Thursday, April 17, 2014


One woman
One dog
One solitary place
One singular path
One song of the wood thrush
One nose sniffing all manner of ick
One and only bloom of columbine flower
One green heron scared up at the pond
One “thinking of you” card in the mailbox
One sessile trillium where none had been before
One song of the ovenbird
One vernal creek barely flowing
One repetitive drill of a sapsucker
One phoebe nest on the shutter
One happy thought of a friend visiting
One bright and streaked prairie warbler
One tick waiting for our breath
One deer carcass
One red-winged blackbird stopping by
One gobble from the hills
One honeysuckle seed, germinated and grown
One tree yanked and strangled by the vine
One patch of planted ephemerals flourishing
One hope that joy and sacrifice meet, and the world is saved.

April 2014

Saturday, April 05, 2014


I've started a new ritual at Prairie Pond Woods; a little maneuver that gets me up and going. Every morning I walk briskly up the road to the pond, where Cyon plays like a dolphin in the water. Then I drop my back pack off at Kavanah to take an unencumbered nature walk. And finally we end up back at the re-purposed goat shed to do a little reflection for me and a little chewing for her.

I love this new idea, but I'm not sure Cyon does. She is teaching me how to be "inconvenienced by the things I love," which is what I said I was ready for when we decided to get a puppy.  After less than 30 minutes she is bored with her bone or deer jaw or antlers and wants my attention. She puts her wet head on my lap. She whines. She doesn't get that I'm writing the next great trilogy...or this blog.  She is a beautiful, loving, furry, four-legged Distraction. 

A high school girl I know tweeted this the other day.  Yes, a high-schooler:

"If everything were to go as planned then that would be my favorite day...ever."

Mine, too, girlfriend. Still waiting.

There is a golden nugget in life called Being Content. You can possess it at any time, but it is content to wait; wait to be acknowledged; wait to be picked up and held; wait until we catch the light it reflects and are able to finally see that, "Yes, I DO have to do this or that, but what if I let go of the pressure to do it?  What if I didn't do it now, but later? What if I just stopped in the middle of this and looked around with grateful eyes?" In our excitement at this new way of seeing, we can even answer in enthusiastic agreement, "Yeah, what if?"  

Ah, the head can give us the idea but our hearts must give us permission. I've been wrestling and writing about this lately, so bear with me. It's not because I have figured this out - but because I haven't - and definitely want to.

Today I listened for over an hour to the Brown Thrasher sing its couplets - double notes sung over and over (some with repertoires of over 1,000 songs). I like to think it is content to have these particular songs - and so he sings at the top of the trees, with great gusto, all day long.  I envy his singular focus.

My dog, on the other hand is like a cat on a hot tin roof, much like the thoughts in my head all day.  She chews her bone for 15 minutes, then goes off to explore a sound, then come over to me and drops something at my feet, then whines, then she runs to plays with a bleached turtle shell by herself, and finally back again to me.

This is not how I want these outdoor writing sessions to be - all staccato and distraction - but they will be.  I am slowly and gently giving myself permission to be OK with that. I can only hope I will get better at living completely in the moment, whatever that moment brings, however unplanned, and be grateful for it. To take every scene in my life...good, bad, distracted, contented and hold it close to my heart, because every moment has something to offer.

As I watch the thrasher leave its high perch and fly off to sing somewhere else, I'm reminded of another song. A song by Carrie Newcomer I heard recently at a concert. A song that more eloquently transcribes what I am trying to say.  Enjoy.