Green. Heart. (For Aunt Patsy)

Throughout most of my life, my beloved aunt Patsy and I have written one another letters. We shared garden stories, she offered me practical homemaking advice and recipes, and we simply chatted. Her letter were like sitting down to share a cup of tea, even though she was many miles away. She has shaped my life in countless ways! She taught me to plant my garden for beauty, and with flowers that I loved. She encouraged me to take care and pride in hand sewing. And she shared many recipes, including a favorite chicken salad with Jersey blueberries. Through her stories and a treasured photo, she and my uncle were also my inspiration to learn to scuba dive. 

When I was young, I sent her a small brooch. It was a very small metalwork heart, but green, instead of the typical red or pink. From then on she signed her letters with a small, green heart above her name. I have saved every one.

This post is for her. Nearly 90, she no longer visits the ocean, but she still talks about happy family times down the shore.

Cocklawburn Beach, Northumberland


There are times to look closely, and there are other times when a person must look ‘big’. A visit to this beach, one of my very favorite anywhere, is of the latter.
A visit here recalls the small voices of my children as they scamper down through the dunes in the freezing cold. Soup in a thermos in a car being buffeted by winds. Looking for the perfect rainbow stones, and filling every pocket with them. Gazing across at Bamburgh Castle and Lindesfarne Castle in the distance, wondering about the incredibly strong people who built these places in such a forbidding place.
Mostly though, a visit here makes my heart dance as I think of my family that lives not far from here. Not family by blood, by family by heart for over 30 years. Every time I come I think, “Will this be my last visit?” Today, after wandering way down to the low tide line I came back up the beach and sat on a rock at the base of the dune. I listened to the echoes of those children’s voices. I found the perfect pebble. I looked down the coast at ancient castles.
And I knew I would be back.

“Pied Beauty”: For My Brothers

“Pied Beauty”: For My Brothers

Pied Beauty By Gerard Manley Hopkins Glory be to God for dappled things –
 For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
 For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; 
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
 Landscape plotted and pieced – … Continue reading