An excerpt from Mary Oliver’s poem The Summer Day which I found especially fitting this morning and wanted to share with you:
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Some Campfire's Love Poem
Weary child, as evening
casts your shadow long
across this pebbled bank
the sun, who held your face
in daytime, selfless
who only told you true
for all of your life
who kissed your cheeks
and showed you how
to plant your feet down and
how to lift them up again
weary child, the sun is fading.
Draw near me now in reflection
and be held almost whole
in this unsettling hour.
Elizabeth Keefer, May 2021
If the title of this post looks familiar to you, you are very observant and deserve a high five.
Back at the beginning of this year (January 2nd to be exact) I shared some very different pictures of this tree in a post called LIRIODENDRON TULIPIFERA IN SNOW
Well, it’s May…
The snow has melted, the hot sun is making regular appearances again, and wouldn’t you know it, this Tulip Tree is now in full spring bloom.
Liriodendron tulipifera, aka Tulip Tree or Yellow Poplar, is native to Eastern North America (far from where this one is planted) and is the state tree of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana.
Tulip Trees bloom May through June.
Big showy yellow flowers banded in bright orange at the base of each petal.
What a gift to witness these blooms! Almost surreal looking.
Generous cups of cold sherbet, vanilla and orange…
Perhaps a shaded feast for some lucky pollinators on a hot day.
As colorful as they are, it’s easy to scan the tree and not see the flowers because they don’t open up until after the leaves are fully formed, and by then they are fairly tucked in and hidden.
I’m glad I got a chance to snap these photos; I’ve never seen a Tulip Tree bloom and I was excited to share it with you. 🙂 For reference (for myself as much as anyone else) I took these with my old Pentax K-500 with an inexpensive CPL filter.
Long before I opened my eyes to the calm blue light of tent walls dotted with sunlit glassy raindrops, the honking of geese overhead stirred me to consciousness and a sleepy smile spread across my slightly chapped lips.
These early morning moments are what I camp for.
Waking up in a tent to the smell of wet earth.
Crisp air nips at my cheeks and reminds me of my vitality.
The sounds of animals bustling around me on a thick carpet of damp ponderosa pine needles reminds me I am but one part of a large web of deeply connected beings.
Waking up to a new day alongside non-human siblings – the grasses, the trees, the bugs, the birds, the deer, the rocks. Whew! What a privilege.
In the third installment of the ongoing saga that is patching my well-worn and heavily-mended Lucy and Yak dungarees (here would be part one and part two)…
I squatted down to adjust the height of the lawnmower and the entire butt of my pants split right out! Down the middle and to the side in the shape of a crooked “Y” – I wasn’t mad, I look forward to big mends like this.
I used a pocket from a retired pair of light blue linen pants that belonged to my husband and a handful of colors of linen thread. The pocket was a nice upgrade from a regular fabric patch; now I have a good place to tuck my gardening gloves in a pinch.
I loosely reinforced the edge of the hole with running stitches before pinning the pocket over top, edges folded under and pinned flat. I worked the perimeter of the pocket with hand-stitching until satisfied. Simple enough!
Below is a recent picture of the original knee patches after about a million washes and rough wears…
On an average day I’m wearing an outfit like this: heavily patched pants, long sleeves to protect my arms from the sun, no-frills Casio watch, wool socks with sandals or boots (depending on the tasks of the day) and a me-made wool sun protection hat. It doesn’t get more “me” than this look right here. 🙂
These pants have developed a spirit of their own. I can’t head out into the yard to work, or pack my bag for a camping trip without them saying, “Hey! I want to play, too!”
And who am I to deny them the rigors and grit they so crave?
My primary interests this spring put me outside for long stretches of time, subsequently exposing my skin to the sun more than I’d like: hiking, camping, landscape photography, fishing, gardening, etc.
I wanted to create a custom-fit sun protection hat for myself that ticked all of my “must have” boxes:
100% natural domestic wool with natural lanolin retained to increase the inherent moisture-repellent properties of minimally processed wool
Comfortable custom-fit cap intended to wear over a thin scarf or bandana for added sun protection of ears and neck
Dense, totally opaque fabric to maximize sun protection and reduce the risk of picking up ticks in my hair while in heavily forested areas
Secure/heavy enough to not blow away in the wind without being overly warm
Extra wide, semi-firm brim extending wide enough to protect my neck, ears, and entire face from the full noontime sun
Crocheting is old hat for me (har har! I’ll never pass up a good pun) – I picked up some of my favorite wool yarn and a hook, threw a few stitches into a magic ring, and an hour later we had the start of something promising…
Once I was satisfied with the fit of the cap portion, I moved on to the brim with the intention to try the hat on every few rounds until I was satisfied with the width of the brim and the amount of sun protection coverage for my face and neck.
My goal was to finish the hat completely in time to bring it with me on a weekend camping trip.
I finished just before bed the night before we left and snapped a window-lit selfie as the sun went down to commemorate.
This hat is a delight! Truly one of the best things I’ve ever made, all crafts considered.
It fits my outdoor needs exactly, which means I will treasure it and wear it for years to come.
This feeling; this is whole point of slow craft. ❤
As it turns out, an unintended benefit of my new wool sun hat is that it helps me hid from neighbors and sip my tea in peace…
Anti-social sun protection…
But as always, my anti-social inclinations are betrayed by a big grin and friendly disposition. 🙂
My new hat even matches my favorite self-drafted knit shawl.
This look is giving me amateur mycologist, forest dwelling Carmen Sandiego vibes and I love it.
*singing to myself* – “Where in the woods is, EK Sandiego?”
In this short trailer I discuss the purpose of my podcast Plumb: a conversational journey toward center
Plumb | to adjust or test by a plumb line/to be exactly vertical or true
Episodes of this podcast include personal reflections, rich community conversations, and simple practices for cultivating emotional resilience and navigating life mindfully, wholeheartedly, and with purpose.