Thursday, December 31, 2015

Chickadee Joy

My sweetie Bill is having so much fun with the chickadees. When he goes out to the deck to put sunflower seed on the railing, one or two of them come land on his fingers. This sort of fun is called joy.

Have you noticed how joy clears out the mind of other extraneous trash? While joy is present, happiness pervades the body. Marinate in that feeling of happiness. Notice it. Drink it in.

Winter has arrived with its snow and ice. And joy is sitting right outside our door, eating sunflower seeds.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Skills You Can Keep

Recently, one of my circus teachers said, "Some skills you can keep--like riding a unicycle or juggling. But if you don't keep working on your splits, you'll lose them."

I was thinking about this at the gym this morning. Several people were there working out, lifting heavy, heavy weights. I, too, was there exercising for the purpose of strengthening my bones.

We pay so much attention to this body, yet, the minute we stop working out, we lose it. I could do splits 50 years ago, but not now.

Skills we can keep include training our minds, like we do in meditation.

Really, shouldn't we be spending as much time meditating as exercising?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Red and Green on the Front Step

The decoration on my front step is a flowerpot filled with greens and a gazing globe. I used red-twig dogwood for a spark of red, and i discovered some red maple saplings sprouting out of a stump. I hung some tarnished Christmas balls on the reddish twigs, and voila! Christmas decorations.

The red-twig dogwood is especially decorative in this season, and shows up particularly well on this, our first, snowy day.

I do like a plant that performs in at least two seasons, and, preferably, three.  Red-twig dogwood has red twigs for winter and spring and variegated leaves for summer and fall.

We want a spiritual path that is going to support us in all the seasons of our life, particularly the season of cold and dark.
Red-twig dogwood

Monday, December 28, 2015

Invisible Impermanence

My concert pianist sweetie has lyre-back dining room chairs. (Just think of them as musical chairs.) I recently had their seats recovered, since the old seats were beginning to fray.

Somehow, i managed to make just one trip to the fabric store. Even though i came home with a floral pattern, he approved. The last time i did this, i made 3 trips to the fabric store and could not twist his arm into flowers. We finally agreed on trees.

He actually likes the new seat covers. Whew!

The seat covers slowly, surreptitiously, become worn and tattered. Invisible impermanence. Our bodies, too, slowly, invisibly unraveling and sliding into tatters. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Garden Apron

My sister gave me a gardening apron for Christmas. Made from re-purposed blue jeans (actually purple jeans! how perfect!) I love the colors. I love any form of re-use. And, of course, i love gardening. And now i will have enough pockets to stash things in.

An apron is supposed to keep our clothes clean while we are in the kitchen--or in the garden. How do we keep our minds clean? By spending some time each day focusing on positive qualities--kindness, patience, generosity, compassion.  Take your pick. Do it now. Clean up your act. You know what i'm talking about.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Losing Your Marbles

My friend Karen gave me marbles for Christmas, to use with my paperwhites. These are her 60-year-old aggies.

Before we lose our marbles, let's meditate!

The Buddha said, "Meditate like your hair is on fire," which means meditate before you lose your marbles.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Cleaning Up

As i mentioned yesterday, i have too much lead, one of the earth's elements, in my body. Really, due to our industrial society, we probably all have some sort of body burden--an excess of some element or other in our bodies.

Chelation is the method of removing heavy metals from the body. I'm using green clay, another earth element, to chelate the lead, to draw it out of the body.

Green clay looks like powdered wasabi; just add water and smear it onto the body. In this way, eventually, the body can be purified of the toxic elements.

Our minds, too, can be purified of toxins by practicing qualities of kindness, compassion, joy, generosity, and the cure-all, patience.

Choose your poison. I'm sure you already know your very familiar poisoner of the mind--a grudge, impatience, anger, wishy-washiness, greed.
Then choose the antidote. (Message me if you need some help with this.)

