Gathering

I could have written these words. As I look around Casa de Enchanted Seashells, I see feathers and rocks and driftwood and seashells, so many seashells.

They are my true and stalwart friends.

In every room, I can touch and feel and recreate the time and place they were collected and lovingly gathered: local beaches, Anza-Borrego, Zion, Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Painted Desert, Grand Tetons, Pinnacles, Pacific Northwest–a weaving of memories.

And yes, they bring a smile to my face.

Dandy Lion

I used to think that was how it was actually spelled and that the humble and sturdy dandelion certainly was a very “Dandy” Lion.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Thoughts of my Angel Boy sneak up on me around Mother’s Day. I especially cherished the bouquets of dandelions and other wildflowers (or weeds) he’d gather for me. Could there be anything more lovely than knowing my angel wanted to gift his mom with what his mind and heart considered to be treasures? I don’t think so.

The name dandelion is taken from the French word “dent de lion” meaning lion’s tooth, referring to the coarsely-toothed leaves, so I wasn’t totally wrong!

The hardy little dandelion is the only flower that represents the three celestial bodies: sun, moon, and stars. The yellow flower resembles the sun, the puff ball resembles the moon, and the seeds resemble stars.The dandelion flower opens to greet the morning and closes in the evening. Every part of the dandelion has value: root, leaves, flower. It can be used for food, medicine, and dye for coloring. Dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant. Seeds can be carried as far as five miles from their origin.

I’m nodding my head. It’s fitting that the dandelion represents celestial bodies as my Angel Boy is still and always has been my sun and moon and stars.

Close your eyes, blow the seeds from the puffball, and make a wish. BELIEVE.
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Simply stated by Walt Whitman/Leaves of Grass:

The First Dandelion

Simple and fresh and fair from winter’s close
emerging,
As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics,
had ever been,
Forth from its sunny nook of shelter’d grass—
innocent, golden, calm as the dawn,
The spring’s first dandelion shows its trustful
face.

Vernal Equinox/Spring is Here!

It began at 2:37 a.m. Pacific Time.

The sun crosses the celestial equator south to north. It’s called the “celestial equator” because it’s an imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator.

If you were standing on the equator, the sun would pass directly overhead on its way north. 

Can you feel it?

How will you celebrate? We’re going to plant a lemon tree and some blueberries to add to the peach, plum, apple, pomegranate, grapefruit, and orange trees already in the ground.

Sadly, I had inadvertently killed my favorite lime tree and was disappointed to learn that no one in my area has any lime trees for sale. According to the nursery, the pandemic caused an explosion in home gardening and it’ll be quite some time before they’ll be back in stock, an interesting phenomenon directly related to Covid.

Those old poets sure knew how to describe the ethereal affirmations of an ephemeral season.

Lines Written in Early Spring

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

William Wordsworth

A Host of Golden Daffodils

This seems to be a lovely way to herald spring and the time change on Sunday.

Photo by David Jakab on Pexels.com

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud

Continuous as the stars that shine
   And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
   Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
   Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:—
A Poet could not but be gay
   In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the shew to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
   In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
   Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
   That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
   A host of golden Daffodils;
Beside the Lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

William Wordsworth – 1770-1850

Where I Am: At a Loss for Words

When I can’t seem to locate my own words to express how I feel, I turn to Mary Oliver.
She speaks for me, to me, through me.

Sleeping in the Forest

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.–Mary Oliver

Photo by Mohan Reddy Atalu on Pexels.com

If You Come Softly

Nobody marries poetry with art better than Ravenous Butterflies.

If You Come Softly

If you come as softly
As the wind within the trees
You may hear what I hear
See what sorrow sees.

If you come as lightly
As threading dew
I will take you gladly
Nor ask more of you.

You may sit beside me
Silent as a breath
Only those who stay dead
Shall remember death.

And if you come I will be silent
Nor speak harsh words to you.
I will not ask you why now.
Or how, or what you do.

We shall sit here, softly
Beneath two different years
And the rich between us
Shall drink our tears.

Audre Lorde Edward

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Robert Hughes

To A Mockingbird

He sat for the longest time on a volunteer Brazilian peppertree. The original tree was removed because it’s an invasive species, but also resilient and obnoxious, an aggressive woody weed which displaces native vegetation and rapidly invades disturbed sites.

To A Mocking Bird

The name thou wearest does thee grievous wrong;
No mimic thou: that voice is thine alone.
The poets sing but strains of Shakespeare’s song;
The birds, but notes of thine imperial own.– Henry Jerome Stockard

#WordlessWednesday

Fall, Leaves, Fall

Even in SoCal, on this Autumnal Equinox, leaves do fall.

Fall, Leaves, Fall

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Emily Brontë

To a Butterfly

STAY near me–do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in thee,
Historian of my infancy!
Float near me; do not yet depart! – Wordsworth

This female Papilio glaucus, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, hung around for about half an hour, leisurely fluttering from one flower to another. I almost felt like paparazzi as I snapped photo after photo of this Lepidopteran celebrity. A little research revealed that the first known drawing of a North America butterfly was in 1587 of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail by John White.

It happened in the front yard this time along the dry river bed.

I was enchanted while she took a rest break on the ground, basically right at my feet, long enough for me to take about fifty more pics.

To a Butterfly

STAY near me–do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in thee,
Historian of my infancy!
Float near me; do not yet depart!
Dead times revive in thee:
Thou bring’st, gay creature as thou art!
A solemn image to my heart,
My father’s family!
Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time, when, in our childish plays,
My sister Emmeline and I
Together chased the butterfly!
A very hunter did I rush
Upon the prey:–with leaps and springs
I followed on from brake to bush;
But she, God love her, feared to brush
The dust from off its wings.


By William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

…and so it begins

Here in SoCal, there are unusual excessive heat warnings for the coast; it could reach 105 degrees today. It was 87 degrees at 8:00 a.m. and now it’s 101 at 11:00 a.m. HOT!

The National Weather Service announced red flag warnings for high fire probability with humidity less than ten percent. The forecast also calls for areas of smoke. High heat records are being broken this weekend. Our desert temperatures could exceed 126 degrees. Crazy!

There’s ash on my car and deck from the fire in Alpine, fifty miles away in the east county. I tried to go for a walk at 7:15 and not only was it already too hot, but my breathing was compromised from the smoke so I had to turn back. As of right now, the (named) Valley fire is estimated to have burned 4,000 acres and is 0% contained. Ten structures have been destroyed.

And then I found this, the first one of the season. The first leaf fallen from the mulberry tree. Autumn in SoCal.

I see a few more yellow leaves up there; soon I’ll be raking them up and the branches will be barren.

Sometimes I hear the voice of my poetry professor and search for a poem to illustrate the bittersweet feelings of the changing season. This is a good one by Rossetti.

Autumn Song
Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems—not to suffer pain?

Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?
By DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI