Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

I could hardly wait to have you under my nails, on the soles of my shoes, and my wintered stiff knees. There is humus, and compost, and a winter’s worth of water to be found. Last year’s leaves and petals, blossoms and seeds in the mix as well. But you’re hardened and packed, mottled and inhospitable until I nurture and massage the air and life back into you there. Whether shaded or under the noonday sun, I’ll till and turn, mix and churn…and give you a fresh start and make up your bed. Come seed or start, bulb or stem…You’ll give me what I desire, and you’ll get to do what you do best, host life, seek light…the morning dew and evening rains.
Ah, the soil of Mother Nature. The good earth beneath my feet and between my fingers. The smells and textures and promise of what is to come. We have a partnership and mutual gratitude for the efforts of one another. There is little more satisfying to the eye, the palate, the nose and touch, as the gift of things I grow and harvest, bunch and display…or simply allow to flourish and run the course of the seasons. The giving of time, touch, and love and returning of life, scents, taste and a feast to the eyes…
I shall awake some days at dawn, and join the robin there at the tug of a meal. Coffee on the patio, or a seat on a faithful old stump. The songs of morning, glistening drops of infant dawn’s dew decorate the web and leaf, blade and pane. And I shall privately take in the chorus of silence, the occasional song. The long shadows and rose hues on the horizon there. I will give thanks for the opening of the night tightened petals, the yawns of Mother Nature as some waken and others seek slumber.
Tis the ways of life, the tending and harvest. The wait, the reward. The effort and the companionship of what only God can create…with a little help from the gardener’s touch, the ancient pump and cyclical brass that extends a blessing of water from spigot to roots. I will lay down my head after the first stars appear, and return to your embrace while coffee is fresh and the last stars fade. And I will start my day, no matter the tasks at hand, with the love returned, from the humble kingdom that is within the property lines of my nurtured land.
I can hardly wait, to feel you there under my feet while I walk to a magical little spot to take it all in and begin my day…in my garden. Love you old friend and my personal Constant Gardener; Glenda Dawn.

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A Friday in March

Be thankful for this day, for the company you keep, for the memories you’re making, for the company you seek. It is always a gift; what has passed, and what will be. One is a promise kept, the other is a promise, or the essence of, a promise made. Smile today, others need to see them. Sigh today, others will feel them along with you…and in empathy and harmony, having made it thorough the week will become a quiet celebration…Happy Friday friends. Matty

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I stole away the other afternoon…to convene with some memories made in the lighter months. I went to the home of a friend, a lover of sun and all things green that thrive in the sprinkler mist, sun showers, and morning dew.
There were none of those things there to greet me. Just a benign winter sun, giving light without heat and a breeze not to offer relief from heat. But it did deliver a chill and need to face my back to it.
And there was the walk of cobblestones with surf smoothed bits of colored glass, pebble, and shell in between. We had wandered the shore on serene afternoons with a dream and design in mind, that beckoned us to U.S. 101 and beaches to the south.

And on this day of frost and fading light…I was again wandering in brine soaked sand with the surf in my ears, and gulls hovering and singing their shoreline declarations in the steady breeze. And out of habit, I reached for that familiar hand to hold…and instead found but a memory. Ah, but such memories are so worth embracing and recalling time and again.

frosty cone

Over half way through January and the daylight gets longer with each dawn. I see through the shadows and bare branches that the crow still feeds, the squirrel sleeps, and the critters in pasture huddle near to each other. And today I stand near to the place where the spring roses go to bud, the bulbs slowly reach, and the robin seeks a place of safety to fashion a nest…but this is all months away. For now I’ll unwrap a few saved moments and memories as I stand in the midst of this slumbered and treasured place…the fond things I’ve saved up for a rainy day. It’s not quite raining yet, but those ominous clouds are sign that a stormy evening is on the way…

It’s all good and it’s alright, for I know that the green is on the way…I saw winter wheat decorating a brown field just the other day. And a hawk was on the wing, in search of company, of a meal on the run. In search of a warm breeze, should the western gorge send a sweet Chinook stirring this way…And you can be sure that I too will turn my cheek to the sun then, and let a window down enough to feel a hint of spring on a winter’s day.

And I know you’ll occasionally look upon the hoses for watering, and tools for tilling and turning and planting of starts, seeds, bulb and the promising bare stem…And like a prayer uttered, we look on longingly and fondly, and busy ourselves while we hope and wait. God will answer, and winter will always be followed with spring.

With the gathering of fog on the rivers near to here, I listen to the chorus from a V of Canada geese passing overhead.


And I know you rest assured by a faded rose hanging in the place near the book shelf, and over the mirror in your room. And know the gloves and watering can are eagerly awaiting your touch, as you anticipate that day as well. For now, I will wander near to the places there on a quiet afternoon, where nature and your knowing hands will soon provide me blossom, bud, gifts of new green, and heavenly scented blooms.

Matthew Landsman



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A fall garden gives thanks…till after the dark spell.

