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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

My cathedral is made of trees, but it has seen the downslope of my attention. Its pillars are still sound, standing strong through storm and summer heat, but the branches and leaves of its soaring roof have become crowded, ragged, thick with deadwood and duff.

Its nave and transept, too, once clear and open, are now overgrown as the plantings set down in years past have grown relentlessly upward, reaching out, filling the vaulted space.

The reason for this deterioration has been my inexhaustible neglect, piled year upon year, as life and events sapped me of my faith, my devotion, my love for this quiet place. Leaving nature to do as nature does has only compounded the situation, as self-sown volunteers sprang up in open spaces, and Seattle’s often rough sea-borne winds snapped off limbs twice as long as I stand tall, dropping their five-stone weights from the canopy down onto the hapless undergrowth below. (more…)

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In the center of my front room is a table. On that table stands a single vase with a single stem on which is a single bloom.

A rose, the first rose of the summer that is yet to come.

From purple to cerise to pink, the outer petals open to reveal their brethren, rank upon rank, unfolding like Mandelbrot origami, endless, hypnotic to the eye.

A single rose, a flower that can fit in the palm of my hand, and yet it fills the room, side to side, top to bottom, three thousand cubic feet, with the scent of honeyed apricots, sweetened cream, dappled sunlight, and the longing of ancient empires.

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reaching upward
pruning shears in hand
I straddle the ladder
feet on the top rungs
head in the bare-branched treetop

my breath draws clouds
and the low golden sunlight
melts the dew into mist

I look up
as black rags fly past
congregate in the dark spruces
and caw bloody murder

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Misty MorningLate winter is my “difficult” season. Maybe it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder. Maybe it’s the combination of allergies and holiday letdown. This year, it’s also the ongoing can’t-look-away train wreck that is our electoral process. Either way, I’ve been depressed and unmotivated for the past couple of months.

Plus, as it’s March, I now have to deal with all sorts of passive-aggressive reminders—in ads, on billboards, and from the end-of-broadcast human-interest fluff pieces on the news—that, here in Seattle, I should be out there jogging, kayaking, hiking, biking, and tossing balls for the dog. It’s my civic duty, the expectation of a nation, that here in this region of stunning natural beauty I will be out, in it, enjoying every second of it that I possibly can.

Feh. (more…)

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Iris in RainI kneel in the dripping ivy. A trowel in one hand, my other is deep in the soil, searching for the dandelion’s root. The root twists and writhes beneath my fingers, wet and tough, unwilling.

The rain taps across my hat’s felted brim, caresses my steaming back with its cool touch. The spring day is cold, but my work keeps me warm.

The bite of woodsmoke reaches me. I lift my nose and scent the air. My breath comes out a mist.

I grimace as digits plunge farther down into the black loam. The earth envelopes my hand, its serenity infuses me, my worries leach away.

I am the root, now. I am the plant. I am the garden.

k

Pine Pollen

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Brandywine

Pink Brandywine Heirlooms

It’s official. This is the spideriest year in all of Seattle history.

On the way to the compost pile, I count anywhere from five to (last night’s high count) eight spider webs. The back stairs are a prime spot, always with a minimum of two webs between the banisters. Orb weavers dominate the gardens, stringing guy-wire silk that stretches up to fifteen feet. On garbage day, in between the time when the garbage trucks came and my neighbor came out to pull the can back into his garage, spiders had spun webs between the can and his mailbox. Their webs are in the trees, in the bushes, across the lawns, and in the window frames. They are everywhere.

And if I can help it, I leave all of them alone. They do good work. (more…)

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Gossamer WheelI am out on the deck when I find her, hanging by a thread of her own making.

She swings from a long silver strand attached to the eaves, the tender breeze pushing her left, then right. Eight legs outstretched, she is no bigger than a lentil bean, and the sunshine makes her body glow, bright with orange and yellow. Where are you going, I wonder, with ten feet of space between you and the ground?

Curious, I sit down, leaned on the railing, and watch. (more…)

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