from a sow's ear, but I think Nature kind of did that for me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

september 23, 2015

And so we greet the first day of fall —
          bowed low,

Monday, August 24, 2015



i saw a raven,
midnight and blue,
drink his fill from the storm gutter,
while the mallards endlessly practiced
their avian geometry —
etching watery triangles through sunlit shallows
where the pond weeds watched, dressed
in their early fall colors.

the birds didn't sing
a note.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

summer rambles

How can it be August already? 
June and July raced by, filled with things both profound 
and profoundly mundane, as usual. 
Here's a recap:

A young woodpecker waited for his parents to bring him lunch. 
(He seemed perfectly capable to me, but who am I to judge avian parenting styles?)

June garden discovery. 
(The cat left it alone - I can't say the same for the opossum that we spied the next night.)

Coneflowers bloomed ...

... and wilted in August's heat.

And between the lines, life happened.

Doesn't it always?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

everything is waiting for us

everything greening,
all color and light and joy
a holy promise

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


how valiantly they seek it,
slender stems reaching into thin air,
pistils and stamens quivering with anticipation—
every petal opened to

Friday, March 27, 2015

signs and portents

here it is springtime
everything is bursting forth
despite the shadows

Friday, February 20, 2015


Ah, February. Where did you go? You gave me fuchsia days...

...and also days like this. Holly Golightly and I call them the mean reds.❊

Only I didn't go to Tiffany's. I prefer a good book to silence the inner screaming.

And maybe a plate of cookies.

❊ Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds? 

Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues? 

Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? 

Paul Varjak: Sure. 

Holly Golightly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that'd make me feel like Tiffany's, then - then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name!

Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's

Friday, January 30, 2015

a post at the end of january

helloooo, january…
from the vantage point of almost february.
you've been mostly sunny, with a hint of grey, 
but i think i'll forgive you for that,
since i had twinkle lights to burn,
and books waiting to be read,
and a cat on my lap.
and i like the way you pave the way
for valentine's day.
you're not a showy month, sandwiched in
between my two favorite holidays,
but you do your best with what you've got —
and isn't that what counts,
in the end?