Shoes of Fear

The cottage on Apple Hill Road was getting a new roof.

Ladders leaned against every side safely tied off
by the safety supervisor.

ladder on unpainted house

I bend to untie knotted shoestrings of fear that
keep me tethered to solid ground.

I boldly step barefoot onto the rung. Fear is banished,
no longer in command.

I will walk the slope of the roof, stand at the peak
in glorious freedom and joy.

From there I will leap to the dark swaying branches
of the oak that sweeps to the sky.

Tree in spring

swiftly swiftly now climbing enveloped in the sheltering radiance
of sun drenched leaves and waving ripples of wind and blue,
tendril arms reach to dark limbs, feet find footholds and crevices
that only eagles have known.
toes curl around the top branches outstretched arms grow feathers
head thrown back in victory mouth gulping the liquid drops of air
the sun rays are heat and flames scorching my face
and i dare not look down.

redwoods and sky

this breadth of view this heaven of angels, of muses, of clarity;
Do Not Fear the angels say each time they meet a mortal.
They know we fear their wings their otherness
their instructions
of impossibility.
but each time we unstrap those shoes of fear (no matter how stylish the heel or brilliantly cunning the color)
and run barefoot on the shards of a cracked life,
God shouts with joy, the angels cheer
and the beast retreats into the ground.

Armstrong Redwood Forest

the venerable stump

the stubborn old stump

at the roadside

has resisted removal.

It must have been

a fine, towering tree,

three feet through,

touching the sky…


i thought it


until it bloomed.

Beauty in old age cheers my heart.


135. Hard work down on the farm

You’ve heard the saying that if you cut your own firewood it warms you twice?

Our friend, Joe, offered it to us — free trees already cut down and trimmed and dragged to the side of the road.

So, a couple of weeks ago, on the hottest day of the year so far, we cut and hauled and stacked firewood for next year.

Warmed us, yes…

Even Joe teased us, “You aren’t supposed to be cutting firewood in May,” he laughed.

But we were grateful for it — and we will be especially grateful when it warms us that second time next January… Thanks, Joe.

The entire time we were working on firewood, I kept anxiously thinking of the garden, which was supposed to be perfect beds completed in April, but were still very unmade. No spring lettuce or greens or radishes or peas here.

So now the  7 ft  fence is in –though Mr. H. C. is still fretting that our herd of deer will be able to jump the low side — there is a beautiful gate (awaiting permanent fencing in the future) and a summer garden is planted.

garden gate

It’s a first year garden with only some random compost dumpings from last year, and some mushroom manure, so we were excited to find a nearby farm that offered CSAs. That will take the pressure off our poor, small, first-year garden plot (and the gardeners too…)

It took hours days weeks of work just to get these two beds dug, free of grass, fenced, and the third one tilled up. The third one is outside our fence, so it has to be filled with veggies and herbs the deer won’t eat; I know from experience, there is no plant alive that a deer won’t nibble on and perhaps ruin. At the city house, I gave up vegetable gardening the morning I discovered one bite taken out of all the green peppers. They also ate the hairy, spiky zucchini plants that they aren’t supposed to like. So I’m skeptical even about onions and garlic, but I took the chance. I’m also going to plant some rhubarb there in the hopes they will eat it and die.

Okay, I know that sounds rash, but fencing is expensive, people! And it takes time. And it is awkward — I’m bumping up against the Industral Deer Strength Netting all the time.

But truly, the deer are also eating our fruit trees, which I foolishly set free from their cages too soon. They looked so lovely, wild and set free from their prisons.   

until overnight, this happened:


So the trees are caged again to protect them from the evil deer, and Mr. H. C. is reading up on solar electric fences. 

And though I’m not counting the peaches before they’re ripe (there’s 16) the peaches look hopeful.   

And there are walnuts on the walnut tree…