Let's clean up our act. Clean up our body, but even more importantly, clean up our mind.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Copper Bullets

We've all heard stories about too many deer. Deer eat our gardens, sometimes to the nubbins. And deer carry deer ticks. Lyme disease is now rampant, though still unrecognized in many places.

As Buddhists, we take the precept every day to do no harm. That doesn't stop other people from hunting deer, which are overpopulating our forests and towns. Some hunters are using copper bullets instead of lead bullets. Since i just learned that the level of lead in my body is 4 times higher than normal, i am very interested in reducing the use of lead in our environment.

One farmer set up a wildlife camera to see what happens to the hunted deer on his property. As you can see, he caught an eagle, a crow, and a red-tailed hawk eating the deer. And no one was eating lead bullets.

The circle of life goes on around us. What we put into that circle comes full circle eventually. If hunters tested the level of lead in their own bodies, they might feel differently about using lead bullets.

We are all so vastly interconnected.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

El Nino Winter

Here in the Northeast, far, far away from the Pacific Ocean, we are having an El Nino winter. Literally, a little winter. Or in other words, very little of winter since it is 40 degrees every day, and maybe 60 on Christmas day.

Sleep is sometimes called the little death. I try to practice mindfulness of falling asleep, but, usually, falling asleep gets the upper hand, and, before i know it, z-z-z-z-z.

I'll tell you what i experience when i do pay attention, and i hope you'll tell me what your experience is so we can compare notes and learn from each other.

I turn out the light, and the discursive mind keeps chatting for a little while.
Then it shuts up. (Maybe the discursive mind goes to sleep?)
I experience a few (sometimes, very few) seconds of quiet mind.
I often have an image, right here in the quiet mind, of a night sky with some thin, white clouds. This is the place where i try to effortlessly pay attention. Too much effort kills this open space-spaciousness.
When that image dissipates, i might notice what Shinzen Young calls "word salad," as if i just picked up three stray pieces of magnetic poetry words. Three utterly unrelated words.
Then i begin to see images--sometimes like a slide show of black-and-white photos from a previous century, sometimes the sense of hordes of people on the move. Just images with no feeling attached.
When the images become vivid, like a movie screen inside my head, i know i am just seconds away from sleep.

Mindfulness of falling asleep seems like a good practice for mindfulness of dying. Mindfulness of when the elements are entirely out of balance as they seem to be in this El Nino winter.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Flowering Kale

Our local farmstand closed the day before Thanksgiving, so i stopped and bought 4 flowering kale, on sale. I knew i was taking my chances because the season of hard freezes was (i thought) coming soon.

One month later, our El Nino warm winter has given us lovely temperate weather, so the flowering kale are still blooming on my front step. A tiny flower garden greets me every time i walk in the front door.

It's never too late to start meditating. One friend says she's given up on meditation; her daily practice is joy. Another friend, who meditates 20 minutes a day, says her practice is gratitude.

I feel grateful for these lovely flowering kale, which bring me a lot of joy.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sitting with the Dark Light

Winter Solstice! The sun has gone as far south as it can go. Now it's time to pull it back to the north. Today is the shortest day, and i am, unusually, short on energy. I just want to be a groundhog and sleep.

Wait for the dark, my dear. Then notice the light. The fulling moon. A bonfire with friends gathered round. The house lit with only candles.

Sitting with the dark light.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cherry Tomatoes for Breakfast

A cherry tomato plant grew in my compost pile. Two months ago, at the first frost, i picked the (mostly) green tomatoes and brought them in to the kitchen, where they've been ripening ever since. My sweetie fries a few tomatoes for breakfast every morning, so he's almost at the end of our surplus. Good thing, because the tomatoes are beginning to wrinkle.

It brings us great joy to still have a summer harvest as winter begins, in earnest, tomorrow. A taste of summer. A taste of joy.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

True Generosity

Three weeks ago, Jane brought me a bouquet of flowers for Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks Jane, for the gift that keeps on giving! These white mums are still making me smile.

