The Daily Muse

A GardenJournal -- October 2002

Last Update: October 27

Our "meander" labyrinth

October 1 - morning

Our thanks to all of the wonderful folks who stopped by Possumhaw Hollow during the Garden Conservancy's "Open Days" Tour. It was a beautiful day. Our garden is glowing from the good vibes of the nearly 1,000 visitors who wandered our paths. The prayer flags that we invited our guests to create are still flying in the garden- their messages are being carried on the wind and in our hearts.

I want to say a special word of thanks to Frankie Landry, our oldest visitor. At 97, Frankie, you are a wonder. I am so glad that you were able to join us. Also, to our volunteers- especially my Mom and Dad, thank you for the cookies and all of your help.


It is a very special honor to be able to give others pleasure and a few moments of peace. Thanks to everyone for allowing us that opportunity.

October 6 - morning

Here are a few of the words left on the prayer flags created by our visitors last week:

May I Dwell in the Open Heart.

With gratitude for the peace of the garden. May it extend throughout the universe.

We are here by grace. We were meant to love. We will live with hope. Please let us have peace.

To everyone who died on September 11th and for the firemen who tried to save them. - Caroline

God is in the garden; Nature is my church. I place my hands into the soil and absorb food for my soul. - Monica

This is the Day which the Lord hath made- We shall be Glad and Rejoice in it.

Thank you for the peace I feel in this place- May it spread- May I become a gardener and sow peace.

Peace to the garden- Joy to ourselves- May we all be where we are. - FHS

With thankful hearts for a peaceful year in our country, O God, we ask for your continued protection and peace for all. Amen.

You are what you love.

Thank you & be well.

Que toda la vida es sueño y los sueños, sueños son. ( "...That all life is a dream to all, And that dreams themselves are a dream.", from a poem by Pedro Calderón de la Barca. Click here for the entire poem)













View over our pond to labyrinth through arbor.










Rain lily in our agave bed.

A visitor admiring the goldfish in our pond.

October 9 - morning

A nice steady rain fell throughout most of the night, leaving us with another generous helping of "God's water" and a garden that is continuing to grow in all directions. Several of our bald cypress trees have bolted in the past few weeks, shooting up two or more feet. There is new growth on a lot of species that should know better- after all, this is the fall, not springtime! I just hope that things slow down just a bit and that the  growth has the chance to harden off before our first frost.

I must run- but not before wishing you the chance to walk through your own green and growing space on this gentle autumn day.

October 20 - evening

Last weekend I went to the cemetery to visit my brother's grave, I went primarily to do a little weeding and to tend to the flowers planted there. This small task has become a routine part of my life, but as you can imagine, this is a very different kind of gardening. When I was there, I was momentarily overwhelmed by a flood of images associated with Jeff's final days in the hospital. This too has become strangely familiar, if not routine.  When I left the cemetery something very ordinary, but also very magical happened. It took me the better part of this past week to craft the poem below- it attempts to capture what I experienced.

The Night Companion


Tending the flowers

at my brother’s grave:

the wiry strands of grass


as I rip them from the soil.

Scraping against the earth

dulled fingers scavenge for roots

like blind snakes

anxious to slip their skins.

With the last blade dispatched

I stand, panting, ready to go,

but it is too late.

My hands were my heart’s distraction-

released from their task,

they return to his shoulder,

his brow,

brushing past the tangle of tubes

and wires that hang beside the bed.


Would you like some water?

Should I get the nurse?


A crow caws- its throat a vortex

that drains the color from the sky.

I freeze,

a trembling memorial

between the stones.


It’s me; I’m right here beside you.


Humming with hair-trigger machines,

that last sleepless night


a glaring apparition

projected through the time.


I’m right here…


An avalanche of images

crackles down my spine,

in a panic,

the rhythm of my retreat

pounds against the cemetery drive.

But then,

from the tall grass beside the road,

an explosion-

as a deer rises up and leaps into the woods.

When my breath returns,

new images gently eclipse the old:

the deer’s silhouette on a cloudless night-

a solitary trail through the dew,

watchful eyes, fine-tuned ears,

and delicate legs


beneath velvet flanks

nestled by my brother’s grave.


“It’s me; I’m right here beside you.

I'm right here."




Today marks the second anniversary of Jeff's passing, his physical absence continues to be a terrible burden for my family, but, he lives on- as a brave and loyal spirit burning  in our hearts.


October 27 - evening


It has been an incredibly gray and wet week- we have received nearly seven inches of rain and it looks like more will fall at any time. I have spent the day listening to classical music and looking out the window at the garden which shows no sign of slowing down with the season- it may be autumn, but everything is still growing by leaps and bounds. We are supposed to have our first truly cold weather in a few days and I hope the plants take the hint. In the meantime, I am happy to curl up inside and wait for that first patch of blue.


October 30 - morning


A crisp autumn morning- at last, it feels as if the season is truly upon us. As I walked through the garden with my mug of coffee trailing a little cloud of steam through the cool air, I felt physically transformed- lifted by the change in the weather. With the long rainy  spell behind us, my walk felt like a reunion- it was as if I was catching up with an old friend whose image had seemed distant, locked behind the glass of a picture frame.


In a few days we will be taking our annual pilgrimage to the Lost Maples region, I am very much looking forward to spending a few quiet moments beside the  headwater springs of the Sabinal. This has become a ritual for us, similar in a way to the traditions of Thanksgiving.  Places like the canyons of the Sabinal speak to us all- however few bother to listen.


"The song of birds, the voices of insects, are all means of conveying truth to the mind; in flowers and grasses we see messages of the Way. The scholar, pure and clear of mind, serene and open of heart, should find in everything what nourishes him." - Buddhist saying.


Continue to November 2002

Return to Daily Muse Menu