equinox 2016

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This morning I was looking for balance, thinking about what we have achieved this season rather than the to do lists that loom. I walked this evening noticing leaves on the grass, seed heads in the field, and the bark of the sycamore. I worked in the studio on pots, gathering my accidents and claiming them as purposeful. I picked a moon-flower for the table and some basil for dinner. I watched the sunset, recognizing the poise in the September light.

equinox 2016.jpg
"Sycamore" by Wendell Berry
In the place that is my own place, whose earth
I am shaped in and must bear, there is an old tree growing,
a great sycamore that is a wondrous healer of itself.
Fences have been tied to it, nails driven into it,
hacks and whittles cut in it, the lightning has burned it.
There is no year it has flourished in
that has not harmed it. There is a hollow in it
that is its death, though its living brims whitely
at the lip of the darkness and flows outward.
Over all its scars has come the seamless white
of the bark. It bears the gnarls of its history
healed over. It has risen to a strange perfection
in the warp and bending of its long growth.
It has gathered all accidents into its purpose.
It has become the intention and radiance of its dark fate.
It is a fact, sublime, mystical and unassailable.
In all the country there is no other like it.
I recognize in it a principle, an indwelling
the same as itself, and greater, that I would be ruled by.
I see that it stands in its place, and feeds upon it,
and is fed upon, and is native, and maker.

something extra

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Here are a few of the extra images from my summer solstice series 2016. A month later the pea blossoms seem like ancient history my day lilies are over and I have pulled out the last of the broccoli. Even so I still love to linger in the twilight with the fireflies and feel as if there is so much left of summer to discover.

The French called this time of day 'l'heure bleue.' To the English it was 'the gloaming.' The very word 'gloaming' reverberates, echoes--the gloaming, the glimmer, the glitter, the glisten, the glamour--carrying in its consonants the images of houses shuttering, gardens darkening, grass-lined rivers slipping through the shadows. During the blue nights you think the end of day will never come. As the blue nights draw to a close (and they will, and they do) you experience an actual chill, at the moment you first notice: the blue light is going, the days are already shortening, the summer is gone.
Joan Didion, from Blue Nights (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
The last few mornings I have found racoon footprints in our dog's outdoor water bowl and my amaryllis dumped out of its pot. It is as if they were playing some version of rock-paper-scissors and the winner gets to spread my potting soil with glee. I am glad the racoon does not have more night time hours to wreck havoc on the porch or in our shed, although, I am sad that we have now reached that moment on the calendar when the days begin shortening.

21 summer 2016.jpgBy the pond at night
three raccoons play
paper, scissors, rock.
They do have the hands
to do it. When they get bored
they turn around the clocks
while you lie sleeping.

By Lorna Crozier,
from "Notes for a Small Pocket," in The Wrong Cat.

#20 summer solstice 2016

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This evening was officially the summer solstice marking the longest period of daylight for the year. It is also the full moon. The native Americans called this the strawberry moon. Here in Virginia the local strawberries are done. In Europe it is known as the honey moon. I think I'd call it the firefly moon. We lingered on the porch after dinner watching fireflies until the moon peeked above the tree tops.

20 summer 2016.jpgIf you catch a firefly
            and keep it in a jar
You may find that
            you have lost
A tiny star.

If you let it go then,
            back into the night,
You may see it
            once again
Star bright.

-- Lilian Moore

#19 summer solstice 2016

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It's been a great weekend full of new and old friends. The trees stood by as silent witnesses to our comings and goings.

19 summer 2016.jpgI'm thinking about people and trees and how I wish I could be silent more, be more tree than anything else, less clumsy and loud, less crow, more cool white pine, and how it's hard not to always want something else, not just to let the savage grass grow.

--  Ada Limón, from "Mowing" in Bright Dead Things (via pigmentin

#18 summer solstice 2016

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The deer have only eaten some of the daylilies.

18 summer 2016.jpg
"It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings."

--  Wendell Berry, from "Poetry and Marriage: The Use of Old Forms," Standing by Words (Counterpoint, 1983)

#17 summer solstice 2016

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This morning's grey horizon gave way to brilliant cool breezes. We have garlic scapes in vases, pots which hold memories, tables that serve as horizons, and what ever we have forgotten will go unnoticed.

17 summer 2016.jpgEverything behind us

Is before us
Stretched out: an endless

Grey horizon.

What we don't remember

Lives in us, forever.
Cynthia Cruz, closing lines to "Guidebooks for the Dead (II)," Field (no. 93, Fall 2015)

#16 summer solstice 2016

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The weather report has threatened rain all day, but for the most part all that  appeared were a few drops on the tulip poplar and a drizzle on the driveway.  Finally, as it got dark and I picked peas for dinner, the lights flickered and lightning dazzled off the pond while the gutters guffawed with water. The last petals of the iris have been washed away by the storm and the soil is drinking up the moisture.

16 summer 2016.jpgA drop fell on the apple tree,

Another on the roof;

A half a dozen kissed the eaves,

And made the gables laugh.

-- Emily Dickinson, from "Summer Shower"

#15 summer solstice 2016

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One of the first seasons I had a garden my parents were visiting and Dad offered to help weed. He went at it with his usual unique structure and pulled out my lemon grass and leeks as they did not fit his categories of home grown kitchen material. Most likely his intention, I never asked him to help again. I continued on my own weedy culinary path of flavors amidst the backyard patch. One way I have defined myself is through my garden and it's rhythmic seasons of hope. I find daily inspiration in the flowers, vegetables, and leaves that I pick. I experience tenacity in the weeds. I look for relationships of curves and the way one thing sits on another when I serve food. The garden feeds me and the food feeds my work.

15 summer 2016.jpgThrowing Away the Alarm Clock

my father always said, "early to bed and
early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy
and wise."
it was lights out at 8 p.m. in our house
and we were up at dawn to the smell of
coffee, frying bacon and scrambled
my father followed this general routine
for a lifetime and died young, broke,
and, I think, not too
taking note, I rejected his advice and it
became, for me, late to bed and late
to rise.
now, I'm not saying that I've conquered
the world but I've avoided
numberless early traffic jams, bypassed some
common pitfalls
and have met some strange, wonderful
one of who
myself-someone my father

--Charles Bukowski

#14 summer solstice 2016

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14 summer 2016.jpgIt takes a while to learn to talk the long language of the rock.

--Ursula K. Le Guin, closing lines to "A Request," Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems, 1960-2010 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012)

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