May 9, 2009 9:05 PM

Just back from a vacation to Jamaica…

Working in the garden under clear blue sky.
Clouds move in from the Northeast.
A straight edge of mean looking sky cuts across my blue. 
Still air here, but I see wisps swirling above that approaching front.
It moved quickly, I hardly had enough time to put my tools away.
Once over head, everything got dark in the midst of new wind and boiling sky.
Rain down.
Tinges of green and  I wonder about tornados.
The leading edge has moved from sight and the grayness evens out.
The wind dies, gray evens out and it becomes just another rainy spring.
After such flirtation, I am a little disappointed.


April 28, 2009 8:22 PM

Ah… I’ve been so busy these last days.  Trying to even take my ten minutes has become impossible.  Ah, excuses.  But, really, in the last two weeks bookending Earth Day, I have done quite a number of things: a school residency in Rollinsford, NH, a school residency at Phillips Exeter Academy, a day’s site visit to a project in Waterville, ME, a day’s work on a site with 50 volunteers from Timberland, a photo shoot and an artist residency at a Greenland, NH school.  Then, in between, I built a large garden shed and built 16 4’x12′ raised beds and filled them with soil.

So, today’s meditation was a little different.  I received my honey bee packages today.  I waited until late afternoon to install the bees in the hive.  Just when I planned to do it, a thunderstorm threatened. Clouds swooped in, wind blew everything in the yard away and the bees got agitated.  I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t really wait, dark was approaching.  Tomorrow was not an option: I get on a plane for a week’s vacation in a few hours.  It seemed, now or never.

I opened the first package, but the queen cage slipped into the box where I couldn’t reach it.  It was covered by a thousand bees drinking in her pheromones.  I tried tipping the box upside down to slide her cage into the hive.  I dumped countless bees  into the hive before she fell through.  They were all covered in the sugar syrup that I sprayed on them before opening the box, this seemed to mollify them.  The wind blew.  I had a hard time managing the box and queen. Bees blew away in the wind. I sweat in my bee suit.  I think more form stress than the anomaly of 90 degrees in April.  I couldn’t get the rest of the bees out of the cage opening and into the hive.  They were too thick with syrup to move and engorging on their first good meal in days.  Five days in a postal truck will do that to you.  Finally, I gave up my gentleness.  I banged the cage on the ground to loosen them up and most poured into the hive.  Hundreds spilled out on to the ground or still stayed in the cage.  Will they realize the hive is their new home?  Will they stay outside?  How will they know where to go?  I closed it up and watched them crawl in the ground.  Many of those bees were not long for the world anyway, I could see their tattered wings, and their beat bodies.  It is time for the queen to start laying and beget the next generation.  First the ones in the hive must eat their way through the candy cork and release her from her cage.

I moved on to install the other package in it’s hive.  With the practice, I was more confidant, smoother.  The bees seemed happier.  Except for the wind.

Now, off to a week away.  Maybe I’ll write my meditations by hand to publish when I’m back.

April 19, 2009, 10:30 PM

A scream in the darkness.
I kept listening.
Still unsure the source, deep into the otherwise quiet blackness.
A sense of sadness washed over me.
I take consolation in the cycle of nature & life.  It’s life force has been absorbed by another.

April 18, 2009, 11:00 AM

There seems to be a new squirrel in town.  At first glance I thought he was a red squirrel — I could see the tint of red whenever he shifted into sunlight.  After watching, I decided that he just looked red, maybe a young squirrel, but really belonging to the gray squirrel family.  I hope he doesn’t mind my decision.  His behavior was curious: he sat on a branch, constantly thumping his left leg, making a series of peeps and squeaks that crescendoed into a screech.  I hadn’t ever noticed a squirrel making these exact noises before, so I had to stare at length to be sure that he was the source of the sounds.  The must certainly have been an intentional pattern to his patter.  The peeps, squeaks, then screeches kept repeating in sequence throughout the 10 minutes that I watched.

