Viral Gratitude ~ 4/17/20

I believe that the sentiment, “Life is too short to drink cheap wine” is a familiar one. I totally agree with its intention (whenever possible) and also with the corollary that decent wine does not have to be expensive to be enjoyed either. On that note, I have come to add a maxim of my own: “Life is too short to drink chamomile tea instead of something else.” Try as I may for an adult lifetime and more discards of half-finished cups than I am comfortable to admitting—I just don’t like the taste or get enough satisfaction out of it to appreciate its value. It’s possible that packaged chamomile tea has been crapified down too much into “good for you” marketing limpid bags. My grandmother used to brew real chamomile flowers into tea as a tonic for her children. Perhaps the real stuff is worth working with, however all the “sleepytime” marketing and promises just don’t pass muster for me. And the shame of it is that I love the word chamomile and will have to use it henceforth only in poetry or prose. I usually have a cuppa tea next to the computer as I write this around 3:00 AM nightly. Chamomile has been my go-to decaffeinated choice for its calming attributes.

This pandemic has taught me a lot about self-care: with true self-care, comfort and pleasure sometimes outweigh the promise or premise of (puportedly) healthier and healing. In other words, during a pandemic, comfort takes on its own healing modality. We all must judge this for ourselves, and unbridled hedonism does not eclipse healthy choices. Harmony of the two should not be overrated at this juncture.

So it is with some sadness and disappointment that I bid adieu to any more middle-of-the-night cups of chamomile, and while I’m at it, so too rose-hip tea. It is with great pleasure on the other hand, that I welcome back black pekoe (decaffeinated) into my swinging night life. I feel better already.


new haircut same face no more chamomile tea

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.16.20

Friends. Our link to Angels and our better selves. They walk with us through the darkest nights and celebrate with us and for us when the sun shines. Sometimes they even lift us when we are in the shade and cannot see the light. We laugh, we cry, we grieve and we birth together. And in the most difficult of times, we honor death together. Despite all disagreements and even some drama, we are better humans because of our friends and friendships (including the animal and plant world). 

Today I am grateful for all my friends, past, present and future as well as friends (strangers to me)  who love and support each other around the globe. I am honored and blessed to be walking this walk with many friend-souls every day. In particular, today is the birthday of my soul sister and Jaguar kin, Vicky, who has repeatedly shown and taught me the true meaning of generosity of spirit and materials. She asks herself, over and over again in the most demanding and difficult situations, “What would love do here?” and for the most part meets herself in that field. And countless other souls besides me have experienced this/her unconditional love through her work and life.

In lieu of celebrating together during this pandemic, and in lieu of grieving together for those who lost loved ones at their last breath, I honor this moment within the grace and mystery that life offers to all of us. AHO. 

At the Farmer’s Market ~ Viral Gratitude 4.15.20

I wrote this in 2013, however my gratitude for the farmers all over the country and one farmer-leader in particular, Jess at Chickadee Creek Farms in NJ, grows every season. Farmers, like teachers do not get enough recognition and payment for their services. Let’s hope that this will change for the better going forward. If this poem sounds a little dramatic–I apologize for the drama but not for the sentiment. I am in awe of farmers everywhere.

Awoodlandrose's Blog

At The Farmer’s Market

On most weekends
are women who farm
wearing a look of dusty denim
and tired smiles.

You exchange pleasantries
with most everyone
as you bag and bundle
the week’s harvest.

There is no time for makeup
and your hair is cropped short
or haphazardly pulled back
without a second glance.

Soil under your fingernails
accent strong fingers and hands
while on your feet
only water and mud-proof shoes will do.

Tee shirts or faded flannel
with rolled-up sleeves
cannot hide your muscled arms
or disguise an earthy beauty.

Musky scents that ripen
with the nurture of birth,
growth, harvest, death and decay
mix into your sweat and laughter.

At the farmer’s market
are women who farm
and walk home after long days
wearing their fields in dusty denim.

With gratitude.

ag ~ 2013

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Viral Gratitude ~ 4.14.20

Yesterday was a rather rough day. I learned that the insurance adjuster totaled my car, while watching out all morning for two workers from our internet provider who worked on restoring wifi and climbed poles during a tornado watch and torrential rains. My everlasting gratitude for their dedication and perseverance despite a tension headache that escalated with each weather report. I had to escort them in and out of the gated nursery (about 500′) to the phone box on the outside of the building (actually an old three-room chicken coop that served as the nursery sales and work rooms in better times). I had to change out of three pairs of soaked jeans.

So I turned as I usually due to cooking and chopping while responding to and monitoring the men on the telephone poles, talking to the insurance representatives and a car dealer. I managed to make an old rustic Italian favorite—pasta fagoli or pasta and with ceci  (chickpeas) in a garlicy tomato and basil broth. 

When the tornado warnings became more localized, I decide to attack the flourless chocolate cake in my refrigerator that I did not get to eat for Easter dessert due to other circumstances beyond my control. And as a “friend” reminded me—I would have a much greater chance of staying grounded in a tornado if I was that much heavier. I also wanted my last meal (if indeed the case) to include pasta and finish with velvety chocolate. 

Luckily for me, I am still here to share today’s blog, heavier but happier that I decided to live in the moment and screw the extra calories. 


chocolate on my tongue bittersweet

Viral gratitude ~ 4.13.20

When you cannot control the larger picture around you—time to work on what you can control. There is an ongoing pandemic, tornado warnings and wind shears, power and wifi outages to name a few of the annoying circumstances beyond one’s immediate control in our area.