This is what generosity feels like--ripples of happiness are still tickling me.

True generosity from the heart. Not to be confused, in this season, with spending more money.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Forcing Bulbs for the Holidays

One month later: Blooms!
A month ago, i offered a mini-workshop on forcing bulbs for the holidays. I brought in a collection of vases along with some half-price bulbs, and a dozen of us spent an hour talking about paperwhites, hyacinths, and amaryllis.

Nancy, who was there, sent me a photo of her paperwhites, which are now blooming. The hyacinths will take longer.

The paperwhites are so rewarding. They are quick and easy. Sometimes our meditation is quick and easy. Sometimes, we, like the hyacinths, need some time to contemplate the winter of aging.

Take your meditation seat and simply notice what arises.

Hyacinth growing roots.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lights in the Season of Darkness

Our Christmas tree is up. This year i'm decorating it only with lights--no ornaments. An uncluttered look, emphasizing lights in this season of darkness.

Where do we find our inner light in dark times? Meditation. Meditation. Meditation.

The other evening a Dharma friend talked about finding happiness in the midst of pain. Very early in my meditation practice, after the break-up of a relationship, i noted "Sorrow. Sorrow. Joy. Sorrow." and was completely surprised by that one-half second "vacation" of joy.

The blackness of the dark times turns out not to be as solid as we had imagined.

Light up the dark with mindfulness.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Amaryllis Blooms

My first amaryllis of the season bloomed today! I have about a dozen amaryllis bulbs in pots that i carry over from year to year.  Last year, i had an amaryllis blooming every week from Christmas into April.

I've made a commitment to amaryllis despite their strappy foliage. I "hide" the plants in my sweetie's music studio in the basement until they come into bloom. Then i bring the blooming bulb upstairs to the kitchen where it can stand alone on center stage and where i can see it every time i walk through the kitchen.

What's one quality that you would like to work toward? This month, i'm practicing compassion. You might choose kindness or generosity or patience or....

Put that quality in the center of your meditation--today or this week. Find little opportunities for it to take center stage. Then one day, it will bloom when you weren't even expecting it.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


We're having a Pacific Northwest winter here in the Northeast. Foggy, misty, and in the forties. Snow and ice is nowhere in sight. Alyssum is still blooming.

It's blooming in a protected spot; it's half dead. But it's half alive too.

A friend who sings in our local hospice choir tells of visiting a man who was skin-and-bones and just hours away from death. The choir sang, "I still have joy. I still have joy. After all the things i've been through, i still have joy." The man smiled; he obviously still had joy, even though he was what we would call half-dead.

Even half-dead things are still half-alive, and they can still bring us joy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Round-Robin Generosity

A neighbor left 3 forcing vases and 5 shallow bowls of rocks (for forcing narcissus) for me. Last winter, i gave her a forcing vase with a blooming hyacinth, and a couple of weeks later, another one. Now she returns the vases to me. I bet you can guess what i will give her, come February.

This round-robin of generosity builds the muscle of generosity in each of us.

Pass it on.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Garlic Turkey Broth

Garlic Scape Pesto
I have a cold, so i'm eating garlic, lots of it, every day. Last night's dinner was a quart of turkey bone broth with a half-pint of garlic scape pesto. It's strong. I'm hoping the bone broth makes my own bones strong.

Garlic is a strong taste, somewhat unpleasant. Yet, the thought of garlic is pleasant, since I trust the healing powers of garlic.

Pleasant. Unpleasant. These feelings, these impressions simply arise and pass away. The rest is story.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Earliest Sunset

Today is the earliest sunset of the year. Of course, as we are approaching solstice (sun standing still), it looks like the sun is setting at the same time all week.

Here at 43 degrees north (not quite half-way between the equator and the North Pole), the sun sets at 4:16 p.m.. It's dark at 4:30. Evenings at home last a long time.

