Archive for the 'nature' Category

Tending My Eden

amywink April 14th, 2018

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A stranger stopped by
yesterday to tell me he
could make my yard spectacular
by clearing what he deemed
a mess and overgrown.

I asked the price for such
a miraculous change
and knowing that it wasn’t
something I could,
or even would, afford
despite the lower
second offer, I declined
because he didn’t know
where the beauty was
in all the mess he saw.

But I know beyond the mess.

I know what delightful beauty
waits here in this wild unruly green.

What may look like death
is only dormant and
will by my patience
eventually erupt
in spectacular bloom
when I have greater
need of the glory.

I know where the memories are,
the things I’ve inherited,
and my reasons for planting
some of this rough growth
that has endured in my benign neglect.

I do not mind the mess
I am simply waiting to attend.

And by this morning,
this gardener has woken
into this cool Spring day
and with my happy spaniels,
I have begun this seasons’ work,
thinking of the loveliness I have made,
what things I know of deliberate planting,
what I understand of different
rates of bloom or the timing
of my pruning if I am to be rewarded
with the flowering I intended,
what I must by necessity
cull if everything is to grow
as well as it may, and even
what volunteers I will
allow and foster simply
because their surprise will
make this unconventional Eden new
with their blooming
if I will wait
to see what happens
in this greater undertaking.

This garden may not be a landscaper’s dream,
stripped of difference for easy mowing.
Because I have planted something else
and I myself will slowly
tend all that is growing
into the wilder beauty
that I intend for it to be.

The Gift of Fire

amywink October 19th, 2017

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The Gift of Fire

After the destruction
of enraged burning,
radiant spires
erupt out of
earth blackened
yet hardly dead,
phoenix from ash,
a flame of grace for
a charcoal landscape.

When you, during
weary afternoons,
gaze out this
photograph into elsewhere,
think of me
and know I,
looking through
my own window
remember you,
growing beauty
where there
once was
fire.

(1996)

A Late Answer

amywink September 5th, 2017

A Late Answer

“How do you know it’s the Holy Spirit?”

“I don’t know.”

And yet, I do
know
because I am standing up,
Not running,
Not falling,
braced as if at my shoulder
steadied though my voice shakes,
I do not run, I speak.

Perhaps we know
the Spirit arrives
in the feeling
that we need,
whether peace
or courage,
or righteous anger
or small kindness,

Arrives with the sound
of an owl’s wings,
a presence known
only after
listening to the
descending trill
from the far off trees,

like this late answer.

Returning

amywink February 28th, 2017

Returning

Like a wave laps
the lake shore with
the slow rocking
of the earth,
memory returns
again and again,
not crashing,
but caressing
the stones,
wearing them first
to pebbles,
then to sand,
glittering in the light.

Where once the ruffled
crests pushed against
the harder shore,
each wave will
smooth the coastline simply
by returning presence,
rising, rising, rising.

In those waves of memory,
every end becomes beginning,
every no worn away to yes,
every moment that seemed a loss
becomes a smoother gift of truth,
clear and glittering,
dancing with the light.

Mildred

amywink February 21st, 2017

The day my mother had her heart attack, I was seized in a direct attack as my lizard brain rose out of stone with tyrannosaurus teeth and raptor claws, a new species Tyrannosaurus Mentis. . . .tyrant lizard of the mind. Trapped firmly in her jaws, I could not eat.

Specifically, I could not eat anything on her seriously restrictive diet. While I had always eaten relatively healthy anyway (I am a woman in America, I know about food “rules” and diets), this was different. I was frozen in front of food, as if one move would tighten her jaws. She first appeared when my oldest friends took me to dinner, I ordered a salad but forgot to say “chicken”. The pile of ground beef atop the salad laid before me turned the reptilian eye and I thought “I cannot eat that.”

No illness, no revulsion, no nausea, just the sudden clarity: “I can not eat that.”

Much to the irk of the waitress, I asked for chicken and sent it back, and waited. . . and ate.

But barely.

I stayed pinned in the jaws of my tyrant lizard for a few days as the other parts of my mind cogitated on how to cope with this ambush predator. Because, really, I needed to eat something. Not eating was not the better choice.

I developed a plan.

I named my tyrant lizard, Mildred, and welcomed her into my life. She was only doing what her nature prescribed and as she was clearly a part of me I could not excise, I determined to accept her. I let Mildred choose my food. I took Mildred to the grocery store and we read food labels together. Mildred got agitated at certain RDA values, shocking amounts of salt and fat. Sugar didn’t even make it to the meetings.

I told friends, “Mildred won’t let me eat that.” “Mildred won’t let be buy that.”

Mildred became a good companion at the table and the store, rolling her reptilian eyes at marketing ploys, offering a steaming huff at ridiculous portion sizes disguising realistic calorie counts. She evolved from her Cretaceous origins and became a pleasant presence, softly clucking her annoyance instead of tightening her jaws. I ate a lot of vegetables, some pasta, some chicken. I grazed happily with Mildred for a long time until she decided I was okay on my own and flew the coop.

The day I brought home Cheetos, I texted a friend “Mildred has left the building.”

Now, I eat healthy and well but I am no longer trapped in the jaws of a tyrant.

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