Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday, 30 June 2007 - Dance of a summer day

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for the dance of a summer day.

The dance of a Summer day calls my steps: may I respond to the rhythm and melody of its music. ~Caitlin Matthews

My "dance" is rock climbing. And, today, it's show time.

On this perfect summer morning, we load the truck with gear-laden backpacks and head for our favorite stage, Red Rock Canyon.

There, under exceptionally gorgeous azure skies and to the near-deafening roar of an Air Force Academy fly-by, I give a 4-ascent "recital" on two challenging routes.

S's and T's enthusiastic applause says everything. I've just finished one of my finest performances of the 2007 season.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday, 29 June 2007 - More to give

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for more to give.

Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor. ~Proverbs 22:9

O God, to those who have hunger give bread; and to us who have bread give the hunger for justice.
~Latin American prayer

When one of our young neighborhood athletes asked me to donate money to her soccer team, I was only able to give $10. My heart, which wanted to give a lot more, and bank account, which didn't want to give much, still struggle over generosity issues.

Therefore, my daily prayers for earthly abundance and prosperity continue so that I may have so much more to give.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday, 28 June 2007 - End of the plant sale (finally!)

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for the end of the plant sale (finally!).

This evening, under the large shade trees in the Monument Valley Park demonstration gardens, the Horticultural Art Society officially ends this year's annual plant sale with its traditional volunteers picnic.

For many members including me, the plant sale is the only group activity in which we participate. The sale and picnic feel like an annual reunion. We try to remember faces and names (usually unsuccessfully - no matter - we simply reintroduce ourselves).

In a few short hours, we manage to catch up on a year's worth of events - sad and happy - and share gardening successes and mishaps. I tell Elsie my sad story about the aphids attacking the lupines (not unusual, she remarks) and my happy news about the deep red berries growing on the serviceberry bush I bought at last year's sale (I'm letting the birds eat them all).

Tonight's eclectic potluck meal that includes frozen daiquiris made with fresh strawberries and my sushi convinces me that my gardening friends are creative cooks who don't skimp on ingredients (quality and quantity) or flavor. Foremost, however, they're generous, big-hearted people who freely share their knowledge, encouragement, seeds and plants.

And, yes, to S's chagrin, I buy more plants - at virtually giveaway prices, mind you - from the final, final remainders. David, the talented gardener and beneficiary of the plant sale proceeds, is anxious to clear the greenhouse. He encourages us to buy a few more items, promising to give us a very good deal. Well, in my mind, that should do it until next year. I'm already way over budget (though happily so).

As the picnic winds down, S joins the all-guy cleanup crew, folding tables and stacking chairs. I chat with Kathy, Alice and Pauline for a few more minutes. Elsie reminds me that she'll call after she arranges a tour of a private garden in Black Forest. We hug and say good-bye, vowing to do more to stay in touch.

Yes, one year is way too long to wait to share a story or inquire about a friend's health. Life happens too quickly and so unpredictably.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wednesday, 27 June 2007 - Tornado no-show

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a tornado no-show.

A very rare meteorological event in Colorado: a full-blown, high altitude tornado.

Mid-afternoon, it touched down between Woodland Park and Divide (west of Colorado Springs up the mountain pass on I24), damaging the forest but missing heavily populated areas. The slow moving storm system then traveled down the pass to Colorado Springs, prompting a tornado warning for the city's central and southeast corridors.

Fortunately, we live in the northwest and escaped most of the storm's wrath. Unfortunately, Red Rock Canyon was in the storm's direct path. As torrential rain and golf ball-sized hail pummeled the canyon, we reluctantly canceled tomorrow's climbing adventure.

And, yes, we're relieved the tornado was a no-show.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tuesday, 26 June 2007 - End of heat wave

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for the end of our June heat wave.

If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back? ~Stephen Wright

Summer's first heat wave. It arrives each June and stays for at least a week.

I write during the morning or late at night - my west-facing, top floor studio is intolerably hot after 1 PM. T does his best to cope with the heat, sleeping soundly through the hottest hours. Even, S, a true child of summer, is uncomfortable. At night, we all struggle to sleep.

