Saturday, June 30, 2018

...a cut above

Our solitary blueberry bush produced a bumper crop this year, all by herself. Whatever the variety, she's a cut above. Encouraged by her effusiveness, I'm attempting to root some cuttings, using the method recommended by my surrogate father, Bruce Robert Holt, now gone to earth himself on a green hill just a few miles from where I live today.

When the berries on a mature bush are ripening well, take three cuttings about six inches long from new growth. (not too many, as the new growth will yield next year's berries.)  Use a sharp blade and cut on an angle. Strip the leaves off the bottom four inches and dip the wounded end in a mixture of honey and cinnamon. That will stimulate root growth and prevent disease. Bury the bottom two-thirds of the cutting in potting soil. Keep in light shade, maintaining the soil most but not sopping.

In three months, the cuttings will either be dead or ready for transplant after the first rain in fall. I've not done this myself before, but Bruce swore by it, and according to his wife Annie, he could woo sprouts from a hoe handle. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

...the Garden.

…and on that great and final Day
when our true sight has been restored
and we behold the Truth for who She is,
our new-opened eyes will discover
the Garden still is everywhere,
that we never left but would not see.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

High away...

Some roads hoist you high away,
Some roads lead you low.
Some roads invite to mystery,
And some roads’ end you know,
Some roads simply wear you down,
And some roads make you grow.
Some seek the road that’s paved and fast;
I’ll take the one that’s slow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Summertime blues...

Among the delights June has bestowed upon us is stepping out the door of a morning to gather a cup of blueberries for breakfast. Even allowing for our tithe to the birds, our solitary bush has yielded several pints of berries this spring and promises as much more.

All my doubts about the wisdom of setting out more blueberry plants around our yard have been resolved.

Monday, June 25, 2018


Photo by Jane Ella Matthews

When Naomi came to our house to live, we thought she'd be with us for a few days. After a few weeks she had insinuated herself firmly into our family, become along with Simon, one of our spiritual guides.

In the wordless gaze of any non-human animal with whom we maintain more than a passing proximity, we are called to recognition and conversion. We are awakened to the wisdom common to the humans who occupied this continent for millennia before the first Europeans arrived, that we are not the first nor the noblest, certainly not the most genuine of all the chreatures who roam from shore to shore.

Naomi came among us not by her own choice. She took us as we were, established her belonging among us without exploiting or dominating any other creature. She has been simply and peaceably herself, and encouraged us to be as authentic and unpretentious as she is. Her unapoligetic catness has commanded our respect and affection. That includes Simon, our German Shepherd.

One relates to a feline on her own terms. She will offer her consideration and companionship when she is ready. She will give and find her own pleasure in mutually respectful human and even canine company. One cannot coerce a cat. One can only allow her to become.

Perhaps over time we homo sapiens will learn to so honor one another, as well as all the souls of God's green Earth.

Sunday, June 24, 2018


The Main Muse bakes surreally delicious cornbread - better than my mother's, That may be because Mother never made hers in a cast iron skillet. I've tried countless times to match it, but mine doesn't come even close.

For a'that, I do make a right mean perloo. It's even better with Jane Ella's cornbread. If there's any left, I save it for breakfast. One of my favorite kinds of breakfast is cold cornbread crumbled in yogurt or buttermilk. Sure enough beats eating breakfast from a box. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018


If you've believed there is no magic left in the world, that love is only for the young, that redemption only comes to those worthy of it, read this novel. The Trick is a captivating and soul-stirring blend of Carlos Zafon and Isaac Beshevis Singer filtered through the worldly gaze of Emanuel Bergmann.

Bergmann is a jounnalist and translator as well as a novelist and dispenser of gentle wisdom and heartbreaking humor. I pray this is not the only novel of his I get to read while I am in the world.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Yes, I do...

Yes, I do love paper books. I also love being able to read (and write) without my glasses.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

In sight and insight...

Off to Hendersonville bright and early tomorrow morning for my appointment at Laborde Eye Group. For the past several days my right eye has been rather creative in its interpretation of the scenery. Hopefully, I'll be able to drive myself home and won't have to get a bigger computer monitor right away.

So far, I'm not too worried. I can still read all the labels down at Meanwhile Back in Saluda.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


When I noticed the beautifully crafted nest in the old dogwood tree beside our front porch, I began to keep watch, hoping to discover who the builders were. When I went out this morning to take a peek, I surprised a crow about to pilfer the nest. He flew away then, but probably will be back as soon as he figures I am out of range.

However, I observed later that the parent was back on the nest. Apparently, the marauder had not time to do damage before I came along. I could only see the tail feathers from where I stood, and was afraid to approach any closer and risk further disturbance, so still can’t identify the species.

Despite what Martin Luther King says, there seems to be no discernible moral ark to the universe, long or short. The large devour the small, the powerful prey on the weak, the guilty terrorize the innocent. Sins are rewarded as often as they are punished. The righteous are pilloried and monsters are elected president.

History is a repetitive sequence of slaughter and resurrection. Only by faith can one have hope that the final phase of the universe will be resurrection rather than dissolution. The only sufficient last word is forgiveness, and that is a hard word to swallow.

It is possible to develop a taste for darkness if you eat enough of it. A lot of people in this present world order seem to think it is nourishing. It is painful to hold to love, which is the only alternative to the dark. There are still a relative few in this culture who practice it, however. Love is not a moral proposition. It involves a response to need rather than to merit.

So, whatever we believe or if we harbor no belief at all, in our deepest heart we pray that when we go down guilty and broken under time, we will be forgiven. We will be loved. If we are asked anything at all at that final reckoning, it won’t be whether we were right or wrong, or if we understood the mystery at all. The question will be simply, Did you? Did you forgive? Did you love?

So, I can forgive the crow for being a crow. But I'll drive him away if I can, when he threatens my neighbors.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

...what we know.

No, he isn't my president. His rhetoric and actions are antithetical to the values my parents and church taught me. He is making America hate again. Our country can never be great or good following his immoral and inhumane policies. We need to say out loud what we know in our hearts.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Five weeks and twenty-eight gallons. Thanks to Ryan and Ryan and all the crew. They start when they're ready and quit when they're done.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Saturday, June 16, 2018

What we're reading at our house this week...

 Hubris is perhaps the most universal human sin. It has us hooked before we are three years on the planet. By the time we are grown to size, we have forgotten our most important lessons, including that we were not here first, that God thought up us and not the other way around, that other embodied souls were manifesting the Creator’s glory and presence eons before our species managed our first theological word. The living Earth is our original and abiding teacher. Apart from her nurture and influence, we could not begin to conceive any idea of God at all.

Whether humankind is the crowning of God’s earthly creation, or just a divine afterthought, is still an open question, that will be answered not by us, but by the Earth who bears us into our brief moment. In Encountering Earth, Trevor Bechtel, Matthew Eaton, and Timothy Harvie have edited a collection of illuminating and convicting essays that explore this question in territory beyond the boundaries of easy comfort, reminding us that the truth of Being is more than human. Contributors include:
Kimberly Carfore
Colleen Mary Carpenter
David Clough,
Lisa E. Dahill
Celia Deane-Drummond
Heather Eaton
Nathan Kowalsky
Abigail Lofte
Jame Schaefer
Cristina D. Vanin
Mark Wallace
Grace Y. Kao
Chris Carter