Posts Tagged ‘growth’




This is, perhaps, the year to learn to be big.

Spruce tree big. Cliffside big. Big as mesa,

as mountain lake. Big as in cosmos, as in love.

Being small has never served me—constricting,

contorting, trying to fit into a room, into shoes,

into a name. Let this be the year to escape all those little

rules with those little shoulds, all those little

cages with their little locks. Time to make of myself

a key, time to lean into immensity. Time to supersize

communion, time to grow beyond self. Time to

open, to unwall, to do as the universe does,

accelerating as it expands, not rushing toward

something else, but changing the scale of space itself.




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The broccoli was a disappointment this year—

planted from seed, it had finally begun to sport

small knobby green heads when the frost came.

And though the broccoli didn’t die, it stalled.

Perhaps I fear I am like this broccoli—destined

to grow but never to fruit. Perhaps this is why

I feel such urgency, this need to write faster,

heal quicker, mature sooner, love more. Because

what if the freeze comes? What if I die before

doing what I have come here to do?


There is a part of me who is patient. A part of me

who says, Sweet One, you could not possibly be

any more you than you are right now. She tells me,

You are exactly enough. And sometimes I believe her.

But sometimes I roll my eyes at her and tell myself,

Hurry up, hurry up. I know myself as barren stalk.

I try to will my own ripening. Not once has it worked,

not once, and still this strange drive:

go faster, do it better, do it now.

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Sometimes, she said, being uncomfortable

is what we need to do.


And I think of the scald of hot water,

how it cleans the stain.


How being covered in abrasive fuzz

is the only way to harvest the peach.


How the seed is carried by the burr.

It is human to seek pleasure, shun pain.


But think of the tree, how it lets

the gale rip away what is dead.


And the grape, how it bubbles

and foams before it becomes wine.


And the cactus, how it needs the drought

as much as it needs the rain.

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One Almost 5’10




the tree I planted

now taller than I—

my empty hand

still remembering

the weight of the acorn

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More and more, I have come to admire resilience.

            —Jane Hirshfield, “Optimism”



And when the snap peas ran out of fence to climb,

they created a living trellis of leaf and vine

and climbed up themselves, winding

and twisting toward the sun—

there’s green inside your limbs.

There’s braiding to be done.


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One Stretch




it is not the shadows

that shape us, but the reaching

toward the light

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The garden rows are visible now,

the slender shoots of carrots,


the succulent leaves of calendula,

the curly beginnings of kale—


after many years these first green shapes

feel like old friends.


I greet them as I walk the rows,

tell them they are doing fine.


And then there are the gaps

between the sprouts, the places


where I can only guess about

why the seeds don’t grow.


A lack of water? Planted too deep?

A shadow? A dud of a seed? A slug?


Of course I take it personally

and wonder what else I should have done.


And then I pull out the extra seeds

and fill in the spots where there is no green.


There is no use in blaming. Just plant the seed

where nothing is growing. It’s so simple,


the task, so lacking in blame.

There are gardens in me begging


for me to do the same—to notice

where there is failure to thrive,


and to seed again, then bring water,

bring nourishment, wait.





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How Soon Things Change


for e.m.m.



The amaryllis

you gave us

three weeks ago

grew two inches

just today—

so much life

in such a short time.

Already, the two

thick buds

are swelling,

twin green


So much of

any miracle

is invisible,

though it happens

right before

our eyes.

I can hardly stop

watching the buds

and thinking

of you, wishing

for a miracle

and knowing

that even if

one is rising

up right now,

it wouldn’t

be like the amaryllis—


as this flower is,

we know

it’s red petals

that emerge. No,

what I wish

for you

is something

I couldn’t possibly


I couldn’t name

or predict, something

that will rise out of

what seems to be

nothing and render

us astonished,

humbled, delirious

with its impossible




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carrying that sled

uphill for so long, I forgot

it was for riding


shedding the roof

when the house no longer fits—

now nothing between us and the stars


but I miss the weight

say the hands, too free after

setting down the stone chest


running full speed

into my own fear, I ricochet

into the arms of god

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saying the words
I knew you did not
want to hear I tried
to shape my voice
like the flowers
we know will
come in more fully
only after the stem
has been

I forced myself
to keep my eyes

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