Wildflower Power

Who doesn’t love flowers?  There seems to be even more of a special place in people’s hearts for the wildflowers found in nature.  Here in Oregon it is prime wildflower season. Some are even blooming currently in my new native plant garden.  Especially prevalent right now are camas (Camas quamash), beautiful blue-violet spikes of star-like flowers that pop up in the meadows.  They were a significant food source for the Native Americans that once inhabited the area

About 40 minutes away from my home in the town of West LInn a new Nature Conservancy site opened up last year, the Camassia Nature Preserve.  The 22 acre parcel is a mix of lush forest, meadows, and oak savannah with a boardwalk that meanders the main route. There is about 2 miles of hiking trails in the area. Also prevalent are glacial erratics- boulders from Montana and Canada that were dropped in this area after the great floods that occurred after the melting of the ice sheets that covered the north during the Ice Age.

Yesterday the weather was lovely, partly sunny and in the 60s, a welcome change from the rain and cool temperatures.  I decided to take a drive and check it out.  I was not disappointed!

Here are some of the things I saw in this special place.

A bit of wildflower trivia…

The reason you may often see the dazzling combination of bright yellow and purple wildflowers together is that it attracts pollinators- and humans seeking beauty.

And…my photos really don’t do this place justice!

A wild iris blooms in my garden
Wild Iris   
Looked what bloomed today!
a wild Iris
a queen amidst my garden
her lilac petals arch gracefully
like arms in a curtsy
about her throat a white collar
etched with fine black lines
with a blush of gold

Gaudy hybrids shout for my attention
down the driveway
but it's her sublime elegance
that captures my wild heart

My New Native Plant Garden Begins to Find It’s Voice

This post also may be seen on my sister blog onesweetearth.blog

Camas

It’s been a very cool spring – even by NW Oregon standards. April set a record for the wettest ever recorded so native plants planted in late February & Early March have been slow to emmerge. Still, it’s been thrilling to watch the ferns unfurl and various flowers to reveal themselves in my native plant garden. I’ve been adding some artistic touches with some old sculptures of mine scattered about the garden.

Front view

One great find at “Hortlandia” was a little table made of scrap wood for a top and legs of thick curly willow. I added two small benches cut from the stump of an old walnut tree that was taken out a few years ago. and sorely missed. Now I have benches to remember it by This area is my fairy tea spot.

Fairy tea nook
Continue reading “My New Native Plant Garden Begins to Find It’s Voice”

Have Some Magic With Your Tea? The Doodle Review 5/10/22

Every day when the sun comes up

I put on the kettle

and make a good cup

back to the pillows

doodle, write a poem or two

stir in some magic

now that’s a good brew!

The following are the last two weeks and some from my “doodle day planner”. Events often mirror what’s going on with my daily life- others are purely random.

Continue reading “Have Some Magic With Your Tea? The Doodle Review 5/10/22”

The Art of Finding Solace

In the last two weeks, I’ve buried three wild birds- a robin, a pine siskin, and a hummingbird- such a tiny, little body.  The last two were from my cat which makes it even worse.

Two dear friends were also lain to rest from this life.  One passed away unexpectedly in his sleep.  The other reached the end of an eight-year struggle with ovarian cancer.

The events in Ukraine disturb me daily.  The weather has been unusually cold and wet on top of such sorrow.

Continue reading “The Art of Finding Solace”

You Don’t Have to be Good

“Wild Geese” – a Tribute to Mary Oliver

The title of this post is the first line of Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese.”

The poem continues:

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves……

I came upon this poem years ago.  It was the first poem that I loved, that I could pull around me like a homemade quilt.  It became my anthem of sorts. 

Now the interesting thing is Oliver did not set out to write a greatest hit, nor any work of great meaning.  According to an interview with OnBeing, she created this poem quite informally to illustrate the difference between end-stopped lines and enjambment to another poet.  But words are powerful and when she released this poem to the world it spoke deeply to many people.  It’s become one of her most loved poems.

For me, it permitted me to do the work I needed to do regardless that I sucked.  Do it anyway.  Over the years I’ve agonized over my work like every other creative, but her poem on my wall makes me understand that it’s not the likes, the money, or the accolades.  I do not have to suffer for my art. Ultimately, it’s the daily practice of doing and honing my craft. It’s what my soul calls to me to do (which did not include quitting my day job). 

Time is no excuse. Write the poems in grocery lines, at stoplights (using voice memo), doodle designs in boring meetings.  The dream won’t happen unless you do it- unless you listen to the voice of the wild geese within.

I never was interested in poetry until I read “Wild Geese” until I read Mary Oliver and discovered more poetry.  Now I write it.  Here is the poem in its entirety…

Continue reading You Don’t Have to be Good

Rewriting My Personal Script

I have had this unfolding conclusion that I do not have to accept my own mythology, my notions of limitations and inabilities, as written by others or by myself.

My first inkling of this concept was in my junior year of college.  One of the most popular electives on campus was “ballroom dancing”.  As a child, I was told indirectly that I was clumsy and uncoordinated by family nicknames that were not so endearing. I bought into it telling myself I could not do a cartwheel or any of the other physical badges of honor that young girls collect.  Still, I needed an elective and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Lo and behold I proved myself wrong.  I was doing the jitterbug, swing, rumba, waltz, and the like.  Not only was I good, but I also loved it!

A more difficult life script to rewrite was the notion of “I’m not good enough” which I dragged around since childhood like a large overstuffed suitcase (without wheels).  This one is rather toxic for the soul, especially if one is an artist or writer, like me.  It’s the one that tells me “I can’t, I’m too old, I’m too flawed, I don’t have the right training, I’m too this, too that.”

