Sunday, February 28, 2016

When to Plant a Tree

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” I'm still learning this myself, but you're missing the point if you can't see this applies to more than trees. Of course, if you're about to do something stupid like planting a pine tree beneath a power line, then procrastination is good. The trick is knowing the difference. Some things take a lifetime to learn. Maybe that's why we're told to listen to our elders.

A Virginia Pine planted in our yard yesterday as part of a project to plant 50,000 trees
across the state sponsored by the Tennessee Environmental Council

Saturday, February 27, 2016


I need to start writing again. I think I cannot not write. And I think we all have an inner need to create. It's different for everyone, but to stifle this urge is like trying to stop a flower from blooming; success would kill the beauty. 

Friday, February 26, 2016


Any path worth taking 
in days of wildflowers and sunshine 
is worth walking in all seasons. 

Beauty is year-round and weatherproof 
for those who are willing to see.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Maybe I need to be less present on social media in order to be more present in life. I don't know if you've enjoyed them or not, but I think I need to pause the Wild Saunter posts for awhile. I'm not sure how long it will be, but I'm thinking at least through the Lenten season. I will still post occasional family joys, special moments, and maybe an occasional wildflower, but I think I need to quit trying so hard to be the wise old forest sage. 

I think I need to write less, photograph less, and post less. In its place, I'm going to try to think more, see more, and be more, because life is more than digital likes and shares. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Learning to Say No

More and more I am learning the importance of saying no. 

There's only so much of you, so you must learn to give wisely. If you say yes to every good opportunity, you may feel needed, maybe even indispensable, but in the end there will be nothing left, no margin, no place simply to be yourself.

If you are to do anything, you must leave time for it. Whether it's knitting, volunteering in the community, exercising, cooking, hiking, or anything else, it can't be done if you don't leave time for it. Perhaps this seems too obvious to say, but in my experience it is a commonly overlooked truth. 

I use the word leave instead of make intentionally. We often say we need to make time for this or that activity. We say things like, "if you want to do something badly enough, you'll make time for it." But the truth is you can fret, rush, and stress all you want, but none of us can make time. It can't be done. Not an hour. Not even a minute.

The best we can do is prioritize and leave time for the important things. Maybe I can find places where I'm wasting time doing something unimportant. Maybe I need to reorganize my day, or be more aware of time gobbling distractions. But to leave time for one thing, we must say no to something else. This is not being selfish or stingy. It's reality. 

Do you have something you've been wanting to do but never have the time? Maybe you need to stop doing a few other things. For myself, I have decided it is better to do one thing well than five things poorly.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Shared Space (whether we notice or not)

A fox calling from the east,
where the moon also rises
through the trees,
reminds me
that we share this land. 

The fox calls,
and I perceive that most
of my neighbors are wild,
and free. 

Rarely heard,
seldom seen,
silent as fog or shadow,
the foxes are there
and surely unaware of our ignorance. 

There is a whole unseen world out there,
a parallel universe as real as our own,
full of love and lust,
boredom and routine,
hunger and plenty.

Salamanders and beetles, 
wildflowers and wildcats,
mushrooms, bears,
and deer mice—most of life happens
without our knowledge or influence.

I keep watch. I am glad
there are foxes.