In the Back Yard Under the Pines

 

I rarely share my thoughts here, because so many have said them before, much more clearly and beautifully. But here’s one I put to paper yesterday.

 

I meant to put on sunscreen,

insect repellent,

maybe even a floppy hat—

Isn’t that how you dress

for a garden that needs weeding?

Instead, I went out to take a picture

of a rose,

the first of the season.

Then the mahonia beckoned,

its berries hanging in grape-like clusters,

blue, powdered with white,

another photo op

in the back yard under the pines

in the garden that needed weeding.

 

I’ll just test the weeds, I thought,

see if recent rains have softened the soil,

find out if they pull easily.

Up came a mat of chickweed,

a clump of wild violets,

tendrils of ivy,

all overstretching their bounds.

And so it went,

tugging and tossing,

freeing the spent daffodils

from one clump of weeds,

then another

and another.

 

There on my knees,

fingers digging through pine straw,

I breathe the rich smell of dirt,

the fresh scent of leaves.

A surprised millipede skitters past,

disturbed earthworms tunnel deeper.

Chickadees sing their name,

Wrens chirr,

a woodpecker tap-tap-taps overhead.

Wind brushes the pines and elms,

ebbing and flowing like the ocean,

a sea of air

swishing,

sighing,

whispering peace—

peace with the rhythms of nature,

peace with the seasons of life and death

in the garden now in late spring bloom

after dying back for winter.

 

Whispering, too, of my own seasons,

of my own dying to come

some day.

Even though I hear the whisper,

even though I might prepare,

that day will surprise me.

Oh—

I meant to put on sunscreen,

insect repellent,

a floppy hat—

Isn’t that how you dress for a garden?

 

–KH

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2021 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Courage, Gaiety, and the Quiet Mind

Happy New Year!

“Give us grace and strength to persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends and soften to us our enemies. Give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we may be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath and in all changes of fortune, and down to the gates of death loyal and loving to one another.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week—a rope fence at the zoo:

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Text and photos © 2021 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

A World Full, A Cup Full

 

“…although the world is full of suffering,

it is full also of the overcoming of it.”

Helen Keller

 

Helen Keller’s words remind me of something Frederick Buechner said in his essay for Going on Faith: “All the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.” It also makes me think of some advice that Fred Rogers left us: When bad things happen, look for the helpers.

So keep your eyes open; be aware of the bad. But don’t drown in that cup.

Nurture peace. Cultivate kindness. Carry the calm.

Keep moving toward what brings life.

Look for the helpers.

And be one.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

If you want me to send these thoughts to your email each Sunday, simply sign up on the right.

Text and photos © 2020 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.