Three years ago at age 63, I decided that, no, I wasn’t too old to pick up the guitar again, traded in my old one for a lovely tenor guitar I love, and started to take lessons.  I don’t learn as quickly as in my younger years but I am so grateful I got over myself and started again.  What a joy music brings! A year before that I started to write even though, no, I was not an English major- but so what. I’ve gotten better. I have two blogs, I’ve gotten published but beyond all that I love the process. All from recrafting my story.

I found that I can rewrite that, ?YES, I am good enough and I will commit to honing my craft no matter where I am at be it as a visual artist, writer, musician or ____________.

An advantage of meditation is being able to recognize that old script playing in my head.  I can disagree with that voice in my head, “Sorry, you are so WRONG!”, show that voice the door and change the station with a positive script that reads…

Yes I can

I shall

I will

(and sometimes it is after I take a nap.)

Your story can always be edited.

If given the chance

Choose to dance

Courtesy “The Crossroads of Should & Must “by Elle Luna

The Art of Being Outdated

I find it interesting how our culture puts so much value on vintage things but not vintage people.  Elders are often dismissed. Youth is revered.  On a construction job recently a contractor told my 71-year-old husband that he was “outdated” -never mind that he finished his work smoothly and on time.

Seriously.

Us older folks? Beneath our innocuous, wrinkled, gray, balding exteriors is a wealth of experience and wisdom.  The boomers of today were the changemakers and protestors of yesteryear.  My body is more fragile now but in return is insight and wisdom.  Contentment has replaced the incessant searching of youth. With a wealth of experience comes stories to be told.  Want to be entertained?  Drum up some conversation with an older person you would otherwise ignore

I let my hair go gray during covid ready to embrace my age. Why hide it?  There is nothing to be ashamed about.  This is me, I’ve survived and I have thrived.

Then, there’s something to be said of the people that can still navigate the world when the power goes out.

Antique

Of another era

high quality

lasting value

imbued with nostalgia

more durable than

its contemporaries

rich of character

often

an exterior well worn

hinting of

hidden stories

making it precious

an artifact even

sometimes

the most valuable

obscured with

the thickest layer of dust

images by Pixabay

Stop by my other blog on sustainable living, onesweetearth.blog

Sawmill Woman- My Story for Women’s History Month

I came of age in the late 1960s/ early 1970s in the Bay Area of California.  It was the age when women started to wake up from their subjugation in the so-called mans’ world. So began a rebellion of women demanding equal rights and opportunities that continues to this day. 

In 1976 I headed up to Alaska for a summer job that morphed into a 10-year stay.  Alaska was a perfect place for an independent, outdoorsy kind of woman to break down barriers.  Nobody blinked an eye if you built a cabin, commercial fished, mushed dogs, hunted, and the like.  Then in 1978, I met with my biggest obstacle- working in a sawmill as the only woman.  This is my story…

Sawmill Woman

The 6 1/2 mile mill, Wrangell, Alaska

On the first day of my new job, I drove the 6 ½ miles out the road with a lump in my stomach. My ’63 VW bug purred around the last bend and the sawmill came into view, a hulking, half- rusted sheet metal structure belching a billowing plume of steam from a tall stack. Shrieks and clanks of machinery inside clashed with the placid water of the canal and the misty islands beyond. This was not exactly in my life plan to work at a sawmill but there were no other options to be had in the small Southeastern Alaskan island town of Wrangell. It so happened when I needed a job, the 6 ½ mile mill needed an employee and a woman at that.

Continue reading “Sawmill Woman- My Story for Women’s History Month”

This Book Changed Me

In honor of Black History Month in February, I listened to The Warmth of Other Suns, the Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. This 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning epic by Isabel Wilkerson covers the previously poorly examined great migration of African-Americans to the northern and western cities to escape the racist Jim Crow policies of the southern states from 1914 to approx 1970.

The author follows three true characters during different times and from different areas of the south as they move north and west seeking better opportunities as well as a safer environment.  She also includes a multitude of interviews from the thousands she conducted in the making of this book.

What this book did for me was to illuminate the racism of Black Americans in a way I never understood before.  Growing up in the liberal Bay Area in the 1960s and 1970s and remaining in liberal areas (predominantly white at the time) I never understood what all the fuss was about.  The Civil War was over a hundred years back.  Hadn’t people moved on?  Jim Crow?  What was that?- Maybe a paragraph in my high school history book?  Fast forward to Donald Trump and the murder of George Floyd.  Talk about a wake-up call.

After reading this book I realized that enslaved African Americans never were truly freed in the south.  Jim Crow laws enacted after the civil war ensured that they still had few rights. They could not vote or often could not earn enough money to buy land.  Black citizens were intimidated, harassed, and often lynched.  Even a move north could be life-threatening. It was difficult for me to read about the horrors inflicted by whites on black citizens.

The irony is even though the ones that escaped the South had more opportunities they dealt with their share of racism in their new homes that left many in a state of poverty to this day.  The hate and frustration still bubble- on both sides affecting policy current policy- especially in conservative states and the Republican party.

The Warmth of Other Suns is a must-read no matter what race or color you are.  It’s forced me to look at the USA in an entirely different context.  It’s very readable and well worth your time.

Sunflowers for Ukraine

Sometimes when there is a tragedy in a far-off place, the only thing one can do is perform symbolic gestures.  My family had ties to Ukraine until they fled violence 200 years ago.  Today people continue flee.  Since the invasion of Ukraine, I find solace in drawing, writing, and mending forgotten tears with a needle and thread.

Continue reading “Sunflowers for Ukraine”