Milkweed is really
not so common. The pods,
like a bird's beak, or perhaps an
alligator's head, add texture
to the early Fall
knew that all
kinds of bugs, in addition
to the well-known Monarch Butterfly,
appreciate the seeds. Is this one searching for
food, finding material for a nest, or
just playing in the lacy
up the hill,
more pods open,
their silky seeds seductively
swaying, inviting me &
planted for the first time this
year, reminded me of the Monkshood I
planted for the first time earlier this summer. Their deep
purple flowers, shaped like the cowl of an
actual monk's hood, captivated
me, as they, too, danced in
the late afternoon
my surprise when
I learned that every part of
the Monkshood plant, also known as
Wolfsbane, is highly toxic - - & I had planted
it by our terrace, right next to where
we sit! Of course I quickly
moved it to a more
I mistook Monkshood
for Mugwort, a totally different plant,
but one with an equally odd name beginning with
"M." Mugwort, which I had thought was a
weed, is actually a well-known
plants got me
thinking. I make so many
assumptions about plants & people.
Milkweed is quirky, but valuable for insects
and fiber artists; Mugwort might be considered a weed,
but it's capable of calming nerves; And Monkshood,
named for people who serve & protect
a gal to do? Every
year, it seems, putting the
garden 'to bed' inspires reflection.
This season, for example, I experienced the
impact boundaries have on the flow of energy as well
as the value of plant placement
to ensure safety.
next? I have a
hunch I'll be digging
into the power of assumptions
not just in the garden but also in the rest
of my life. There are just so many
beautiful plants & people
What will you explore about yourself this winter?
I know I am not always what I seem.
What about you?
or some other
bug took a few bites
out of these apples. Question
for the day: Do I hide or celebrate
these 'ugly fruit'? I'm increasingly done
with perfection of any kind, so here's what
emerged. I say, "welcome sweet
creatures. There's plenty
to go around."
me think: Who
really said that a bite of an
apple leads to banishment? What
an absurd story. Apples provide essential
nourishment for the body, mind,
heart & soul.
a gift from my in-laws
in 2014, bends but does not
break with time. What does it take
to be so flexible? What does
it understand & what
can it teach me?
I 'compost' the
issues -- race, political
discord, economic disparity and,
yes, that nagging issue, Climate Change,
it feeds on living mulches, provides
perches for birds & in spring
is a beautiful focal
point in the
ironic that this
year, with drought and
psychic tension in the universe,
it is more abundant than ever before.
This portrait reveals a collection of apples
from a much older tree that predates us by a few
decades (on the left), and a few of our
yummy Honeycrisp in a bowl
made by my husband
thirty years ago
how the soft
light plays on these
discarded cores and peels,
their transformation from apple to
delicious desserts & beautiful compost
a lesson in mindfulness.
apples into desserts, I
remembered when our apple
tree first produced five years ago. My
sister and I harvested the entire crop of eight
precious fruit to bring on a cross country road trip from
New Hampshire to Idaho. We rationed those
home grown Honeyscrip, allowing
ourselves one a day -- each
bite, a precious
joy and a powerful
sense of abundance even
though there was scarcity -- Only
one apple a day. As we drove across North
Dakota & into Montana, we ate the
final apples, savoring their
drought. The leaves
are sickly. My gratitude is intense,
but subdued. Will this more fragile tree
break from the weight of it all?
Did I care enough?
with this tree is ancient,
and I know it's too late for regrets.
Between wheelbarrows full of mulch I stop
and eat an apple. "Don't worry," it
seems to say. "I am strong
and so are you."
Evelyn R. Swett
reframing the narrative in community and with myself, finding transformation and joy in the mess of it all
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