Call and Response

John Burroughs said it best: “Harvest with a quiet eye.”

Every morning and every evening, I am serenaded by a very resolute songbird. He/she is perched on a low hanging wire directly outside a window over my kitchen sink. Since I wash all my dishes by hand, from dawn to dusk, I am treated to this small bird’s boisterous concerto for what seems like forever, and long after all the other songbirds have quieted and moved on to their daily chores. Its song is a repetitive two-note high pitch that contrasts with the deep lushness of early summer green behind it. I believe the bird is a Red-Eyed Vireo whose voice fills its whole being from beak to tail tip. And from a far-off somewhere else, is the return song… another Vireo answering the call.

I am lucky to be surrounded by woods and fields and awakened at the high point of songbirds in our area as early as 4:45 AM. No need to set an alarm when the windows are open and light breezes blowing. I consider this a blessing, as it lasts only a few short weeks after the solstice, when the daylight begins to dwindle ever so imperceptibly, and birds that migrate leave nests behind taking their songs with them.

This little guy/gal and I are linked in a daily routine when washing dishes is no longer a chore but a sweet beginning and ending to summer love.

call and response from the woods yet another harvest


Wabi-Sabi For A Fractured World

Adapted from the book:

Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic. It is beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Wabi-sabi is earthy, idiosyncratic, organic and intuitive. Corrosion and contamination make its expression richer. It is comfortable with ambiguity and contradiction.

It’s mantra so to speak: To everything there is a season.

And therein lies its remarkable and simple beauty. Wabi-sabi is not bounded by expectations or desires. Things wabi-sabi are unpretentious and can appear coarse and unrefined. In other words, we must look beyond a worn and wearied surface to appreciate its value and beauty. As a way of life, wabi-sabi is about presence, acceptance and nature. Its song is melancholy and bittersweet.

Wabi-sabi is the poetry writ within our nature and humanity:

This too shall pass.













Bourbon and Blackberries

It’s just a few minutes before 4:00 AM, and it’s just a few days before the start of a new year.

Time — it’s all an illusion, and yet it fully engages, sparks and/or distracts us. So with that thought in mind, I am choosing once again (my fifth year) to commit to the practice of daily writing during January and onto February. January is for writing small stones (described below) and February for writing small poems. Thank you to Fiona Robyn, now Satya Robyn, for introducing and poeting small stones back in 2011. It’s a practice, along with painting, that satiates my inmate desire to combine presence and imagination, reality and whimsy with poetry and prose.

bourbon and blackberries — how does art get done?

Mindful Writing Tool: small stones

A small stone is a short piece of writing (prose or poetry) that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment. The process of finding small stones is as important as the finished product – searching for them will encourage you to keep your eyes (and ears, nose, mouth, fingers, feelings and mind) open.
A small stone is a short piece of writing that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment.

towels and shirts and pillowcases show me the shapes of the breeze

Fiona Robyn

Wee Flowers

the tiniest
flowers in the
teeniest of vases
catch our breath and
give the cheeriest hello
in a split second of delight
on a day that would otherwise
pass as a drama too complex
and sophisticated for the
delicate loveliness of
wood sprites unless
we unleash our
true selves to
play with



Writing My Way Home



For my last small stone writing practice of January 2016, I would like to share a Kyirelle poem that I wrote at my writer’s group. A Kyirelle poem is structured so that all the lines have eight syllables and each stanza of four lines ends in a refrain. There are four stanzas. It takes on a rhythmical form very much like a rhyming couplet. I won’t go into its exact structure – let’s just say that it’s like finishing a puzzle in the form of a poem. Writing a Kyirelle poem was given as an optional prompt or writing exercise, and while I often ignore these, I jumped on it and finished it with a flourish. This poem almost wrote itself, and I was the scribe. Since its theme centers on this month’s blogging, I am sharing it here:


Writing My Way Home  – A Kyirelle

As a mindful writing practice,
I blog daily on that and this.
It is called sharing a small stone,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

January lobs with a cold moon,
And winter scenes of snow monsoons.
My muse inspires an artful tone,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

Tales of grit, grace and gratitude,
Shape its forum and latitude.
With tears of laughter, grief and groans,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

Presence is my daily prayer.
Growth is awareness being here.
To this end I write my way home,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

c   Andrea Grillo ~ 2016

Life Sketch

Writing prompt for our bimonthly writer’s group:

“My Life In Six Words” – without thinking – just my flash reaction:

Rock and roll inside a wallflower.

I am here to break rules.

A dame inside the nice girl.

I’m here so what the hell?

I just want to have fun.

Color me henna and cornflower blue.

I hate homework so there.  (Only five words so this does not count but feels good, so I’m leaving it in).

Urban head inside a farm girl.

A great fun exercise to explore where one is at in life at the present time especially without over thinking it.



Color and Light

I washed out some new nesting bowls in pastel colors and embossed textures. As they lay on the dish rack, I could not help but  arrange them according to a pleasing color palette and take a photo. Because that’s what I do. A chore and creative play. Interesting color and light on everyday objects will always interrupt my work and allow me to see simple stuff in a more stimulating, sometimes stunning and sometimes wondrous way.


kitchen crockery too pretty for pasta alone