 We think many things in our life are standing still--our body, our steady relationship, our house, our car. But really, really, things are changing every second. You have to look closely to notice this.

By winter solstice, we will have gained three minutes at the end of the day. Three tiny minutes in two weeks isn't even glacial speed, yet the earth keeps turning. Notice the light.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Beautiful Junk

My wind catcher ornament fell apart last night. The outer rim is now separated from all that glorious prismatic metallic color. Aided, i assume, by a 4-footed creature--either a squirrel or a raccoon.

Another garden ornament, gone. And now that it's in pieces, i realized i've always had a certain dissatisfaction with it. The location i put it in wasn't that windy, so it very seldom spun. Truth be told, it had been a long while since i actually noticed it.

Gone, just like everything goes.
A vague dissatisfaction, like so many other things.
Beauty. And now, the not beautiful. Or should i say, the beautiful junk?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Chinese Sacred Lilies

My Chinese sacred lily bulbs arrived in the mail today. These are my favorite paperwhites. Most paperwhites are Ziva, but i prefer the heavenly fragrance of the Tazetta narcissus.

Although i've collected several containers, i'm not sure i have enough. And i've already run out of stones, so this project comes to a halt until i go buy a large bag of white granite chips.

Yesterday, at the craft store, i was eyeing bags of marbles. Oh, they are so attractive, and i'd love to be the type of person who uses those so artistically. But, having bought those marbles before, and then watched them sit in the shed for years, i refrained.

Oh, the self we imagine for ourselves is beautiful or thin or artistic or creative or.... Well, you can fill in the blanks with your own self that you want to be.

The self that we desire to be, but.... Well, really, we can't fit it all in, can we? There's too much stuff, too much information, too much of too much.

I ordered too much of Chinese sacred lilies (50 bulbs). And now i am slightly stressed due to not enough containers and not enough rocks.

Just notice that little stress. All in the name of pursuing happiness.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Gratitude--Today and Every Day

Gratitude, the simple and profound feeling of being thankful, 
is the foundation of all generosity. 
I am generous when I believe that right now, right here, in this form and this place, 
I am myself being given what I need. 
Generosity requires that we relinquish something, 
and this is impossible if we are not glad for what we have.

- Sallie Jiko Tisdale 
“As If There is Nothing to Lose”

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Woodpecker's New Home

A woodpecker has made her home in the southeast corner of our house. What a great woodpecker home--totally insulated, passive solar. It even has central heating! Very cozy. And it's very close to the grocery store of the bird feeder, and just a short hop to the watering hole. What more could a woodpecker want?

Bill was dismayed to find the woodpecker looking out of the hole in the house at him. Oh-oh.

The carpenter is coming soon to do a repair, thank goodness.

The woodpecker herself is a persistent carpenter. She's been eyeballing this prime location for 2 or 3 years, and finally she has succeeded.

We need persistence too. Persistence to sit down and meditate. Persistence to remember mindfulness. Persistence to change our bad habits. Persistence to rewire our unskillful patterns.

Just look what you can do with persistence.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Stop Raking!

This news just in from the New England Wild Flower Society:

Your neighbors might disapprove, but there are myriad reasons not to "clean up" your garden this fall. Many pollinators, and some amphibians, overwinter in leaf litter and dry perennial stems. Cleaning up your leaves destroys their habitat and kills any who have already bedded down. Let your garden work for nature this winter and save the cleanup work for spring!
I, myself, don't rake because leaves are mulch in disguise. In the spring, i rake my leaves onto the flowerbeds as the underlayment for bark mulch. Leaves plus mulch = lasagna gardening.

Love your leaves, just the way they are. On the ground. Even though they look messy.

Love the people in your life, just the way they are. No matter how they are. Even if they are messy.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Planting Tulip Bulbs in Pots

I bought half-price tulip bulbs at the garden store, so today i've been potting them up. Due to critters, i now treat tulips as annuals. I'm willing to feed a chipmunk a 25-cent bulb, but i'm not willing to spend $1 per bulb to feed that cute little rodent.

