Nature is a Gardener

Nature is a Gardener

Plants are her purest expression,
      spending their days eating sunlight and
      expelling a dazzling display
          of scents,
          colors
          and flavors.
Gophers are just tools to plow the earth.
Birds and squirrels sow the seeds.
Deer are nice quiet lawnmowers.
Owls, snakes and ladybugs?   Pest control.
Goats do the pruning.
Beavers are merely complex irrigation systems,
      and bees... the hardworking genetic engineers.
Everybody does their share of the fertilizing
      and composting
      at one point or another,
      but other than that, I have to ask,
“What kind of gardening tool am I?”

lawnmower

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The Creek’s Eyes

“What happened???”
      soap plant asks in amazement as it pokes its green tuft 
      of leaves into the sun after its hibernation,
      snuggled underground in summer slumber,
      in dry paper wrappers with the other wet season bulbs.
There is no reply from his few remaining charred neighbors.
Sourgrass,
      awakened by the first rainfall since April
      stretches out its dangly yellow arms,
      equally stunned,
but not disappointed with the new view of the ocean.
“Wildfire,” yawns rattlesnake,
      slithering into a den to sleep away winter:
            the frost,
            the mushrooms and mudslides,
      the canadian geese calling on their flight path south.
“The light contains all things and all things contain the light,”
      call the geese from overhead
      as they chase summer southward,
      quoting Dogen, I believe.

And here I am, sketching up an echoless canyon among 
      shadowless trees,
      thinking of how people are like
      floating bubbles on a stream,
           three-hundred and sixty degree traveling mirrors,
           reflecting the world and each other.
           arising and popping unexpectedly:
      the creek’s eyes.
And it’s fascinating to think of what plants and animals miss 
      out on in their cycles of dormancy-
           napping away entire seasons
      blind in their own cocoons.

Snacking now,
carefully peeling wrappers from a hard-boiled egg and some 
      sunflower seeds,
      a satisfied bubble enjoying the stream,
      I wonder about my own blind spots,
      which I quickly decide don’t exist,
since I can’t see them.

Advice from my Six-year-old Daughter


“The secret to finding four leaf clovers,” she tells me, “is this-
         If you look for them, they disappear, 
         but if you DON’T look for them,
               they DON’T disappear.”
She should know, she finds them all the time. 
"I’ve been not looking for them my whole life," I tell her.
         “Maybe you haven’t been not looking hard enough.”

“Another way to find them,” she tells me, pitying my misfortune,
         “Is to wait until you feel really lucky-
         like I just did when that moth let me touch her.  
         Then, you KNOW one is nearby and you find it.”
I smile at her, so sincere with sunny freckles, 
         her eyes squinting in the light.

I’m feeling so fortunate 
         there’s no need to bother even looking down
         at the meadow of shamrocks 
         that must be there now,
sprouting between my toes.  
feetbw