So after twenty-seven and one-half days of isolation and longer since I last got my hair trimmed—and due to above said disorderly state of affairs, I decided to take matters into my own hands and give myself a haircut. Since I have worked as a nurserywoman/farmer for forty-plus years, I figured that I could apply the same principles to hair cutting as shrub pruning. Go in at odd angles and thin rather than shear straight across. Aim your shears toward your ears rather than horizontal with the ground. I did it while my hair was dry. I would recommend cutting locks while wet. It would be much easier cleanup. I was still ingesting some stay strands with snacks a little later on. That being said, I believe I did a decent job and scared no one on Zoom yesterday.  Who knew that pruning techniques could be used successfully on coiffures. I doubt that I will be called to cut or style anyone else’s hair, however I am satisfied with my results:

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.12.20

Wind and Wildflowers
not for long
all the doubts
that spindle
on the legs of
a newborn fawn
not for long
rising in the compost
of a late autumn
not for long
the egret’s flight legs
tucked in
to compress its center
of gravity
not for long
the orb-weaver’s
perfect web
bending the morning light
into beads of dew
not for long
an evening that begins
with the brilliance
of one star
long gone
not for long
the dance
of heat lightning
on the meadow’s
queen anne’s lace
not for long
the darkness
between the kindle
of a firefly’s
not for long
lost stories
of the wind
and wildflowers
in my heart
ag ~ June 2013

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.11.20

Life loves to throw curveballs. You prepare for one contingency and out of left field comes another. We are dealing with a viral pandemic and yet yesterday, a gust of wind whips through the yard and fells a large tree. It takes down the power and phone lines, misses the roof and resounds with a loud bang onto the rear of my car. The next thing I hear are chainsaws and trucks—six in all on my driveway with a crew of 12 men climbing poles and splicing wires while cutting through the tree trunk with a diameter of 2-2.5 ft. Within the next twenty-four hours, I helped pick up brush, logs and branches and loaded them onto a large rack-body truck for disposal at our recycling center, dealt with the power and phone companies, insurance adjusters, an auto body shop and more of the same all over again. I learned how to use the insurance company app to take photos of my vehicle identification number (vin), and damage from multiple angles and upload photos of the tree basically hugging my car. I spoke to representatives of said companies from all over the country while we are isolated in our homes. Everyone is especially pleasant and efficient. It’s all a bit surreal. The wind is still blowing 20-30 mph as I sit here (a day later and body-sore) at my computer while sipping a bourbon Manhattan on ice with a slice of bitter orange and still waiting for the phone company to show up (now over twenty-four hours). 

The good news for which I am grateful:

The tree did not hit the roof or me.

Power was restored within four hours.

Cable came back on with power.

A dear friend showed up after a hard day’s work to help me untangle the mess in my driveway.

There was enough daylight until the last half hour for the work to be moving.

All workers were courteous, empathetic and conversing at a safe distance. 

The only real damage was to property which can be replaced.

I can borrow a company car in the meantime, and in the meantime requires very little driving during a pandemic of isolating in place.

My car is in good and capable repair hands.

The bitter orange in my drink is refreshing.

~ ~ ~

Sadly, I miss the felled tree which supported a birdhouse and a knothole perch for squirrels.

I am sorry for my car. Her name is “Tita,” short for her color titanium. She is at the auto-body shop and grossly disfigured—possibly totaled. I may never drive her again. I bond with all my vehicles. We usually span a decade of road rides together for better or for worse. Tita is only four years old.

As I’ve been saying—life is about flexibility and change. Had this happened during “normal circumstances”—I may have felt a bit more sorry for myself, however compared to the loss of life and health—this is nothing–albeit an expensive nothing. I choose to live among trees, and this hardship is but a small emotional price to pay. The beauty and health trees afford far outweigh any handicaps.

A true gift also came with this calamity. I went out after dark to sit with the tree and my car and ground/settle just a bit—it had been a difficult day. Near the sliced tree trunk, I found a piece of hardwood, in the shape of a heart–a sign for me that love flows through everything—even calamity. For this I am forever grateful.


Viral gratitude ~ 4.8.20

I love Brian Andreas’ writing and artwork. It is so very whimsical, poetic  and profound at the same time. He combines the most fantastical imagery with the mundane in such a manner that it catches you off guard and can leave one (me) breathless or at the very least—with a smile. For the child within—Brian’s work is nourishing, supportive, humorous and contemplative all the while most playfully innocent. Wisdom in this case, cloaked in innocence. And his artwork is as whimsical, colorful and sensitive as his words. 

Some sweet nuggets on his 2020 Brian Andreas Studio Calendar:

bringing magic back into everyday life,

         even though to most people,

                 it just looks like soup.”

~Brian Andreas 2019


In his calendar, Brian Andreas gets to create/name his own special days:

March 22: giant Sunday hat day;

March 29: cross a line day;

April 27: mismatched sock day;

June 8: thankful for oceans day;

September 15: walk backwards day (one of my favorites).

His September page:

Once you see the heroes around you, the ones who stand quietly & love the world with everything they are,

don’t be surprised if one day you choose to stand up & show what happens when you live that kind of life too.”

~Brian Andreas, 2019