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    I wanted to include photographs from the first blooms in my garden.  My computer, the cloud, the gods are not permitting.  So I will describe my first discovery.

Imagine a three-pointed miniature iris, a dark purple, touched with bright gold drops like eyes:

Then the tiniest viola:

Finally, a pair of Johnny jump-ups:

The viola is also called Heart’s Ease, and no wonder.  In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it plays a more potent role.  Oberon sees Cupid’s arrow find a target but it is intercepted by the silvery beams of the chaste moon.  He tells Puck,

Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I shew’d thee once:
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.

May we all see these western flowers in fleeting spring, heralding the way to midsummer.

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.



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