The Fat Blade of my Dreams

amarilysI transplanted them in a curvy little row some months back, seven amaryllis bulbs plunked into the ground, with high hopes for their survival. Most were given to me by a generous, long-time friend over a period of several years. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been watching the shiny leaves, robust stalks, and hints of bulbs—thin like blades—rise from the ground. This morning I see the blades have grown round and fat, blooms close to bursting. This one catches a touch of morning light peeping through the trees.

This evening, after a busy day, tending to this and that—business in the world outside my haven—I am in a mind of dreams, wondering about the ones long-held by me. I still reach toward them at this ripe age of sixty-six, groping to find my way in a world with a seemingly endless string of obstacles and practical demands.

Then I look outside and see my sturdy, homemade shed, the fence I’ve built ‘round my garden, and the snow peas boasting light pink blooms. I see the newly cleared field beyond and know that I am, plant by plant, beam by beam, creating something I’ve envisioned for years.

Tomorrow I’ll visit those amaryllis blooms, but I shall confess something here and now. The truth is this: I love the buds, and adore the tightly wrapped petals—yes, I’ll say it—even more than the open blossoms. Perhaps I prefer the dream, utterly perfect and unrealized. Perhaps I hold myself in budded form, afraid to face the fullness of the bloom and its eventual demise.

So, now it’s out, the cat from the bag, the bloom of my fear revealed. Knowing this, I’ll continue on, plant by plant, beam by beam, and risk the imperfect bloom, the harsh weather, the eventual dying of the gorgeous flesh. No more than I can halt the opening of those fat blooms can I halt the force of my desires, the fat blade of my dreams.

Ellen Hamilton on April 10th, 2014 | File Under Ellen Hamilton | 4 Comments -

An Odd Sort of an Angel


For ten days Jimmy labored, a man astride his tractor and often on foot, wielding a chain saw and ropes to take out trees and give me more space to plant. He did what I asked him to do, despite the fact that it took him more days than he’d planned. Oh, he did complain about his back, his neck, the challenge of the work. He moved stiffly, a seventy-year-old man with aches and pains.

But I didn’t ask him to clear out the huge pile of tree trunks, root balls, and limbs, left three years ago by the guy who cleared my home site. From the moment, however, that Jimmy saw that pile, he made it his mission—without announcing it to me—to eradicate that raggedy, rotting beast from my life. On several occasions, as he stood in the midst of his work, he’d turn to that pile and say, “That thing is just a mess. It sure does bother me.”

During the days he was here, he chipped away at the pile. He applied the giant blades of his bush hog and ground some of it up. He used his chain saw to cut some of the logs. What he could not grind and chose not to cut, he caught with a rope and hauled off into the woods, where, he assured me, they would “de-pose”. I’d lean over the fence, and say, “Jimmy, it’s wonderful to have that pile disappearing, but I want be sure you’ll get those trees down,” and I’d point to the left, to the right, straight ahead.

“Oh, yeah,” he said, “I’ll take care of those.” And he did. This man, an odd sort of an angel, gave me a gift—doing much much more than I’d asked. And I am ashamed to say, I misjudged him—a man born and bred in the country, a man who did not know to say “decompose”, had within a touch of Picasso, a hint of Monet. He not only cleared that blight of a pile, but he artfully left some trees and cleared others to make me a beautiful playground for planting and planning and dreaming. Artists and angels appear in all forms.

Ellen Hamilton on March 26th, 2014 | File Under Ellen Hamilton | 3 Comments -

Pillars of the Planet

other wordly

Behind me where I sit in my tiny home, I hear the crunch and grind, the rattle and rumble of a tractor chewing up tree trunks and limbs. Out of the window in front of me I see blue clouds, a dogwood tree daring to display her white jewels, and the tops of taller trees dancing in the breeze. Outside my window, the chimes play, heavenly pipe organs.

At this moment I sit squarely in the middle of myself, pulled by my loves. On the one hand, I am paying a guy with a tractor to tear out lots of small trees so that I might have an expanded garden, an area in which to plant fruit trees, corn, sorghum and sunflowers. The vision, the love, takes me there. On the other hand, I am devoted to all these trees, givers of life, pillars of the planet.

At once, I tear down and destroy, not just the trees, but the habitat for birds and beasts. At the same time, I revere and preserve: what wonder is a tree!

Yesterday I chanced upon this fallen limb from a dying live oak and was enraptured by the beauty of its decomposing body, now the stately home to mounds and mounds of moss, dense and beautiful, other-wordly green. From some angles, the limbs were wooly reptiles, dinosaurs in still life. From other points of view, I saw arches and fallen posts, the ruins of a temple.

And, so I sit here, holding in my hands the awareness that I am ruthless, marching toward a vision, willing to take as I see fit. On the other, I tread lightly in these sacred woods, reverent, longing, full of wonder. And the chimes ring on.

Ellen Hamilton on March 12th, 2014 | File Under Ellen Hamilton | 5 Comments -