Twice a day, I water the tomatoes, watermelons, herbs, raspberries, strawberries and newest shrubs and perennials. The peppers thrive in the hot, dry heat, requiring a drink only when their leaves droop.

90 degrees F and climbing. Brutal. It's even too hot to go rock climbing.

During the evening, I try to coax cooler air to enter the house while urging warmer air to leave. Vain efforts. So much for osmosis and homeostasis.

And, I know it's really hot when the expensive phrase, "central air conditioning," creeps into our conversations.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday, 25 June 2007 - Summer in full bloom

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a summer in full bloom.

What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.
~ Gertrude Jekyll, On Gardening

After surviving an extended heat wave, my garden is bursting with color. The vibrant hues - hot pink and cool blue here, Tour de France yellow and deep red orange there, shades of regal purple everywhere - create a perfect impressionist painting worthy of Monet.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday, 24 June 2007 - Natural wonders

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for natural wonders.

With six small diamonds for his eyes
He walks upon the summer skies,

Drawing from his silken blouse

The lacework of his dwelling house.

~Robert P. Tristram Coffin, The Spider

Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me.

This time, while examining one of the privets, I discover a spider who's adapted quite well to its environment.

Two green "petals" encase its body like shields, creating a perfect camouflage. To its unassuming victims, the spider is a privet leaf bud.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saturday, 23 June 2007 - All things good

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for all things good - the deeds and their perpetrators. I need both. And, daily, I must do the former by being the latter.

John Wesley's classic quote crossed my path again ... a timely reminder that my life's mission is to do good.

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.

~John Wesley

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday, 22 June 2007 - Signs of hope

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for signs of hope.

Bright yellow tomato and strawberry blossoms.
Freshly-picked mint leaves in a variety of flavors: chocolate, orange, grapefruit, mint julep.
Tiny watermelon seedlings taking root.

Out-of-control basil and thyme.

Despite the recent spate of personal bad news, my garden thrives. Perhaps it knows that, for sustenance, my heart and spirit need signs of hope.

As my garden prospers, so does my soul.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wednesday, 21 June 2007 - Three things

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for three things.

We're celebrating the tenth anniversary of T's adoption. For a decade, he has filled our lives to overflowing with unconditional canine love and affection - no matter what.

Fresh rhubarb.
Friends gave me a generous helping of fresh rhubarb straight from their garden. During the cool morning hours, I make a delicious cobbler-type dessert with an exceptionally yummy cookie-like crust (oatmeal, chopped walnuts, dark brown sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon). The spicy-sweet aroma fills the house before drifting into the backyard. I savor the scent as I water the tomatoes.

Sadly, I must report that Tom remains in a coma. The nurse is now encouraging visits from family and close friends, hoping that our presence and voices will rouse him. We see him around noon. I feel upbeat and chatter away about the latest cycling news and current heat wave. He looks really good - the cuts, scrapes and road rash are healing nicely. We meet one of his doctors, thanking him for taking great care of our dear friend. I must be patient - Tom's brain will heal on its own terms and schedule.

For these blessings, I am grateful.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wednesday, 20 June 2007 - Ordinary day

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for an ordinary day.

Life goes on
Around me
Through me

From me

Under me

By me

Within me

Over me
With me
Without me
Because of me
In spite of me.

Here's today's most interesting news:

Our friend, Tom, continues his slow recovery from his head injury, progressing in baby steps. I eagerly await his brother's phone call, announcing that Tom's awake. S bets that the first thing he'll ask is "How's my bike?" (Answer: The bike is fine and in good hands. It only sustained a broken spoke. Rob fixed it).

A Finch family finally took up residence in the wreath on our front door. Mother Finch has already laid eggs - she sits contentedly for hours on her well-built nest. We get to watch the proceedings through the front door peephole. S posted a sign so we don't use the front door: Bird. Not Larry.

My gardens flourish despite the hot, dry weather. This growing season, I have yet to deep water the front yard garden - may need to do so during the current heat wave. On a sadder note, I mourn the loss of the lovely lupines - killed by armies of horrid aphids.