There comes an autumn night when the first dew descends and blesses the petals, leaves, blades and shrub. From the day last spring you gave fresh life to the soil with your nurturing hands, all of these have waited for a fall day to thank you for your touch, the quiet songs you sing as you tend, weed, and do the things to bring life and beauty to this corner lot of town growing old.

A show of thanks to the gardener…

From a day in early April that first saw life given you…annual volunteers and nursery flats have all known of your love…the love you give and absorb in return from shoot and stem, infant leaves still pale and taut in wait of warmer afternoons. And the feel of joy from bud and blossoms for the touch and tending from knowing hands, still lingers on in September.

Therapy by Mother Nature…

And just as you had waited for brighter noons and longer days, in quiet anticipation of the unfurling and uncurling of leaf and bloom, now the seasoned plants there can feel one last gratuitous standing ovation for you before slumber and decay coincide with warmer socks, a sweater, and brisker walks for the gardener and her friend.

For nearly six months, she has had her regular therapy gleaned from soil and sun, breeze, and fresh air there among the beds and bushes, bulbs and long stems. Convening with nature, in solitude among the crowds of flowers and songbirds, dragonflies, honey bees, and ladybugs. So even out here on her own, the gardener is never truly alone.

A place for tools to rest till spring…

Come October, even the heartier plants have to succumb under urges to yawn and slip into slumber…And the gloves and tools, save the leaf rakes, will find a place in a dark shed, a corner to lean against, or a drawer to nestle in. And there will be a solemn rolling up of hoses and draining of the ancient pump there next to the driveway under a mantle of trees. The canal will be let to run dry as the winter wheat takes root and the grape crush hopes it’s a good year and finds itself a place behind a coveted label…

The way to home in October

Life doesn’t end with the hibernation of the gardens in the lot there on Cascade Street, but the earth does rest, collect winter waters, and spent leaves that cascade back to the life giving ground in a layer of thanks.

And the gardener will tend to the stuff of the cooler and cold dark months. She will be grateful for the rest of the knees, back, and hands. And she will remember the first bloom, and the early morning autumn dew there on the leaves…the strands of gossamer giving flight to the spider after duty there is through…

Nature’s artisans…spiders and morning dew.

And she will remember how time spent with sunshine, water, and earth fed her soul for another year…and will sustain her till the dark months once more give way to the melt and lengthening of days…Matthew Landsman

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This is my time. The trees that blossom are in full plumage, and those with green or deep red leaves are unfurling like a sail being raised and filled with air, propelling, compelling, and telling of the season, of this moment in time.

She called me weeks ago, did mother earth. I was drawn to that place where last fall I solemnly stowed away the gloves that know the curves of my hands, the curls of my fingers. I had wound up hoses, said adieu to tools that work the soil, with handles both short and long. It is as much of a ritual to admit the end of a growing season as it is to anticipate the approach of the new.

There is a marriage between the beds where late fall and winter brought succulent greens to wither and fade into winter slumber. For the time where I lean on the bouquets I hung to dry and display in the harsh throes of winter…to sustain me and remind me of the coming of an end to longer nights and shorter days.

And recently I renewed my vows and dedications to the place where shrub and bush, tall trees and evening scents beckon me, sooth and caress me in return for the touch of my hands, the straining of hoe and assertion of spade and gentle rains from both clouds above and rhythmic sprinklers urged to life thru an ancient pump.


She gives to me more than I to her, but there is an understanding, an oath unspoken that I will return when the stranglehold of winter is broken. It is life in a state of slumber, brought back thru the stripping away of last year’s foliage that didn’t quite have time to decay and rejoin the earth that sustained it all those months ago.

Each flat from the nursery, and packet of seed that are emptied, made to new homes and tamped to a perfect depth give to me a promise of returned pleasure and nurturing of my very soul, as the days grow longer then shorter after the solstice has come and gone.

I love the efforts she matches me with the responding to my urges, the hours spent and her return of sight and scent and sounds from the winged friends that feed and nest in the mantle and bush there.

There is no debate, no drama, only the well earned sleep and nature’s reward. I ask only for the same ancient ritual to recur, and am in turn rewarded for my faith, my bended knees and love instilled…and as always…she and I celebrate night and day with filled vases and scent filled breezes as I sleep under an open window when warmer nights return.

The cycle and reassuring return of life to my winter ravaged and weary soul is all I ask…but she gives me so, so much more…


Matthew Landsman 04-22-2012

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In the final throes of winter, especially this year when the infant spring is rather meek to emerge and take on the starkness of the naked branches, dormant fields and garden plots…The bulbs of fall and volunteer annuals are still evading the frost, and buds are hesitant and not about to swell as naive fools to fall victim to a killing frost.

But then and now I have had my own constant gardener, Glenda, to remind me that warmer dawns and greener views are but a Chinook breeze away. She’ll prepare to soften stiffened gloves and winter born visions of her patch of heaven on God’s green earth. And that dark earth waits with eager anticipation the attentions and loving intentions from her knowing hands.

