‘In the Desert there is Space’

Last week my family and I had the privilege of nestling down in a cozy house in Castle Valley, Utah.  If you haven’t heard, this place is completely tremendous!!  I entertained myself marveling at the shifting light over the amphitheater of mountains, mesas, red rock and cliffs.  Morning light waned west and the evening light waxed east, turning a simple show of sun and stone into a palpable pleasure.  I cased the light, eagles and trees branches with my camera, quoted humbled, grateful.  Blessed by the simple and strong gift of overwhelming natural beauty.

Though I did not see her when I was there, I hear the western writer Terry Tempest Williams resides in this amazing place.  She lets herself be spoken to, moved and taught by this place, in a way I only got to dip my toes into and what these mountains have told her leave me wanting more…..So appropriately here are some of her words to go with the images I gathered there.

“In the desert there is space. Space is the twin sister of time. If we have open space then we have open time to breath, to dream, to dare, to play, to pray to move freely, so freely, in a world our minds have forgotten but our bodies remember. Time and space. This partnership is holy. In these redrock canyons, time creates space–an arch, an eye, this blue eye of sky. We remember why we love the desert; it is our tactile response to light, to silence, and to stillness.”
― Terry Tempest WilliamsRed: Passion and Patience in the Desert


“I pray to the birds because they remind me of what I love rather than what I fear. And at the end of my prayers, they teach me how to listen.”
― Terry Tempest WilliamsRefuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place


“Is this the curse of modernity, to live in a world without judgment, without perspective, no context for understanding or distinguishing what is real and what is imagined, what is manipulated and what is by chance beautiful, what is shadow and what is flesh?”
― Terry Tempest Williams


“Faith is not about finding meaning in the world, there may be no such thing — faith is the belief in our capacity to create meaningful lives.”
― Terry Tempest WilliamsLeap


“A shadow is never created in darkness. It is born of light. We can be blind to it and blinded by it. Our shadow asks us to look at what we don’t want to see”
― Terry Tempest WilliamsWhen Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice


“The Eyes of the Future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.”
― Terry Tempest WilliamsRed: Passion and Patience in the Desert


“Finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find.”
― Terry Tempest Williams


“For far too long we have been seduced into walking a path that did not lead us to ourselves. For far too long we have said yes when we wanted to say no. And for far too long we have said no when we desperately wanted to say yes. . . .

When we don’t listen to our intuition, we abandon our souls. And we abandon our souls because we are afraid if we don’t, others will abandon us.”
― Terry Tempest WilliamsWhen Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

Spring Morning

It is that time of year where the sun streams in from the East just as we rise, illuminating everything just so, that I must grab the camera before I put the kettle on and make breakfast.


The prunings from the Apricot and Peach are pushing blooms in our window sill


Everyone is sprouting up beautifully in the greenhouse.


Jaengy and I are spending a good portion of each morning now playing in the dirt and water & seeds.  Feeling so lucky to have such a playroom for us both.IMG_0265

Struck so deeply by the light of morning, the calm, the beauty… I seek the words but only find pictures to share this glory….But then of course I turn to this and I simply must share.

Morning Poem

Every morning

the world

is created.

Under the orange

Sticks of the sun

the heaped

ashes of the night

turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches-

and the ponds appear

like black cloth

on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.

If it is your nature

to be happy

you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination



And if your spirit

carries within it

the thorn

that is heavier than lead-

if it’s all you can do

to keep on trudging-

there is still

somewhere deep within you

a beast shouting that the earth is exactly what it wanted-

each pond with its blazing lilies

is a prayer heard and answered

lavishly, every morning,

whether or not

you have ever dared to be happy,

whether or not

you have ever dared to pray.

-Mary Oliver

Practice Resurrection

On the first day of this promising year, my heart is both heavy and hopeful; a long growthful year gone by and the new dawn that sings to me in my dreams, full of promise.   Warm, well and rested I am quiet today, but the sky gifted me with this glory, and Wendell Berry, the truest poet of our times, gifted me with the words to express my inner whispers.


“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community


“So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute…Give your approval to all you cannot understand…Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years…Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts….Practice resurrection.”
Wendell Berry, The Country of Marriage

Happy New Year to all.  May we all practice our own resurrection and may the world come with us.