T continues to shed his thick winter coat. If I collected the soft, taupe-hued fur and spun it into yarn, I'm sure I'd have enough to knit several scarves, even a sweater. Not a good idea, however. No human wants to smell like a Labrador retriever (especially a damp one).

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuesday, 19 June 2007 - Getting through the day

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful that I got through this day.

It's been one of those days.

- Another friend had a freak bicycling accident during his morning commute (he's also one of S's cycling buddies). Although he suffered a concussion and has a badly scraped shoulder, he'll be fine. His helmet - now totaled - did its job. Feels like too much bad karma in the air right now - don't think we'll ride our bikes for a few days - seems the accident gremlins are out in force.

- We met Tom's brother this morning at the hospital and visited Tom. No change. He's still critical but stable; in a coma but no longer sedated.

- My energy plummeted when we returned home from the hospital. After eating a light lunch, I crashed for a few hours - must be the stress. Didn't get much done afterwards.

- I am still fighting the noxious Canadian thistles that have taken over the open space near the park (the developer abandoned the construction site and did not restore the landscape). This evening, while S took T for a walk around the park, I whacked away at the "enemy" with a sickle (S is thinking about buying me a machete). My neighbor and combat partner, Rick, is on vacation so I must battle on alone this week.

Well, that's it for now.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Photo: T is also having one of those days.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday, 18 June 2007 - A new plant collection

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a new plant collection.

They arrived today - three scented geraniums:

- Pelargonium x graveolens - Lady Plymouth: rose scented
- Pelargonium x capitatum - Atomic Snowflake: lemon-rose scented
- Pelargonium citrosa - Citronella: lemon-scented

A neighbor recently raved about her collection. So, needing another gardening challenge, I decided to start my own, ordering specimens from a Pelargonium-lover in Michigan.

I transplanted each into its own 8" clay pot. The trio is doing nicely, sitting in full sun near the tomato, pepper and watermelon plants.

I'll have to move them indoors during the cold months - a small inconvenience when I consider their aromatic contributions to my garden. Heavenly!

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday, 17 June 2007 - Fathers

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for dads everywhere - Happy Father's Day.

Our friend, Tom, remains in critical but stable condition. There's nothing we can do to change the situation, so we decide to go climbing after all. Anyway, it's Father's Day, and T wants to spend time with his dad.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Photo: Red Rock Canyon - after several hours of climbing, it's time to go home. Along the trail, S and T approach the duck pond.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saturday, 16 June 2007 - Tom

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for Tom.

I am heartbroken.

Tom, an integral member of our extended Colorado Springs family, is in the ICU with a severe head injury - the result of a freak bicycling accident. S is devastated by the news - Tom belongs to his tight circle of cycling buddies and guy friends. Right now, I'm glad we're among Tom's closest friends.

Anyway, it's been a hectic afternoon. In the ICU waiting room, we gather. S, Rob and Susan make dozens of phone calls, finally locating Tom's brother in Boulder. They notify members of Tom's professional network so his dental practice can continue seamlessly on Monday morning.

We also share Tom stories, cry a little, console each other and pray.

For this blessing, I am so grateful.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday, 15 June 2007 - Orange

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for the color, orange.

Orange is one of those words that famously has nothing perfectly to rhyme with it. The other one is silver.

One of my favorite comics is Hilary Price's offbeat strip, Rhymes with Orange.

I love to eat "orange-y" food including oranges, tangerines, kumquats, carrots, carrot juice, squash, apricots, peaches, cantaloupes and aged sharp cheddar cheese. [Confession: once upon a time, I ate orange-colored, empty calorie foods like a popular but messy Frito-Lay snack and a certain cheese-flavored cracker).

Unfortunately, orange is one color that I cannot wear - probably a good thing since orange clothing reminds me of Halloween costumes. My wardrobe does include blended shades of peach and coral. Pure orange, however, is a definite no-no.

Orange is one color that rarely appears in my gardens. For their showy blossoms, xeric plants prefer every variation of purple, blue, pink, magenta, gold, white and yellow. The one exception: globe mallow.

Both a cultivated (Sphaeralcea munoana) and wild, native variety (Sphaeralcea angustifolia) thrive in the backyard's arid and hard clay soil.

