Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Another Ride on the Merry-go-round

Alstroemeria flowers ready for new life in the compost heap.

April 21

As I cleared the breakfast things and began straightening up, I decided to put the Easter tulips outdoors for planting later. I tapped off the few remaining flower petals and added them to the compost container along with some beautiful pink Alstroemeria flowers past their prime and beginning to strew themselves on the floor ~ like confetti.

I thought about the refuse meeting up in the compost – another kind of union – totally nondiscriminatory, diverse – a rich marriage of flower petals, banana peels, melon rinds, tea leaves and coffee grounds – strawberry tops and grapevine, with a few egg shells for muscle: entwining, binding, emerging in an alchemical miracle of new life forms – another ride on the merry-go-round. Meditation on where the beautiful black gold might end up could be an infinite list …but I have to do the dishes.

September 19
Further thoughts on the matter…

When I checked the spelling of Alstroemeria (to transcribe Journal to blog) I couldn’t resist reading more in Wikipedia. The lovely plant is also called Peruvian Lily and Lily of the Incas. How exotic, what increased status they’ll now enjoy as I cut the long stems to make a bushier bouquet in my rotund turquoise vase. Bill brings them home from the supermarket, usually choosing a color in the pink range that I love and of which I never tire, although one would think I’d be bored to tears with them by now. They have a vase life of two weeks! ( "life" being loosely defined as one can see in the photo above)

But just think …they have a long lineage and the distinct morphology of being resupinate. (Well ok, I had a little time on my hands, so here‘s the scoop):

The genus was named for the Swedish baron Clas Alströmer (Claus von Alstroemer 1736 - 1794) by his close friend Carolus Linnaeus. The plant's seeds were among many collected by Alströmer on a trip to South America in 1753.
Perhaps the most fascinating- and telltale- morphological trait of Alstroemeria and its relatives is the fact that the leaves are resupinate, that is, they twist from the base so that what appears to be the upper leaf surface is in fact the lower leaf surface.
I would, of course, love to write an essay on that topic alone. Isn’t it what we read in the newspapers and hear on the news day after day after day …but I have to do the dishes.

Hidden Hollow Journal
~ essays and poetry from a garden ~

~ Next Excerpt ~
April 30

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Hidden Hollow - my herb garden, July 2012

July's garden is hostile territory
in its' fever pitch of adolescence,
arrogance and overabundance -
boisterous – boasting its' beauty; flaunting
young blossoms in shades of pink and cream,
oblivious to the coming chill of fall,
icy wind of winter waiting
to lock the gates of Eden.

The old woman sinks low
in the Adirondack chair
by the mint beds and peonies,
withered brown petals at her feet,
just a memory of June blossoms,
exquisite before the rains
that never fail to bend their pride -
beat down their beauty.

Again she asks the questions – again –
of the peach poppies, the blue stars of borage,
the mop-heads of purple bee balm
bent over sage and thyme – listening.
She touches the granite stone,
piece of silver schist, pale driftwood
and snail shells - tokens of Maine
for her garden at home.

A sparkle of silver draws her eye.
A flash of glass slippers – an illusion -
just sandals of make believe diamonds:
flip-flops on a young girl,
ear buds in her ears,
like snail shells – listening 
to the boisterous sounds of isolation
in her garden of thirteen.

submitted for

Monday, September 17, 2012

Raised Beds in a Sunken garden

April 12

Raised Beds in a Sunken Garden

This morning the lumber yard delivered boards for Bill to build four large raised beds for the garden.

April 13
Names & Dreams

Planted more seeds indoors today: rosemary, lupines, dianthus, foxglove, coriander, pink poppy, forget-me-not, achillea “The Pearl”, and thyme. As I write their names I smell the sweet scents and see the haze of pinks and purples; the perfection of a dream that is a garden of the future.

April 15
Worms & Pine Coffins

Worked on raised beds – finished – and digging. Worms, worms, worms everywhere! A worm or two in every forkful. It’s opening day of trout season. If I’d known we had so many worms I’d have put a box at the road: “Free worms for fishing”. But fishermen go out at first light – I found the worms too late. I worry that I can’t help stabbing them with the tines of my fork.

Bill said the raised beds look like coffins (what an ironic juxtaposition of words: raised and coffins). They do though. Right now they are arranged symmetrically in the lower garden - - - 4’ x 10’ boxes, each with its inner corner cut on an angle like the old pine coffins. I have considered asking to be buried in a pine box, no cement liner or silk lined casket. Why not – most likely the preponderance of coffins in the Line Cemetery are pine boxes – or were. The work of worms made easier and speedier dispersal of the molecules that were us to the soil and water and air – perhaps to heaven.

September 17,
Looking Backward: September-April

The Journal is open in front of me as I type the handwritten script. To my right, in a glaringly sunny window, is the pot of rosemary I bought in the spring. I brought her in yesterday to keep her safe from the frost we can expect any night now. I glance over, reminding myself to transplant her to a larger pot soon and find a cool window for winter survival; she’ll perish in the dry air upstairs.

The rosemary plants I grew from seed did well after a long germination period but most were smothered under the fabulous rue and sage plants by the middle of July, as were most of the seedlings in the little clay pots I placed amidst their older, taller brethren before we left for two weeks in Maine. The overabundance of the more mature plants outstripped my wildest expectations in the rich soil of the raised beds.

