Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Greetings

Well, it's official--I'm a terribly inconsistent blogger. While I have been busy with projects and end-of-the-year holiday madness, I think another reason I haven't written anything here in a long time is that I, along with the garden, have gone dormant, at least in some regard. It would seem that winter is a good time for all living things to turn inward, to reflect, and to process everything that's been gathered over recent months.

On a side note...after becoming enthralled with the symbolism of trees, I found The Meaning of Trees: Botany History Healing Lore by Fred Hageneder at the library. I have retreated into the book during these dark, cold days. One of the most mesmerizing passages I've come across is, "The Welsh goddess of the hawthorn once walked the empty universe and her white track of hawthorn petals became the Milky Way." With the hawthorn on my mind lately, I now see hawthorns everywhere, when I never noticed them before. Their red fruits decorate the branches like fairy-sized ornaments. Isn't that how it often is? The world is full and vast...if only we knew what we were looking for, we might find it among us.

May you have a joyous holiday season, and may you indulge in winter's dormancy to emerge into a healthy and wondrous 2009.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Weather Report

Steady rain today. Family and friends in Wisconsin report snow. For them, the poem "Snow" by Naomi Shihab Nye. Here you will find an interview with Nye, in which she says:
Number one: Read, Read, and then Read some more. Always Read. Find the voices that speak most to YOU. This is your pleasure and blessing, as well as responsibility!

It is crucial to make one's own writing circle – friends, either close or far, with whom you trade work and discuss it – as a kind of support system, place-of-conversation and energy. Find those people, even a few, with whom you can share and discuss your works – then do it. Keep the papers flowing among you. Work does not get into the world by itself. We must help it.


There is so much goodness happening in the world of writing today. And there is plenty of ROOM and appetite for new writers. I think there always was. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise. Attend all the readings you can, and get involved in giving some, if you like to do that. Be part of your own writing community. Often the first step in doing this is simply to let yourself become identified as One Who Cares About Writing!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thoughts on the Hawthorn

Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a workshop presented by George Ella Lyon. I'm still digesting the material (perhaps more on the writing and discussion later). In the morning she shared a book called The Wisdom of Trees: Mysteries, Magic, and Medicine by Jane Gifford, which is based around the Celtic Ogham Alphabet and which attributes a tree to each moon of the year (a tree zodiac, if you will).

After the workshop, I did some brief searches about this intriguing idea. Here and here are two links that provide additional information. My point is not to focus on whether the Celtic tree calendar is based in truth or myth, but rather to consider the power of trees and our connection to them. My birth tree is the hawthorn, and there just happens to be one in my front yard. For the last two years a mockingbird has nested there. The hawthorn offers small white flowers in May and red, berry-like fruit through the winter.

I'm trying to figure out what is so special about a tree, aside from the obvious--that it gives food, shelter, oxygen--and I think, for me, it might be its physical presence, how it is rooted in the earth, grounded, sturdy, and at the same time reaching skyward, growing up and out, claiming the surrounding space. It is a model for how I'd like to live my life, connected to the past while being fully present in this moment.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Somehow we've slipped into the last month of 2008, and once again I'm trying to figure out where the year went. I'm winding down the day with a cup of tea (if you're in Madison, check out the macha teahouse) and listening to my favorite holiday song.