[Confession: At the plant sale, I naively bought two small pots of the wild variety, not realizing that scores were ready to bloom in my garden.]

For this blessing, I am thankful.


Photo: Sphaeralcea munoana (Munro's Globe Mallow)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday, 14 June 2007 - Just one miserable hour

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for just one miserable hour.

Our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances.
~Martha Washington

This afternoon, misery visits unannounced, heralding the abrupt end to anything good about my day. I'm sure that this visit results from my job hunting frustrations. I'm seeking pity. So, I open the door and let misery in. Stupid move.

I try vainly to think of something amusing or funny to erase the darkness. But, not even lovable T or my beloved garden can change the way I feel or discharge my sadness. I need to let misery run its unpredictable course.

In case you're wondering, my misery does not love anyone's company. Fortunately, I have the good sense to limit misery's visit to one hour - just sixty minutes. I'm getting better about this. Really, I am. Formerly, I didn't set limits so misery's visits lasted for days.

Well, here I am. Teary and morose. You do not want to be around me.

The clock ticks.

20 minutes down, only 40 to go.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Photo: Blue lupine mirror my blue mood.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wednesday, 13 June 2007 - The very next day

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for the very next day.

When I awake in the morning,
It is either the very next day

after many, many days

Or it is the very first day.

Today, it is the very first day

Of what exists now.

~ Twainhart Hill
from An Ode to My Father Healing the Critic

Today feels like the "very next day after many, many days."

A continuation.
An extension of yesterday.
No new starts.
But not the "same old thing" either.

I know that I have work leftover from many yesterdays. I must finish these tasks before I can accept something totally new into my life - before I am truly ready to embrace another "very first day."

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tuesday, 12 June 2007 - The letter, D

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for the
letter, D.

I'm partial to words that begin with the letter, D.

Those optimistic and enriching:
Dreams. Diligence. Dance.
Dramatic. Decisive. Determined.

Discernment. Decorate. Dazzling.
Daisy. Denim.
Dog. Delightful. Definite.

Destiny. Direction. Deep.

Daring. Door. Defiance.

Download. Desire. Design.

Daydream. Deliberate. Decorous.

Dignity. Drive. Difference.

Dawn. Dusk. Delicious.

. Dashing. Deft.

Those that describe darker moments:
Depressed. Despairing. Desperate.
Drowsy. Disorganized. Daunting. Distracted.

Doom. Distant. Denial. Dread. Doubt.

And, most importantly, my first name. Yes, I am the letter D's namesake.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Monday, 11 June 2007 - A lifestyle that suits me

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a lifestyle that suits me.

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~Elwyn Brooks White

Semi-retirement suits me just fine. Sadly, I shall miss all of this when I return to the "real" world and secure a "real" job:

- Taking T for his morning walk at no specific time - just whenever I get up.
- Enjoying a leisurely rock climbing adventure on a weekday; deciding to go climbing at a moment's notice (today, we had Red Rock Canyon all to ourselves for several hours)
- Taking a mid-afternoon nap
- Watching "As Time Goes By" at 1:30 PM
- Eating meals whenever I'm hungry; skipping them if I'm not
- Running errands on Fridays
- Choosing which writing project deserves my attention based on my mood, inspiration and self-imposed deadlines
- Volunteering for community/political projects for which I have real passion
- Working in the garden - an hour here, a few minutes there depending on what I feel needs to be done right now

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday, 10 June 2007 - An exceptional gardening day

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for an exceptional gardening day.

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.
~Lindley Karstens

Yippee! My backyard garden grew by over two dozen plants this afternoon. The new "family" members:

6 - pink pussy toes
3 - sulfur flower
2 - glaucium acutidentatum (my, such a long name for such a small rock garden plant)
6 - potentilla cinquefoil
2 - alpine aster
2 - gazania
1 - Kentucky peppermint
1 - grapefruit peppermint
1 - silver brocade sage
2 - scarlet globemallow
2 - Veronica speedwell

All in all, a very good day. I am tired, dirty and elated.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Photo: Dianthus - first bloom of the season

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Saturday, 09 June 2007 - Another round of planting

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for another round of planting.

