Hardy mums

First frost last night.  Rosy dawn.  I like the slowness of hot coffee with milk and the warmth of the mug in my hands.


Hardy mums – why are the fruit and flowers rising up first? I promise my 30 words are not just seasonal.

I won a big pot of hardy mums seventeen years ago.  It was in a 10k race on the South Fork of Long Island.  The route went through small towns, tiny towns – they might have even been called villages – and harvested potato fields. Summer was over, which on that part of the island meant the population had shrunk from glamorous to local over the space of Labor Day weekend.

Anyway, the mums.  I had never won a race.  I didn’t win this race either, but I won the mums.  It was the kind of country race where everyone wins something at the end: a bottle of wine, a gift-certificate to a diner, oven gloves. Someone won a 50 lb. sack of potatoes. My partner won a massive outdoor circular thermometer (2 feet in diameter).

I didn’t know hardy meant the mums were meant to be planted then, outside, at the beginning of autumn to bring a few more weeks of colour and bloom. There was so much I didn’t know then. So I kept them inside, in our bedroom, at the foot of my bed. They probably would have lived longer had I  known they were bred for cold nights and short days.

The other thing about that race – it was my first, or possibly second, 10k.  To make it through the miles, I recited a poem to myself over and over that I had memorised that summer for a ‘Teaching of Poetry’ class I had taken. Although I no longer know it all by heart, if I sit still, I can call back some lines. Here is the poem:


Eagle Poem – by Joy Harjo

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

From In Mad Love and War, by Joy Harjo
This entry was posted in not precious, Present, not precious - November 2016, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hardy mums

  1. Today I’ve got No. 1, The Magus. The notes on the interpretation of this card suggest that if the Magician’s powers don’t get used they will cease to exist: energy needs to be released, for renewal and progress to occur. S/he represents ideas and internal creativity – and needs to be set free! Once you spot the power you have, take it, use it! See where it takes you! Keeping it all pent up could lead to trouble..


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