Monday, December 27, 2010

Thrown For a Loop

When something happens that knocks me off my balance beam, it makes me mad! Usually I just lie there for a while looking up at the beam and thinking, “Why?” and trying to figure out what happened.

I am so old and it has taken me this long to really SEE that this seemingly, meaningless, menacing interruption is really a gift if I accept it, not with anger but with gratefulness.

I have to accept it, it is what is, balance is lost. When I find myself falling to the hard ground if instead of my usual anger I can learn to accept this plunge with not hate and despair but with a thankful heart, if I ever welcome the hard place with as much hospitality as I welcome the soft place then I will have made some progress.

Each fall gives me opportunity to practice focus in the midst of distraction, it forces me to get my eyes on the beam and the beam only.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bringing in the Greens

I feel so blessed this time of year that I get
to be in the element that I love while earning my Christmas money. Out
there with the frost and the frond, the dusk and the dawn don’t be surprised to
find me in a red pointed hat because I start to feel a bit like a Santa Claus. I
make blankets of green and red to soften the harshness of winter graves and
weave wreaths that usher in the Christmas Spirit on front doors. I become an elf of the woods, fetching the
symbol of hope that bringing in the red berries and greens evokes.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Flowering Quince in Late November

The day is cold and most of the colorful leaves
are gone from the bushes and the trees. Behind our house the flowering
quince wears now its stark winter twigs. But what else! What is this? Four
perfect blossoms of springtime pink among the old and dying. I take nature personally so I feel so blessed
that God would speak in this way of hope to my autumn heart.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Praise Be, a Persimmon Tree!

Persimmons are beautiful. To me they look like tiny, plump pumpkins.

Odd that such a sweet fruit is mostly known for being tart. An unripe persimmon plucked from the tree is very astringent and one taste can cause your mouth to feel like it is growing hair. Honestly, the best persimmons are not picked from the tree at all but are the ones that have just fallen ripe to the ground, so plump and bursting full of moisture that they seem to mold into your hand like softened butter when you pick them up. Taste is the deciding factor; the unripe fruit will leave that chalky feel in your mouth. When ready the flavor of a persimmon has been compared to apricot, plum or pumpkin, I think it tastes somewhat like orange crème soda pop.

A family persimmon cookie recipe from my Aunt, Jan Davis Palmer

1 c. persimmon pulp 1 c. sugar
1 tsp soda 1/2 c butter or margarine
1 c. nuts (chopped) 2 c. flour
1 c. raisins 1/2 tsp ground clove
1 dash salt 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Blend soda in persimmon pulp. Cream sugar and butter. Add raisins and nuts to flour and spices. Beat egg and salt, then add to pulp and add to sugar mixture. Add raisin and nut mixture last. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets Back at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. After the cookies have cooled, place in a closed container to keep them fresh. Do not overbake.


Perhaps we wouldn’t appreciate any of the seasons if they didn’t always go by.
Would we rejoice in the vividness of the autumn leaves
if they glowed with such color in the spring,
summer and winter as well as in the fall?

Most likely we would just take them all for granted.
I thought it was especially dark and grey today,
the landscape from my window void of all color when My Lord whispered,
“It is not over”, and He lead me into the woods where,
“Look Here,” and my eyes rejoiced in red maple leaves gone
from the trees yes, but mingling now with the contrasting green
of trailing euonymus on the woodlot floor.

Walking across this colorful carpet I came to a place
where a large fallen tree lay on its side and
I sat for a time there on the log just watching the sun pretend
to shine every now and then from behind the clouds.

Finally the sun shone for sure and I felt real warm and cozy sitting
in a shaft of its light. I yawned and pursued the thought of
taking a nap as I had become mesmerized by the sound of the gentle breeze
and my eyelids grew heavy. It reminded me of the tale of Rip Van Winkle.
He took a snooze in the woods and didn’t wake up until twenty years later.
I wondered what that would be like. I thought since I had so much
in common with Rip, preferring to nap in the woods over doing the
dishes that waited for me in the house, maybe if I tried hard enough
I could sleep until those dishes magically disappeared.

Suddenly, I was shaken out of my silly, state of slumber to realize
I was being severely scolded. I was being told in no uncertain
terms that I had my own bed and this spot was not it. I had been
dallying around and taking up space for much too long and it was
past time for me to move on. I felt like a homeless person being
scooted off the park bench they had been sleeping on.

As I lumbered up from my seating position I apologized to my contender.
He dashed back and forth and advised me that this was his tree and I
was sitting between him and his stash. I fumbled for my hat and camera
and told him, “O.K. I am leaving!” I bowed to him as I retreated not
daring to turn my back to him for fear he was going to plunge from
the tree and tackle me from overhead.
Squirrels, they are such feisty creatures.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Last of Autumn

Today the Black Haw tree that came up wild behind our house
has seven crimson leaves still left hanging.
I feel that it would be a sin to let them fall unnoticed.
It seems so sacred the way they submit to the call of God and gravity.
Still full of vivid color they let go of their clasp to the mother
and dally down through the air to lie on the ground,
a love sacrifice to The Creator.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Who Writes?

I always feel a nip of sorrow with the disappearance of the autumn leaves and the first frosts of November, October was so beautiful, all that color. Now it is gone and we are left with dark shadows and cold. We humans are so resistant to change. When our hair begins to grey we want to hold onto the color and buy some at the store. We plaster crème on our age spots and shade our faces from the sun. Yet, what does nature care? Nature doesn’t try to hold the seasons back, each one is necessary and contains it’s own uniqueness. The leaves don’t try to dye themselves orange again. Instead they don drab brown and give themselves willingly back to the earth. It is so hard for us humans to do the same.

