Alta voce

Greetings, dear readers.

In my nascent Italian I have learned that ‘alta voce’ means out loud. It’s that time of year. Time to be heard, no matter how you usually use your voice.

It is voting season.

November 3 is Election Day. This year, for public and private safety, many will vote early or vote by mail, so – in essence – the polls are already open.

Open for the older person who can’t get out. For the younger person who will be at work. For the person who will have surgery the week before and will be recovering. For the new parents who never know what the day will bring. For the person whose health depends on limiting contact with strangers. For the person far from home who still wants to acknowledge civic responsibility.

I am grateful there is room for all these voices to be heard. A nation that empowers voting, empowers its citizens to take part. That is the country I want to live in.

Readers, this election season, I hope you will use your voices. Out loud. On purpose. With purpose. All voices deserve to be heard. Be well and safe. I am grateful you are here.

Walking into Fall

Greetings, dear readers.

A week or so into the new season, the nights and days are cooling and there are hints that full on Autumn is about to begin.

Fall is a season of delightful contrasts. The sun and cool days make walking a pleasure. A soft rain in the afternoon creates a space for reading and contemplation.

Last month’s blooms are now gone to pods and seeds.

Food for next year’s butterflies is hiding in this puff of milkweed seeds about to fly.

And the few maple leaves underfoot will soon be full plenty, as they shed their summer dresses to feed the soil and go into winter sleep.

New birds show up at the feeder, moving through to new grounds. A rose-breasted grosbeak and his mate delighted us one day. The hummingbirds have gone, heading south.

The season steps forward and I am grateful to witness each step.

Readers, I hope autumn days are treating you well. Be well and safe – I am grateful you are here.

Ad Astra

Greetings, dear readers.

Fall has begun and I am grateful for its gifts, one of them being the continued profusion of wildflowers.

This bank of white wood asters is blooming along the road where I walk.

‘Aster’ is derived from the word for ‘star’ and these little beauties make it clear why. If I read their constellations, I can see a message of gratitude for summer’s abundance and for the cooling nights that lightened the tree canopy to give these flowers light.

What I am finding right now is that there is a peace to finding a story of gratitude where you are this moment. Some things may be hard, some things might even be terrible. I would never discount someone’s pain. In the midst – There is grace in your own strength in facing those things. There is a moment of sweetness in a cool breeze. There is a smile in the silly flop of the dog’s ears as she sleeps.

I hope the hard moments hold still a redeeming kernel of grace for you. A reminder that the stars are waiting, just up the road.

Readers, I hope the graces are many and the hardships few for you. Be well and safe – I am grateful you are here.

Walking With Whimsy

Greetings, dear readers.

While walking the road on a gorgeous near-fall afternoon, I found whimsy walking with me.

blue mistflower

This delightful confection is blue mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum), not surprisingly also called blue boneset. I wrote about the white version a few posts back. These are a close replica in lilac, with longer eyelashes and a softer look. 

Like many of the wildflowers that I’ve finally taken notice of, I’ve seen these before, but had never stopped to appreciate them – their delicate color, their intricacy, the fact that they are full compound flowers, as are all of the asters, from these tiny puffs to full-on sunflowers. 

It feels like a little magic, revealed next to the road, where anyone might see.

Readers, I hope there’s a little magic in your world today. Be well and safe – I am grateful you are here.

Fall Break

Greetings, dear readers.

We’re noticing the change of seasons here. A moment to enjoy the first cool mornings. A little pause. A moment to breathe. The air feels lighter in fall.

Sometimes it is enough to appreciate the smallest things. A happy cat. The steam off a fresh cup of coffee. The sight of grasses, covered with dew, and waving to the sun.IMG_6628

Finding a moment of peace in small things is a gift to the rest of the day.

Readers, I hope your day has those sweet small things. Be well and safe – I am grateful you are here.

Weekday Bounty

Greetings, dear readers.

Tardy again, I  confess. My wanderings in the work world and the nearby world pull me away at times. Sometimes, though, I come back with bounty:

– Beets from the market I set foot into for the first time in months – massive and golden, they served up a royal roasted side dish for several meals. The crown of one sits in a low container of water on my windowsill, sending up sprouted greens as if it had never left soil. I will be interested to see how this experiment pans out.

– An email message from a student so humble and kind, I had to manage my own tears before managing a response. It was the kind of moment that wipes out every shred of exasperation that teaching can sometimes engender.