I didn't intend to buy dozens of new plants for my gardens this morning.

Must have been the perfect summer-like weather and the allure of tried-and-true and exotic perennials, xeric shrubs and rare ornamental grasses.

Must have been the gardening experts who casually refer to plants by their Latin names (this time, Allison served as my personal shopper).

And, did I mention the heavily discounted prices?

Yes, I indulged (probably overindulged) at the exclusive plant sale where Horticultural Art Society members can buy the "leftovers" from the big May sale. My rationale for buying: my gardens deserve continual face lifts.

Anyway, I'm delighted that my planting days are not yet over for the season. I'm looking forward to another week of very dirty hands and fingernails, the heady scent of rich, moist earth (in my case, heavily amended clay dirt) and the discovery of earthworms in newly-dug holes.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday, 08 June 2007 - My garden's resilience

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for my garden's resilience - its innate ability to recover from adversity; buoyancy.

What you forget is that plants themselves want to live as much as you want them to. ~Elizabeth Smart in Elizabeth's Garden

As I reported yesterday, the winds damaged many plants in my garden. Fortunately, they killed very few.

A deep watering revived many plants including two of three cherry tomatoes and the badly-singed brunnera and echinacea. Still others, beaten down by the wind, now sit with perfect posture. And in time, I know that my prized privets will shed the scores of shriveled leaves and grown new ones.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thursday, 07 June 2007 - The end of one violent windstorm

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for the end of one violent windstorm.

Now the gardener is the one who has seen everything ruined so many times that (even as his pain increases with each loss) he comprehends - truly knows - that where there was a garden once, it can be again, or where there never was, there yet can be a garden. ~Henry Mitchell

Forty to sixty miles per hour - the speeds at which the dry southwest winds blew ceaselessly, violently and mercilessly through my garden for the past 36 hours or so.

The result: severely damaged plants and one very heartbroken and distressed gardener (me). In particular, my "babies," the three cherry tomato plants, are in terrible shape. I'll do my very best to nurse them back to health.

Right now, I'm unsure what steps I'll take to salvage my treasures. I watered many of them - the moisture revived the hardiest ones. I'm sure that most of the perennials, herbs and shrubs will survive their injuries and even bloom later this summer.

Note to self: must seriously rethink my future vegetable gardening plans (it's a good thing that we don't depend on my garden for meal ingredients).

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Photo: Columbine (on a happier, pre-windstorm day)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Wednesday, 06 June 2007 - Self-confidence

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a bit more self-confidence.

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Patient: My confidence
Diagnosis: Sense of self on roller coaster ride during current sustained period of doubt regarding career and work options.
Status: Day to day
Prognosis: Excellent despite recent but short-lived spate of negative self-talk
Remedy: Count blessings daily; spend more time writing, gardening and rock climbing; seek out interesting volunteer opportunities; widen personal network; turn off the television

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Photo: These fading allium blooms resemble aliens peering over the yarrow and feverfew.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tuesday, 05 June 2007 - Bill's Columbine

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for Bill's Columbine.

We first discovered it last fall. A pink Columbine growing in the seam that separates the sidewalk from the curb.

Origin - probably seeds from the same Columbines that grow in my backyard garden.

Location - in front of Bill's house (hence its name).

This spring, the plant returned in showy Columbine fashion. Its ability to survive and thrive reminds me of Betty Smith's semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

In the book, the tree is a "Tree of Heaven," a hardy species that grows in the back lots of New York city. "Tree" is also a metaphor for Francie Nolan, an Irish American girl living in Brooklyn during the early 1900s with her wildly dysfunctional family. The story relates Francie's struggle as she comes to terms with her emerging adult life and family's poverty. Francie's difficulties are not unlike a tree's struggle to survive in a hostile, urban environment.

I'm not sure what it all means - Bill's Columbine, Francie Nolan, trees and growing up.

I do know this, however. While wrestling daily with my life's confusion and uncertainties, I keep hearing these words: bloom where you're planted.