There will be dirtied knees, hoses unfurled, spots of shade for those things that thrive in darkened corners, heartier varieties for the blossoms that can weather the midday sun. She knows these things, how to create a place of refuge and retreat there on that plot of earth bordering the canal that brings life to the desert.

No matter where I’ve roamed on this continent, I have passed nurseries and flower beds, trees for privacy and trees for shade. And for over two decades, the petals, freshly nurtured earth and shades of blue have always brought a glad feeling and reassurance that she remains. That spring will always closely follow the barren months. That hope is rarely lost even when the night is far longer than the day…

I seek shelter in the knowing that if I chance to pass her way there even just in my mind, there will be a potential for glimpses of April blossoms, hints of summer evening scents, and the essence of cool grass between toes, even in the dead of January when life has ebbed nearly into only memory. I’ll always find my gardener, and I hope when she is in need of love of a friend and words from her personal writer, that she’ll always find me…Matthew Landsman

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It’s quiet here on a winter night. The frost makes no noise, short of the sound of icy grass under feet.  I have to be honest, I miss the sounds the winds makes during the seasons that hold life above the ground. I long for the rustling of leaves in the sycamores, for the soft moan of things when a stiff breeze finds me here from its birth out on the warm Pacific.
I am the soil outside your door…the earth beneath your feet that keeps you grounded.  It has been so long since the first frost descended and turned dew to something that held a promise of a long winter…of time away from your tending hands, your steady tilling. It has been months since blossom faded to wilt and fell…then joined me here and became what I am…and waited for your return.

I am earth, and you are my caregiver, my tender, my partner in life and the giving of life to bulb, root and seed. After the dark months, during which I become hard, dry, barren, you come to me with fork, blade, hoe, and simple hands. You tend me, till me, turn and blend me. You soften my disposition after winter’s abandon left me impenetrable. You give me air, water, and plants to embrace. You give me your attentions, your efforts and heartfelt nurture. And I in return will be the giver of blossom and fragrance, green leaves, stem, branch, and bough.

I await the gardener, the lover of life…of inspiration… and seeker of distraction from life beyond the confines of property lines, flower bed and shade ‘neath the mantle of green.

I cling on occasion to the soles of your feet, to the nurturing hands…for an extended moment of the partnership between you and me. I am the earth, the soil you tend.  I am your refuge…your reward for all you do, and in return, you are my reward. It isn’t about harvest or show. It’s about doing what’s right to bring life to the soul, to the heart, to the sight and senses.

You are the gardener that will soon awaken me from slumber, loosen me up and give me life to bring along.

And you are Matthew’s constant gardener too, as you tend to his need for a place to sit and seek the quiet…the balance here in the mist and the midst of a town growing older. The two of you, not yet old, but no longer young…can use the cool of me beneath your feet…the lily of the valley, song of the mourning dove, and late evening’s breeze. We are all partners in the struggle, the turning of seasons year after year…and each other’s reward for returning to what is pure, validating, and grateful…perfect as only the bond between a patch of earth, a garden, a gardener, and a grateful visitor can be…

Matthew Landsman

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I am doing what I can to be an individual who makes a difference. If only the best of intentions would propagate like weeds. I guess though that they do.  Only it just takes a little more nurturing and a different standard of time to see the results.

As I am writing and thinking about all this…souls, weeds, patience, etc., it dawned on me that when one discovers dandelions growing in his lawn, one immediately fears infestation…in other words–the worst.  Instead of whining about dandelions, perhaps the world should look on the bright side and simply let them grow, then harvest and make dandelion wine…

A child is naturally attracted to the yellow “flower” and will present it to us as if it were a treasure. While our heart is bursting at the sweetness and naivety of a kid’s optimism, we secretly feel the longing to see, perhaps, a yellow rose there instead.  Dandelions have a bad reputation.  Children are trivialized for their innocent beliefs, and we are regularly disappointed by our expectations and unreasonable standards.

I guess a lot of folks would rather live in alleys than to own a piece of land with a yard full of dandelions… or go thirsty while waiting for wine from the south of France, and go without true love from a child’s gift while hoping for attentions from unattainable souls…

I say the glass is neither half full nor half empty…it’s just too big. Get a smaller glass and fill it with the dandelion wine.  Hug that child and show a better side of you to the world.  Wear that weed in your lapel and be happy you have the purest sort of love there is. When a worthy other sees you there making the best of these meager gifts, he or she will recognize that you are capable of embracing the metaphors presented to you, and that other soul will deem you genuine, deep, substantial, worthy, and deserving.

Love the weeds, they are people too. Harvest their bounty and make the wine. The taste and intoxication may even be sweeter and more potent. Fill that smaller glass to overflowing and appreciate the essence of every drop.  Perhaps then the Good Lord will lead you to a vineyard in Provence, a crystal setting, a yard full of roses…and you will knowingly turn it all down as you truly know real treasure when you see it.  It’s all about appreciation, faith, recognizing potential, and is as simple as accepting a beautiful flower from the pure heart of a child…

Matthew Lyle Landsman 2008

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