Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oh, That Cake

-- flourless
raspberry preserves
bittersweet chocolate buttercream
mocha buttercream
hazelnut dust
chocolate ganache --
every sense
on my birth

Recipe for A Delightful Birthday

1. Work.

2. Hike Shakerag Hollow with a friend and my camera.

3. Take 200 photographs and discover 23 that are pretty good.

4. Find a delectable Black Hound chocolate hazelnut cake on the doorstep upon return.

5. Receive a fabulous Amazon gift certificate.

6. Enjoy some Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey.

7. Listen to great-nieces sing "Happy Birthday, Cha-Cha-Cha" and talk to a loved niece-in-law.

8. Eat a California Pizza Kitchen pizza.

9. Call an elderly friend who knows I don't usually celebrate my birthday and wished me her last "Happy Birthday."

10. Share my cake with another elderly friend.

11. Marvel at especially kind wishes on Facebook.

12. Sleep tight.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Flower Field

Below Monteagle, a daffodil farm flames yellow waves in spring wind. A drive there and back, the long way, wash me in gold.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Borrowed Snap

My niece's brother-in-law is a talented photographer with access to four of the most photogenic children I know: his own and his nephew and niece (two of my greats).

A weekend cousins visit means another terrific opportunity for Adam and for all of us in the wider family.

I cannot think of anything to say that matches the joy of these Easter-time snaps.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

On the Line

What's hard to remember is just how small the wildflowers littering the floor of Shakerag Hollow are, especially these Dutchman's breeches, still wearing the green tint of their new blooming. Walk too fast, look in the wrong direction, and you will miss them, clustered around the base of a stone.

Sitting on that rock, stretching, leaning, bending, finally crouching, extending my camera, I found it easy to imagine midsummer fairies frolicking along the line, swinging on the breeze of the coming storm.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Longing for What I Don't Have

The sound of running water over rocks and fallen limbs takes me home, where the creek in the front yard, swollen with rain, rushed -- almost like the cataract I imagine it in memory -- and where I spent happy hours sitting on the flat rock above a minnow pool.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Boldness in Early Spring

Walking in Shakerag Hollow, Greg and I met Mary P and a friend on the trail, going the other direction.

They glimpsed something under a leaf, leaned down, and pointed out this tiny bit of striking scarlet.

Of course, I cannot remember the fungus' name. A little web search leads me to think it's scarlet cup (Sarcoscypha austriaca), but I'm not sure.

I know only this: without their help, I would have missed this outrageously lipsticked-inside-out smiling mouth, clinging to a yawn of brown.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shakerag Hollow

A day off, sun, and my friend Greg mean a walk into Shakerag Hollow.

The trail sucking feet in mud and stream rushing, birds calling and flies buzzing, the Hollow wakes, shooting up trillium, bloodroot, hepatica, nascent Dutchman's breeches from the mouldering floor of wet leaves.

Today, I cannot name a better way to have spent two hours.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Experiments in the Field

Crocuses come in yellows, creams, and purples, but so far as I know, not blue crocus.

This one, however, shot in late afternoon, shows blue in every frame.

Is it really blue?

Or should it be violet?
I don't know, nor do I care.

Daubed, spattered, or palette-knifed, this crocus struts it stuff.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Years ago, in a writing institute, I was invited to draw an image of my writing process and then write about it. I scribbled something like a corkscrew to mirror the way my brain works, one idea leading to another and another and another, turning back and around and deeper in on itself.

The unfurling of leaf and petal evidences a mathematical grace of golden spiral that my mind does not. Before the Hubble telescope, the cosmos itself looked random. Now, though, we can see deeper and deeper into space, where the same spirals naturally unfold.
Perhaps my mind, like plant and cosmos, follows a magic formula of its own. If only I could know it, I think. Then I might create something almost as beautiful.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Pansy

packs a wollop.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010


As I walked toward the Post Office, an acquaintance walked by.

"Sun!" I exclaimed.

She answered, "Unidentified object in the sky!"

Two weeks without sun and a deep longing ended in one hour and 330+ photos.

Crocuses and creatures and I reveled in sun!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The daily looking-in, now that color has come back, awakens my winter self.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Daffodil Field

Eighty years ago, Mr Gilliam's father planted a daffodil field in Pelham. Each spring, he picked thousands of blossoms and drove them to Oak Ridge to sell, and his son does the same today. The bunches sell out by 1 PM.

Daffodils by the bunch are one thing;

by the field, another;

and when glimpsed through purple hyacinth, another altogether.

Thank you, Gilliam family, for yellow and purple and field.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The First Crocus

Fog and rain
imprison deep purple
crocuses hiding beneath
woody azaleas,
poems pining
for sun, composing
the beauty of grass.