Here in a quiet and dusty room they lie,
Faded as crumbled stone or shifting sand,
Forlorn as ashes, shrivelled, scentless, dry –
Meadows and gardens running through my hand.
In this brown husk a dale of hawthorn dreams;
A cedar in this narrow cell is thrust
That will drink deeply of a century’s streams;
These lilies shall make summer on my dust.
Here in their safe and simple house of death,
Sealed in their shells, a million roses leap;
Here I can blow a garden with my breath,
And in my hand a forest lies asleep.
– Muriel Stuart
I fell in love with this wild rose bush over the winter. Finding her was like walking into the promise of one of my favorite poems.
With the help of my loyal photo assistant, Ellen, I’m planning to take photos in this spot over the next few months and watch this rose unfold its “givingness.”
Sometimes it’s these unexplainable little projects that wake me up at night. And I have to follow them. I have to follow the calling of the wild rose.
How it stands out against the darkenings
of the rainy evening, young and pure,
its tendrils arched everywhere in givingness
yet absorbed in its own rose-being;
the shallow flowers, already open here and there,
each unasked for and untended:
thus, immeasurably exceeded by itself
and indescribably self-aroused,
it calls to the wander, who in his evening
meditating comes past along the road:
Oh look at me, see, over here, how safe I am
and unprotected and having all I need.
— Rainer Maria Rilke
I find many poems,
and bits of wild
carried home in my pockets.
Every day, he says,
“I want to make something, Mama.”
as he drags a chair across from the table to the butcher block
stands up tall
next to me,
I’ve been making something
with a little person (or two, or three)
next to me,
for more than 13 years.
it wears me out.
I dream about being alone
But other days I stand in awe
of how this simple act
repeated over and over again,
alchemy in the kitchen,
in the garden,
has shaped their hands,
made my life,
nourished our family.
The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
He thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed
that the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
descending in the dark?
The Man Born to Farming by Wendell Berry
Here we are, in our winter greenhouse, on January first. Unveiling the hardy greens that have survived the cold nights. This is the perfect place to begin our year together. Side-by-side. Grounded in home.
Writing at dusk, writing by candlelight, writing under overcast skies. . .
Deep in this work right now. Back and forth from page to screen; type to text. Sometimes lost in these words and sometimes found. Asking the difficult questions: does this work matter? And is it true?