The Abundace of Autumn

The earth and many friends have been generous this year, look up, fruit is falling from the sky!!

Glorious sunny days spent singing, laughing and deepening our friendships in the dappled light of the laden trees

babies below us, foraging their own fruits of this bountiful time

Our baskets brimming with the perfection of sunlight, water, love and time

perfumes and colors fill the air inside and out of our homes and hearths

Rosy piles of sweetness staring us down, reminding that this abundance too will turn with the season, the time is now to eat, put up and process….

And so we do:

wash and chop and stir and stem and pack and seal and sweat and smile

And now deep signs, from full and happy hearts eagerly awaiting the long rest of winter ahead

Grateful for a full season, lived well and now gone by,

Turning ourselves sightly with the earths own shift,

to welcome autumn, with all her abundance,

to summer we say thank you, we love you and goodbye…

Ode to a Woman Gardening

I feel in love with this poem years ago alone in a book store in San Fransisco…It took me years to find it again, but as I was in the garden today it was running through my mind.  If you know a woman gardener, pass it on, I guarantee she will appreciate it.

Ode to Woman Gardening

Yes, I knew that your hands were

the sweet Dianthus, the silvery


knew that you were allied

with the soil,

with the flowering of the earth,



I saw you digging, digging,

removing rocks

and coping with roots,

I knew at once,

my little farmer,


not only

your hands

but your heart

were of the earth,

that there

you were working

your wonders,







and go.

So, from


newly planted


to another,

your face


with an earthy


you went

back and firth



from you hand

the stalk

of the Amaryllis

raised its solitary elegance,

the jasmine


the mist of your brow

with stars of aroma and dew.


grew from you,


the earth,



green light,

foliage and strength.

you communicated your seeds

to the earth,

my beloved

auburn-haired gardener:

your hand

spoke lovingly

to the earth,

and bright budding

was instantaneous.

Love, so too

your hand

of water,

your heart of earth,



and force tot my songs.

You touch

my chest

while I sleep

and trees bud

from my dream.

Awake, I open my eyes,

and you have planted

in me

astonished stars

that soar

with my song.

It is true, gardener:

our love

is earthly:

your mouth is the plant of light, corolla,

my heart toils among the roots.

-Paula Neruda-( From Selected Odes of Pablo Neruda Translated by Margaret Sayers Penden)

The Lanuage of Flowers- Giveaway

I have noticed it is kind of a Thing to have Giveaways on one’s blog, which I am all for,  but never really knew what to giveaway..but now I do, so here it is…My first Giveaway. 

The main motivation for this giving is that I simply LOVED this book.  I rarely read these days and when I do I am painfully picky about my books, but this one I literally devoured.  I broke this years no reading fast on my recent vacation by reading a whole novel and while wandering through the airport on the way home I picked this up.  I didn’t even read the back cover, the title The Language of Flowers and cover photo—little girl in a tutu & muck boots holding flowers—sold me on the spot and I paid the full airport price without hesitation.  I started it on the plane & finished in 5 days, I even read the Interview, Review, and Discussion Questions in the back and made a photo copy of the Dictionary of Flowers in the glossary.  I am not the only one though, it is a NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER and it seems like sales are doing very well.  As the title states, it beautifully weaves the meanings of flowers given as secret messages throughout the book, bringing alive these inanimate objects in a way that truly deepens your reverence for their spirits.  This is something that especially rings in me, as this is what I try to do with the Language of Stones through my jewelry and you better believe that when I have a flower farm I will do the same with flowers.


It was of course a beautiful book, but not just because it is about the secret subtle language of flowers, but because it is about the painful beauty of the human heart.  As Paula McLain says in her review, ” Victoria Jones (the main character) is going to break your heart three ways from Sunday.” It is not an easy story, full of struggle in fact, but also forgiveness, growth and learning to love oneself told through the experience of a young woman coming out of the foster care system of California.  Because she was a foster parent herself, the author Vanessa Diffenbaugh truly seeks to support this intensely challenging bridge of entering into the world after a life of foster care.  She even created a Non-Profit called the Camellia Network to aid young people making this transition.

