Tag Archives: heart

Scars on plants & hearts.

Today at work, the hoop house was readied

The greenhouse is quite full, overflowing with life

Stacks on the floor & on every surface

Next week the babies will be ready to be transplanted into their new home

The greens are coming up nicely 

As are the alliums

Every variety is doing well

Feels really good to tend to these lives

This beauty is a close-up of a kohlrabi

(Grown last season)

Such geometry…! The wonder…!

The leaf scars are formed when the leaf breaks free

The dots are from the vessels that used to be connected which carried water & nutrients through the body of the plant

When the leaf breaks free, the area left open heals over, & it leaves that distinctive mark.

Seeing this, I think of the heart

And the scars from grief

Scars enfolded within ever-enlivened muscle tissue

I met my elder in 2008

Incredibly kind, warm, & generous – today is her yortzeit

(From the German word “yahrzeit” which means “anniversary” or “year’s time”)

An avid gardener & lover of plants – She would appreciate the beauty of the kohlrabi

Hopi Black Dye Sunflower Seed dye & heartbeat.

My heart beats a bit faster
Just sitting here, tap tapping with the tip of my finger on the surface of the phone face
With the thoughts about the Hopi Black Dye Sunflower Seed dye.

Time is relative
Long, in terms of time, is relative

This is over four years coming
What I would call a long time coming

This Hopi Black Dye Sunflower Seed dye

I had tried to grow Hopi Black Dye Sunflowers each year since 2010,
finding the seed in the previous Winter

But various conditions occurred

Seeds didn’t germinate…
Seeds were disturbed & eaten by critters in the barn…
Young, tender plants munched down by critters in the field…
Running out of seed…
Trying again year after year with critter munching being the main decider.

Everybody’s hungry.

But this year


And for the past couple of weeks, with the preparations (and even writing this) I notice a sort of anxiety/excitement feeling in my heart

With each step closer

You ever want something so so much and the closer you get to it, the stronger the anxiety-feeling in your heart?

THAT feeling.

I’ve been trying to make room for this
(& all of the) feeling that blows through this organism

All of the Weathers

No matter what Moon phase

Trying to hold space for, to make room for all of the feelings to come through the pasture, so to speak.

Breathe, Marney

So this process, which has become precious, important, and I bring my attention & thanks to it

Honoring the heart-longing

And so, from seed to seeds

Allowing them to soak for two days in a pot of water

Brought to a boil, and simmered for 20 minutes

Then after sitting for two more days
(Thump thump thump goes the heart getting closer)

With the simple tools, and small stack of paper


It was at this point I considered putting down the phone/camera – out of concern that i could spill the dye…..


“…the greater the risk, the greater the glory…” ?!?!??

Not a lot of dye, so gotta try to get all the goodness…


All of it!!!

I found that if I put my fingers below the seed pile on the strainer, more liquid would flow through


There’s probably some law of Physics which explains this
But I never took physics, sadly

Yeah, this looks a bit post-Halloween-nails-creepy

Gettin’ wild in the kitchen…


Step by step




I had hoped to dye 24 sheets of paper
But it would have been squeezed, so decided to pause at 18 sheets


Settling in after some minutes

Thump thump thump
Goes the heart

How to hold the heart gently.

I’m learning

It’s a new practice

Drawing helps


Going for walks

Connecting with friends


Seeing what is present, and cultivating gratitude for all the goodness

What do you do?
How do you hold the heart gently through grief times?

Blessings on music to speak what’s in my heart

i really like this song

and after an emotional day at work

my anchor, my elder, is getting ready to set sail

into her next journey


my dear friend.

she really IS the best.


i had to go to the store afterwards before heading home

and this was playing.

i just lost it


such a beautiful song

i could listen to the last part over & over & over…

and i thank the stars for music –

it speaks what my heart wants to speak but my tongue can’t quite touch…


Pickled peppers, anchors, & Blue Hubbard squash.


Don’t wait.

if you wait, the pickled peppers might go bad.

if someone gives you a gift, open it


use it

use it up

delight in each pepper

savor the spicy zing on the tongue.

before eating – offer thanks, gather blessings

imagine their garden


the tending, the soil


imagine the rain, the sun, and all the Elementals involved in the creation of a plant-being

a pepper


imagine the hands that tended to this pepper plant


these hands that you know

the one that you love

the one that gave you this jar of pickled peppers

because they know you love them

don’t wait to eat them

savor them




every Wednesday, i support the tending of a house & the people, the home of some Elders.

this job, these people

have been my anchors.

since 2009, every Wednesday

(barring retreats, visits to family, & the month i was out when i injured my back in 2012)

every Wednesday this place, these people have been my destination, my North Pole.


from a string of boyfriends, through various places of living, & a number of farming situations

since 2009 they have been my one constant.

Anchor:  any device used in the manner of an anchor to hold a boat in place…. a reliable support…. a source of confidence that serves to hold an object firmly


i need this

i am drifty


finding love here & there – a place, a person, a job

so easy to fall in love

but these Elders, this place, on Wednesdays has held me tight

with gratidute

even when i want to leave, to run…


but i stay.

i love them.

they love Blue Hubbard squash.


the first year i farmed on my own it was a bumper crop for Winter squash.

hundreds of pounds

but no place to put them.


so they let me put all of them in their upstairs bedroom

the great Blue Hubbard – easily over 25 pounds – sat like an emperor on a low table


this year i planted no Winter squash


but found a Blue Hubbard and with the remembering of the pickled peppers

decided to not wait any longer to cook it up


(well, part of it)


big beauty.


into soup

made to share


don’t wait.

who are your anchors?

what would you want to say to the ones you appreciate?

who are the people that have made a difference in your life?


what would you share with them if you allowed your heart to speak?

what would you want to let them know

if you let your heart speak it’s appreciations?


don’t wait

do you have a dream in your heart?


a longing that has been there forever?

a way of life you want to live?


would you dare speak your heart to the one that causes it to beat a little faster?

even though you might feel like a prize fool after?

gather up your courage

and speak from your heart.

don’t wait.

open the jar of pickled peppers

make the soup from the Hubbard you’ve been saving

let The Ones know how your heart feels about them

and the ways they have shaped the life of your life.

don’t wait.


reflections from on retreat, fixed ideas, & change

before going on retreat over new years

one of the (specific & numerous) reasons that kept me from wanting to go, was that


what i had heard from a recently married friend of mine was

that a person who was going to be on retreat tried to break up my friend’s recent marriage.

