a lonely, frightened acorn

“Oak grove. Autumn” by Isaac Levitan

Last night an acorn awakened when the forest was still.
Everything was off in its own dream world
And she was lonely, maybe frightened.
She was too shy to wake some company
For they’d ask why and she’d have no answer.
So she went to sleep again,
And fell off the old oak tree.
Having braved this alone she was free
And felt truly beautiful falling in love with the earth now holding her.

~ Barbara Chomiak, age 16

I haven’t been posting — or walking — much lately because I’ve been working on a big project, which I hope to finish by winter solstice. While sorting through things I discovered the above poem which I wrote almost 50 years ago! It captures the essence of that adolescent angst I remember so well. Anyhow, I may not be posting for a bit longer but will return as soon as possible.

flora by the sea

10.10.22 ~ Cognitive Garden at Avery Point

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day my good friend Janet and I took a long afternoon walk from Eastern Point to Avery Point and back again, passing by Beach Pond both ways. The weather was picture perfect, if a bit on the breezy side.

After admiring the views of Long Island Sound and identifying the various islands and lighthouses we could see on a clear day, we found the “Cognitive Garden” on the Avery Point campus. There was still a lot of interest to see there in the middle of autumn. Textures and colors.

Cognition means to acquire knowledge through the senses, experience, and thought. A cognitive garden encourages learning through these three processes while exposing people to nature. While the benefits of nature extend to all ages, young children learn primarily through their senses and a multitude of studies have demonstrated a correlation between sensory stimulation and brain development.
~ University of Connecticut, Avery Point Campus website

The naturalist is a civilized hunter. He goes goes alone into a field or woodland and closes his mind to everything but that time and place, so that life around him presses in on all the senses and small details grow in significance. He begins the scanning search for which cognition was engineered. His mind becomes unfocused, it focuses on everything, no longer directed toward any ordinary task or social pleasantry.
~ E. O. Wilson
(Biophilia)

black-eyed Susan

I wish I could include the smell of a patch of thyme for you, dear readers. What an amazing scent filled the air!

thyme ~ it smelled wonderful!
a bee enjoying the smell, too

On the way back I was happy to see that Beach Pond was full of water again, although we were still in a moderate drought that day. I suspect Thursday’s torrential rains may have moved us up into the abnormally dry category. No waterbirds around but still some flowers blooming, and others spent.

asters at Beach Pond
cattails with fluff

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,
and put your lips to the world.
And live
your life.

~ Mary Oliver
(Red Bird: Poems)

the pond is full of water and the breeze was making little ripples
juvenile song sparrow
backside of a lingering swamp rose mallow and orbs
swamp rose mallow bud and orbs

It felt so good sauntering along and catching up with a friend!!!

out flew the moon

KayNielsen.eastofthesun29
illustration by Kay Nielsen

Now, after a while, the Foster-mother had to go on another journey; and, before she went, she forbade the Lassie to go into those two rooms into which she had never been. She promised to beware; but when she was left alone, she began to think and to wonder what there could be in the second room, and at last she could not help setting the door a little ajar, just to peep in, when – Pop ! out flew the Moon.
~ from The Lassie & Her Godmother
(East of the Sun & West of the Moon: Old Tales from the North)

here comes the sun

WillardMetcalf.childsunlight
“Child in Sunlight” by Willard Metcalf

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter 
Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces 
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting 
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun 
And I say it’s all right 
~ George Harrison
♫ (Here Comes the Sun) ♫ 

Welcome Spring!

but the child is right

“Jean Drawing” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
“Jean Drawing” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Children will draw pictures with everything in them … houses and trees and people and animals … and the sun AND the moon. Grown-up says, “That’s a nice picture, Honey, but you put the moon and the sun in the sky at the same time and that isn’t right.” But the child is right! The sun and moon are in the sky at the same time.
~ R. Buckminster Fuller
(Buckminster Fuller to Children of Earth)

a warm and helping hand

"Hooded Crows" by Bruno Liljefors (1860–1939) Swedish Wildlife Painter
“Hooded Crows” by Bruno Liljefors

Now as the last broad oak leaf falls, we beg, consider this:
there’s some who have no coin to save for turkey, wine or gifts.
No children’s laughter round the fire, no family left to know.
So lend a warm and a helping hand, say Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow.
~ Ian Anderson
♫ (Jack Frost & The Hooded Crow) ♫

Welcome Winter!

kind of magic

“Lily Fairy” by Luis Ricardo Falero
“Lily Fairy” by Luis Ricardo Falero

Fairy tales were a kind of magic that protected me as a child. Not my body, bruised and battered, they protected my spirit and kept it alive … Fairy tales were not my escape from reality as a child; rather, they were my reality — for mine was a world in which good and evil were not abstract concepts. Like fairy-tale heroines, no magic could save me unless I had the wit and heart and courage to use it wisely.
~ Terri Windling
(Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking About the Difficult Story)

glass jars with notes to the future

illustration by Ruth Mary Hallock
illustration by Ruth Mary Hallock

In April of 1966, the three third grade classes in my elementary school took part in the celebration of Arbor Day. Storrs Grammar School no longer exists, but the building is now called the Audrey P. Beck Municipal Building, serving as the town hall for Mansfield, Connecticut. On the corner of the property, near the junction of South Eagleville Rd. and Storrs Rd., stand three trees which were planted by me and my classmates. A solemn and serious child, this made a big impression on me. Each class had filled a glass jar with notes to the future from each child in the class, and each class planted its glass full of notes deep under the ground with the roots of its tree.

Every time I drive by these three trees, which is every time I go to visit my dad, I think of that day and wonder if those jars will ever be unearthed… Why are certain things remembered so vividly and others so soon forgotten?

Arbor Day as a holiday was created by a man named J. Sterling Morton and was first celebrated on April 10, 1872. It was estimated that a million trees were planted for the occasion, nationwide. I wonder if Earth Day, which got started in 1970, has eclipsed interest in this much older holiday. Certainly we can’t have too many reminders about honoring the lives of our dear friends, the trees.

The Arbor Day Foundation has an interesting history, click here. And suggestions for marking the day, click here.

And here is a wonderful tree post by my friend Kathy: Ditto what the Lorax said.

Happy Arbor Day!