When i was at the Swap Program at the landfill on Saturday morning, i picked up several biggish plastic flowerpots. I've bought a couple of bags of potting soil and some vermiculite. Mix, mix, mix. Then crowd 7 bulbs into each pot.

For the moment, the tulip-bulbs-in-pots are sitting on my front step, but after it rains, i'll move them into the garage for the winter.

Tulips are another exercise in impermanence. Still, i love to think about what my front step will look like next April.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


I live on a private road, which is 2/3 of a mile long, with 8 other households. We hire our own road maintenance, which keeps our dirt road in tip-top condition. There are times of year, when it looks and feels much better than some town-maintained roads.

The road grader comes twice a year--spring and fall--and a few years ago, he told us to rake the leaves off the edges of the road. We live in the woods, so there are tons of leaves every fall.

Over time, the dead leaves turn to compost, then the dirt road turns to mud in the spring, and then we are all unhappy. So, every fall, we hire my gardener, Elisha, to blow the leaves off the sides of the road. It takes her about 4 hours, walking behind a powerful leaf blower. (She tried the back-pack variety one year, and it took twice as long.)

The Buddha recommended the 8-fold Noble Path to us, and, if we choose to walk that path, it will help us keep our path of clean living clear. We keep that path clear by walking our walk every day, with mindfulness. Which one can you commit to today?

  1. Wise View 
  2. Wise Intention 
  3. Wise Speech 
  4. Wise Action 
  5. Wise Livelihood 
  6. Wise Effort 
  7. Wise Mindfulness 
  8. Wise Concentration

Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Vase Collection

I've started forcing hyacinths.

All year, i've been collecting narrow-necked vases at the thrift store and at the swap program at the landfill where everything is free! I love this re-using business. I take my junk to the swap program and walk away with treasures--vases and flowerpots, mostly. I have a large collection of each. I've even posted a sign in my shed, in case i die tomorrow, Take Everything in Here to the Swap Program at the Landfill. The cleaner-uppers might be tempted to throw it all into a dumpster, but i have flower friends who would love to have my collection of forcing vases. Maybe i should post Michelle's name and phone number next to the forcing vases.

Our collections disband. In the case of vases and flowerpots, it's easy to recognize their temporariness. In the case of friends and community, we think they are permanent until we realize that it's just too hard to maintain our home, and it's time to move to a condo or apartment. Good-bye dear neighbors, dear community. It turned out you, too, were a temporary collection of friends.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Withholding Water

My jade plant is blooming its white bright starry flowers. I didn't even know jade plants could bloom until just a few years ago. Withhold water for a couple of months in September and October (or water very, very lightly), and voila! Flowers!

I'm just re-doing my advance directives for the event when i am unable to make my own health care decisions. I am choosing to have food and water withheld. Several years ago, a nurse pointed out that tubes in means tubes out. I don't like the sound of that.

Withholding food and water from my mother when she was dying was one of the hardest things i've ever done, yet she was choking on a tiny spoonful of tapioca and choking on a half-teaspoon of water. It was time to stop.

The night before she died, i dreamed she had a crown of white flowers in her hair, very like the jade's white starry flowers.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lou's Christmas Cactus

Lou's Christmas cactus is blooming. Lou died two years ago, and her husband gave most of her houseplants away. I received her red Christmas cactus. I love to think of Lou; she was such a friendly gardener, always so bright and cheery.

Our houseplants come and go. Our friends come and go. My 90-year-old friend Trudy is moving to her daughter's home in Portland, Oregon next week. I nearly cried at her farewell luncheon today.

My dear friends move on in their journeys. And so do i.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bill Turns 80

My dear Bill turned 80 a few days ago. He has entered the November of his life. He's stacking wood, trimming hedges for the neighbors, playing a piano concert, and more. During his toast at his birthday dinner party, he said he might have 10% of his life left. Another 8 years? Maybe yes; maybe no. Death is certain; the time of death is uncertain.

