Tag Archives: nature

The Time We Have

Some of us find ourselves with more time on our hands lately. Some of us are deemed an “essential employee”. Whatever your situation, and I hope everyone safe, healthy, and financially stable throughout this strange journey we’re all moving through, there is TIME– to capture, seize, harness. Our state is on a “Safer-at-Home” order. My neighbor says he’s “going out of his mind” yet in that same breath he said he wiped the grey dust off his guitar and clumsily yet earnestly strummed the strings, something he hadn’t done in years. Our community pool is closed due to the current situation. Last Thursday I strolled around the neighborhood for a much-needed leg stretch after work (I’m considered an essential employee and have been sitting in front of a computer every day for hours, not something I’m used to as a Montessori teacher). A mom and her young daughter had filled two blue paddling pools, placed them in their driveway, and were giggling and playfully splashing each other.

Although we have implemented distance learning at our school and conduct regular Zoom meetings, some of my students have taken up knitting. Some have baked sweet, chocolaty treats. Some have FaceTimed for 6 hours while watching the same Netflix series.

I have seen even more families taking walks together than usual. My brother said it is the same where he lives, 700 miles away from me. I’ve smelled the waft of charred food on grills more nights than not. I’ve heard an unusual abundance of birds singing in the tops of the oak and Norfolk pines. Gone are the shrieks of sirens every hour, the blasting hum of airplanes overhead, the smell of air thick with the pollution of car exhaust and industry.

Even though I’m still working, I’ve had a few more moments to enjoy the sound of birdsong, make brownies from scratch, read my current fiction of choice, water my neighbor’s garden, connect with friends I’ve haven’t talked to in months. At first I was consumed by the news and social media but I’m making a concerted effort to put the phone down for chunks at a time (there are some funny memes out there, though).

This week is my son’s 16th birthday. There will not be a car in the driveway with a bow on it (that wasn’t happening anyway). We will not have our usual hibachi feast with friends and family. But we will celebrate in the quiet and simple fashion we’re all becoming familiar with.

I’m just embracing the good that can come from a dire situation. And there is good here. And there is time.

(But I haven’t been to Walmart to buy toilet paper).

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Night Jasmine

Welcome night jasmine 
to winter’s party
of cool breaths below
and indigo skies above

Welcome to shivery winds
before dawn
and another blood moon
to come

Your scent reaches February’s corners
ticklng the eyes of the passerby

Within that aromatic
flowery sweetness
a place nestled
among fronds to hide

Welcome night jasmine
will you linger
past the season’s
final song

And dance to spring’s
chittering cadence
I feel it
coming on.

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To the Garden of Butterflies

To the butterfly garden I ran
its beckoning pulsed against the imminent sadness
of mourning and fading dreams
Its lush green vines and scattered wildflowers
a magnet to the journey of my feet
And just as I longed for and expected
when I entered there was no one there
Only the Longwing and Cloudless Sulphur
to flit on flower and autumn wind
to taste the nectar and dance again
And take with it the heaviness and suffering
endured
release it to the sky
so the sorrow would not weigh upon
so heavily
and my spirit may too
freely fly

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Walkabout in the Land of Fallen Trees

And we passed the place
where we weren’t supposed to go

A hidden corner
on a rare chilly morn

Crunching of foot upon acorn husks
and withered needles of pine

She kicked sawdust
on me unknowingly

And he could neither
be still nor quiet

A spiderweb clinging
to the last branch outstretched

The hawk gliding high above
keeping a close eye

This is where we found
the dying babes of the forest

The wind tumbling them
to their last breaths

But this is where we sang an old song
I did not know you knew

And held hands distended
in our wooden circle

in the land of the fallen trees.

fallen trees

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A Migration of Butterflies

Would the waves take me away
from the sorrow of life’s pain
along the crest we could fly
like the flitting migration of butterflies

Beyond the milky way
beside the gulf coast shore
its freckled sparkling light
as if never seen before

Time has ceased upon this
corner of earth
and we are sentenced to it
yet never pardon us from this moment

The only passing of minutes
by the slow descent of the sun
and the dance of insect wings
never coming undone.

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Sometimes it’s OK to just watch birds

When was the last time you stared into nowhere, or better yet at something out in nature? I mean like really lost yourself in the moment with no dings or tings or rings perpetuating your space or thinking?

I find it harder and harder to acquire moments like these. Recently I did a little experiment where I turned off all notifications on my phone. So no matter what form of communication trying to contact/lure/disrupt was not available to my anticipating ear. I found I had more peace in that day and probably lower blood pressure.

It’s not to say I don’t welcome contact with friends or family. But all this technology and availability 24/7 can be exhausting and stressful. Couple that with the daily grind and you find yourself longing to stare out into the abyss.

Especially when the weather is nice I like to gaze at the tops of trees dancing in the wind or under the glow of the moon. This is something I discovered by accident a few years ago. Sometimes days or even weeks go by when I don’t do this, however. Work and domestic duties and the pulsing of time does not lend itself to such leisure provocation. Then perhaps during a buzzing moment I catch a glimpse of a bluebird or heron or hawk and I’m reminded to stop and just watch and BE. There is something so peaceful and organic about engaging in something so simple.

We tend to look down at our racing feet or ahead at our constant to-dos. Children are always looking up and noticing things we don’t, like a wasp’s nest or a pink airplane or a woodpecker in a tree. We should strive to grab some of that youthful curiosity.

Maybe those old ladies who sit on park benches and feed birds have it right, too. Maybe they are laughing at us, thinking we’re out of our minds.

 

Drawing by John James Audubon, who started a revolution of bird watchers. 

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The Rabbit Outside My Door 

A rabbit lives just outside my door
I call him Bun-bun

He travels the cloud-filled night
And nestles all day while the sun shines bright

For him a cozy nook under a pygmy palm
watching me leave with each new dawn

And when I arrive alongside sunset’s burn
the alcove is empty, awaiting his return

What goes on behind his big, black eyes
Where does he go underneath starry skies

It has become quite routine
for me to greet this cute little thing

And I shall be saddened so
when his nook is bare forevermore.

images

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