Sunlight filters through the trees
Mottling green on green
In the soft grass that
Carpets the yard.
When the summer zephyr blows
The ground becomes
A monochromatic kaleidoscope.
My dog is a reddish blur
As he chases his ball.
Turning to look at me, dropping the ball
He is the picture of happiness.
And I find myself smiling
Even with the heaviness in my chest.
The healing has just started
It’s in its infancy still.
But it is welcome.
My mom loved gardening. I vividly remember playing outside, as a child, during summer weekends, watching my mom hunched over her various flower beds with her blue and white cowboy-style bandanna tied around her head. She would be weeding or transplanting new flowers. There would be containers of near fluorescent marigolds, pansies or some other colorful summer flower. One house we lived in there was a stone wall in front of our house and my mom and planted rows of bright orange tiger lilies all along it. When I got home from riding my bike somewhere I could see the brightness from way down the street. Those flowers were like a landing strip for my bike. Out of all the flowers my mom loved though, the one she had to buy every year were geraniums. Early summer always meant there would be pots of red blooms decorating our porch or front steps. It couldn’t be white or pink. They always had to be a deep rich red color. I must admit I’ve always loved the contrast between the red flowers and the verdant green stems and leaves.
So, the other day I was missing her like crazy so I decided to go to Wentworth Gardens in Rollinsford, New Hampshire. It is a massive complex with endlessly long greenhouses and a gorgeous outdoor space filled with bushes, trees, and other flowering plants. My mom and I went there the first spring we lived in Maine and she loved it. It’s such a wonderful memory I have of her, seeing that gardening spark come alive again in her eyes again. I spent a good amount of time just walking around looking at all the flowering plants. Then I spotted the geraniums and a lump immediately formed in my throat. I made my way towards them and as I touched one of the blooms I felt the tears welling up in my eyes and I swallowed hard and took some deep breaths trying to compose myself. I didn’t want to have a full-on meltdown in public. I knew what I had to do though, and I’m sure you have figured it out as well. I bought three deep red geraniums and planted them in a large pot that sits on my porch. Sitting on the porch and transplanting them to their new home gave me a moment where I felt close to my mom again. That was a nice feeling to have when, for the most part, she feels so far away from me. Now, throughout the summer, when I see those flowers, I’ll smile because I know she’ll have the same look on her face when she looks down and sees them.
Enraptured by the raptors
I’ve lost all sense of myself
Oh! How I wish I could fly
As they do.
Carried effortlessly on invisible
Currents of air.
Magnificently feathered wings
Gliding for what seems like
Silhouetted against the brilliant blue sky.
Weeks of preparation have led to this day
Shivering nervously on the ends of branches
Divinely designed green skirts flutter in
The warmly growing breeze.
Each seed wakened recently
Out of a winter’s slumber.
Birdsong like the warming
Of an orchestra
Signals that it is time.
They let go.
Spiraling to the ground
In the hundreds.
Raining down in sheets of green.
Another reminder that nature
Is, at its root, pure magic.
The drooping string of Christmas lights hanging from the porch roof makes an excellent perch the little house wren decided. He had been busy flying to and fro working on the nest under the eaves. His little feet grip the plastic wires in between the colored bulbs and he gazes out onto the yard his head moving every which way to scan for danger. He has been busy all morning and is only vaguely aware of the figure behind the window watching him intently. This is his second spring here and he is used to the comings and goings from the house. Last year the hanging plant, sitting on the porch floor, was his favorite perch but he enjoyed the slight swinging motion the light string provided when the warm sunny breeze blew. Suddenly a bit of colored string tangled in the grass catches his eye and with a light motion he pushes off and it’s back to work.
Today was another rainy and cold day where I live. It left me seriously wondering if we are ever to have spring this year. Then, late this afternoon the clouds parted and the sun came out for about half an hour. I seized the opportunity to take my cabin fever afflicted dog outside for a good run. Opening the back door of the barn I was met with the most amazing sight. The heavy dark clouds had parted and, where the sun blazed through, the remaining raindrops that coated the emerging buds glittered and sparkled. There was a light breeze still in the air that made them shimmer like liquid diamonds. Standing there I imagined that precious water infusing life into those buds and helping them to blossom into the long-awaited leaves that will shade me this summer.
Today I was late for a dentist appointment and driving down winding back roads trying to get to my appointment on time. Coming around a corner I realized that running late had put me in the right place at the exact right moment. I saw this beautiful hawk with its talons outstretched descending from the sky to catch its prey. I marveled at its snowy white feet and long sharp claws as they wrapped around something it had seen. Its tawny, speckled, brown wings spread wide as it glided on the breeze were breathtaking. As it rose again to land on a branch I slowed the car down, thankful there was no one behind me, and took a good look at him. The majestic beauty of this creature took my breath away. His steely eyes regarded me for a moment and he showed no fear at all. He was in total control of his environment. As I reluctantly drove away I thanked the powers that be for giving me that moment. It’s stayed with me for the rest of the day and will probably be with me for a while to come.
This afternoon the flock of wild turkeys that live in the woods behind my house were having a symposium. I watched them darting to and fro among the trees and could imagine the large footprints they were leaving in the snow as they tramped about. I wondered what they were saying to one another as they gobbled and yelped and barked at one another. Such a strange language for the human ear to listen to. The largest male came to the edge of the woods and gazed at me, sizing me up, trying to determine if it was safe for the rest of the flock to enter the clearing. If it is possible for such a clumsy looking bird to look majestic, he had it mastered. I marveled at the size of him and the large fan of feathers on his rump. Unconsciously I took a step backwards as to not appear threatening. Seeing my motion, he turned tail and darted back into the trees barking warning sounds to the rest who quickly disappeared further into protection of the vertical timbers. Then all was quiet again. Just the sound of melting snow splashing off the roof and the lazy wind blowing around obstacles that it met.
The storm blew itself out yesterday
Yet the ocean still bears its mark.
Wave after wave crash over the seawall
As I sit here in my car watching them.
Awestruck by the power the ocean possesses
Flooding the roadway and threatening
Houses across the street.
Looking out as far as the eye can see
Waves undulate and approach.
Sentinel stones bear the weight of
The eternal movement of the ocean.
Hypnotized, I am lost in thought
Until the ocean coldly reminds me
To close the sunroof.