April 17, 2009 4:00 PM

Things have been supper busy lately.  It’s spring and Earth Day is coming up, so my workload has increased as several projects gear up.  It has been very difficult to make sure that I take my ten minute meditation + ten for writing.  Twenty minutes seems like such a small amount of time, especially in my normal twelve hour work day, but it somehow seems impossible with all of these pressing demands.  So much time seems to be spent on email or computer based research that these few minutes of quiet contemplation and observation become treasures.  I continue to be astounded by what I see in these quiet moments.   Today, I just sat and watched a male cardinal.  I enjoyed looking at his bright red feathers and how the afternoon sunlight made him appear vibrant, almost glowing.

day-303sounds of frogs an other identified creatures

April 12, 2009 12:45 PM

It’s Easter Sunday and I’m standing on the back deck behind my mother’s house.  I watch the variety of birds that have arrived at the numerous feeders.  A Black-capped Chickadee, the boldest of them all, comes to a feeder right by where I stand.  I see a bright crimson male Cardinal on a branch not far away.  Young Hairy Woodpeckers are walking up and down an oak 20 feet up.  Another Woodpecker lands on a feeder of his choosing, takes away a nut and cracks it on the side of the house.  A Nuthatch carefully plucks a seed, returns to a tree and eats the treat standing upside down.  All of these birds watch me carefully, but decide (correctly) that I am not a threat. I stare at the trees and notice the changing color of the forest.  Those Red Maple buds are changing the scene from gray to red one day at a time.  I can see spring slowly creep in – despite the cold bite of the wind – and the increasing strength of the sun marches on.  A Goldfinch comes to get his share of seeds.  His pale yellow-green winter coat is giving way to vibrant yellow plumage.  The grass promises verdant possibilities.  Even I have spent enough time in the sun to notice winter’s pallor giving way to summer vitality.

April 8, 2009 9:36 PM


Sometimes ten minutes is not enough, or mesmerized by fire


Smoke swirls around my head in a twirling cloud

I hold my breath against sting up my nostrils,

heat against my face nearly unbearable


pine needles flare in a brilliant display of light

the wet bark of a rotting log resists,

fire cleanses the landscape of last summer


dark shadow darts toward my stillness

I feel the mouse climbing over my foot

She retreats beneath decomposing straw


April 7, 2009 7:20 PM

I stared at the trees in dim, gray light glimpsing the quick flick of a white tail.  I approached cautiously from the side taking care not to look directly at the thicket where the doe stood.  She stared at me, muscles tense, ready to bolt in an instant.  I moved  along the opposite side of a brush pile wondering if the obstruction might make me seem safer.  Then, I edged along the marsh reeds slowly until I was about sixty feet away.  She hadn’t moved.  Her brown coat was easily lost against the brown grass.  I stood quietly for long enough that she relaxed enough to move around, but never taking eyes from me.  As I stared, I began to make out the shape of another deer a few feet into the thicket.  I thought of a ‘where’s waldo’ puzzle.  Before long, I realized there were six.  They relaxed and went about there business browsing on tree buds and braches.  Four lined up on the buffet of my downed apple tree.  Fresh buds rarely within easy reach.  With a snap of a branch under my foot, they were gone in the flash of a white tail dancing into the darkness.

April 6, 2009 8:20 PM

We have 7 twenty-day-old chicks.  I have been watching them grow daily.  Sometimes, it is surprising to see how much they have grown in a day.  Today, I have really begun to notice how their wing feathers are developing.  They eat constantly, too.  I filled the food dish three times today. 

They are funny to watch, but very odd creatures.  I watch them, they watch me.  They stare back at me until they fall asleep.  I watch our favorite, the stripe-headed Miss Tulip, as her eyes blink thrice, then slowly close.  As she drifts into whatever chicken dreams float through her mind, her head slowly drops to the floor.  Sometimes, she’s in such a position that her head rolls over backward until she startles herself awake.  It reminds me of watching my step-father drifting off to sleep in front of the evening news: a head bob and a snort and he was awake again looking at the tv, but just for a moment before it started all over again.  At least the chickens don’t drool.