Tag Archives: Catwalk

Trouble, trouble, trouble. Trouble.


How can you complain when you find yourself in the most beautiful place on earth? Can there really be trouble in paradise?

It’s like this.

I got some feedback on a just-drafted chapter from someone I trust. He said what I wrote was not perfect. It’s hard to write about nature when you’re in the presence of natural perfection. And manmade perfection, in the form of a perfectly built old stone wall. Can I produce anything that good, that lasts that long? Probably not.

I take my seat in my writing garden shed.

Inspire myself with some of the flowers that grow just outside.

Say a few words to my shed-mate Giselle.

Woe is me. Write a while. Dreck. Go outside.

Admire a few simple flowers.

Visit with some trees. The shagbark hickory. Its new leaves are the most incredible shade of green.

Look up at the black cherry. How tall is that thing anyway?

Marvel at a tangled fall of shattered silver maple against a bewildered black gum. Human-produced sculpture doesn’t get that good.

Something amazing. A seemingly robust old white oak.

Around the back, it’s clearly had a lot of problems, but fixed itself. The way trees do.

Down the path, the crazed contours of bark, this one a white ash.

Everyone has problems. Knee problems. Heart problems. Cash flow problems. I can put a check in all those boxes at least some of the time. There aren’t too many people to tell my troubles to.

But how can I complain, really?

Trying to learn from the persevering robin who hops by over and over again outside my writing garden shed and is rewarded with money-green inchworms. I mean, over and over again. All day.

Then I go, rock myself in the hammock.

Within a few paces of the just-blooming lilac.

Olfactory bliss.

So really, can I complain?

I can complain. Watch me.

I sweat my way down to the river. Think. Pick up a few what I seem to remember are water chestnuts. They might not be. They might be magic.

Think some more. All of this thinking is making my head hurt. So I stop thinking.

Pass by the cherub floating above some ripening rhododendron at the wooden loveseat.

Sometimes a thing is almost more beautiful before it’s blossomed.

When I get back to the caretaker’s cottage I find a bright green inchworm crawling on my leg. I set it outside, gently. I don’t need it.

The lawn is filled with dandelion wishes for the taking.

What the heck.

I’ll get a bigger bouquet.


Filed under Jean Zimmerman

In my skin

as it were – and having exercised my brain enough for today I thought I would exercise my legs by making my way down the scant-mile-long trail to the river.

Magic hour. Just before nightfall. It is a wonderful path, carefully marked with delicate ribbons by Chuck, who takes care of the property.

I’m hoping to scare up one of the wild turkeys that have been seen around here or at least a deer but no animals, just the mad sound of bird song all around.

Dame’s rocket in abundance. Also called mother-of-the-evening.

A mysterious grove of mossy logs.

A spruce cone.

An old fallen pine with just about the right dimensions for a ship mast, like the ones I’m writing about in my current chapter.

Kismet! This trail has a bouquet of young white oak leaves.

On the way down the last steep slope I can hear the waves rushing. After trying to explain inosculated trees to some painters here and sounding like a knowitall jerk I come across a pair right by the side of the trail here, a young white ash and a hophornbeam, seemingly making out.

They’ve been marked by ribbons as though ready for their close up. And a knotted rope placed there to help in the descent.

Finally, the beach. First, an Eastern cottonwood stretches itself out on the shore.

Is this beautiful enough for you? The Hudson is a beast.

How about this?

I find an ancient brick, probably from one of the historic Hudson River brickyards back in the day.

Handsome driftwood.

The smoothest beachrock in the world.

Heading back in the near dark, mysteries. An old foundation. Who came here before?

A forest containing a sad story. Pine bark beetle.

Things live here though. A hidey hole.

Multiflora rose, still holding tightly to its blooms. I don’t care if you’re invasive as long as you don’t invade me.

The first honeysuckle of the season, bringing back memories of childhood.

An old gate to the estate that hangs open as if to welcome me.

Closer, closer. The old carriage house.

Fluffy viburnum.

Lilies of the valley. I can’t think of the last time I’ve seen them.

More mysteries. Cannonball stones on the lawn. What?

Finally, the linden with its delicate lime green bracts.

And I’m back to the Caretaker’s Cottage.

Home sweet home, for now.


Filed under Jean Zimmerman