Monday, September 09, 2019

A Little Taste of Heaven

My two young granddaughters and I travelled to Pennsylvania this summer with my daughter who was doing research at Bucknell University. We stayed at a wonderful farm B&B in Lancaster County. Tucked away among vast acres of corn, the farm was a haven from the bustle of Lewisburg. We were free to roam the barns and yard, to peek at the newborn kittens and, when the chore bell rang after breakfast, to help feed the animals before taking a wagon ride tour of the neighboring farms. When we were introduced to her dad, Jim, and later to her mom, Mim, our host Jodi asked if any of us had ever stayed on a farm before. I confessed that I’d grown up doing chores at a dairy farm, had once milked cows, helped put the hay in and had even driven a tractor. My dad raised chickens when I was a child, and when I was in my forties, my own family homesteaded in Vermont, raising pigs and chickens, and growing a huge vegetable garden for home consumption. For the rest of our stay, I was known as “the farm lady.”

If you appreciate hospitality without undue hovering; if you love the sound of locusts buzzing, of murmuring chickens, and the bleat of goats and baas of sheep; if you’re delighted with barn cats who butt your outstretched hand with their warm heads, begging for a pat; if you can hear the whispered secrets of a million corn leaves in the breeze or lose yourself in the silence of a sunset; if swooping barn swallows and cleanly swept barnyards delight you, if rockers on the porch whisper your name; if baked oatmeal with blueberries, chocolate chip pancakes, melt-in-your-mouth egg dishes with ham or spinach, and crispy breakfast potatoes sound delicious; if an immaculate room, a comfortable bed, and air filled with the scent of roses appeals to you, you might want to book a spot at The Country Log House Farm B&B ( Tell them the farm lady sent you.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Runaway Memory


behind the library
that used to be the grammar school
where the old yellow bus
cranked open its doors and
spilled us out like
so many windup toys from a bucket
there’s a patch of mowed grass
smothered in bluets
and dotted with white violets
surrounded by pine trees
I clearly remember sitting under
with Donny and Raymond
my two best friends
since none of the girls would
play with me given I was fearfully shy
and dressed in the fringed cowgirl
skirt I got for Christmas
instead of a twirly skirt with crinoline

many of the venerable pines have fallen
since my school days
their brick colored insides scraped by a foraging bear
looking for grubs, maybe
(I saw the claw marks in the soft wood
and the dark distinct mass of its calling card
in the grass at the top of the knoll)
Pine Knoll they called this place
the stretch of green grass that grew straight to the edges
before dropping off in root-gripped cliffs that fell to the swamp
a great circle of grass humps and fetid water I once escaped through
darting off in the opposite direction when
Teacher headed the line into school after recess
sliding down a short cliff and hummock-hopping
my way to the main street before hooking a right onto
my home road and showing up at the door
startling my mother.

She didn’t send me back that day
let me sit instead on the porch swing with my PBJ
and a glass of milk contemplating my deed
I still don’t regret it and only wish escape was as easy now

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Color Me Green

New green against morning blue.

My eight-year-old granddaughter is very interested in knowing everyone’s favorite color - Mama’s, Papa’s, sister Lily’s, mine. She insisted I pick just one so I told her without hesitation that my favorite color is green. And that’s true, but so is blue in any shade from robin’s egg to cerulean, and every hue of orange with the exception of neon, rust being a definite. I’m partial to pale yellow fading to cream, and the pink that appears on the horizon at dawn. In fact, pink in every shade (though no hot pink, please) pleases me, as do various shades of brown.  I once had my colors done and was told my palette was definitely pastel. No violent colors for me, red least of all. I like red mixed with yellow, though, and when you mix red with blue I love the vast array of available purples.

Still, if I had to pick just one color it would be green; grass green and pea soup green, hemlock green, the blue green of spruce and every shade of leaf. I like lime and mint greens, military green and khaki on the green side.

According to color psychology, green is the color of equilibrium and harmony, balancing the heart and the emotions. It is also the color of growth and of spring. It restores depleted energy, creating a sanctuary from stress and increases our sense of well-being.

“Green encompasses the mental clarity and optimism of yellow with the emotional calm and insight of blue, inspiring hope and a generosity of spirit.” So says one color psychology site ( When I think of the way I operate in the world, I can see that’s true. I’m a green girl, wanting to understand everything and needing to share what I learn.

I once had a favorite green blouse that made me feel all-of-a-piece when I wore it.  The gray green of unripe olives, the color complemented the yellow in my hair and the pink of my skin. I’d put it on and conquer the world every time. I wore it to shreds.

John Denver’s song, Cool and Green and Shady is one of my favorites. I love green leafy things to eat – spinach, lettuce, beet greens, cabbage, Brussels sprouts – and have decorated my living space in varying shades of blue-green.

I can get lost in the blue of the sky, ooooh and aaaahhh over pink sunsets, dress in shades of russet and brown, but hands down, green is the color I’d wrap my world in if given the choice of just one color.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Something Different

Many of you know that my poetry is mostly about nature but now and then I take a fit and write about something else. This particular night my cat woke me at midnight. I’m not at my best in the middle of the night but when I opened the door to let the cat out, the stars were right there, right there! and the big dipper was so close I could have touched it. This is what happened:

Who Knows Where This Stuff Comes From

In an alternate universe
that only looked like this familiar one
the Big Dipper leaned down over my doorstep
so I climbed in.

Did you know that stars
are really bits of music,
notes that quiver on their way
through the black, limitless space?

They sing
of glistening rivers on fog-mist mornings,
of tumbled brown soil and all that’s green and living,
of whales and cormorants,
komodo dragons and people,
and other ordinary things.

They sing of longing
and belonging.
They are the tears of sorrow and laughter
that gather in the corners
of our eyes and slip down,
down to the earth,
where in an alternate universe
they become the Big Dipper
leaning over my doorstep.