Trust the wild flower

little pink flowers

Years ago, when all we had was three acres of canvas and long before we built our home in 2012, I wanted to have wildflowers, so I bought an $8 box of seed that promised to cover 100 square feet with wildflowers, dug a 10 by 10 foot square in the field and scattered the box’s contents.

For the rest of that summer, the square of dirt mostly remained a hapless square of dirt, with a handful of scraggly plants that did not cover 100 square feet with much of anything. It was not a success by any means.

The only memorable flower that did bloom was a fragile pink blossom with a yellow center. “Thank you,” I said to that flower, “At least I got one flower out of that box.”

Since then we have approached wildflowers a lot less wildly, purchasing plants that have advanced past seed, planting them strategically and letting them go. We now have lovely areas of cup plants, compass plants, coneflowers and black-eyed Susans, among others, that have seeded and gradually grown into colorful colonies.

Funny thing, though – every so often I’ll see a fragile little pink flower with a yellow center that has popped up in a random spot, a descendant of that first forlorn blossom in the 10 by 10 square of dirt, at least a decade ago now.

And this summer —

This summer, in an overgrown area so thick with woody vines and weeds that we have never bothered to try to clearing it, we have a veritable explosion of fragile pink flowers with yellow centers – dozens of them. There are also quite a few milkweed plants in that thicket, which monarchs love.

It seems leaving nature alone, patiently, is also a strategy.

My hapless square of dirt contributed to the overall beauty of this place after all, slowly and tenaciously and delightful-surprisingly. I gave up on that particular 10 by 10 square, which is now just another patch of grass, so the fragile little flower found another place to thrive.

Lesson learned. Beauty will find a way. Expect surprise.


On seeing

on seeing

Sitting with a vast vista of water in front of me and looking at Facebook. As an article loaded, I looked up and saw. What was I thinking? Powering down now.

(Facebook post of June 24, 2013.)

Attic: 5 songs to evoke summer

It’s been a cool and wet spring here this year – people have been making a lot of jokes about summer only lasts 24 hours in Wisconsin (and voiced a lot of concern whether the corn crop will actually reach “knee high by the Fourth of July” this year).

In truth, it’s only today that summer even begins, officially, with the solstice. Sometimes “that was the longest day of my life” is voiced in exasperation, but when you’re talking about hours of daylight, it’s just fine. People like walking in sunshine, and the more the merrier.

The sun is coming up this morning; maybe it’s been waiting for the music … Continue reading “Attic: 5 songs to evoke summer”

W.B.’s Book Report: The Book Thief

book thief

[While combing the catacombs, I came across this review from five years ago. I can’t change a word, except that I loved the book so much, I bought a permanent copy. – wpb]

And there it was, as the Kindle told me I was passing 95%, a rare and welcome surge of sadness, not because the book is coming to a sad ending, but simply because it is coming to an ending. The author earns the tears with his characters and storytelling, but the tears are also from the ache of a beloved journey reaching its destination. Continue reading “W.B.’s Book Report: The Book Thief”

Screenings: Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones Season 3

I think it was George Reeves and The Adventures of Superman who got me hooked on superhero adventures, and it was definitely Amazing Spider-Man #4 that put me over the edge.

Detective stories came later. Sit me down with a good Harry Bosch novel and I’m in heaven. If we’re looking for something new to watch on the telly, I’ll browse through the procedurals first.

I never heard of the comic book Alias until a few years back when Netflix announced that Jessica Jones was going to be one of its four Marvel superheroes series – but a hard-boiled detective who has superpowers and is played by Jesse Pinkman’s sultry girlfriend from Breaking Bad? Talk about cross-pollinating my favorite genres – I was in before I saw minute one. Continue reading “Screenings: Jessica Jones”

Be a gardener

be a gardener

The delight in this quote comes, to me, not from what it says, although it is delightful, and not from who wrote it, for he wrote many delightful things, but from the totally unexpected place where he wrote it. Delight can be found even in the darkest places and times.

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

“It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Uncle Warren’s Attic: Wanting to Live Forever

planning the week

I wrote this song 33 1/3 years ago – two chords and a phrase – on a morning when I felt just the way it says – and writing the first verses opened up the final answers that flowed out in the climax.

It did not take long to write. That day I fully understood the concept that songs, poems, stories, are all just out there waiting to be discovered, waiting for someone willing to be a vessel for the words and music, because I don’t know another explanation for how this song got written. It seemed to come out of nowhere, and at the same time it expressed something deep inside me. Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: Wanting to Live Forever”