Water, Words, & Grief

The simple sentences from these grieving parents touched me like poems. From The Daily 360° from nytimes.com

I’ve had a lot of problems
on the water and the land.
I recently lost my daughters…
I used to think only of fish when I came out here.
Now I see my daughter’s faces in the water.

This beach is my home.
I leave my problems in the sea.
I watch my husband fish
and we support each other to leave everything behind.
I focus on my work and it relaxes me.
I’ll never leave this beach
because I forget about my problems here.

I live for the water
and I try to move forward.
There is no other way.

Harvest, Gratitude & Balance

We’ve crossed the Equinox into the autumn season, and Friday last my Circle gathered to celebrate Harvest, Gratitude and Balance. As the day and night became equals we honored the bounty in our lives, the miracle of our journey through time, and the harvest on our tables in the following feast.

Fall Equinox or Mabon is one of the celestial holidays follow the seasons on which the lives of our ancient ancestors depended.  But, how ever far removed from our ‘modern’ life, This is still the ground truth: the elements must cooperate for the miracle of growth and life to occur. I bless the organic farmers and sustainable agriculture movement for their life-giving work.

In the ancient stories, the tale of Persephone journeying to the underworld uses a Mother’s grief to express the shriveling of the lush greens of summer. Her daughter has gone down into the Underworld taking her Maiden’s love with her.

Yet it is ultimately the third of the Triple Goddesses that rule this time: the Crone. This chant, which repeats and repeats, describes her transits thus:

She cuts the cane and gathers the grain, the fruits of Fall surround her.
Her bones grow old in Wintery cold, she wraps her cloak around her.
For she will bring the buds in the Spring, and dance among the flowers,
Her kisses are sweet in Summery heat, she sings in leafy bowers. (repeat)

to the tune of traditional English ballad  Nonesuch; lyric by Hope Athearn

These days the Witch of pop culture is appearing everywhere in preparation for Hallowmas, Samhain, Holloween, Tous Sant. I think the trope of the ugly, wicked witch describes how our culture feels today about the aging and aged woman!

But in that lies in a cruel misunderstanding of the dance of light and dark in our World: all life cycles. Our Priestess reminded us that we’re not just spining around the sun, we are spiraling through the universe, creating incredible energy as we go.

We spiral through space singing  of youth and age,  dancing between fear and joy, moving from innocence to ignorance to wisdom.

croneHow would the might oak from acorn grow, if the tree and her leaves never fell to rot and enrich the forest floor? The mushrooms wouldn’t grow, the worms no shade and the robins no breakfast. Life cannot continue without the death and decay that creates rich composted soil to receive it. Life cannot arise without the dark womb to nurture it.

Six months of light, and six months of dark.
The earth goes to sleep, and later wakes again.
O dark mother, we honor you this night,
And dance in your shadows.
We embrace that which is the darkness,
And celebrate the life of the Crone.
Blessings to the dark goddess on this night, and every other.


Wild Turkeys!

Here are the ones that got away, wily iridescent birds that appear and disappear as if by magic, who live near you but you may never see.

As you enjoy that roasted fattened bird today, raise a toast to their ancestor, who, according to Benjamin Franklin, should have been our national bird. Behold Meleagris gallopavo silvanus, the Wild Turkey.


From Franklin’s letter to his daughter in 1784:

For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.

Our american bird originally hails from Mexico, but got its name in Britain when the Spanish brought a similar Middle Eastern species to England. So there actually IS a connection between turkey (the bird) and Turkey (the country.)

Whatever is on your table today, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving Day, and all the blessings of connection and abundance.

Blessed Be!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Summer Painting

You can catch me at the monthly Moyaone Markets, where I often have art for sale and in progress. In good weather I love to set up outside and invite anyone to make art with me, and that’s what I did at the August 1 Market, a blissful summer’s day.

I had a variety of guest artists of all ages, and we had fun in the dappled shade, splashing our watercolors, sprinkling with salt for cool effects, and watching the colors run and bloom, just like the flowers we were painting.

