by Mary Oliver

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends

into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?

So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.


November’s Beaver Moon, courtesy of Mother Nature.


On Thanksgiving night, the full moon will be as plump as the turkey at your Thanksgiving table.


If Mary Oliver were Italian, she’d say,
Guarda la luna, la bella luna, just like the old man in my favorite movie of all time. Capice?


Thanks, Norman Jewison. And Buon Giorno del Ringraziamento to all.

Toni 11/25/15

The fuss about the entraping-snaring media and FBI comes to mind when I spy mice and I bewail The Unfortunate Incident of the Murdered Carolina Wren (a 420 character 9-liner)

Carolina Wren 1c ACK_3641

Feral cats thread my raised beds,

seed-head heavy w/ uncut foliage, & pounce on the feeding birds.

I wince. I too am guilty of such

when my crunchy peanut butter*-loaded mouse trap in the open garage

beheaded Mrs. Carolina Wren when she ventured in.

Last supper as it were.

All winter and spring Mr. CW called for her. It was awful.

Finally he found another and they moved across the road

where the people are less feral.


*I hope her last thought was “wow, I’m going to get 1/3 of my daily metabolic needs from this crunchy peanut butter.”


Fall is my favorite season, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees. 

Hilarious, that David Letterman.

So is New Yorker artist Edward Koren on this 1988 cover.



I won’t be seeing most of my feathered friends for a while.  Before they return, I have lots of Fall house cleaning to do.



Cleaning out birdhouses isn’t without surprises.


They’re filled with an assortment of grasses, twigs, leaves, feathers, and mosses and wildlife too small to see.


Mine are designed for Sialia sialis, the Eastern bluebird. Males and females arrive in spring, investigate two or three houses, and then the male steps back and lets the female decide where they will nest.

IMG_0018This summer, my blue beauties were driven out by tree swallows and house sparrows and wrens.

These birds never clean out the rubbish left by previous residents.

While they’re busy listening to their personal cassette players and falling from trees,

some of us have work to do.


Toni 11/5/15

A clear-headed Syria view is difficult to achieve, so I muse on the similarities between a wrong-headed situation & figuring out that the backlit bird was a BLUE-HEADED VIREO. (a 420 character 9 liner)


Photo by Alex Kearney

What’s it shaping up to be

is what I ask when a bird is backlit & I can’t see but the outline:

Big Head, Broad Neck, Relatively Short Tail, Thick bill slightly hooked.

A Vireo mayhap?

Then clouds shift & he turns to look at me through white spectacles.

Blue-headed Vireo!!

Makes me wonder about the Kerry/Lavrov agreement

to restart Syria peace talks & seek a cease-fire against all but ISIS.

What’ll it shape up to be?


A clear-headed Syria view is difficult to achieve, which leads me to muse on the similarities between this wrong-headed situation and figuring out that the backlit bird was a BLUE-HEADED VIREO. (a 420 character 9 liner)

The Hunter’s Moon of October, so called by Native Americans because it’s all night light helped them see longer and better to hunt.

Here’s my 120-word “set” piece inspired by this moon:

It’s called the Hunter’s Moon because it gave early Native Americans hunters lengthier light rising as it does at sunset and staying til sunrise. Moon-lit nights are good for more than hunting, or mayhap I’ll just expand the meaning of hunting, such as perhaps what if I needed more time in the day to figure something out? Cook the apples into sauce? Raise the bread? Revise Isabel Scheherazade?Finish the last Mary Stewart. Call the West Coast kids and/or a Barred Owl?  Clip the wild trumpet vines? Practice the tricky, fast part of Faure’s Elegy? Stretch my Psoas? Polish the silver? (What silver?) Seek peace? Discover a cure? Or, just, you know. I imagine Native Peoples were so inclined also.