How it’s done


Meteorological madness, it was,
the warnings accreting like worries,
overlapping, tumbling into
ominous air,  hushed and
heavy as portents:

Severe thunderstorms.
Flash floods.

Streetlights cleaved
the midday dark, and when
the mouths of the sky opened, they
shouted awesome as if Nature were
angry at its word being co-opted,
diminished, applied to every
unworthy and trivial good.

Here, said Nature, is awesome:
two inches of rain in fifteen minutes,
gales to capsize galleons,
pea-sized hail forming snowdrifts
in late July.  Rivers foaming
and galloping over ruined banks.

Here, said the wild world, is awesome.


I shoveled the deck later,
surveyed the damage:
Young spinach and kale shredded
inside the shattered cold frame.
Ripening cherry tomatoes
pulverized; likewise, the rhubarb,
its broad, wrinkled leaves in tatters.

Yet, new growth this morning, hatching
from the plant’s center like a verdant egg.
The tomatoes, too, sprouting tender leaves,
though there will be no more buds
and no harvest, not before a killing frost.

They were still alive and keeping on, as if
it were all the same: the sun and the storm,
the fruit and the barren stalks,
the benevolence of one day,
the violence of another.

Oh, I said, nearing 60 with so much
gone wrong, so much unrealized:

That’s how it’s done.









  1. Beautiful poem. Nature is stronger than anything. May we partially destroy the Earth with our wrong human actions, the planet and its amazing nature will always regenerate.


    1. Thank you. We’re certainly seeing the effects of climate change with violent storms and wildfires in these parts. Humans are undeniably beginning to reap what we’ve sown in our lack of care for the planet and other species; perhaps when the damage to our own kind becomes serious enough, we’ll take action. Or not, and Nature will eventually set things right for us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I think so.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. slukwago · · Reply

    Yes. That is the accurately applied definition of awesome. Nature is right in correcting our use of the word


    1. Perhaps a bit of projection on my part, nonetheless. 🙂


  3. Nature’s resilience continuously inspires me; humanity (as a whole) not so much. Seems the things we “mother” struggle while the “weeds” run rampant. I am becoming a weed fan and marvel at their diversity and beauty. Must be a message in there, somewhere?? Leo


    1. Indeed! Humans generally value what most obviously serves them, so distinctions such as “weed” and “flower” get made according to that myopic focus. Like you, I’m glad Nature is not beholden to our hierarchies of worth. Thank you for reading and commenting.!


  4. Pat: willow88switches · · Reply

    a moment’s breath in destruction – the pent up exhalations of an earth mother gone past mad and wild, reclaiming ~ it’s a shame about the garden, but then, life continues, as it alway will and has, without our interference … which, if we are smart enough to observe, in the smallest of ways, perhaps offers us exactly the faith and hope we need – to find the silver lining

    I really enjoyed the strength and vitality of this poem. It embraces the pause before the storm, and all that happens during and after, and is an apt metaphor in life.


    1. Thank you for your appreciation, and for such a thoughtful response. I feel as you do about these “exhalations,” respecting Nature’s amazing power and admiring how non-human life just goes on without complaint, fully alive as it can be until it cycles back into death.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pat: willow88switches · · Reply

        yes, this poem sort of reminds of a key line, which unfortunately I can’t recall right in the moment, from the movie Adaptation; the gist is – plants and animals survive in a natural way, and are far more “evolved” because they adapt far easier, quickly and naturally than humans, without the emotional baggage.
        The actual lines delivered by Meryl Streep to Nicolas Cage are brilliant.


        1. Sounds like a movie I’d appreciate. Thanks for the reference!

          I’ve just finished shoveling the deck again — another big hailstorm — and most of the new growth that had started is again shredded. I trust the plants will again put on new leaves, though if they were humans, they’d be feeling pretty victimized after two peltings in as many weeks. What resilience!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Pat: willow88switches · ·

          oh this crazy weather …. and yup, I suspect the plants will rebound, and just keep on doing what is natural … but it is disheartening for us to watch and of course, deal with all this destruction and mess.

          Adaptation is based on a the book: The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean.
          The movie is a bit weird, but I’ve always liked it – and is easy enough to find for the viewing. And I can’t be sure, but I may or may not have read the book. (I would think I’d remember, but sadly, not today.) Anyhow, if you like plants and flowers etc. and are interested in the human condition and how we relate/disassociate to each other and the planet, it makes for fine viewing.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. sad gardener’s
    lament, Cate 😦


    1. You know, I didn’t really feel sad about it once I saw the new growth. As a gardener, I seem more interested in process than outcome. Now, if I could just adapt that philosophy to other areas of life ….. 🙂


  6. Much wisdom in nature. Sounds like a horrendous storm.


    1. Truly, it was memorable!


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