The realization begins to sink in that we may not have that much time together remaining. Each day is oh-so-precious.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Golden Raindrops

Golden Raindrops Crabapple
Rain today. A gray day. An indoor day.

Garden maven Fritze sent me a photo of her community garden where she's planted several heirloom apple trees and some crabapples. Her Golden Raindrops Crabapple seems like just the right photo for today.

The leaves have dropped off the trees. Not much remains to do in the garden. The end of the season is coming, but that's no reason to feel crabby.

Rain. Relax.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Fall Garden

The fall garden is the unsung season of gardening. So many edibles are still growing out there--kale, collards, mustards, lettuces, cabbage, and parsley. It's time to harvest some leeks and jerusalem artichokes. Apples are still hanging on my apple trees; let's make applesauce.

Every afternoon, i can walk outdoors and harvest enough for dinner. It may not be bountiful exactly, but isn't that a relief! There's just enough.

When we come to the downsizing phase of life, enough turns out to be plenty. The cornucopia garden is bountiful, indeed.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Forsythia Are Blooming

In this lovely warm autumn, my forsythia are blooming. Not many blossoms, but a few yellow flowers lost against the background of brown leaves.

The day my neighbor Esther, 94, dropped dead in her driveway, she had a custard sitting on her kitchen counter waiting to go to a sick friend. Esther bloomed until the last moment.

In her last few years, she made collages out of pressed flowers and had them made into notecards. Even in her 90s, she found a creative outlet.

The end of the year is coming. The end of our years is coming.
Collage by Esther Falk

Friday, November 6, 2015

November Indian Summer

November and we are having a beautiful Indian summer--days when outdoors feels wonderfully warm. My California friend, Sam, who does not particularly like the weather in the Northeast, is wearing shorts while i'm in corduroys and perspiring.

I think of Indian summer as September or October. This early November is surprisingly lovely and warm.

Many trees are bare. The oaks have lost their beautiful red sheen and turned brown. A few poplars shake their round yellow leaves. I live in a grove of beech, which cling to their copper leaves all winter. I never thought i'd say it: browns are beautiful.

Nowadays, many of us experience aging like Indian summer. Yes, we are past the half-way mark, maybe past the three-quarters mark of our years, yet we too remain warm and lively. Some of our friends have lost all their leaves. Our own skin is sprinkled with brown age spots. The end of the year is coming. Winter is coming. We know that. But today is warm and heavenly.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Partridge on Partridge Road

I live on Partridge Road, so named for the ruffed grouse (aka partridge) that live at the foot of the road. For years, when i meditated on my deck, i'd hear them drumming, sounding sort of like a distant motorcycle.

I haven't heard them for the past several years. Then, as i stopped at the mailboxes, a partridge flew low over my windshield, landing just 10 feet away. The partridge have returned to Partridge Road.

Several other neighbors have reported seeing the bird--it attacks their car, it follows them into their driveway. The one i saw seemed fearless and very curious.

I do know that foxes live just a few hundred feet away, and i've seen a fox jump up and grab one my neighbor's chickens in mid-air. So, even if the partridge isn't afraid, i am.

Fear assumes there is a future, and that something bad is going to happen.

What if we were like the partridge--fearless in the moment and curious?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Milkweed Seeds

Milkweed seeds were blowing today, drifting across the lawn like soft feathery snowflakes. Just yesterday, Julie said she received a bushel of milkweed pods from her husband for their 40th wedding anniversary--the best present she's ever received. They want to re-establish a milkweed patch at the edge of their lawn in order to support monarch butterflies which have been decimated by genetically modified crops. Monarch larvae feed on milkweed.

The highest form of generosity, called kingly generosity or monarch generosity, is the type of generosity that gives anonymously, without ever telling anyone. A sort of Secret Santa gift-giving, except that you never find out who your secret Santa is.