IMG_6607 – And walking back from the trash bin, I nearly tripped over these sweet bunches of white flowers. Their form and the long thin leaves (not quite visible in the image) tell me that they are probably Alliums of some kind. Potentially, garlic chives, though I could detect no odor from the leaves and it is late for the bloom. It doesn’t really matter – whatever a botanist would call them, I will call them a lovely addition to an evening stroll.

Reader, I hope your days contain some small sweet surprises. Be well and safe – I am grateful you are here.

An Appreciation

Greetings, dear readers.

It’s Labor Day in the US. A day meant to commemorate the contributions of the workforce to society, it has special meaning today. This year has been an extraordinary one for a number of reasons. I am more grateful than ever for the efforts of so many unsung contributors to my way of life:_AMM3497

The postal carriers, delivery service drivers, and all the people who support them in their work. Because of them, I have received goods I needed and things I wanted to help the time or my work go easier.

The grocery store shoppers who put together my weekly orders and brought them to my home or to my car, without fail, with only one error in all these months. Because of them, I had good meals and my pets had a treat now and then, and I was able to do my own work without worrying about the shopping.

The warehouse workers who pulled countless orders for me when I was getting every scrap of pet food and flour and tech supplies (and a few books) by mail order because it was impossible to find otherwise. Because of them, I could make bread and feed the dogs and teach a class and do all with some measure of ease.

The tech warriors who keep Zoom and online networks and every form of communication going. They’ve been my lifeline. Because of them, I can teach my classes and see my family and learn new things and connect to a special creative community that has been my haven.

All of these and many more have been the keepers ofour lifelines. They have carried us all – I am so grateful.

Readers, I thank you for the work you do, there are so many ways you contribute to those around you. I hope you’re keeping well and safe; I am grateful you are here.

Flowering arrangements

Greetings, dear readers.

The unexpected bonus of a work-from-home day meant that I was able to indulge in a late afternoon meander up the hill. A breeze pushed away midday rainstorms and there were breaks in the clouds lighting up the fall crop of wildflowers.

IMG_6585Goldenrod and boneset bloom together, their fluffy blossoms in yellow and white attracting a few tiny insects.








Bearsfoot and ironweed put on a more flamboyant show, just a few steps away.


Bearsfoot and boneset – it sounds like an incantation, doesn’t it? If it can call up a break from the screens and squawks of the day – I will call that a win.

Readers, I hope your days have some breaks with fresh air and a few wildflowers. Be well and safe – I am grateful you are here.

Turning Season

Greetings, dear readers.

Summer still holds sway here, with heated days and a few thunderstorms to remind us that a summer rain can come with some oomph behind it. And yet …

There is no doubt that fall is on the way. Even the bindweed’s heart-shaped new leaves are a less insistent shade of green. Out by the highway, birches and aspen already shake handfuls of gold coins over the motorists who fly by.

The hard growing of summer is done and soon the trees will say thanks for a summer of sun by painting the hillsides in borrowed red and gold.

I am always grateful to witness their autumn bow.

Readers, I hope that summer is winding down easy for you. For anyone in the path of the gulf storms – take good care; my thought are with you. Be well and safe, everyone. I am grateful you are here.

Sharing the Love

Greetings, dear readers.

I am going to make assumptions about you (bad habit, I know). I’m going to assume that because you are here you were looking for something to view or to read that would be a shift from the louder bits of what you see in internet space. And I thought, like me, you might want to see more things like that. There are a number of wonderful sites I’d like to share, and today I’m going to share two – treats of cyberspace and sweet to read!

A dip into my internet treats jar

The first is the Quiet Disruptors blog published by Sue Heatherington out of Wales in the UK. The postings are often brief, and invite the reader with words and images to a peaceful, thoughtful place in the day. It is a lovely respite at any time of the day. A recent post also contained a quote from TS. Eliot’s Little Gidding, which is such a favorite of mine I even inflict bits on it on my students.

The second is the Born Free Newsletter by Gail Boenning who invites the reader with images and warm essays and wonderfully spare poetry that gets into your thoughts and stays a while. Sometimes the images are of a marvelously expressive and free-spirited black Labrador named Henrietta. On the “About” page Gail says: You never know who might find a sparkle in the depths. Indeed! Born Free sparkles.

Both of these writers provide a welcoming space in the wilds of www-land. I am fortunate enough to have internet-met both of these accomplished writers and I hope you’ll take a look!

Readers, if you know of writer’s whose work you’d like to share – give a shout out in the comments! The more the merrier. I wish you well and safe and I am grateful you are here.