The "Tree of Heaven" did just that. So did Francie (eventually). And, so did Bill's Columbine. Now, it's my turn.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday, 04 June 2007 - Breakfast in the garden

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for breakfast in the garden.

Last month, my older sister, G, who lives in the UK, and I exchanged several emails about our oatmeal-for-breakfast habits.

It turns out that we both make this humble dish using Irish (steel cut) oats and assorted seeds. She's very creative with her final rendition, adding an array of fresh and dried fruits, nuts and spices.

I'm more predictable, always adding okara (soybean mash left after making soy milk) for protein, cinnamon and flax seeds to the mix. To serve, I embellish my generous portion with sliced almonds and dried cherries or cranberries (for sweetness). (Note that T also likes oatmeal. To his serving I stir in a half tablespoon of diatomaceous earth to combat parasites and a half teaspoon or so of organic flax oil to help keep his coat shiny.)

During the winter, I eat my oatmeal while huddling under a blanket and watching a few minutes of television. I usually catch Sesame Street - am often just in time for Elmo's World - you gotta love that whacky Mr. Noodle and Dorothy the goldfish.

During the warmer months, my breakfast venue moves outdoors. I get to eat my oatmeal in the garden.

With bowl in the left hand and spoon in the right, I stroll slowly toward the gardens on the north side of the house. After stepping very carefully around several plants, I find a prime spot to watch bees and butterflies hover around the catmint's (nepeta x walker's low) deep purple blooms.

Some of my observations:
-The three chocolate mint plants that now live near the east fence are thriving (can't wait to use their aromatic leaves to make mint juleps and mojitos).
- Several new strawberry plant runners grew overnight.
- Looks like the brunnera will continue to produce their signature blue flowers for another week.
- More pink Columbine blooms decorate the xeric garden (they usually do better in the wetter and cooler shade garden).
- The white jupiter's beard (centranthus alba) in the xeric northwest garden is getting ready to flower.

I wander over to the small vegetable plot on the south side of the yard. There, I visually inspect three cherry tomato plants and happily discover several bright yellow blossoms. I also note that, in a few minutes, I must water the basil and watermelon seedlings.

I casually chew the last spoonful of almonds, cherries and oatmeal.

(sigh) I'm near the end of my breakfast ritual.

I pause, facing west. My back, now turned towards the morning sun, absorbs a day's worth of light and warmth.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunday, 03 June 2007 - Personal open space

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for personal open space.

I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods. Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.
~Wendell Berry

We have a large backyard - not quite the multi-acre mountain estate I would like to own but roomy enough to accommodate my dozen or so gardens and major landscaping projects. Plus, T can run full speed along the south (see photo) and west fences.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Saturday, 02 June 2007 - Routine day

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for an occasional routine day.

Some days
Things familiar
Over things

New and imaginative.

On those days,
I crave routine

Over adventure.

I covet order

Over artistic license.
I prefer predictability

Over dramatic risks on

Unchartered seas.

On those days,

The same old thing

Suffices and sustains.

Old habits kick into gear.

My agenda, preset.

My meals, predetermined,

My journey from A to B,

The shortest possible.

On those days,

I don't need five more minutes

To knit one more row
I don't need to catch my breath
After climbing a new 5.10 route.
I don't need to reach for
A tissue to dry unexpected tears
Or a band-aid to protect a freshly-cut finger.

On those days,
I give in without comment
And watch whatever is on television.



Then, sadly,
I go to bed realizing that
I just wasted a perfectly good day.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday, 01 June 2007 - Guardian Angel of Writing

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for my Guardian Angel of Writing.

I did not write it. God wrote it. I merely did his dictation.
~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

Every writer I know has trouble writing. ~Joseph Heller

If I'm trying to sleep, the ideas won't stop. If I'm trying to write, there appears a barren nothingness. ~Carrie Latet

Writers' Block. The dreaded syndrome that comes and goes without notice is currently visiting me. Oh, forgive me while I endure the agony of blank Word documents. I am trying (really trying) to type sentences that express coherent thoughts.

Enough is enough. I think I'll call it a day. Anyway, it's time for T's evening walk.

For this blessing, I am grateful.