Garden Goddess

These eyes see your beauty.

The way you erupt from the loamy soil.

The way you blossom soft and wide.

The way you give forth your bounty.

The way you rest and return.

Day after day, week after week.

Year after year.



It happens slowly.
Lines deepen across foreheads
hair grays, joints stiffen and ache.
The slow transformation 
to negligibility.

But when we see that we’ve slipped 
into the shadows of inconsequence, 
indistinct and vague, 
we must not forget the power 
of invisibility.

Those who dream of 
becoming super heroes often 
consider invisibility.
To move about, impossible to detect
listening to the secrets of others.

It’s from there we can see beyond 
the potency of vigor, the 
impressiveness of efficiency
to ascend into the eloquence of
the minute, the miniscule.

It is there where we rest 
in the stillness of calm water
the heat of the sun. 



Apologies to the Dog

Apologies to the Dog
All day I apologize to the dog.
I’m so sorry that dogs don’t rise
to lose themselves in the deep, bitter
pleasure of a morning cup of coffee.
I’m sorry that dogs don’t ride bicycles,
so that together we could slip through the air
with the birds, over rivers,
into the high mountains.
I’m so sorry, I tell the dog,
that chocolate is dog poison.
That you can not take this dark
bit of uplift into your mouth and let
it melt slowly from your heat.
I’m so sorry, I say,  that you cannot follow
your heart down the road to visit
a friend or explore the school yard
in search of love.
You are not human and I am sorry.
Sorry that your joy depends on anyone who will throw
the ball. That your dreams are about running
free and pleasure is a bowl of the same food
day after day after day.



I don’t like Redwing Blackbirds much, but my friend, Shannon, told me that I needed to get over it. I created this collage to try and warm my heart to them. As I worked on it at my kitchen table, I watched outside as the Redwing Blackbirds devoured all of the sunflower seeds in the feeder. They crowded out my good friends, the goldfinch, chickadees and Dark-eyed Juncos. I could feel the old grudge rising. This effort may not have served its purpose, but I like the image…especially the bird feet. (Thanks, Jenny, for noticing them.)


I reinvigorated this blog during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is such a sad and difficult time for so many that I feel guilty to have found in this time of necessary isolation the opportunity I have long awaited. For seventeen years of my career, I supported learning through the arts. At long last, I get to make art for the pure and simple pleasure. Who knows, I might even learn something along the way.

This image was inspired by a photo of the Covid-19 virus published in the New York Times. I’ve attached it below. I thought that for all its destruction it’s actually quite pretty. I knew I wanted to reinterpret the image in a collage and I kept thinking about it without getting anywhere. Then a friend made the comment, “covid not be be confused with corvid,” and I had it. Thanks, Caroline!


May 19, 2014

After so long in quiet darkness, the conductor raises her arms, the light comes up and the symphony begins. The trill, click and bob of the Redwing Blackbird, the persistent thrum of Canada Geese, the chirp of frantic robins, the twitter of fluting warblers. Each day now the symphony crescendos until soon we will awaken, lean toward the open window to slide it shut and silence the cacophony.

Art by Shannon Troxler



The Certainty of Birds

May 11, 2014

Birds lead lives of constant certainty.  They know that when they open their eyes to the morning, the sky will meet the earth.  They know tree branches will bend in the wind, that rain and snow will fall from the sky, that aggressive birds will pick and prey upon them, that food will be plentiful or not.  Each day’s dawn provides assurance that this day will be like no other before or after.

Mixed Media by Susan Thulin

Mixed Media by Susan Thulin


Take Flight

March 8, 2014

Birds never leave us, but sometimes we forget them. It’s when we get to spinning and thinking and spinning some more. One day, we discover that all that spinning has dug us into a deep hole.  There we are, underground in darkness, wondering what to do.  Wondering, until we remember that birds have wings, and if we listen they will teach us to fly.

Images by Shannon Troxler

Image by Shannon Troxler

Something New

January 1, 2014

All mixed up together on river’s open pool, mallards, golden-eye, mergansers. Need, invisibly pulled them together last night, to cast off pain and sorrow, to share joy and revelations, to forget the burdens of being a duck. But on this day, they open their eyes to a refreshed landscaped, purified by New Year’s Eve snow and know unknowably that this day is different from the last.  It is time to retreat into solitude, they murmur to one another, to contemplate its newness.

Painting by Shannon Troxler

Painting by Shannon Troxler


November 29, 2013

The Downy Woodpecker clasps the thin branch of ice-laced willow amid an infinite array of shimmering crystals. Her signature red, feathery, hat glows like fire, illuminated by the piercing sun. With each tap of bill to willow, she unleashes a shower of diamonds, sparking, glittering, floating, dancing. A most brilliant performance for the eyes of one, blessed, birder peering from behind a pair of binoculars.



November 24, 2013


Artwork by Shannon Troxler

No need for breadcrumbs, string, compass or gps. Birds trust in their hearts. They don’t make promises they can’t keep, mislead or suggest they will stay. One day a force fills them with need. They stop with the chores and hang up their aprons. Each pulsation of that tiny organ confirms their destiny. They lift their wings to leap into air equally still and tumultuous.

The Gift

November 18, 2013

Beneath the hollow blue of morning sky, a white, full circle of moon pauses at the crest of snowy mountains then sinks beyond view. An immense sparkling dresses the meadow. Silvery round bodies of a dozen geese float on the sleek, gray of Skyline Pond. Each feathery package of awe holds a jewel of gratitude. The gift of another precious day.

Painting by Shannon Troxler

Painting by Shannon Troxler