I loved this article from Does Publishing a Book Make You a Writer? By Susan Henderson, author of Up from the Blue.

"A writer is someone whose senses are wide awake—who notices the person sitting alone at a party, the sound of an acorn falling on the roof of a car, the unusual item a stranger sticks in his pocket. A writer can imagine something in such detail that it comes to life, can see a scene from all points of view, can put the words in such an order that they sound like music. The qualities that make a person a writer are not defined by outside success but are embedded in the soul and carried out by the pen."
Read whole article HERE.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Halloween

I know Halloween is out of control but I have nothing against a ghost story told around the bonfire on a full moon night. I got one for you. I was walking past a graveyard recently at dusk when I got that strange feeling like you feel when you are being watched so I turned and looked in the direction of the sunset and all I saw was this big, old, leaning stone with pink flowers at its feet in the most ancient part of the cemetery. I found it strange that so old a grave would be freshly adorned, who could there remain to mourn?

The pink sky matched the flowers so I took a shot with my camera. Came home and looked at the picture and felt a shiver when I saw the face on the gravestone and felt like I knew who had been watching me.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


For I have learned
To look on Nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls though all things.
~~~~ ~~^~~
~~~William Wordsworth~~

Blue Rock. Ohio

I picked Grandpa up in Zanesville and we got the heck out of Dodge, rambled down 146 East until we turned South to follow the ridges towards and through the Blue Rock State Forest area. Somewhere on Ridge View Road we got enchanted. This must surely be one of the lowest populated spreads in Ohio.

The woods are lush. There are quite a few abandoned homesteads and we went through one little ghost town. There were about nine empty falling down houses there, one still lived in barely, and a church which looked alive. Beautiful country, the hills almost look like mountains. By the way, what determines when a hill turns into a mountain? Anybody out there know?


Ground Pine on Forest Floor

Each Golden Leaf as It Falls

To truly absorb autumn I would have to sit down on the ground, spread my skirt and catch on my lap each golden/bronzed leaf as it falls.
I long to sit there and stay out of doors day and night until I become
the earth and all that rich color fades into me. But I am only human and miss so

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Path to the Ridge

"We are vehicles or instruments that respond. If we respond to goodness, goodness becomes our property. If we respond to evil, then evil becomes our property. If we respond to love, then love becomes our possession. If we respond to hatred, hatred becomes our life. And if we respond to the things of the earth so much that our whole life becomes absorbed in worldly things, then it is quite natural that we should not respond to those riches which are within us." Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan

From Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

"Surely if someone took our hand and asked us to walk along the world and view the wonders so magnificently displayed....If by some miracle we could see the vastness of it all at once, and still bear up under the beauty of it....

If we can see the rolling rise and fall of the land - the purple, pink, and golden hues of shadows hung along the mountain sides....If our ears could hear the music of the rippling streams, the rushing waters, the graceful falls.

If by some mere chance we could sense the ebb and flow, the push and relaxing of the tides, the rise and set of the sun, the glittering stars and soft-faced moon that ignores the fact that other worlds encircle ours.....

And as the seasons sprinkle rain and flowers, golden leaves and snowfall.....On this continuous circle.....always new.....always beautiful.....

If we can see al this, how then, can we doubt that the earth that God created and saw as good is good. This is our land, and only our own forgetfulness of its source can make it different."

Available online. 'Cherokee Feast of Days'
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones......and also for those who don't have access to the Internet: Here

Friday, October 8, 2010

Moon of the Falling Leaves October 22

The harvest moon is past. September has slipped away.
The next full moon will charm us on October 22, 2010
and is known as the Hunter Moon or more poetically as
the Moon of the Falling Leaves.

October fields are strewn with plump, orange pumpkins
and the trees pile their colorfully wrapped gifts on the earth’s table
during the Moon of Falling Leaves.

Spiders try to move into the house. Those of us who still tend wood
fireplaces and stoves finally get the chimneys cleaned and the
woodpiles stacked. It is hard to believe after this hot summer
that it is actually going to get cold. Most of us did not hesitate
to say good-by to the heat. Now what we feel is not the sluggish,
oppressed energy that a too hot summer can inspire. The cool air
makes us feel more awake, more alive.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October Returns

October, please don't be shy.
Let me see your full smile which lights up the earth
when you are the most happy.

No, don't be shy. Laugh with me! Let us sing!
You are the most beautiful of all with tones of red and gold
and amber in your hair and a veil about your eyes.
Your cheeks the most rosy, your perfume the most musky.

Please court me, don't be shy,
don't be meek, I seek you,
sweet, sunny, sad and spiritual October!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wooley Bear Catapillars

Today November time traveled and came from next month to trade places
with October. When dark, dreary November really comes perhaps we will
get back the crisp, bright, sunny October day that she slipped in for today.

There is a wealth of folklore out there about what to look for in nature to foretell the winter. I have heard that if the cicadas make their calls early on the days of late autumn then the winter will be unkind. You can listen for owls hooting late into the autumn nights and bend your ear for crickets chipping early by your hearth,

and look for thick husks on ears of corn for if any of these things come about then the coming winter is sure to be long and cold. I always like to see what the wooly bear caterpillar has to say about the matter.

Those fuzzy, cute caterpillars start showing up everywhere this time of the year, crossing the road, snuggling up on your porch and catching a ride on your jacket. They are so soft looking that no one seems to mind them. The old-timers say that you can tell what winter will be like by noticing how fat or skinny and how much fur this little fellow has on him every autumn. You can read how long winter will be by the width of his black versus his brown bands.