Almost Heaven

The other day, a friend sent me the following Emily Dickinson poem.

A Service of Song
Some keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.

Some keep the Sabbath in surplice;
I just wear my wings,
And instead of tolling the bell for church,
Our little sexton sings.

God preaches,—a noted clergyman,—
And the sermon is never long;
So instead of getting to heaven at last,
I’m going all along!

Emily Dickinson

b-cathedral 1

Today, being Sunday, I decided to visit a cathedral in the woods, where branches arched over the path and sunspots flitted along the center aisle.

b-Christmas and NY ferns

All were welcome here, where youth and elders embraced visitors. (Christmas ferns and New York fern)

b-Equisetum 1

Ancient stories were offered up by those who long ago learned to adapt to change. (Equisetum)

b-Sweet Pepperbush

Any who sought fulfillment found it. (Sweet pepperbush)

b-Wild Sarsapirilla 1

Family members . . . (Wild sarsaparilla)

b-bristly sarsaparilla

demonstrated their differences. (Bristly sarsaparilla)

b-Marginal 1a

New life was offered . . .

b-Marginal Wood fern1

even to those waiting along the margins. (Marginal wood fern)

b-St. John's wort

And the saints watched over all present. (St. Johnswort)

b-Bald Pate summit 2 (1)

At last, I reached the altar.

b-Hancock 1

One transept offered views to the left.

b-Foster Pond Lookout (1)

And the other to the right.

b-Emerald 3

But it was the light on the stained glass windows that provided the most wonder. (American Emerald dragonfly)

b-Calico 2

b-Calico 5

b-Calico 6

b-Calico 7

b-Calico 4

On this daily journey in heaven, I’m thankful for graces offered each moment I worship creation. (Calico pennant)

Never Call It Just A Dandelion

I lent out my copy of a book by a similar title: Never Say It’s Just A Dandelion by Hilary Hopkins so I don’t have it in front of me to check her notes.



This field of dandelions that I saw at Viles Arboretum in Augusta during a Maine Master Naturalist field trip yesterday inspired me to take a closer look at the species that brightens our backyard.


While some green bracts turn downward to keep insects at bay, others protect the developing flower.


One ray at a time


it begins to open.


Notice how every ray is notched.


I brought one in to take a closer look at the notches. Each has five “teeth” representing a petal and forms a single floret.


Fully open, the bloom is a composite of numerous florets.


Each stigma splits in two and curls.


Bees and other insects seek the nectar.


A seed grows at the base and fine hairs form a parachute.


In time, the bloom closes up and then turns into a fluffy ball of seeds waiting for you or the wind to disperse them.


Though you may not be able to see it here, each seed is covered with tiny spikes that probably help it stick to the soil when it lands.


The yellow carpet will continue to change in our backyard


one seed at a time.

Who knew a Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinal) could be something to wonder about? Emily Dickinson did:

The Dandelion’s pallid tube

Astonishes the Grass,
And Winter instantly becomes
An infinite Alas-

The tube uplifts a signal Bud
And then a shouting Flower,-
The Proclamation of the Suns
That sepulture is o’er.

Emily Dickinson