Saturday 20 February 2016. Tracking the Helebores

7:22 am, 41 degrees F, the sky mostly gloriously clear. 

Practiced yoga first. Prepped for class last night, now focused on my own practice, my own points of awareness, i.e., where I need to work. Which comes out in my teaching and also is good for my students!

A simple task beckoned: check the neighborhood Helebores, and the ones near Japan House. 

Actually almost skipped this ride, thinking I could catch the Helebores tomorrow. 

But remembered that the image that calls now won’t be the same later. 

Checked a plant in the neighborhood that started (and advanced quite a way) coming up last month. The intervening cold held back its progress. 

But it still was quite alive. 

Meanwhile a neighbor passed on his bike and said, “don’t miss the witch hazel!”  

For which I thanked him. 

And rode on to the Japan House garden, where Helebores had been starting to bloom earlier this month. 

Thought last week’s iced blooms

Would burgeon in this week’s warmth. 

But they were little changed. 


Although I’ve loved and been aware of garden and native plants for as long as I can remember, especially in the early spring, Helebores somehow escaped my notice until quite recently. It was my dear late friend Nancy who pointed them out to me. What strange and wonderful plants they are! They come up early and survive the roller coaster throes of central Illinois winter, though I guess they need continuously mild conditions to really thrive. But nice to have them to show that growth happens even in the small spaces between the cold, grey times.



Sunday 14 February 2016. Ice Under the Bridge

This morning at 6:35 it was 16 degrees F and cloudy with a stiff southerly breeze. 

The streets were dusted With snow and also with salt. I rode carefully.

There was a south wind, But it blew bitterly cold From Meadowbrook Park. 

My tracks were the first On the quiet, snowy path. Breathed familiar peace!

Wonky Christmas tree Caught my eye and made me stop: It was so dark green.  


At McCulough Creek, up where it meets Davis Creek, there was partial ice. 

Along the edges, upstream, Saw ice on the creek, Not quite all frozen.  

Now my hands were cold. Was glad to see the wonders, But turned to go back. 

Sunday 7 February 2016. Sky Over Meadowbrook 

34 degrees F at 6:40 am. 

Discovery II  Took me on today’s bike ride. At last, on the road! 

Saw a yard of “ghosts” Plants protected from winter Waiting for the spring.   

Thought of my troubles: They take a lot of mind space. For now they must wait. 

I crossed Windsor Road Against the light, though no cars came. Did a minor crime. 

At McCullough Creek, From the rabbit-statue bridge: Reflected sunrise.  
The water’s gone down  And the sides of the creek’s banks Are now visible. 

Saw a single deer.  Thought there must be more of them, And indeed there were.  

 Color in the dawn  Came and went and came back changed And then it faded. 

 The prairie sky spread Out over the pale grasses And dark bush clover.  

 The dried crab apples  Are a calendar that says It’s February.    

 Was glad for this ride, Another sweet sample of  The wide morning sky. 

Sunday 31 January 3016. Winter Sunrise at Weaver Park

The morning [6:45] was warm [45 degrees F].  Shiny streets, sky mostly clear, I set out to ride.

A piece of the dawn Normally is all we see. Seldom the whole thing.   

The chime tolls seven. I look up to see the clouds. The sun is rising!

Rode north to Weaver. Saw the fox I’d seen before. Always there Sundays!

Then saw the sun disc! Hadn’t seen it in a while.  Welcomed its coming. 

Urbana morning, The air sweet, the streets quiet. I treasure the peace. 


Saturday 30 January 2016. Thawing Frozen Pond

This morning at 7:25 AM it was 36 degrees F and mostly clear. 

Did yoga practice. Went through setting up the props. Prepared for my class. 

Then on the bike ride Passed some mysterious plants In the neighborhood.  

How did they survive The time when it was so cold?  Such a strong life force!

Missed my warm clothes but Liked the feeling of more ease  In the warmer air.  

Rode toward Japan House To see a little bit more Of the beloved garden.  

Ice was on the pond A story in its texture,  And its melting edges . 


From the sleeping land The dry plants with light behind them Rise up toward the clouds. 

Again took comfort From this visit with nature. Ready to return.