A Sure Sign of Summer

Look at this little guy!

I’ve written before about how I find bugs fascinating. Graham snapped a few pictures of this one – just molted – yesterday, and I just had to share.

Last year, we had a giant brood of cicadas in the region, and boy were they…annoying. And different from our usual set, too.

Neat to watch, and cool to think about, but generally loud, and ever-present. I caught one of them landing on me every ten seconds.

No brood this year, but one of the surest signs of summer around here is the gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) hum of the cicadas. Like fireflies in the evening and passing storms in the afternoon, it’s really just not summer without it.

Hello, Summer (A Poem)

Hello and
warmest welcome to
the bluest sky
and greenest green –
it’s good to see you.
Hello to long days
and lightning bugs,
and a breeze that
hugs trouble away,
to a season of rain
and sunshine,
and a time for
holding on.
Here and gone
in a lightning flash
and a thunderous song,
we know you can’t last.
But hello, old friend,
for while you’re here,
and soon enough
back again.

Drenched (A Poem)

Rain, rain, rain
through April to May –
could it be you’re here to stay?
It certainly feels that way.

************

Yes, friends, it’s yet another rainy day, and it’s set to be a rainy weekend. I like rainy weather – it’s good for book-reading and tea-sipping and nap-taking. But…it would be nice to see some blue skies for more than a few hours at a time between rain clouds. I shouldn’t complain, though. Everything is so lusciously, livingly green.

If the weather keeps this up, it’s going to be a very vibrant summer.

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: A year without fox kits?

For the last two years at around this time, a family of foxes has taken up residence under our barn. I’ve written about them beforea few times, in fact.

Mama and babies, and we’ve had the privilege of watching the kits grow and play. And y’all, they grow up so fast!

We’ve not seen them this year, though we do regularly catch glimpses of an adult fox hunting in our back field, and over the weekend, Graham saw her poking around near our barn. So maybe they’re just moving in a little late.

We shall see! And in the meantime, I’m glad we have cute pictures and sweet memories.

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Blossoms in the Rain

We had our first big thunderstorm last night. It started at around 11:00 and lasted about an hour, with lots of lightning, loud thunder, and heavy rain. Then it moved on, but it left the rain behind.

This morning, things are looking damp and cloudy, but there’s beauty in that, I think.

A gray sky against dewy, green leaves and blossoms – there’s something so peaceful and striking about that.  

And I figure, whether you like it or not, the rainy days will come. So, better to just appreciate them for what they are, and find joy in a darker sky.

To Be a Gardener

Yesterday, we went to a local flower and garden festival with some friends. Earlier last week, I decided to join a local horticultural society, so the festival came at a good time. Or a bad one.

Let me explain.

I am decidedly NOT a gardener. I don’t really like dirt under my fingernails, or worms, or ticks, or (worst of all) little, harmless garden snakes. I don’t enjoy spending hours in hot sunlight, though I love being outside, and I will get a horrible sunburn in less than ten minutes. I’ve never been able to reliably keep a plant alive, much less help one grow from seed to bloom.

But, I’ve always loved flowers. I love nature. I love the sound of buzzing honeybees and the earthy, sweet fragrance of lavender and roses. I love the way light dapples through green leaves, and the feeling that everything around me is breathing and part of something bigger, something that will last long after I’m gone.

All of that to say, I am NOT a gardener, but I WANT to be.

I am surrounded by amazing gardeners. Graham’s mother is so talented, and her back garden looks like something out of a fairy story. Many of our friends care for boxwoods that are over a century old. We never have to look far for vegetables fresh from someone’s back yard vegetable patch, and they really do taste so much better.

Meanwhile, the state of our garden is mostly…wild. I’m being kind to myself here.

The honest truth is this: I’m intimidated by it, and so I’ve let it grow untamed and unkempt for most of the time we’ve lived in this house.

I’m not proud. In fact, I’m mostly embarrassed, and a little ashamed. But it amazes me that even without any help, any human hands nudging things along, it is still a beautiful space, and flowers still grow, like clockwork, every year.

I spent a lot of time thinking about that yesterday, as we walked by lots of stalls full of little green stems and leaves and colorful blossoms that I could not identify and would not know the first thing about planting. On the one hand, knowing that the earth will do what it does, regardless of my meddling, is something of a relief. On the other, I can’t help but imagine what our garden could be if I just learned to try, to get over my worry and my fear that I’ll do something wrong, and just…garden.

I don’t trust myself, but I do trust nature.

And so, I think that this will be the year. This will be the start. I’m going to learn to plant things, and nurture them, and help them grow. I’m going to be patient with myself, but I’m not going to allow myself to make excuses. I’m going to try. I’m going to go for it, because it’s worth going for, and because I know I can, with a little effort and time. I’m going to do it, even if it’s hard.

I’m going to be a gardener.

Our Only Place (A Poem for Earth Day, 2022)

Home,
and more.
Mother and Maker,
from the good dirt
to the blue water,
the mountain
to the shore,
this place is ours.
Our only place,
from solid ground
to deepest sea,
to be.
In all of space
and time,
this earth
belongs to us,
nurtures us,
gives to us
and takes,
brings life and death
and all things between.
And in turn,
we belong –
to land and sky,
to ocean and sand,
to each other
and this planet.
How great
and terrible
a lesson to learn:
that here,
we have
everything.

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Bluebell Season

My other favorite sign of spring here in Virginia: the Virginia bluebell.

Just like the bright, striking pink of the redbud tree, the calm blues and purples of these little beauties just make so happy. And when you happen across a field of bluebells, it honestly feels a bit like stepping into a fairyland.

I wrote a poem about them last year, which I’ll share at the end of this post, just below.

I tell ya…there’s just something a little bit magic about Virginia in the spring.

Blue Belle (A Poem)

Lady Blue,
now ring your bell
through forest, field, and fairy dell,
from riverbank to village green:
the time has come for growing things.

Bloom (A Poem)

All things have
(and take)
their time –
to go fallow
and then rise
from root to sky,
to bloom and grow.
Nature shows us –
there is no shame
in a patient cycle of
quiet moments
and many tries.