Sunday, May 01, 2016

Poems and a post for the last day of April

Bloodroot ~ one of our first spring wildflowers
I had so many thoughts I wanted to tie together -- a poem I wanted to share (since April was Poetry Month); a walk in the woods; the first wildflowers; the restorative, healing power of time spent in God's creation; even a thought or two about my late father-in-law whose birthday was the last day of April.  Sadly, my thoughts will not even hold together.  I ended up using one poem at the beginning of the post and a second, by a much more local poet, at the end.

The first poem, and the one I have been thinking of sharing all month, is called Gifts from the Wildwood and is by South Carolina poet Archibald Rutledge.

Gifts from the Wildwood

I know not how to capture
This fragrant wildwood's rapture,
The magic of these dells
Where silent beauty dwells,
Where noble strength and power
in oak and pine tree tower.
But when from these I come,
I hope to carry home
Some spirit not yet had
To keep me strong and glad,
Something from oak and pine
To be forever mine;
When from these woods I part,
Some wildflower in my heart.
~ Archibald Rutledge

It is from the last line of this poem that Jamie Langston Turner took the title for her wonderful book,   Some Wildflower in My Heart.  If you have never read this book, I recommend it very highly.  I do not enjoy most Christian fiction; much of it is far too shallow, and my reading time is so limited that I will not waste it starting books and not finishing them.  But Jamie Turner's writing is different.  Each of her books actually has a different voice, yet there is a common thread ~ I guess I would summarize it as the impact we as believers can have in the lives of others if we are truly living as God would have us to.  If you do read Some Wildflower in My Heart, don't be put off by the scholarly tone of Margaret Tuttle, who is telling the story.  She uses large words, slightly formal language, and refers often to books she has read.  But when you get into the story and learn about Margaret's background, you realize why she speaks and writes as she does.  It's a story well worth reading, and Birdie Freeman, whose story Margaret is telling, is an example for all of us to emulate.

Jamie Turner's other books (I believe there are seven more) are also excellent and I highly recommend them.  They can be read as a series, for most share some of the same characters, but they also stand alone very well.

I've gone off track a bit, but wanted to share how this excellent writer has edified me.  The poem above, Gifts from the Wildwood, figures in the story of Birdie Freeman and Margaret.   I loved the poem and found that it really spoke to me, as I have found so often that spending time in the woods or by the water is comforting and healing.

A few weeks ago my daughter mentioned how she and her family took a "mental health day" and went for a hike in the woods adjoining their property.  That sounded appealing to Mr. T and myself, so we asked them to let us know the next time they planned a hike.  A couple of Saturdays ago, we were able to find a few hours to join them.  Below are some scenes from the day:
Josiah is standing inside a cellar hole from an old house or barn.  Imagine building that by hand!
Mr. T and our son-in-law figured there had to be a well near the cellar hole somewhere.  They went looking and found it!
One of the waterfalls we saw
Taking a break by one of the waterfall areas
The sky was gloriously blue!
More of the treetops
Another waterfall
And yet more falling water
There were no wildflowers out yet in the woods that day,  but thankfully there were no black flies either!  And even though none of the trees were leafed out, there is just something about tumbling, rushing water and green, green moss that encourages and refreshes the winter-weary spirit.  We had to shoehorn this hike into a very busy day, but I am so thankful that we did!

As we made our way through the woods at the start of the hike (there was a bit of light-duty bushwhacking before we came onto a logging road), I was pleased that I could recognize some different types of moss and plants to share with the kids.  It reminded me so much of my father-in-law, whose knowledge of the woods greatly exceeded that of anyone I've ever known.   He kept a wildflower list every year as he observed the various flowers coming into bloom.   He also loved waterfalls and cellar holes and he would have so enjoyed that hike.  He was also a locally known poet, and the following lines are from his poem Spring Fever:

When I see the geese returning 
Once again I have a yearning
To walk again some old familiar trail
There to seek some early flower
On some sunny bank or bower, 
Or where the brook meanders through the vale.

Find some cellar long forsaken
That the years have overtaken,
Or walk along beside some old stone walls;
Maybe watch the sunlight flashing 
Where the noisy brook is splashing,
And madly dashing o'er the rocky falls.

The above are two of the five stanzas of the poem, and the second could have been describing  the hike we took.  He had surely been on many similar ones.  April 30 would have been his 101st birthday.  He is the one who dug up the original bloodroot plant (last year's blooms pictured at the top of the post) and brought it to my daughter to plant. And it always brings sweet memories when "his" flowers appear in the wildflower garden every spring.

(I am sharing today with Sandi's No Place Like Home and  Bernideen’s Tea Time, Cottage and Garden Blog Party.)


