Time to Break Out

March 27, 2017

Magnolia buds

Magnolia buds, just about to break out into blossom

by Maya Spector

It’s time to break out —
Jailbreak time.
Time to punch our way out of
the dark winter prison.
Lilacs are doing it
in sudden explosions of soft purple,
And the jasmine vines, and ranunculus, too.
There is no jailer powerful enough
to hold Spring contained.
Let that be a lesson.
Stop holding back the blossoming!
Quit shutting eyes and gritting teeth,
curling fingers into fists, hunching shoulders.
Lose your determination to remain unchanged.
All the forces of nature
want you to open,
Their gentle nudge carries behind it
the force of a flash flood.
Why make a cell your home
when the door is unlocked
and the garden is waiting for you?

Cherry tree, about to blossom soon

Here in Seattle, it’s too soon for lilacs.  But with our lat spring, we await the blossoming of the cherry and plum trees.  Any day now!


Watercolor sketch of daffodils

Daffodil Wreath (52 Wreaths Project)

You can listen to actress Noma Dumezeni read Wordsworth’s “Daffodils” poem on the BBC at this link.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Daffodil: King Trumpeter

March 10, 2017

Spring bouquet

“King Trumpeter to Flora Queen,
Hey, ho, daffodil!
Blow, and the golden jousts begin.”
— from “Daffodil,” The Wind in the Trees: A Book of Country Verse, by Katharine Tynan

Watercolor sketch of daffodil


“A single crocus blossom ought to be enough to convince our heart that springtime, no matter how predictable, is somehow a gift, gratuitous, gratis, a grace.”
— David Steindl-Rast

Crocus Chrysanthus by George Maw, from The Art of Botanical Illustration by Wilfrid Blunt and William T. Stearn

“Beside the porch step
the crocus prepares an exaltation
of purple, but for the moment
holds its tongue. . . .”
— Jane Kenyon, from “Mud Season”

An exaltation of purple


Crow with crocuses



Dawn in the Skagit Valley

Dawn in the Skagit Valley

“The real world, in my opinion, exists in the countryside, where Nature goes about her quiet business and brings greatest pleasure.”
— Fennel Hudson

I am drawn to the countryside.  I love its “quiet business.”  The pre-dawn hour is especially lovely.  I enjoy pulling to the side of the road, turning off the car’s ignition, and sitting in the quiet, watching the world awaken.

The Skagit Valley awakens

The Skagit Valley awakens

Old truck by barn

Old truck by barn

Allium stands tall un the foreground of a field

Allium stands tall un the foreground of a field

Farm in the Skagit Valley

Farm in the Skagit Valley





Mother duck with ducklings

Mother duck with ducklings

I had a “Make Way for Ducklings” moment on the path at Green Lake during my morning run this week.  This mother duck had her wings full with a brood of eleven ducklings!  I hope she has a delightful Mother’s Day next Sunday.








Inspiration for my latest painting -- a row of purple irises

Inspiration for my latest painting — a row of purple irises

by Mary Ursula Bethell

It grows too fast!  I cannot keep pace with it!
While I mow the front lawns, the drying green becomes impossible;
While I weed the east path, from the west path spring dandelions;
What time I sort the borders, the orchard escapes me.
While I clap my hands against the blackbird,
Michael, our cat, is rolling on a seedling;
While I chase Michael, a young rabbit is eyeing the lettuces.

And oh the orgies, to think of the orgies
When I am not present to preside over this microcosm!





Silver Rain

April 25, 2016

Rain through living room window

Rain through living room window

In Time of Silver Rain
by Langston Hughes

In time of silver rain
The earth
Puts forth new life again,
Green grasses grow
And flowers lift their heads,
And over all the plain
The wonder spreads
Of life,
Of life,
Of life!

In time of silver rain
The butterflies
Lift silken wings
To catch a rainbow cry,
And trees put forth
New leaves to sing
In joy beneath the sky
As down the roadway
Passing boys and girls
Go singing, too,
In time of silver rain
When spring
And life
Are new.

Raindrops on window panes

Raindrops on window panes

Fallen peony flower with raindrops

Fallen peony flower with raindrops


Multiplied Green

April 22, 2016

Dogwood tree, like upside-down umbrellas

Dogwood tree, like upside-down umbrellas

by May Sarton

Always it happens when we are not there —
The tree leaps up alive into the air.
Small open parasols of Chinese green
Wave on each twig.  But who has ever seen
The latch sprung, the bud as it burst?
Spring always manages to get there first.

Lovers of wind, who will have been aware
Of a faint stirring in the empty air,
Look up one day through a dissolving screen
To find no star, but this multiplied green,
Shadow on shadow, singing sweet and clear.
Listen, lovers of wind, the leaves are here!

Dogwood tree

Dogwood tree

This is the season of the greening of the world.  Trees and bushes and lawns are in a range of green values.  Some trees are in full leaf.  Others are still emerging green.  And it’s true, you can’t ever seem to catch the exact moment when the green bursts forth.  Suddenly it’s just there.

Big-leaf maple, new leaves and flowers

Big-leaf maple, new leaves and flowers





Deciduous Spring
by Robert Penn Warren

Now, now, the world
All gabbles joy like geese, for
An idiot glory the sky
Bangs.  Look!
Now, are
Bangles dangling and
Spangling, in sudden air
Wangling, then
Hanging quiet, bright.

The world comes back, and again
Is gabbling, and yes,
Remarkably worse, for
the world is a whirl of
Green mirrors gone wild with
Deceit, and the world
Whirls green on a string, then
The leaves go quiet, wink
From their own shade, secretly.

Keep still, just a moment, leaves.

There is something I am trying to remember.



“Every week, some unannounced low pressure front trundles in from the Pacific.  They come like a parade of newly widowed aunts.  All of them have weepy tales to tell.  They stay too long and are soon indistinguishable from one another.”
— Bill Richardson, Bachelor Brothers Bed & Breakfast


Cherry trees in the rain, U of W campus



This is Spring in Seattle!