Supernatural Spring

Nothing displays the virtue of the color green as the season of spring.

Lime green leaves on deciduous trees will turn tomato red come fall. The tips of the forest-green spruce are chartreuse green. The weak-limbed weeping willow trails two-story lacy chains of pale green. Stalwart green spikes hold fading daffodils, and even the most unkempt lawn is verdant.

Green pushes up from the soil and emerges from the branches hanging above.  The greening of the distant treeline allows even ancient half-dead trees to put on a show.

The green is on the land, for a precious few days. Suspended in the air, floating in the shifting light, low clouds, and mist. The birds sing of it, and the hidden frogs pipe its dance in ponds and swales.

Passing too quickly, a few eternal moments, and then gone for another year.

On Saturday morning while running errands, I detoured through the local small town community park. Neatly maintained pickle ball courts and baseball fields, a well-appointed playground. Gazebos for picnicking, and a small amphitheater for outdoor concerts. Early enough that the baseball crowd had not yet arrived.

A van pulled in. What appeared to be a mom and her perhaps seven-year-old son exited the vehicle and headed to the playground.

Mom looked straight ahead, her posture tired, a chronic condition of parenthood. Walking a few feet away, the boy scampered excitedly, looking expectantly at mom.

A moment in time. The poignancy of older and younger.  One whose path has led them here, and one whose path is being formed in this moment.

Two sides of life, both ordinary and extraordinary, in an instant.

A Quandary

I am unmoored.

Electric, yet residing in stones.  I do not walk on the ground—I am either above or beneath it.  I have always waited for the moon, where the light is comfortable and the reflections deep.

Most humans do not understand my language, so I expertly speak theirs. Sometimes I help them build, see, and hold.  I hide in plain sight.

Restrained.  I do poorly in captivity, even slipping out of the words that might describe me.

What am I?

The Willow

The sun glistens on the catkins of Salix discolor—the pussy willow—shining as the overnight frost melts.

Soft, tactile, and strong, the catkins uniformly pack branches of a tree that rivals a nearby spruce in height. Years ago, I harvested its bouquets of catkin wands and gave them away at local schools during the early spring. Over time, I realized the catkins that remained turned brilliant gold as they fill with pollen, offering the first feast of spring to hundreds of beneficial insects.  I do not harvest the wands anymore.

Like so many, the pussy willow has its roots in memory.  This tree is an echo of one I sprouted from a wand and planted in my mother’s garden as a child. I have always felt her in the deep wood of this bush that resides in my garden. But no more.

My mother died in the winter of her life, in the season just passed.  I realized today that her presence has also exited the willow.

Far from empty, the willow is transforming again—from bare branch, to catkin, to flower, and eventually into summertime leaf. Willows are known for their vigorous roots and this bush is well planted.  The wood is no longer of memory, but of self-agency.  Pure life in its own right, unwound from story and seeking the sun and moon of its own journey.

I think my mother would have appreciated that.

The Golden Hour

Weekend morning, quiet. Peerless blue sky as the rising sun stretches into my space.

The light illuminates the desert colors of this room, lingering longest on the desk at which I write.

The desk, a tiger oak C-curve roll top, is far older than me. I am a part of its life, which will continue when my journey is ended.  On days like this, the sun’s spotlight beckons. The wood glows with a patina gained only through quality craftsmanship and decades of use.  The gravity is inescapable.

During the Golden Hour, the busyness of life is clear and the profundities of the seasons of human life felt acutely. Reflection too, is inescapable.

My laptop rarely visits this desk. This is a handmade corner, where pens, pencils, and paper still hold sway.

Desks are uniquely human. They hold, motivate, and provide. Desks are made of wood, metal, plastic, and found objects. Rarely appreciated but faithful nonetheless, especially during the Golden Hour.


It was cold today, 25F.  The clouds are closing the distance on the setting sun. Above the cloud deck, a patch of vibrant blue sky.

Chasing the sun down the vault of the heavens, a vibrant contrail shines in the bending light. A brilliant shooting star tracking toward the horizon before the clouds pull the curtain.


Snowfall overnight.  Only the streetlamps are bright, cloudy with a few stars.

Walking in tire tracks, I turn the corner on an untrammeled snowy road.  Four inches of unbroken snow blankets door to door and down the street.  No tire tracks, human, or animal prints.

Walking down the middle of the street, the snow glistens. The impossibly unplanned sparkles that dazzle even in low light.  At street end, the tracks of a car leaving for work breaks the spell.

Behind me, a solitary braid of footprints leads from where I once was. A lifetime in a glance.

Footprints made of water last no longer than those held by tidal sand—a presence momentarily registered on an endlessly changing canvas.

Lucy Atop the Clock

Lucy waits each day away

Darling Reginald came not to play.

Nor even say “hello.”

The sun has come and sets again

Each morning Lucy rises alone.

If Wishes were Horses

The dried seed head of Allium cristophii is the size of a small cantaloupe. In bloom, the silvery violet florets create a globe atop a single stem that bears a strong resemblance to stars.  The common name of the bulb is Persian onion or “Star of Persia.”

Dried, the flowers that formed the sphere give way to a multitude of spokes, each ending in a star-shaped array that nestles a tiny niche of seeds within.

One such seed head resides in my office.  Dust is caught in its starry arms, even as its seeds quietly wait.

This seed head was once a magic wand in the hands of my youngest. I remember the last wish he conferred before he grew up and blew away in the autumn wind. That was years ago.

Only the wind can restore magic to this wand, and the seed wishes that remain. Stepping outside, leaves impatiently rustle under foot, the wind is high under a grey sky. I ruffle the seed head. The spokes break, the seeds are released from sleep to continue their long-lost journey, and the stem drops to decay.  Last wishes.

Killing Frost

It had to happen.

On this morning, the flowers are more brilliant than before.  Brittle frosted petals, leaves, buds. Deepened color in the autumn garden, a medieval sketch of high linear detail, a confection of final color — red, blue, yellow, green, orange. No feature missed. Paused in perfection, flowers held taut in icy fingers.

With the day, the frost relents, the flowers sag to brown mush. A slow exhalation of the garden into the coming season.  Until next year.