Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cherohala Skyway Journal

October 17
11:34 am Entering the Cherohala Skyway near Tellico Plains

Santeelah Gap 5390 ft

Wind blown, wind stunted
High ridge trees fall leaves fallen
Santeelah Mountain

1:30 pm Picnic at Obadiah Gap, 3740 ft.

3:00 pm Indian Boundary National Forest Recreation Area

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Harrison Bay Camping

In fading twilight
Heron stands, thigh deep water
Waits one last morsel.

Inland looking out
Or offshore looking inward
perspectives differ.

Camping at Harrison Bay State Park was fun despite one rainy day. Why don't we sit outside after dark at home? We enjoyed the capmfire with Amanda and Claire as well as the beautiful lake.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Morning Walk

Sunlight seeping through
Treetops holding leafy green
Air with hope of cool.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Promise of autumn
Teases and relieves the heat
Steadfastness of change.

After a few days of much needed rain and cloudy cool weather, today was a good day to do some late summer maintenance and plant fall greens.  I'm anticipating spinach (bloomsdale), turnip greens (seven top), mustard (Florida broadleaf) and kale (dwarf siberian). If the winter is mild, they may last until spring. If not, they will provide for fall and early spring meals. 

Groundhog update: We removed three groundhogs from our property. We also trapped three raccoons but successfully removed only one. Two who were trapped together managed a get-away. We have not had any invaders for more than a week. Hopefully, the rain will restore some natural food supplies and they will not return this season. I think that next year I will plant them a cantaloupe patch outside the garden.

Through the Seasons








More change to come as seasons transition.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


We coexisted peacefully
Side by side for many years.
A sturdy fence our friendship kept. 
Why this summer did you decide
To break the pact we had,
Digging under to forbidden land.
Now we must choose:
Your charming antics or our fruit.
You cannot resist the melon
And so the trap is set.

 You'll be removed to wilderness.
We hope the land is fair.

Farewell, with fond regrets,
Your friends, Jane Clark and Bill

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Squirrel scampers away
Apple in mouth to enjoy
Our bountiful fruit.

I believe in sharing some of our fruit with the squirrels, groundhogs, deer and crow. They provide entertainment for us. However, this year they took it ALL. I'll have to figure out a way to get some for us this year. That usually means picking before it is ripe and letting it ripen inside. I mis-timed it this year. I hope they enjoyed.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chain of Life

Micro to macro,
Decay, regeneration,
I am a small link.

I followed this green heron and its mate while paddling this morning.  It stands at about 20 inches. The lake was alive this morning - insects, minnows, small fish and large, and of course the birds.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Melton Hill Morning 8/11

Still water sparkles
Light breeze riffles the surface
Easing my passage.

A lone of its kind
Umbrella Magnolia
Gracefully drapes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Class Reunion

Traveled back in time
Our youthful selves remembered
Transcending the years.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Learning new rhythms
Patterns of living emerge
Pleasing my spirit.

Morning's quiet stillness
Broken only by birdsong
Fish spash and paddle.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First Day

I have often heard the expression "This is the first day of the rest of your life." Today that really feels true for me. Starting today, I don't go back to the regularly scheduled program that I have followed for so long. Being and educator has been more than a job and it will continue to be part of my identity. But now I'm looking forward to expanding horizons.

The first day of the rest of my life began as I hope the pattern will be. Early coffee, walk by the lake with Bill, light breakfast, garden work, then on to whatever else the day brings.

Dew soaked feet follow
Familiar garden pathways
Morning work delight

In cleaning out my office files, I found a poem I thought long lost. I discovered this poem by Wendell Berry at the very beginning of my teaching career. It spoke to me of the role a teacher as well as a farmer. I have remembered and reflected on the essence of the poem many times over the past 27 years, but I had lost the text and reference. Its return to me is a gift as I transition to the next phase of life on this hill in East Tennessee. I hope Mr. Berry will not mind if I share it here.

by Wendell Berry

If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow-growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it,
if we will make our seasons welcome here,
asking not too much of earth or heaven, 
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
here, Their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides, fields and gardens
rich in the windows. The river will run 
clear, as we will never know it,
and over it, birdsong like a canopy.
On the levels of the hills will be
green meadows, stock bells in noon shade.
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
the old forest, an old forest will stand, 
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields. 
In their voices they will her a music 
risen out of the ground. They will take
nothing from the ground they will not return,
whatever the grief at parting. Memory,
native to this valley, will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament. The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds, 
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its possibility.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Four Winds - A Prayer

In the four winds, omnipresent God,
Let me feel your presence.
Not in the fierce wind of Job,
But in the gentle wind of new life.
Not in the fierce wind of justice,
But in the gentle wind of mercy.
Not in the fierce wind of righteousness,
But in the gentle wind of grace.
Not in the fierce wind of judgement,
But in the gentle wind of love.

April 10, 2011 - a windy spring day in Cape Girardeau

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Red and Blue

Bluebirds are nesting and redbuds are blooming. This may be the last spring for the old redbud that we transplanted from the woods more than 25 years ago. Bluebirds return year after year to the nesting box on the corner garden post. We replaced the old box with a new one this year. I hope they like it.

Proud old redbud blooms
Re-creates itself once more
Affirming life force.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Fruit of our labors
Nourished by muscle and sweat
Yeilds fruit in its time.

Little violets
Among the grass unaware
My admiration.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First Day of Spring

The first day of Spring was beautiful. It brought the almost completion of our Spring Break project to reconfigure our raised bed in the vegetable garden and the following meditation:

Living close the the land is good. I am reminded on the warm blooming days of spring that life is bigger than me. The world and its seasons turn without my help. My task is to appreciate the gifts of grace that come my way.

Taking apart the old beds

Rebuilding new beds

 Next week I'll post pictures showing the completed beds (while they are still weed-free).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Sun cracks horizon
Breaking night's grip light streams in
Tree-tops set aglow.

A few days back we had a welcome respite from the rain and I had an amazing sunrise on the way to work. With many months and even years of low rainfall, winter and spring rains are welcome. In advance of the latest bout of wet weather, we got our early peas in the ground. Little sprouts of broccoli, spinach, tomatoe, peppers and eggplant are growing indoors. Spring is in my heart and on my mind.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Florida Sun

Last week we took a break from the cold with a working trip to Orlando via Savannah and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge offers some of the best winter birding in the east. The marshes are usually filled with large flocks of wading birds and rafts of many kinds of ducks. After two years of severe drought, many of the shallow pools were mud flats, vegetation was dying and birds were scarce. We saw most of the expected species, but in pairs or small groups. Almost no ducks were seen. Just a few coots and gallinule. Osprey and buzzard were plenitful and we saw a few hawks. At the visitor center I finally saw the painted bunting female. The male did not appear while I was there. The painted bunting is new to my list.

Female Painted Bunting, feeding on the ground, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
Female Anginga, also called Water Turkey

Dummit Cove, favorite fishing spot

This Roseate Spoonbill should be feeding in 6-12 inches of water

End of the day on the Refuge. This small group was one of the largest groups of wading birds we saw.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Southern Snow

Snow remnants linger
Southern hospitality
extended too long.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Here's how an eight year old and a five year old collaborate to cope with a bad day. Snow days call for creativity!