So there you have it; reverence and respect for nature, the capacity of the human heart and action for social change, what is not to love.

Just leave a comment here between now and Sunday, (by clicking on the little number on the top right hand side of the post) and I will randomly pick a winner from the commenters, wrap up my loved copy and send it their way to be devoured once more.

Cosmos=Joy in Love and Life

A Deeper Shade of Green

Well, we have found ourselves in a land greener than green. Yes summer is the season of green, especially here in New England, but this little valley seems to be beyond green to this desert mama.  Green building, Green Food Systems, Green Mountains, just down right green dreams up here!!

Green Dreams

My Husband is teaching a class at Yestermorrow

A Design Build School in the Green Mountains

And because of series of events, we have found ourselves on an incredibly long & lovely green family vacation.  We have hung out at the Yestermorrow campus,

whimsical treehouse at Yestermorrow

Walking in the woods and finding wonderful woodland places to play

Crawling up and down the wheel chair accessible tree house ramp, oh what joy!

And of course crossing the road for a summer dip in cool crystalline waters.

The Punch Bowl

We have wondered into the town forest and up to mountain look outs, and that my friends was only in the first day!!

As we share this dreamy green together I am brought back to a time, before green was a thing in my mind, but more a feeling, an experience, an awakening.  Being a New England girl, gone desert dweller, these deep green shades remind me of the nostalgia of youthful summers, waking up the ecological memory deep in my bones, it was these very shades of green that got into me and really ingrained in me just how important green, on every level, is to me.

Shades of Green

You see,  just when I was becoming aware of the world around me, at that impressionable and acutely alert age of 10-13, I was sent away from the sweltering heat of Philadelphia (where I grew up) and shipped up north to fresher air.  I spent four summers at an amazing summer camp, not far from here called Farm and Wilderness.  We hiked these very mountains and we swam in equally clear waters, we wrapped ourselves in wet wool on the rainy days and stripped to nothing on the humid hot ones.  It was in this landscape that I was away from my home and family for the first time, and with all that space around me, I started to come into myself in a way I never had before.  I started to see the world in new forms; wild and raw, through the tops of mountains and the heart of thunderstorms, rather than the mall or cafeteria.  At camp we slept outside and ate what we grew, we played and worked and wandered away from the world of man and into the world of nature.  I had never experienced anything so big, so powerful and so uninterested in me.  Not only was I humbled, but I was soothed.  To be a preteen is such a self an exhaustively self-absorbing task, it may caused resistance at first, but it is truly reassuring to be show that it is NOT in fact all about you, that there are places in the world where no one is watching, judging, or even thinking about you at all.  I was shown that the mountains are wise and steady in ways that nothing in the motion and noise of the city & middle school was to be.  The strength of the wild earth gave me comfort, but also assess to me own inner strength.

Those summers became the highlight of my year, I longed for them with angst I didn’t even know I had and only grew.  My life after that was changed forever; it became dichotomous, once I had experienced something different from that which I had always known, I had two lives, the winter me and the summer me, the home and the away me, the wild me and the tamed me.  Having something other gave me something to long for, to aspire to and to compare my whole life to.  I now could see the vastness of the world, or at least the edge of such an understanding.  I was waking up to the idea that there was more to life than suburbia and after that there was no turning back….As the years passed and things started to shift; home, school and that angst grew & grew,  and it became apparent that the wild me, was the more real me than the tame me, or at least that was the me I wanted to become, the me I wanted to follow down the wooded path rather than the paved highway.  The story continues…..but for now let’s just say….Life went on and big choices were made by a changed, but still little girl, that lead me down many more turns and many more roads…….but now here I sit in the very place that woke me to myself in the world, that shaped my eyes, my heart my hands…and more than anything slipped a treasure into my pocket;  a compass, an invisible, intuitive compass always in the palm of my hand, or deep in my belly, there to guide me.   A compass that knows what awakens me, what enlivens me, what sings to me and what is good for me, it knows me better than I know myself, the me of mountain tops and the bottom of lakes.  The free me, the brave me, the honest me.