~ Next Excerpt ~

April 21
A Poem

The Birthday Party

Venus and The Sailor, 1925, by Salvador Dali
a prompt from Magpie Tales 

The cart was yellow:
a child’s toy – a rescue van.
I drove it to the edge - of woods
around the yard - to save the boy.
He ran to me on tiny legs,
across the span of grass, where blind men
tossed the wood into the flames
of a fire pit.

The hunter hid among the trees;
freed the child as agreed -
not forever, just for now-
but followed close behind
the cart and tiny trailer,
where she'd put the books with purpose
when she tore the wrapping off
and tossed the ribbon in the grass.
She watched the boy cart them to the woods
as the little dog ran after, clamping her teeth
on a red ball, dragging her blue leash.

Submitted for Tess Kincaid's

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hidden Hollow Journal: March, 2012

Emily ~ through the looking glass

March 22
A Beginning

Shall I call it a record of my latest enterprise? The Journal entry for this date fails to acknowledge what grows more obvious each day, after six months into the venture; saying only that:
This Journal will follow the restoration of the old
Hidden Hollow Herbs, first started in 1982, thirty
years ago --- I amaze myself with those words!
But as I choose Journal excerpts to include in Knot-In-Line, I wonder in hind sight, whether amazement might not be an end in itself… sought after and desirable. Resisting the temptation to explore that idea now,  I realize as I type that I have let a jinni out of the bottle, one who will keep asking this question over my shoulder as I recreate the Journal.
 My mind is a jumble of plans, hopes, doubts. Balloons on
strings floating over my head needing to be gathered in and
tamed – framed in a work plan – a plan of action.
March 23
Official Business
I registered with the RI Dept. of Taxation, applied for
a sales tax permit and a Federal EIN#. HHH is an official
business again – on paper at least and in the wonderland
of my mind. I am hurtling down the rabbit hole…                                                    
March 24
Seed Starting
Emily and I planted "her" calendula seeds. 18 seeds in a small flat. I promised her that they will germinate by Thursday when she will be here again. We bought her "Dora" garden gloves yesterday - pink of course. My little companion, little muse, happy angel is my tiny partner in Hidden Hollow Herbs (not to forget Bill: the financier, the brawn and stabilizer, silent partner in all of Alice's schemes of life...)

Emily ~ a pocket-ful of posies and a  blue garden hat
September 5
Looking Backward: September-March
 Emily starts kindergarten on Thursday. I will miss her terribly. Having no schedule to keep to, I was able to do whatever she wanted. We had a real tea party on the last day she spent here, complete with the “goldies”  (as she called them) she clipped from the garden for a table centerpiece. These were the calendula grown from seeds she planted herself in March. She strode down to  the sunken garden with great purpose, still dressed in her PJ’s, carrying small scissors, pointing downward (as instructed). I’m sure she was tempted to lose herself trying to catch a grasshopper  or a butterfly but she came directly back to complete her table setting.

~ Next Excerpt ~

April 12
Raised Beds in a Sunken Garden

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hidden in Plain View

I found her in Maine, in a barn,
keeping her own counsel,
as I have done since early spring,
before the Ides of March.

She hid in plain view,
silent and serene,
drew me like a magnet,
knew I’d bring her home

to Hidden Hollow
to live among the herbs
in the sunken garden -
away from the world.

But I keep her on the porch
to remind me --- of mystery,
of plans that go awry -
of all I’ll never know
of reasons why.

Hidden Hollow Journal
~ essays and poetry from a garden ~

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Room for Elephants

I’d like to get a dog.
I think I would -
if it weren’t for the elephants;
if it weren’t for tricking them out
all the time for hide and seek,
the exhaustion of dress rehearsal,
memorizing lines and stage fright.
So many costumes;
starched collars or petticoats –
so many syllables to hide
in the camouflage,
in a hint, a glimpse, a glance –
or the play would end,
the house go dark.

A dog will tell the truth.
Elephants don’t talk,
just rub against my legs,
lick my face, follow my lead –
doggedly discreet; who sees them
plunk a paw on my knee
when the curtain lifts,
when the lights go up – warning me.
I used to love hide and seek,
but I remember now
that we had to lock the dog up;
he never learned to play.
He gave us all away – first thing –
barking out our hiding places!

Photo Credit:
Lynette Shelley, Google Images

Monday, February 20, 2012

State of Mind

image: epic mahoney
Offered by Tess Kincaid for Magpie Tale 105

I wish I could find
a booth to step into,
a receiver to touch-
to hold;
hear the voice,
feel a jolt of neon
to flash away the gray.

But they’re gone-
or stand forlorn
on cracked tar lots
not far from pulsing pumps.
Glass boxes
smeared with graffiti
done in high colors.

Wires are hanging;
loose ends
longing for connection,
hoping for strobe lights,
dance tunes,
a bit of madness
‘til dark descends.

Posted for
Open Link Night

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ritual Gesture

A grave at the Novodevichy Cemetery, Moscow
offered by Tess Kincaid
for Magpie Tale 103

I saw at first a triangle
of red hot iron from the anvil,
burning an imprint in a palm
of hands raised in ritual gesture,
forging a seal, a sign…a stigmata.

Or was it a ruby: blood-red jewel
in a sacrificial lotus of fingers; an offering
of volcanic rock born in a molten inferno,
cooled to hard beauty, sharpened
to knife edge, cutting insignia in soft flesh.

Or hands as lotus; formed in the mud of a swamp,
not unlike men and women, made to grow
through dark waters, tears of pain, striving
to burst into bloom in the clear light of day;
to radiate the beauty of enlightenment.

Posted for
Open Link Night