Early Morning

A book-spine poem from my bookshelves (and my book blog) for you to enjoy this morning.

Early Morning

Early morning
The writer in the garden
Green thoughts
Harvet of yesterdays
Delights & shadows
Walking in the beauty of the world
Take joy!



A Summer Flashback: Goldfinch


A goldfinch that landed on the mirror of our car while I was waiting for my husband in the parking lot!



In the fields
we let them have-
in the fields
we don’t want yet
where thistles rise
out of the marshlands of spring, and spring open-
each bud
a settlement of riches
a coin of reddish fire-
the finches
wait for midsummer,
for the long days
for the brass heat,
for the seeds to begin to form in the hardening thistles,
dazzling as the teeth of mice,
but black
filling the face of every flower.
Then they drop from the sky.
A buttery gold,
they swing on the thistles, they gather
the silvery down, they carry it
in their finchy beaks
to the edges of the fields,
to the trees
as though their minds were on fire
with the flower of one perfect idea-
and there they build their nests
and lay their pale-blue eggs, every year,
and every year
the hatchlings wake in the swaying branches,
in the silver baskets
and love the world.
Is it necessary to say any more?
Have you heard them singing in the wind, above the final fields?
Have you ever been so happy in your life?

~Mary Oliver

My November Guest

November at Fern Hill Wetlands

November walk at Fernhill Wetlands…

It seems like just a short time ago I was busy in the garden, enjoying the warm sunshine and the work of preparing the garden for winter. My cover crops are planted and happy with the cool and the rain. All is settled in the garden, but I find myself feeling rather blue. We have turned our clocks back, the skies are very gray most days, and the drenching rains have returned.  I miss my gardening time outdoors!

So, as late Fall and early Winter settle in, it is time to refocus my energies on projects, plans, and reading. My friends-in-books bring me solace as I mourn my summer gardening time, and remind me to keep things in perspective… May Sarton gently reminds me to be patient with the winter darkness, for  “Without darkness, nothing comes to birth, As without light, nothing flowers.”  And one of my favorite poets describes a lot about my own November doldrums but celebrates this seemingly bleak time of year.

My November Guest
~by Robert Frost

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, with its very gray and rainy winters, could be very gloomy indeed, but despite my melancholy, I share much of Robert Frost’s beautifully described love of bare November days.  I, too, love my soggy walks in the beauty of those stark days–walks along sodden paths with bare, withered trees, and under heavy skies…

Waterproof Boots

Garden Light

Garden light


Garden Light
~ Michael S. Glaser

Let us seek to paint what we experience here…
not in detail, but broad brush strokes

capturing sunlight and the shadows that lace
the gravel paths, the grass,

the flowers, radiant in their beds.
and the sky, its white clouds drifting against the blue.

Everything as it is, insists on itself:
the song birds, the owls, the lady bugs

each a reminder of this opportunity
for adoration, for doing and saying nothing,

for embracing, as we might,
the generous gift of this garden light.

Autumn Artistry

Autumn beauty


Autumn Artistry
~ Maude Osmond Cook (my grandmother)

With artistry the Autumn
Has hung a vast display
Of paintings rich with color,
In a riotous array.

Along the slopes and by-ways,
The aspen’s golden hues
Give accent to the maples
In crimson and chartreuse.

Beyond are purple mountains,
With sun-tipped peaks that rise
Above the hills and valleys
To pierce cerulean skies.

This brilliant Autumn showing
Will please you and enthrall,
Just bring a love for beauty,
It is free to one and all.



A Summer Day

Summer day musings…  A beautiful summer day around our town, the fields are gold now, and so beautiful! And even though many of the fields are already harvested (like this one), they bring to mind one of my Grandmother’s poems…

Fields of Gold

Fields of Gold

A Time to Dream
~by Maude Osmond Cook

The shimmering heat waves rise and fall
Above the ripening grain;
The drowsy drone of bees is heard
Around the dusty plain.

The idle breeze is whispering
With tones that lull to rest,
As a mother soothes her little babe
To sleep upon her breast.

Is there a better time to dream,
With nature all in tune —
As fleecy clouds go floating by
On a lazy afternoon?

Daffodils and my Grandmother

My Grandmother was a poet, and I love to match some of her poems to photos I’ve taken of our garden and the gardens around our town. This photo of daffodils was taken on one of our daily walks around the neighborhood. The poem was one of Grandmother’s.


~by Maude Osmond Cook

Daffodils are fairies
Dressed in yellow gowns,
Sparkling like the sunbeams,
Capering like clowns.

Dancing, bowing, swaying
As the morning breeze
Plays a tune of springtime
On new-leafing trees.

Pausing for a moment
To recover poise,
They smile a merry greeting
To all the girls and boys.


Mud Season


B and I are heading to Oregon tomorrow for Spring Break. I am so excited that we will have a few extra days to spend at our home in the Grove, not just a rushed weekend. I would LOVE to spend much of Spring Break gardening, but the weather report says rain, rain, rain. I’ll probably be out there anyway, in my flowery mud boots. All this thinking about rain and mud reminds me of one of May Sarton’s beautiful poems, “Mud Season”.

Mud Season
by May Sarton

In early spring, so much like late autumn,
Gray stubble and empty trees,
We must contend with an unwieldy earth.
In this rebirth that feels so much like dying,
When the bare patches bleed into raw mud,
In rain, in coarsening ooze, we have grown sluggard,
Cold to the marrow with spring’s non-arrival:
To hold what we must hold is iron-hard,
And strength is needed for mere survival.

By dogged labor we must learn to lift
Ourselves and bring a season in;
No one has ever called child-bearing easy,
And this spring-bearing also asks endurance.
We are strained hard within our own becoming,
Forced to learn ways how to renew, restore.
Though we were dazzled once by perfect snow,
What we have not has made us what we are.

Those surface consolations have to go.
In early spring, so much a fall of will,
We struggle through muds of unreason,
We dig deep into caring and contention;
The cold unwieldy earth resists the spade.
But we contend to bring a difficult birth
Out from the lack of talent, partial scope,
And every failure of imagination.
Science and art and love still be our hope!
What we are not drives us to consummation.


by Maude O. Cook (my maternal grandmother)

I gathered from the Garden of the Years,
The seeds to plant in fertile fields today;
I watch with patience through the smiles and tears,
For blossoms to adorn some future way.


Mademoiselle Gachet in her garden at Auvers-sur-Oise, by Vincent Van Gogh, 1890.

Mademoiselle Gachet in her garden at Auvers-sur-Oise, by Vincent Van Gogh, 1890.