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planted sweet peas

bought seeds



bought a long garden fork


dug the ground, made a furrow one inch deep, planted, and watered

apparently you can get this  at Ace Hardware.

apparently you can get this at Ace Hardware.

Stuck some long twigs in to net a string support…

–Oh!  I was looking for an illustration of twine, and googled “string, garden”, but ommitted the comma.  This was what I found: string gardens!

These creations are by horticulturist Fedor van der Valk.  From, I found a quotation by him, and a description of his work:

“For a while I wanted to make animated videos with crocheted landscapes which were a kind of 3-dimensional spider web covered in moss and grass” says van der Valk. “The idea was to create bonsai-esque plants. To keep the landscapes really airy, I decided to work with hanging plants.” 

“Van der Valk uses a deft crocheting stitch to whip up the “frames,” so to speak, for his round masterpieces. He then impregnates them with different combinations of moss and earth which help the spheres to keep their shape. Some of the string gardens are mere fistfuls and some are massive – all are beautiful.”


Garden by Fuchs

Garden by Fuchs



Sweet peas growing on strings.


These days


I am feeling lighter these days, not only because winter seems to be heading out.  The leave-taking is slow; rain and hail this afternoon.  But I am glad to report that I do not yet have to take leave of where I live, that I can stay a little longer.  In some ways I feel I am living off the grid, though obviously I am not, as I haul huge sacks of gourmet groceries out of the trunk of my not yet paid for car.  But then I don’t think I ever imagined to be in my mid-fifties in the place I had been in my mid-twenties.  I had been so miserable then.  I am not so miserable now, nor do I think I ever could be in that way.  But I was fully caught up in my work, unselfishly, un-self-consciously, because everyone around me, then, was caught up in their work, writing or painting.

So here I am, once again not receiving any of the grants I applied for this year, and thinking ,maybe next year. Or maybe no; time to retire for asking for more.

 A more radical idea would be to say that I have been lucky to receive what I did then, and continue to receive now.  I am still sheltered by the same arts institution as in my twenties, as i said, and I work with working writers at another institution. I am teaching Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse where there are more than enough phrases to circle the world with the sheer joy of language.  

And yet.  Is this exactly all there is? What exactly else is there?  I don’t seem to be climbing up anymore in my career, but walking laterally.  I have two cats.  Family and friends.  Great students.  I still miss Boulder.  I think about my old dreams of moving to England for a spell or France.  How can I have not seem Rome? Or Greece?  I know there is more.

So the task is to see how to make sense of what I have and what I want.  

For a long while, I used to, to be honest,  think, how can people they help me.  Using people–it is not a way I want to live. Certainly not, would say a character from a book I love, in an English voice.  But I’m not English; American: brash, obnoxious; friendly.  Oh,and Indian, another thing altogether. Or not.  If I had a grant, would I be able to sort through my ideas any better?  Is writing a blog like writing a diary, only the publishing occurs before death? 

 April: when the land ought to be green, where patience is required.




One goes away for a night and a day, in late March, say the 26th – 27th, and returns to wake to a world transformed.  The solid ice has given away to water, the gravel paths reappear, and the bulbs planted last fall send out their green tips.  With a winter like we have had on the Cape, everything in the garden is a gamble.  If bulbs bloom, a blessing.  one can let go of control until the weeds come out. It will snow again, astounding us.

My eyesight no longer what it was, and tired this morning, as well, provides me with a view of ducklings I think on the water, though they could be crows.  The insistence of bird call from the trees is loud this morning, competing with the hum of the refrigerator; appliances, too, must make an adjustment for the season.

In our world, a plane is crashed.  The Dalai Lama, bless him, says he might not reincarnate.  War continues.

I return to a favorite poem:

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow…

                                                     —TS Eliot, The Wasteland

It ends, you remember, shantih, shantih, shantih.

“The peace which passeth understanding,” was one way of translating the word, he wrote.

The poem in its entirety, here.


The Trees

Last night the trees were covered in such white snow, that it felt like I chanced upon a fantasy, a world like Narnia, say.

 It is Neptune’s blizzard now, shaking yesterday’s snow off the limbs, scattering the snow sideways.

My neighbor’s shingled wall looks like it’s dusted with powdered sugar.  The power comes and goes, like the women

and Michelangelo, and the wind howls and howls.  Blizzards in the daytime are of course easier to take than at night,

when the snow offers serenity in moments of quiet.  The cats are curled up, asleep, in separate corners; they have

been antsy with

each other, picking fights, and I blame the lack of fresh air ( drafts don’t count.)

But of course, drafts do count, and my novel is a mess, as I rethink so much of the dialogue ( needed?) and action

( necessary?).  Piles of essays and stories and other work wait for my attention.  I am dreaming of winter vacation

( December? January?) but Bird by Bird, these too will get done.

Another blizzard, 2015

Another blizzard, 2015

The pots outside are capped like muffin-tops with snow. The walks are smooth.  It really is beautiful.


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