(yes, i’m intentionally being vague)

i didn’t know the details

i still don’t


and heading into the retreat, i could feel a sort of shield up

ideas fixed & hard

(one of the many, various heart-shields)

with a particular one towards this particular person.


i was polite, and (re)introduced myself before the silence began

they didn’t remember me from the wedding

(i wear my invisibility cloak a lot here in town…)

and through the retreat

even though there are no words, and a lot of silence

i could feel my heart starting to tenderize


there’s a deeper getting-to-know-you which occurs there…  in the silence, even without words.

something in me began to melt


with the realization that their own life is unfolding in mysterious ways

reflecting on the complexity of life.

and how it’s so easy to hold on to a fixed idea about something, or someone…


finding myself questioning and challenging the hard shield of beliefs and assumptions that i held regarding this person.


…what their life was like when young…

…what their own marriage was like…

…considering where life is leading them…

i didn’t know these things, and so much more.


by the end of the retreat

i could feel a softening,

and a sincere respect for their life.


there’s no knowing, as much as i would like to know, how this whole interwoven confluence of living beings is at play.

sitting here, i’m really grateful for the reminder that my mind & heart can shift, soften, & forgive.

Nadia Boltz-Weber calls this a heart transplant.

i’m reminded of the blessing (& the curse) of this beautiful truth:

all phenomena changes.


Silent meditation retreat, a redemptive story about Hate, & waffling.

i’m going on a silent meditation retreat in a couple of days.

five days in the absence of phones, reading, speaking, & gently avoiding eye contact.


for over two months i’ve been waffling between going and not going.

in the span of a day i would wake up and be sure

i’m NOT going

and these are the reasons why i’m NOT going.

(a person who i have feelings of attraction for is going to be there…  a person who i can’t stand because she tried to break up a friend’s new marriage is going to be there…  i’ll earn money if i stay and go to work insteeaad… people don’t seem to wash their hands after going to the baaathroom…  i really enjoy sleeping in my comfy bed at hooome…  trekking uphill in the snow to use the outhouse is gonna be cooooold…)

then by mid-day i’d completely change my mind and be sure


and these are the reasons why i’m GOING.

(it’s of benefit to work with my feelings, it’s good practice to just feel…  taking time off seems like a gift right now…  money isn’t everything…  helping out in the kitchen on retreat would feel good to give back to the commuuunity…  being silent is nourishing on a deep leeevel…  reconnecting with folks i haven’t seen for a year could be really greaaaat…)

i threw the I-ching (numerous times), processed with people (numerous times), wrote a “pro & con” list (at least twice)…

you get the idea.


(Lady Queen Rabbit shielding herself from my waffling with a collard leaf…)


less than two days before the retreat

i still catch my mind waffling.

but i’m going.

see, i saw this video the other day

(if you watch it you HAVE to watch it through the end of his reading… for the redemption…)

and this video is what cemented (okay, wet-cemented, slow-drying-wet-cement) my emailing the person leading the retreat that YES i’m GOING to be there yes

because my heart is similar to C. Anthony Martignetti’s heart

o the aggression.


i’m ashamed by this aggression that lives in me/is me.

and how fast it comes up

how FIRST it often arrives

aggression before the softening

(sure, i’m glad that there even IS a softening)

sadly, i’m not one of those “laid back” people

when people say “you’re easy to be around” i’m both astonished and honored

because oftentimes, especially when i’m out in the world, i’m walking around with a pretty tight heart

or maybe perhaps,

a soft heart, very much tucked away behind a lot of hardness.


sure, things soften it, open a few of the (bolted) gates and doors letting in fresh air…

…seeing an elder shopping at a store…

…witnessing couples holding hands…

…someone helping somebody else out…

…being with animals…


but i don’t go around life with an open heart, mostly.

i have to remember to soften, to be open.

and i judge myself for this.

that the aggression is more like breathing than softness is…

in that aggression is the unconscious habit.

don’t have to think about it, it just arises.

to be soft, out in the world, i have to actively practice it.


so when i saw that video, i was reminded of my heart – like looking in a mirror, hearing his story, and remembering

that while being on retreat is no proverbial walk in the park

(even though there is a lot of walking) 

there is a sort of heart-tenderizing which occurs…



if you don’t happen to see any “good morning” photos for a 5-day stretch, you’ll know why.

wishing you all a Happy New Year







Give up the world, give up self; finally, give up God.
Find god in rhododendrons and rocks,
passers-by, your cat
Pare your beliefs, your absolutes.
Make it simple; make it clean.
No carry-on luggage allowed.
Examine all you have
with a loving and critical eye, then
throwaway some more.
Repeat. Repeat.
Keep this and only this:
what your heart beats loudly for
what feels heavy and full in your gut.
There will only be one or two
things you will keep,
and they will fit lightly
in your pocket.

by Sheri Hostetler
A Cappella:  Mennonite Voices in Poetry