the whisper of butterfly wings…

two days ago, this flutter of blue whooshed past my studio window. i took several photos of this gorgeous butterfly, but i like this one the best. it looks like a wild impressionist watercolor. essence of butterfly.

i talked to my dear friend kernie yesterday. (my print, “kernie in spring” is named after her.)

kernie has a story to tell about blue butterflies. She just lost her oldest and best childhood friend, shern, to cancer this past summer.

on the day shern died, blue butterflies started appearing everywhere.

there was a blue butterfly hair pin kernie found by the bed and couldn’t put away as she cleaned shern’s room that afternoon. later on they all noticed a swirl of blue butterflies flying ’round and ’round shern’s porch… fleeting blue “hellos” sent from shern to her family and kernie. and as kern went to leave that afternoon, a lone blue butterfly was waving to her from her windshield.

days later, a blue butterfly flew into kernie’s house on the front of a card written by a sweet neighbor. (kern had not told her about the blue butterfly visitations.) and on the morning of the funeral, kern was telling one of their best highschool girlfriends about the butterflies. terry gasped and left the room returning with her outfit. “look, what i’m wearing today…,” she cried. an irridescent blue butterfly pin shimmered on her dress.

kernie told me yesterday that she went out to shern’s house deep in the woods by the river to help her two little girls get ready for their first motherless day of school. kernie hadn’t said anything to them yet about their mother’s blue butterflies.

“how are the girls?” i asked.

“they seem stunned,” kernie answered. “but i think they’re managing. oh,but curlin…something amazing happened. shern’s daughter knew exactly what she wanted to wear on her first day and she had the outfit all laid out on her bed. she took me into her room to show me. oh curlin, her little shirt…right on the front…it had a big blue butterfly across it.”

i wonder how many other people have lost loved ones who now speak to them in swoop of a mockingbird or in the rustle of a lizard on chartreuse sweet potato vine?

my mother, phoebe, speaks to me in dolphins. (and in gardenias, but that’s a story for a different day.)

seven years ago, we scattered my mother’s ashes in the surf off the island where my family has vacationed for the last 30 years. As we walked out of the surf, a pod of bottlenose dolphins suddenly appeared and began leaping and playing in the very same spot…as if to welcome my mother and guide her gently into the sea she loved so much. since then, on every family beach trip, i’ll catch a glimmer of phoebeness in the surf. Or, here at home, a dolphin image will leap out of the smooth surface of an ordinary day. it’s my mother’s way of letting me know she’s with me.

if my readers have similar stories, i’m hoping they’ll share them here in the pippingtooth journal. if you have a story to share, click on the word, “comments” at the bottom of this entry.

oh, and next time you see a blue butterfly, if you think of it, will you say a little “hello, shern” just in case. i think she might be on a tour of beautiful gardens after the long hard year she’s had.

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let’s see….

who’s in…

my loverly…

pippingtooth garden…

today.

how did i ever get this lucky???

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look what i found growing in my garden this morning…

sweet reed.

great week though deer threw big bash in the garden one night and clearly smoked all my bean seedlings. seems they are recovering. (the beans, i mean)

had a visit from a cardinal red dragonfly on the pomegranate bush yesterday. wish it would play pretend barrette in my hair for a day.

dig was here dougging away all day thurs and fri helping me plan for luke’s birthday surprise. shhhhhhhh.

had lots of sweaty little boys running around the garden last night playing “around the world in 80 days.” hurling themselves ’round and ’round at the end of the rope swing under the live oak. that live oak should have a great big whistle around its neck for all the games it referees.

have been busy in studio all morning. ooooooooooooooohhhhhh…fun things are dancing off the page.

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ladies….start your seed packets

the last several days, elena and i have been sorting thru a million seed packets. so far we’ve planted beets, swiss chard, turnips, fennel, peppers, tomatoes and beans. i’ve gotta get the gourds in the ground so we can have the traditional pumpkins for easter. you know how the children love to run around gathering hidden jack-o-lanterns to plunk into their straw baskets.

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quick grab the seed packets…



elena and doug and i spent all day saturday and sunday tilling the garden and unearthing forgotten flowerbeds. we’ve decided to change doug’s name to “dig” after his grueling day. the vegetable garden is ready…quick grab the seed packets.

i’m sheepishly tilling

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one big happy


my garden is most colorful when it’s filled with my friends and family. i’m happiest when elena and i are sitting in the circle of adirondak chairs plotting and planning our millionth gardening scheme with our dear friend, christian (the ever-so-talented-renaissance-man-but really-more-like-my-adopted-3rd-son-home-from-college). I’m in seventh heaven when i see my sweet hubby amble down to join us with his bright red cup of coffee…and my neighbor, claire, calls over the fence to see if she can bring her lab pup over to play with my lab, clara…and ms. mickelthwaite stops by to bring me some parsley oil she made from the bouquet she took home last week. when i’m in my loverly garden with these folks laughing and talking and cringing at the life-risking stunts my sons reed and preston perform as they swing madly beneath the branches of our live oak, well then…i’m one peaceful chick.

my friend christian (who is sporting a lovely kale chapeau) and the dear elena

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