Hopeful bench sitting
by an expanse of ice
waiting for the thaw
Happy Valentines Day and love to all in my life.
. . . and then I returned
to the comforting leak of the pantry light
across the kitchen floor
reclaiming the hearth
the carved out space
to creep beneath, inhabit
the familiar echo off the walls
a hum, deep inside me
a coming to earth
nestling into the embrace
of the small green chair
sinking back into the habitual
flow, feeling it wash over me
through winter chilled glass
reimagining myself with
owl moon, blue shadows on snow
car headlights tossing snowflakes
shattering my silence from below.
How much light in a winter sky!
the subtlety of mauve and rust and slate
heavy-bellied clouds floating
like seasoned bathers in a cold sea
each dwindling moment of olive oil light
caught in the wick of a seed of grass
chest-breaching call of the gulls
the lake surface a battered pewter plate
bouncing back the cupped light
medieval in its splendor
One small gift from the universe
an unintended consequence
benefiting the giver, taker
one momentary thread of spider
web light suspending
in one single tonal breath
body heat, one giant synchronized
joining of hands, shared
pulse resonating, thrumming
the fat base string
under your thump, thumping
heart beat one.
Sudden rush of feathers
draughting the air above me
small flocks of careening birds
fly low over the meadow
chased by strong tail winds
a dozen at a time joining
the twisting, turning mass
flowing across the evening sky
out over the lake, back over the trees
a pulsing organism, feinting left and right
like black drops of ink swirled in water
and then, on signal, they descend
in chattering swarms into the reed beds
their shrill conversations fill the air—
a murmuration of starlings at day’s end.
This summer I decided to create a specific place in my garden where I could go and put aside the constant rush to project myself into the future. It would be a touchstone to remind me to stop, breathe, live in that specific moment, and the next, and the next.
It began life as an herb garden more than a decade ago in my first vigorous flush of gardening when we moved out of the city. I had dreamed of pebble paths and demarcations of boxwood and stone. Each quadrant was to be like a painting of a medieval apothecary garden, simple but potent and filled with thyme and sage and mint).
For a few years I diligently tended the paths and herb beds. But the woods were always trying to reclaim their birthright, and the giant black walnut in the middle of the yard spread its shade and toxic roots far and wide. Four beds became three, then two as the wild bergamot and dame’s rocket overran the oregano and parsley.
Still the bones of the herb garden remained, anchored by a granite sculpture at its center—the result of a rash bid at a silent auction. I often found myself gravitating to this spot, ambulating in figure eights around the boxwoods, letting the stresses of the day leave my body. Or sitting on the sun-warmed limestone pavers, listening to the orchestra of birds and insects. Eyes closed, breathing in the scent of phlox reminded me to revel in the moment and let myself sink into the fabric of the natural world around me.
So this fall I took clippers and a shovel to the unruly tangle of weeds, planted a few more boxwoods to mark the boundaries from the encroaching woodland, and repurposed some broken pavers. The soft days of autumn sunshine and rain coaxed a haze of green from the newly sown grass seed.
Now, even on the coldest days, when the sun barely skims the treetops, I bask in a spot of afternoon sunshine, drawing strength and peace from my grounding place.