Putting money in someone else's parking meter, paying someone else's bill--some random act of kindness.

Julie's act of kindness is to establish a habitat for monarch butterflies.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Return of Ginseng

Andrew, an enterprising young man, is planting ginseng in my woods. Most of my 10 acres is a dry pine and beech woods, but as it slopes downhill toward a tiny, seasonal stream, there are more wildflowers. Blue cohosh and trout lilies indicate what is called a "rich" soil--a soil with natural calcium.

Several years ago, a hemlock blew down in a storm, taking its entire root ball with it. When i looked, i saw exposed rock that had not seen daylight since the glacial age, 10,000 years ago. That exposed rock is called brownstone around here. It's a punky, porous rock that will grow moss if exposed. This brown, porous rock is an impure limestone, and there's a band of it running the length of Vermont. The Connecticut River, which divides Vermont and New Hampshire, was once-upon-a-time the proto-Atlantic Ocean, called the Iapetus Ocean. This band of impure limestone--shells plus mud--was the beach of that ancient ocean.

I own beachfront property! Even though i'm 3 hours from the ocean.

Talk about impermanence. An ocean that used to be right here disappeared when New Hampshire (originally from Patagonia) collided with the proto-North American continent.

Ginseng probably grew wild in these woods before it was cleared for farming in the 1700s. Here, then gone. Impermanence. And now here again.

Ginseng, and many other wildflowers, grow in this rich soil. I love the idea of planting wildflowers and am happy to support Andrew in his statewide venture.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Aging Mums

The Old and the Young
I bought mums in September from the garden club mum fundraiser. For 3 weeks, they were camouflaged by the beautiful flowerpots on the front step. They had about a week of lovely solitude on the front step before the first hard frost came, and now they look pathetic. Off to the compost pile with them.

I stopped at our local farm stand and bought 2 more pots of spectacular mums. I know from previous experience, that these late-in-the-season mums will have a short lifespan.

How much am i willing to pay to resist the frosty season of old age?

We too resist aging in various ways. Anti-aging creams (as if such a thing exists), exercise, weight loss, dying our hair, and, perhaps our favorite, new clothes to cloak the aging body and distract attention from the wrinkled body.

I have "clothed" my front step in new young mums.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Somebody's Been Eating My Gourds

My neighbor gave me half a dozen gourds, which i put on the front step as seasonal decorations. Somebody's been eating my gourds--all of them. And they've taken a few bites out of my lone pumpkin too.

 Sometimes, we are making offerings that we didn't expect to be making. Notice how the sense of  "my" creeps in here. "My" gourds! Gone!

Who's to say they weren't the squirrel's gourds?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Star at Dawn

A hard frost came last Sunday and killed all the annuals. Sudden death. Suddenly the slow drift of seasons has become dramatic. Leaves falling, falling. Bare trees all around. A different season is definitely here, yet i am not resisting--at least, not yet.

I take joy in the yellow leaves still clinging to trees, the copper beach leaves. I delight in the blue of the sky, gaze at the last two stars twinkling brightly in the dawn.

Take 30 seconds and drink in some beauty right around you. Been there. Done that kills our joy. Let your joy shine like a star at dawn.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Vole-Hunter in Disguise

A couple of weeks ago, i complained about a great blue heron fishing in my little fishpond. Bill often saw the heron farther down the lawn, near the stone wall. In reading about blue herons, i discovered they mostly eat fish and frogs, but they also eat voles! My vole-hunter has arrived! And i didn't recognize her.

You may recall that voles decimated my vegetable garden, eating almost all my broccoli, cabbage, and bean plants. All gone. Gone. I haven't figured out what to do about the voles. Should i give up vegetable gardening? That sounds blasphemous.

Sometimes we get what we ask for. A vole-hunter. But it looks different than we expected. A great blue heron.

The herons have flown south for the winter, so the voles are safe. For now.