  1. We know an old cellar hole and a stream rolling down over mossy rocks so this post brought back sweet memories. What a wonderful stanza of poetry perfectly describing your experience. Very special post. Oh I do appreciate your description of "shallow" for much of Christian writing...a shared opinion.

    1. Oh, Vee, how lovely that you also know a place like this! I am so happy the post could bring back sweet memories for you.

      I've heard in the past that editors of Christian writing want stories where the message is intrinsic -- not tacked on. Yet in so much of it, the message is indeed tacked on and not too skillfully at that! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me and I am so pleased that you enjoyed this post.

  2. We all need a mental health day every now and then Mrs T. So glad you and the mister got away from the cares of the world for a bit. And Some Wildflower in my Heart is my FAVORITE JL Turner novel. I agree with you about Christian usually leaves something to be desired!! I wish Jamie would write some more books!!

    1. Yes, it was so nice to get away even for a few hours, Arlene. We are hoping for an overnight getaway before too long, but it realistically may be awhile.

      Neat that Some Wildflower in my Heart is your favorite JL Turner novel. I am really not sure which one is my favorite, but I do like that one a lot. It's the first one that I ever read. I've read that Jamie is writing another novel, but that she finds it takes longer than it used to.

  3. I absolutely loved this post,dear Sara.The walk in the woods was a spring delight. Yes, the memories of such a special gifted man are so special. We loved him too. It will be all JOY when we see him in Glory.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the walk with us, Polly! It sure did bring back memories of hikes back in the day. I'm glad that my kids enjoy doing this with their family and that they like to include us.

      Yes, that will be Glory. Looking forward to seeing you soon in NH.

  4. Dear Mrs. T.:
    Now isn't that wonderful and I love the idea of "Mental Health Day". I am, really don't we all need that in this run, run, and run some more world! I love this post. Thanks for sharing and linking!

    1. Yes, I think we do all really need mental health days, Bernideen. I'm so happy that you enjoyed the post. It's always a delight to see you here at my kitchen table!

  5. What a lovely post, Mrs. T.. I too find walking through the woods and along the shore very healing and calming. In the warmer weather I do it often. Mental Health Day is a very good idea. Your FIL was quite a poet and he must have been a lovely man to have loved nature and wrote poetry the way he did. I really enjoyed your post and thanks so much for sharing it with us. Happy May, my friend!


    1. Always a blessing to see you here, Sandi! I am happy that you enjoyed the post. I hesitated linking up because it wasn't really about home, but decided it would be okay.

      Yes, walking through the woods and along the shore (something you are so blessed with there in PEI) is indeed so calming and healing. I remember one painful summer when my daughter's best friend died suddenly. We had gone camping in Maine and it was there, with my feet in the water and the scent of pine filling the air, that I felt myself beginning to heal. It was a wonderful thing for all of us.

      Yes, my father-in-law was indeed a lovely man and a gifted poet. He was as at home in the woods as many people are in their living rooms. He delighted in sharing his woods lore with people firsthand as well as through poetry.

      Happy May to you as well!

  6. How wonderful to spend this day exploring with your family! We live in a world where every day is a "mental health day" I think {smiles} I do so love getting outside and exploring the beautiful earth God has created for us to enjoy. I enjoyed the poetry that you shared, simply lovely! I have never heard of Jamie Turner, but I will be interested in her books as I am like you, I don't like silly reading, I want my reading time to dig into my heart, and inspire me to live my life better. Thank you for sharing that. And what a precious man your FIL was... such wonderful memories you have of him, and especially with the bloodroot that he planted! Enjoyed your post today :)

    1. It was indeed a wonderful afternoon, Marilyn. To take an entire day, though -- just an impossibility at this point.

      There is just something so restorative and blessed about being out in God's creation, I believe. I think it helps us to trust Him more for the everyday when we see His all-knowing, all-powerful hand in creation.

      There should be a clickable link to "Some Wildflower in My Heart" in the post above. Jamie Langston Turner's books are readily available on Amazon; most of my copies are used ones in good condition that I found there.

      Yes, my father-in-law ... he is always with us in spirit when we go for hikes like that one. Now he is enjoying the glories of heaven!

      So happy you enjoyed the post. I had trouble pulling my thoughts together, but finally managed something, at least.

  7. The area you live in is so pretty! Love the little creek. You are so lucky to be able to do such wonderful hikes with the grandkids.

    1. Thank you!! We love our part of the country with such distinct seasons. Spring is my least favorite, so you can imagine how pretty the area is in the other three seasons.

      Yes, we are indeed blessed to have some of our grandchildren living nearby so we can do things like this with them. We are thankful!


Thanks so much for stopping by to visit my kitchen table! I love company here in my kitchen, so be sure to leave a comment so I'll know you've visited! I'll answer your questions and comments here on the blog unless you request otherwise.