It helps me hold things up to the light, see them for what they are and how they stand up to my deepest beliefs.  This internal compass was crafted by this place, these mountains and rivers, these lakes and peaks and the people who showed me how to listen to them.  The seemingly endless summers I spent exploring this inner and outer wilderness, are what gave new my cardinal directions.  Formed by this place I was now loyal to it, or at least faithful to my verdant teachers of nature.  I was a now a lover of the forests, a protector of the green, a fresh righteous young environmentalist and where ever I tread since then I carry with my the lessons I learned here.  I am not just an advocate for the land, but I am kindred to it.  Once we are touched by the earth we are changed forever, we become a deeper shade of green.

Family Gathering

Oh summer is here, and the gathering has begun!  I feel so lucky to be a part of a family that loves gathering as much as I do (at least my husband does, baby is happy to be carried along wherever we are, especially if we are outside, such a great little guy!!)

Along for the ride

As the garden comes into it’s own and we wait patiently for it’s gifts, we look out into the wild for summer fare.

This little excursion was in search of Cota, a wild herb used traditionally in these parts forever for stomach ails and kidney support….a couple of years ago we found an amazing spot and harvested on the summer solstice.

Cota Harvest 2008

This year everything appears to be a little early, so we went in search…unfortunately the meadow got bulldozed and a horse was happily reigning over the spot…with not one Cota plant under foot….Luckily we still have some from that year!!

Summer gathering (pre station wagon)

This time we did come across an amazing Alfalfa stand

Alfalfa patch

And got to take a dunk in the old Rio Grande.

Sitting by the river

Just down the road we found Mulberries falling from the trees!!Mmmm.

Joel always prepared to pick!

Oh how beautiful

Mulberries in various stages of ripeness

And right across the street these ancient gifts..

Secret map to more mulberries?

And on the way home, we found the wild cherry stands, once I pick all ours, I will be back!! Grandpa is now our neighbor and makes a mean pie!!  Looking forward to that family gathering as well!!

Flower day

It seems everyday is a flower day these days, but none quite like today. The moon was in Libra……..So thus a flower day in the biodynamic calender, so I planted out Snapdragons, Verbascum, Thonia, and Calendula, cleaning out the greenhouse so the tomatoes, cucumbers and basil can now go full force.

…But as I planted and watered and doted on my beloved flowers I got an amazing show from the Oriental Poppy off in the corner of the garden, minding her own and only business of blooming.

At 7am she looked like this…

Pushing off her little hat, showing her blooming face to the world for the first time

And then by 11am she was open for pollination…

Full of powdery pollen

By 2pm she was all a glow in her glory….

Unfurling to the sun

Then when the light hit just right in the afternoon…

All a glow

By evening they had started to tighten back up…

Curling back in for the night

And I was reminded of one of my favorite Quotes by

Anaïs Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

Though for only a few days, she shall remain open

I hope you too are enjoying these glorious flower days!!

Elm seeds and mallow leaves

I know you all have been muchin’ salad lately.  The fresh greens of spring are something we look forward to all year. Baby lettuce, spinach, arugula….and what of the wild greens?  My lettuce is there but often hidden under handfuls of french sorrel, dandelion greens, chervil, arugula (leaves and flowers), rocket, mint leaves…all of which I wrote about last spring here.

Arugula Flowers are Edible, a spicy delight

Arugula is in the Cruciferae family ( as in cross, see the flowers, they are all like that) though now the family is called Brassicaceae after it’s most popular member, broccoli. Arugula flowers, as well all the other Cruciferae cousins flowers are edible, just look here.  This season I have added Siberian Elm seeds and Mallow Leaves to the mix.

Young Siberian Elm Seeds

I know the Siberian Elm can seem a great nuance, and that it is when those seeds go flying and take root just about everywhere…but if you pick the seeds before they fly, when bright green and brand new, they are sweet and delicious.  I have heard they can be eaten later too, cooked with the papery seed hulls rubbed off according to eattheweeds.com

Mallow Leaves -Malva

My newest friend, ground cover, medicine, and munchy is Malva.  It has been used for everything from headaches, to poultices to post- partum cleanses.  The leaves can be eaten young and are medicinal.  This sweet little blog tells you even more.

So as your greens come up, don’t forget to eat those weeds!!