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The Snow Crocus

Friends, I haven't been going out to the greenhouse much for the past few months. It's been rainy and cold, and while last year I had a working heater in there, it's a no go this year -- electrical issues. Almost everything in there was dead or dying, just like the rest of the plants in the yard, and boo hoo, it just wasn't the same. But this morning I went out there, and what did I find? Pot after pot with bulbs popping up (yes!), and yep, still a huge mess to clean up. I needed a pair of scissors to start chopping away and clearing out the dead plants, and I started heading out the door when I spotted something orange blooming. I stepped closer, looked down, and the orange snow crocus introduced itself. Crouching down, I felt the most wonderful promise of spring coming, and blessed those delicate blooms from my deepest heart.  I've never had a snow crocus before, but I've got more that should bloom soon in the kitchen, along with my beautiful red and pink tuli
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Rise of the Elephant Ears

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Hymn to the Greenhouse

 Hello, friends, and Happy Sunday. The last few days have been cool -- we are leaving summer behind for good now. I've been out in the greenhouse cleaning up a bit; I've neglected it these first five weeks of school, but I'm ready to start planting again and ready for the fall and winter chapel version. We'll need new hymns, I think, and old ones, to stir the soul. I grew up on hymns... "How Great Thou Art," "Great is Thy Faithfulness," "Softly and Tenderly," and many more.  Today, as I worked and sipped a Blood Mary with thyme from my garden and garlic salted cucumber (also homegrown and sliced with love), I listened to a band called Fear & Fable, and their tune "Hymn," featured on the album Fleurie . We love with the senses, don't we, as much as anything, and the fresh, cool taste of cucumber and tomato juice remind me. If you'd like to try the recipe,  Give it Some Thyme And it seems to me, listening, that a hymn is

Cicada Song

(borrowed from  Obviously Chloe They're back, and they are mighty --- out in full force, showing off. Cousin to the leafhopper and froghopper, I hear. And while I listen, I am also tuning in to Jubilee Circle , the community church I attend (virtually, at the moment). The service began with a gentle piece on violin. Via Positiva Theme: remaining open. Hearts wide open. One blink away from being fully awake (thank you, Pema Chodron). We need something to wake us up. Drumbeat, sage, find the four directions, and listen to the voices of the cicada. Most of the time it lives underground, growing for years into an adult. Cicadas drink the sap from trees, and in large swarms cause destruction. This year is the once in 17-year mating cycle, according to  Jason Slotkin of NPR.  Cicadas mean summer. They are invested in mating. What is it, friends, that we are investing ourselves in? Does the soul stand a chance in this withering political climate? Have you heard of the cicada kil


Today, I ventured out to the greenhouse and worked in there for about 20-30 minutes. Even with the small box window airconditioner and the ocillating fan that belonged to my mother, the heat was intense enough that I was covered in sweat in about 10 minutes. Surprisingly, I did not mind it. I felt, in fact, vigorously alive, purged, and ... well, like I was having a spiritual experience. I understood what it might be like to be in a sweat lodge except my version is a small forest of green humidity. I have been reading  My Experience in an Inipi Native American Sweat Lodge Ceremony  -- and learning. The author, Michael Chary, mentions the "bogus sweat lodge ceremony in Arizona" where people died: "A new age group outside of Sedona was running a large “sweatbox” with 50 to 60 people inside – about five times the number of people normally welcomed into a lodge. The “ceremony” took place at a for-profit resort without native sanctioning or supervision. A clear example o

"I Weep for Narcissus"

I've just started reading The Alchemist with a few colleagues in a virtual book club. The book opens with a story of how the lake pined for Narcissus when he was drowned. You know the story of Narcissus. He admired his reflection a little too well, for he was beautiful, and this led to his demise. However, the lake did not notice that he was beautiful. It grieved and yearned for Narcissus because when it looked at him, it saw the beauty in itself reflected in his eyes. (Painting by  John William Waterhouse ) There is also a flower called Narcissus, also known as daffodil or jonquil. I don't have any in my garden at the moment, but I can't think of jonquils without remembering Joanne Woodward's delightful performance of the mother (Amanda) in The Glass Menagerie. There's a scene in which she recalls her youth and a variety of gentleman callers, and how she had "malaria fever" but went out anyway, just taking quinine and carrying on. In those days, s

Reaping What I Sow

That's the essence of karma, isn't it, and really the core of the golden rule as well: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you... because that's probably how it's going to work out. The hurt we caused years ago may come back to humble us in the form of a humiliating sting or a gaping heart wound today. We often reap what we sow, and it's great in the garden. It can be great in everyday life, in our spiritual work, too, if we are sowing good seeds full of grace and compassion. (painting by  Carol Wisniewski ) I don't know if you've ever caused any pain to other people, but I have --- and I've written about it before, and worked to forgive myself, and all those kinds of spirtual practices, but I still regret it. I've never understood when people say they don't have any regrets. I remember hearing a friend say that once in front of his wife, whom he had hurt terribly at one time -- to the point that they divorced, but later remarrie