The Garden of Little Sorrows

The morning brings an ache that moves around each day A back, a knee, a shoulder – knuckles swollen, as if I’d won the fight.   I ramble along the path with a limp and an unfortunately located bite from an insect that was there before me but as revenge, won’t be there after.   The plants I moved yesterday slump over, too traumatized by the extra sun to give a damn, but hungry for me, the water god, to bring showers.   The sun sears the back of my neck medium… Read More

Me Versus Nature

Spoiler Alert: Nature wins. The Pale Murderer Cometh Now that spring has arrived, I’m faced with an age-old question. What am I going to murder this year? Thus far, six house spiders, two house centipedes, eight ants, an errant box elder bug, and just five minutes ago, a carpenter ant who decided startling the shit out of me by crawling on my keyboard was a good plan. It wasn’t. I am a very conflicted person when it comes to creatures. I research the creatures I come across. I don’t know, I guess… Read More

A Walk on the Wild Side

I came in yesterday evening after digging and planting most of the afternoon, dark rings of sweat on my shirt, dirt ground into the knees of my jeans. My hands were stiff from the jarring strikes of shovel and hoe into sun-hardened clay. After a shower, I tried to sit and write. Every five minutes, I was hopping up to do one chore or another. Normally, I’d spot this as procrastinating behavior, chide myself and force myself to sit again. It’s something else, though. With my computer crash of last week, I… Read More

Fertile Ground

It’s gardening time. Be prepared for wheelbarrows of garden metaphors, analogies and similes to seed this blog for the next couple of months. With a side of compost. The claustrophobia of winter has begun to dissipate. It’s too early to plant seeds outside in Minnesota, but the strawberries are poking through and the buds on the lilac bushes have begun to form. I got hit smack dab in the face by a meaty bug, likely disoriented and newly emerged from the thawing ground. While trimming raspberry canes and Concord grape vines, I… Read More

Gratitude with Attitude

I’m crawling out of a dark place to raise a hand in greeting. Hey, how’s it going? It’s Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and we Americans are preparing to do what we do best: eating and shopping. Like locusts we descend on turkeys and retail stores, driven forward by the primitive urge to acquire. See what I mean about a dark place? I have a tendency towards depression and cynicism during this time of year. All the family issues rise like dysfunctional zombies and remind us where we’re lacking. While people constantly… Read More

Leave Us the Birds and the Bees

There are so many things to be outraged by, but I try to find some eventual, rational stance. Just don’t talk to me about your perfectly manicured lawn, with the little sign on it that says pets and children should stay off of it for the next 24 hours. Yes, my neighbor. I’m talking about you. I like to stroll about my front and back yards in the morning. Morning dew makes my feet wet and cold. Rabbits dart by, startled by my intrusion on their breakfast nibbling.  The catmint, heavy with… Read More

Spring Respite for The Green Study

A miracle finally happened in Minnesota. Spring arrived. I can’t focus. I spent time in the dirt yesterday. I scoped out my tulips, crocuses (crocii?) and daffodils, uncovered, after a long winter’s rest. It’s a week of endings and beginnings for me and as much as I think I should write or at least should want to write, I don’t. I want dirt under my nails, mud on my boots, stray leaves and grass in my hair. I want to stand up, straightening sore knees and legs after laboring over a plot… Read More

Self-sufficiency in a World of Automated Doors

Last night I taught my daughter how to sew. I wish I could write that sentence without a snort of derision. In 8th grade, I had a home economics teacher who was more concerned about being popular with the cool kids than whether or not she taught me. She held my shirt project up in front of the class and they all had a good laugh. One sleeve was two inches shorter than the other. From that point on, I believed that I could not sew. The women in my family do… Read More

Autumn: Smells Like Domesticity

Autumn is finally here in Minnesota. A bittersweet melancholy unfurls itself and settles into my psyche. I become more introverted. I am cooking and baking. The house fills with the smells of freshly baked bread and shepherd’s pie. Windows and screens get cleaned, car tires get checked, and perennials get trimmed. I get ready for the long season when color morphs into gleaming white and my reading stacks finally start to go down. It is biological and comforting – this nesting en route to hibernation. It is the signal that soon it… Read More

The Patient Gardener

I’ve spent much of the last few weeks working in my garden.  The timing for hard labor and solitary weeding and planting is perfect. I’ve been fending off a depression that has lingered on longer than usual- perhaps the remainder of an impotent winter – little snow and mild temperatures. It feels more like mid-summer rather than spring and I lack a sense of time or purpose. By happenstance I began to read The Language of Life: A Festival of Poets by Bill Moyers. The book is based on a PBS series… Read More