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.

Like Smoke Across the Sky

 

“In the cloud-gray mornings

I heard the herons flying;

And when I came into my garden,

My silken outer-garment

Trailed over withered leaves.

A dry leaf crumbles at a touch,

But I have seen many Autumns

With herons blowing like smoke

Across the sky.”

Amy Lowell, “Hoar Frost” –

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week – our first snow of the season:

Shadow of the Week:

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

Singing in the Trees

 

“Joy, with pinions light, roves round

The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”

William Blake, “To Autumn” –

 

Look for joy. Nurture peace. Cultivate kindness. Carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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

The Wings of Spring

 

“Birds in the green of my garden,

Blackbirds and throstle and wren,

Wet your dear wings in the tears that are Spring’s

And so to your singing again!”

E. Nesbit, “May Song” –

 

Nesbit’s poem reminds me of a quote from Victor Hugo: “Be like a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing that she has wings.”

Nurture peace. Cultivate kindness. Carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week – a vase of peonies that a neighbor left for me on my porch:

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