Category Archives: nature

#349: Dionis Beach Whimsy

Dionis Beach is so very quiet this time of year.
No cars, just dunegrass:
And rows of snow fencing:
Wait, what’s that on top of the fence?
Whimsical evidence of beachcombers
Glowing in the morning sun

They’ll be back

#315: Nantucket Ecosystems

Non-native plants need protection
from winter’s storms:
Burlap wrapped ‘privacy screen’
Opposite these, and closer to the beach,
an entire ecosystem thrives:
Bordered by scrub pines, looking closer:
beachgrass, with an extensive root system
 which holds the sand, and
lichens, which feed off the very salt spray and 
blazing sun that kills plants not suited to the dune ecosystem.
Scrub pine and beachgrass and lichens aren’t tough–
walking on this patch would kill it in one season.
What they are is, in the place God meant them to be.
That’s where they thrive.
So, if I’m not thriving, 
is my heart in the place where God means it to be?

#311: New Year’s Eve

I don’t know about the rest of the island
but I’m figuring out the chords to some old hymns
for worship tomorrow. 
New Year’s Eve is a chance to
drink in the riches of music and lyrics.
Try this verse of John Newton‘s:
See the streams of living waters,
springing from eternal love,
well supply thy sons and daughters,
and all fear of want remove;
who can faint while such a river
ever flows their thirst to assuage?
grace which, like the Lord, the giver,
never fails from age to age.
Worship is so easy with words like that.
Here’s hoping for your thirst
to be assuaged in the New Year.

#302: DIY Mittens and Hats

One of the best Take it or Leave it finds
is a shrunken sweater.
They make excellent hats and mittens.
The hat, made by his sister, is from the body of the sweater.
It has two pockets and folds over for extra warmth.
Or unfolds for a Rasta look,
 which fits under your bike helmet.
I don’t know what he keeps in the pockets.
The gloves are sleeves, reversed, folded over,
 given a few stitches to make a thumb slot.

They can be rolled down for warmth or slid up
for free hands.
Or knelt on when the ground is cold.
Or when you can’t help but sink to your knees 
in thankfulness and praise to God 
for His bounty:
from the dump as well as from the earth.

#296: Nature Nativity

Some families at Summer Street Church
make Nativity scenes to help the kids focus
 on Jesus at Christmas.

Joseph’s beard and robes courtesy of our chickens.
Baby Jesus’ halo is a jingle shell.
 A curious acorn headed donkey with bayberry
eyes and ears looks on.

Shepherd’s heads are cutaway hazelnuts.
Sheep’s fur courtesy of a milkweed pod.
Pinecone wisemen.
 Hot glue holds their acorn heads on.
Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy!
In a horse-chestnut shell hat worthy of Eliza Doolittle.
Eucalyptus wings freshen the air.
‘And is it true? And is it true,
this most tremendous tale of all,
seen in a stained glass window’s hue,
a Baby in an ox’s stall?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me?’
Sir John Betjeman

#293: Celestial Celebrations

When you’re on a flat island 
the skyscape  is inescapable.
Every sky celebrates God’s gifts:
Low dark clouds celebrate rain to come.

High clouds celebrate space and light.
The sun breaking through celebrates redemption.

 And the night sky?
She celebrates the Light shining in darkness.

#291: She Sells Seashells

Nantucket is chock-full of creative people.
My friend Celeste and her husband Ray
are scallop shell crafters.
The shells come from the pile at Jetties beach
where the shanties (ours included) dump them.
Celeste selects her favorites then:
Scrubs them.
Lots of them…
Ray smoothes down the sharp edges,
 especially those delicate ‘wings’
with his Dremel tool.
A bit of shellac and some fixings turn them into:
Shower curtain rings

Cabinet knobs
(this is where it all started) 

Napkin rings
Tree toppers
(available at Marine Home Center)
A booth at the Christmas Stroll Craft Show

#288: Sermon Haiku #21: Isaiah 9:2-7

Stumbling in darkness
Suddenly, sunbursts of light
The people can see
The yoke is shattered
‘For the LORD and for Gideon’
Just like the old days
For to us a child is born
The coming King, a baby
What will He be called?
He was named Jesus
Light shining forth from shadow
Showing God’s glory
Darkness cannot stand.

#287: Dawn’s Early Light

A clear advantage of having to drop
various folk off at the early boat in December
is the sunrise:
Glowing off  the Town Clock

Pinking the clouds around the water tower

Behind the Old Mill on the way back home.
The firmament proclaims His handiwork.

#285: Surfside Beach, Nantucket

To love Surfside beach in the summer
is to love family times, tumbling in the surf,
riding the waves, soaking up the sun:
OK, maybe not always the sun.
Even the foggiest days were beach days!
To love Surfside in the off-season
is to love solitude, 
an empty beach,
and the early morning sun.