the mystery of seeds

Another year gone, leaving everywhere its rich spiced residues:
Vines, leaves, the uneaten fruits crumbling damply in the shadows . . .
moldering in that black subterranean castle of unobservable mysteries –
roots and sealed seeds and the wanderings of water.

—from “Fall Song” by Mary Oliver

Even as this summer’s growing season was winding down, and despite putting up almost more beans than the freezer could hold, our bean plants continued to flower and produce pods. Given that our vegetable gardens are quite humble in size and scope, I had never attempted to save the seeds from anything we grew, but something had to be done with those beans. So, I pulled up the plants, tied them together with twine, and left them to hang in the garage for awhile. When the pods were satisfactorily dry, and the hard beans rattled around inside, we brought the lot into the house and carefully extracted the smooth, hard little seeds. Now they will sleep through the cold, dark winter and perhaps—if we are lucky—they will bring forth next summer’s harvest.

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the mystery of seeds collage
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the mystery of seeds 5

the advent wreath

Dank fens of cedar; hemlock-branches gray
With trees and trail of mosses, wringing-wet;
Beds of the black pitchpine in dead leaves set
Whose wasted red has wasted to white away;

Why hold ye so my heart, nor dimly let
Through your deep leaves the light of yesterday . . .
Is it that in your darkness, shut from strife,
The bread of tears becomes the bread of life?

—from Sonnets, First Series (Sonnet VI) by Frederick Goddard Tuckerman

Northern white-cedar, eastern hemlock, soft white pine . . . I gather them in the quiet afternoon hours of the first Sunday in Advent. In early December the sun rests low in the sky, mostly hidden behind the leaves and needles of the conifers that half-ring our yard. Not one of these trees belongs to me—they sit just outside what I might call my own—but I do not think these stolid natives of the eastern lands much mind the quick snips of my shears, or my pilfering just a few sprigs from their still-lush beauty. The trees are who they have always been and I do what we have always done, as the wheel of the year turns and the darkness descends. The evergreens bear on, and we fragile creatures of the earth gather their boughs and wait for the Light.

the advent wreath 1
the advent wreath 2
the advent wreath 3
the advent wreath 5
the advent wreath 8

in the woods // laudate dominum

Laudate Dominum omnes gentes. Laudate eum, omnes populi.
Quoniam confirmata est. Super nos misericordia eius,
et veritas Domini manet in aeternum.

Praise the Lord, all nations; Praise Him, all people.
For He has bestowed His mercy upon us,
and the truth of the Lord endures forever.

While you browse the photos of our day in the woods, perhaps you’d like to listen to “Vesperae Solennes de Confessore (Solemn Vespers for a Confessor) K.339: Laudate Dominum” written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and performed by Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart (click play button below to hear audio).

in the woods laudate dominum 1
in the woods laudate dominum 2
in the woods laudate dominum 4
in the woods laudate dominum 5
in the woods laudate dominum 6
in the woods laudate dominum collage 1
in the woods laudate dominum 3
in the woods laudate dominum collage 2
in the woods laudate dominum 9
in the woods laudate dominum collage 3
in the woods laudate dominum 13
in the woods laudate dominum 14
in the woods laudate dominum 15

martinmas 2017

Martinmas Feast Table
Martinmas Feast Table 2
Martimas 6
Martinmas 1
Martinmas 3
Martinmas 2
Martinmas 4
Martinmas 5

Cross-posted at

halloween 2017

Over the years my mother has really taken ownership of Halloween and transformed it into a wonderful celebration for family and friends. By offering a launching pad for trick-or-treating adventures—plus ample supplies of her famous homemade mac ‘n cheese—she has helped us create lots of fun memories together. This year we had the Archangel Michael (Zane), Jason Todd/Red Hood (Lillia) and assorted companions, an adorable ladybug (my niece Kyla), and a brand new baby (my nephew Levi)!

Halloween 2017 1
Halloween 2017 2
Halloween 2017 collage 1
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Halloween 2017 6
Halloween 2017 7
Halloween 2017 collage 2
Halloween 2017 10 (Levi with his grandmothers)
Halloween 2017 11