Haven’t you wanted to pick up the brush or pen and make images? What’s holding you back?

Next Moyaone Market Saturday September 5
9am-1pm  •  2311 Bryan Point Rd, Accokeek MD


June Garden Joy

Picspam from a beautiful morning in the garden:

Pak Choi


‘Horta” mixed greens


zuchini and eggplant blossoms

sungold tomatoes

yellow bell peppers

Today in the Garden: Surprise Gifts

I went to the garden the other day for solitude. To my surprise, five children under 7 ran up alongside my car, squealing about the dogs and can we play with them?

Two girls and three boys were looking for something to do while their families set up for a big wedding at the community center. They chased the dogs in happy circles and were hugely comical trying to help me move the heavy wheelbarrow with a flat tire. They were so eager!

A fellow gardener had ordered a truckload of leaf mulch and my mission was to spread this wonderful black soil around my irises, radishes, spinach, broccoli, red cabbage and day lilies. I had lots of help. There was great competition for the big shovel. Then everyone wanted their own trowel, so more were found.

“Tuck those plants in, put that nice black blanket around them, like your mommy tucks you in at night.” And so they spread the leaf-gro around the young plants then helped me water.

Before they left, I showed them how to pull a carrot. One of my all time favorite things is to watch a child discover a natural miracle. It’s so rewarding to see the astonishment on their bright faces when the familiar orange food comes out of the soil, and after hosing off the bright orange root, they experience the taste of real food.

I was looking for solitude when I went to the garden. But I received a different kind of gift. I guess we don’t always know what we need, until we get it.

Today in the Garden – Surprising Rewards

Every time I visit the garden, I am rewarded, even when I dread what I might find.

I’ve been neglecting my garden. There, I’ve said it, and can heave a sigh of relief. The end of summer was terribly disappointing, as my tomato crop failed due to an aggressive wilt. Then we had a month of deluging rains. I confess I fall into a despondent state, don’t even want to look at my failure as a farmer. And it’s easy to avoid since it’s at the community garden, not at home.

Well, imagine my surprise when I came home with a heavy bag of food from yesterday’s visit! And not only that; this striking creature, the Argiope or common garden spider, who I had noticed in August, is still on duty, only she’s grown enormously. I’ve scaled the photo to about the accurate size — I’ve never seen one so big!

You may know that I have life-long arachnophobia, and I have worked diligently to educate myself about these useful and amazing creatures. I’m proud that in recent years I see them and feel admiration more than terror. I can really enjoy this wild thing who’s home is in my garden. She’s spun her web from a jalapeno plant to the stalk of a deceased tomato, and there she will stay until her work is done.

I recently learned that the signature zig-zag in her web is made by the much smaller male. I wondered… it’s an interesting and artful addition to the weaver’s art.

So last night I feasted on a salad rich with red leaf lettuce, arugula, yellow beans, radishes, the last red tomato and scallions. The stir fry was purple potatoes with sweet and hot peppers, onions and mushrooms. Only the mushrooms came from the store.

After harvesting, I cleared the old bean vines from half of one bed in preparation for garlic planting next month. All in all, a very satisfying visit.

Today in the Garden

I finished preparing 2/3 of the middle bed and put in seeds of fall crops.

the soil was lumpy, the local clay makes hard clumps, and although I’d dug in sand, manure, and compost, that old clay stick together in hard clumps. So, I raked it as smooth as possible, drew in 6 rows, and them hand-crumbled the clumps where I could. it felt wonderful to smooth and shape the earth with my hands.

the six rows, from north to south are:

  • sweet walla onions
  • arugala and oak leaf lettuce
  • carrots
  • spinach
  • beets
  • kale

I shall need to put more lettuces and asian greens somewhere else.

I harvest quite a few beans from my old climbers, tired but still kicking out food, and from the young filet beans – slender and sweet. Something has been eating on them so they were sprayed with pyrethin & soap.

there were a few tomatoes to pick, as well as jalapenos. lots of bell peppers coming.