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Showing posts from May, 2011

So You'd Know I Was Here

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"i thank you God for most this amazing"

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings; and of the gay
great happening ilimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any - lifted from the no
of all nothing - human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)  -- by e. e. cummings

For My Father

You were never much of a hunter. Pheasants, yes. Squirrels and chipmunks, I suppose, when you were younger. But you never came home from a weekend away with a buck in the bed of your truck, because you never had much interest in deer season opener and you owned a sedan. I imagine some people from other places can hardly conceive of a Midwestern man without a shotgun over his mantle, a closet full of blaze-orange jackets, a copy of Field and Stream next to the john. And yet when I think of you, I do see an outdoorsman. I see you paying attention to landscapes, to the clouds. I see you teaching me to love the world.
*** 
The remainder and revised version of this essay will appear in Literary Mama's summer 2014 edition.  Click on over to read the rest.

Plant Literate #4: Tarda Tulip

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I love the way Gustavus Adolphus College lives on top of a hill. I love its river valley, its view of the fog that lifts off the moving water in the morning, its wide skies. I love the highest pane of the highest window on the highest floor of Old Main, especially at dusk. I love its crab apple trees. I love its open lawns. I love its sidewalks. And even more than these, I love the friendships I formed as I strolled those sidewalks, reclined on those lawns, studied under those trees, stared out from that window, and hiked up and down that hill toward or away from that valley the four years I was a student there. Gustavus gave me an education, yes. But it also gave me friends who are as bright and assured and open as flowers. We see each other less now than we did then, but when we reunite, it is always always spring.

Some of them joined me for a picnic last night among the thousands of tulips that are up at the Arb. Don't get me wrong: I can point out a tulip. Almost every Minneso…

Sniff This

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The blossoms, that is. Not my husband.  :)  It is HEAVEN here, folks. Hope you're getting outside.

My (Almost-Tragic) Hail Story

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This is a scene from last Monday.

Hubs and I are giddy. It is 88', and humid, the kind of humid you complain about in June, July, and August, but in May, it is all good, baby, in fact it is down right sublime. "Give me more of this stuff!" I yell out at the edge of the deck--I am perched there, reveling in the sensation of sweat--and the words fly back at me atop hot, fat wind. See, along with the humidity, the 7:00 night is cooking up a whole mix of tight, angry air. Dark clouds are rising higher and higher along the south skyline. It's storm weather.

Yet this doesn't bother us. Anything severe usually comes our way from the northwest, and we simply cannot stay in on such a summer-like night. So we pull on shorts and t-shirts, strap into sandals, and hop on our bikes.
For the record, I do look back and up over my shoulder more than once. I notice it: the clouds aren't just dark. They're a kind of a pink-orange black. One of us says, "Are you sure this…

Oh, Hello

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Lowry Nature Center

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Nothing gets me like a nice day's walk through wooded hills, so when I took my first true-spring tour around the Lowry Nature Center acreage last Friday, I was beside myself with delight. Have you been here? If you're a southwestern Minneapolis metro dweller and you just shook your head no, you have a drive to make, friend, and a set of trails to explore. I mean it.



As a part of the Carver Park Reserve and Three Rivers Park District, the Lowry Nature Center's 250 acres include eight miles of trails, habitats that vary from hardwood forests to tamarack bogs, and a diverse array of wildlife. During my afternoon walk, I was most impressed by the birds. At one point--after I sat down beside a sunny pond and was quiet--I had a white crane fishing for dinner on my left, two Canadian geese touching beaks on my right, five wood ducks flitting nervously atop the water, any number of marsh wrens and black-capped chickadees leaping from one limb to the next behind me, and a red-winge…

Plant Literate #3: Forsythia

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Here is one of my sixty before sixty goals: to have someone name a flowering plant Foremily.

When I was two I would have been drawn to forsythia. Always, always, always I have loved effusions of blossoms. They transport me somewhere magical, and it's an especially potent trip here in Minnesota because these colorful displays come off of months of white. But I've never known it's name. Never known anything about it except for it's beauty. Now I know these things: this variety is called the Northern Sun, it was introduced by the U of M specifically for colder climate cultivation in 1982, and it's thriving here now, in spite of those 30' nights. Also, I know that someday I will plant one or ten of these in my yard, and herald its spring blooms with my whole heart.

Amateur Naturalist

Sometimes I feel like an idiot. How has it taken me twenty-nine years to learn that the sometimes tall/ sometimes short/ sometimes bushy plant that is always green but is not an evergreen tree that lined our yard when I was nine is called arborvitae? How do I not know the differences between petunias and pansies? Why can't I classify that bird call if I have heard it all my life? Shame, ladies and gentlemen, swells up.

But then--thankfully, because where would I be if the other side of my inner-voice wasn't encouraging and gentle?--I start to write down the names of plants and animals I can name, that I hold in the store of my memories: garter snake, blackbird, robin, mourning dove, bullfrog, salamander, eastern cottontail, white-tailed deer, muskrat, porcupine, cardinal, bluejay, crow, black-capped chickadee, blue heron, lilac, snowdrop, striped and siberian squill, maple, oak, birch, pine, weeping willow, crab apple, chipmunk, grey squirrel, striped skunk, goldenrod, black-ey…