Late bloomers


Late bloomers bide their time…storing up all their energy, while the others profligately expend theirs throughout the summer. When the others are spent and tired…resigned to the coming of winter, late bloomers aren’t fooled…and have another plan. They let go all their inhibitions in the face of the approaching darkness…and go out in a blaze of glory.

Of wetness and wildness

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
Oh let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

~Gerard Manley Hopkins

A steady, cool rain this morning in the Carolinas. Gray skies above…but all below is cloaked in spring green and wetness. Birds are singing, nonetheless. The soft coos of the mourning dove…the mysterious flute-like tones of the thrush emanating from some nonspecific location in the woods…the white-throated sparrow, sadly elegizing old Sam Peabody. The blue flag Irises just barely containing themselves…waiting expectantly for the warm rays of the sun to help them burst forth and contribute to the splendor of the world.

Then there is Esmeralda, the reddish-brown feral chicken, with her new suitor who arrived on the scene this week, a black and white rooster (who I’ve since named ‘Q’). They’ve been inseparable…as they wander about in the drizzle foraging for their sustenance…Q occasionally stopping in his tracks…flapping his wings…and then belting out his cock-a-doodle-doo, ostensibly warning off any would-be rivals.

Greenness…wetness…grayness…birds…flowers…all playing their part in ushering in the season.

It doesn’t have to be

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

~ Mary Oliver, Praying

Coming across this poem by Mary Oliver, I was reminded that…It doesn’t have to be the blue iris that draws my attention…and humbles me before the handiwork of the Beloved. It doesn’t have to be the spectacular vision for which we’re always searching…the glorious sunset…the snow-capped mountain range.  All of creation…even the very simplest of things…can be a beckoning that invites us into intimate conversation with mystery.

Deep magic

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

~ Arthur C. Clarke, Law #3 from Clarke’s Three Laws

There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ve reached this point…although sadly, we tend to take it for granted these days. A little over one mile down the road on which I live stands a rather smallish black box, perched atop a wooden post…now engulfed in wild Japanese and Trumpet Honeysuckle. I visit this box once or twice a week…open the door…and peer inside.

magic box

A short time ago, I was visiting a classroom in a local middle school, and during a break in the action of our geomentoring activity, I spotted an interesting-looking book on a nearby shelf…Earth: An Intimate History
 by Richard Fortey. I pulled out my iPhone…searched on Amazon…found the book…and purchased it…all within the span of a few minutes. And then, just as quickly…I forgot about my little spontaneous transaction.

A couple of days later I paid a visit to my mailbox. Upon opening the door, I was pleasantly surprised that the book had magically materialized within this little portal to another dimension…the inner workings of which were not readily discernible to the naked eye. Magic? Or the endpoint of a sufficiently advanced technology?

EarthIf one didn’t have any idea of what was going on behind the scenes…and what sort of technological wizardry was involved…it would be difficult to be sure.

Before the rains

Ah, the knowledge of impermanence

that haunts our days

is their very fragrance.

~ Rainier Maria Rilke

Early morning here in the Carolinas was chilly…37 degrees on this late April day. I was glad that I had taken a day off from work. It looked to be a beautifully clear day ahead of me. A Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) was paying another visit…with its sweet, melodious voice filling the air. Later in the morning, I planted a small Wisteria vine (Wisteria frutescens) close to the front porch. I’ve always admired the purple-violet blooms that hang from these vines. There is a very invasive species of Wisteria, Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), that is widespread throughout the Southeast. They’re in full bloom in this area…the vines…pendulous with lavender-purple flowers… winding their way high into trees. Invasive…but very beautiful. The species that I planted is native to America, and supposedly less aggressive in nature…but I’ll keep my clippers handy…just in case.

I made another pleasant discovery this morning. There’s Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) growing down near the road. Also known as Coral Honeysuckle, it’s native to this area. The distinctive perfoliate leaves directly below the flowers completely surround the stem.

trumpet honeysuckle

Later…as I headed out to do some grocery shopping…I spied something lumbering across the gravel road ahead. I slowed down and carefully avoided it. I pulled the car along the side of the road, got out, and went to take a closer look. It was a turtle…I think, an Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina). As I approached, it emitted a raspy gargling, sighing sound. I didn’t know if it was trying to intimidate me…or what? It was about six inches wide. I wasn’t intimidated. Several times, it stopped in its tracks, and lifted one foot…rubbing it across its face, in a salute-like gesture. I decided that it was trying to tell me, “Stop gawking and get me off this damn road!”


So I carefully lifted it by grasping the turtle by its carapace…making sure my hand wasn’t in biting distance…just in case. I carried the turtle into the woods a bit…and laid it down on a bed of pine needles. Both of us then went our merry, separate ways…myself to the grocery store…the turtle, to who knows where.

By mid-afternoon, the temperature had risen a full 40 degrees. Ah…Spring! Before the rains come…


There’s a phantom, silvery, three-quarter moon hovering above…silently, in the clear blue sky. And this below…which has inexplicably materialized in the last few days…out of raw materials of earth, air, and water. The closer I look…the more silent I become.

blue iris