Nature

Garden Magic

Garden life began for me at the age of 12. When my mother worried she was so busy she might not get her dahlias planted, I volunteered for the job. I seldom volunteered for chores on our busy family farm, but, even then, the magic of these flowering plants had me under their spell. Dahlias grow from thick, elongated roots called tubers that we dug each fall and stored for the winter. By springtime the gnarly clumps were like shriveled starfish, testing one’s faith any life could be left in those dusty, wrinkled remains.

So So Many Mushrooms

One day I went outside and saw mushrooms everywhere. Not only was the yard absolutely full of mushrooms, but they were all so different from each other. It’s like elves and fairies were celebrating there in the night before.

Some were large and off-white. Some were small and orange. Some were dark, dark brown, thin and tall. Some were white with an orange ring at their edge. Some were tiny and delicate, the size of a dime. Colony upon colony of each kind.

There was a huge 8 inch mushroom. There were colonies of bright yellow sprouts, just stems forming, of young mushrooms.

Language of the Tree

I really enjoy looking at tree bark - the whorls and swirls of bark as it moves up the trunk of the tree. It overlaps like house shingles. And it eddies around limbs and around the stumps of fallen limbs. You see the tree holes, and the flow of the bark around them.

The patterns are mesmerizing, like watching water that is stopped.

It really seems like something is written on the tree, by the tree, over and over again.

And when a vine climbs the tree, it is even more beautiful, especially in the autumn when the vine turns red.

Playful Beets

I love working with beets – whole, leafy, bushy beets.

Everything about them leaves this deep, ruby tint. As you rinse the giant green leaves, the red stalks look like rhubarb and tint the water red. As they drip on the steel sink, the droplets look luminescent over the cool, silver blue.

If you hold a leaf up to the light, so the sun shines thru, the leaf is a gorgeous, vibrant yellow green, contrasted with the crimson stem system running thru the leaf.

The leaves taste great raw.

A Great Hush

The woods were filled with many sounds that day: birds singing, leaves rustling, squirrels moving around.

I was painting a picture beside a stream in the late morning. The stream flowed around many large boulders. This view of rocks and water is what attracted me to this place.

Suddenly, everything was quiet. I mean absolutely quiet. Even the water became quiet.

Everything became unexpectedly still. A great hush came over this place. You could hear a pin drop. And so it continued for about 2 minutes. It reminded me of how it is right before a storm.

Fire

Why does fire seem so alive?

That flame on a candle seems so peaceful, so meditative -- like it, itself, is putting out a presence.

A candlelit dinner. How charming.

One of the houses I pass on my walk has a gaslight lamp, that always has a flame burning.

I really like that.

I remember sparklers that we would light on the fourth of July. They’d leave a trail of light in the night air.

Perhaps these things remind us of our own sparkling light.

Sand

One of my earliest memories is playing in a sandbox with my brother. It had a striped awning, green and white.

The sand feels so cool, and has an unusually pleasant sensation. It’s similar to putting your hand into a bin of dried corn kernels, or sunflower seeds, or birdseed.

It feels like it is alive in some way, this easy ability to reshape as you move your hands or your feet through it. And it pours, like water.

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