Archive for September, 2014

Take a Share



I read a lot of poems.  I like some, I don’t get some, a few are amazing.  I ran across one recently in The New Yorker by Clive James that was in the latter category.  It is called Japanese Maple and the voice is an old man who contrasts his imminent death with the longevity of the tree outside his window.  He says, “Whenever the rain comes it will be there,/Beyond my time, but now I take my share.”

I read this morning about a Hindu monk who spoke in Madison.*  He advised listeners to greet each day with gratitude and to take at least 30 seconds to pay attention to the body and mind we have been given.  It would be like taking a share of yourself while you can.

In the marsh, we have egrets.  I have only ever seen them in Florida.  But several have stopped here this September.  I missed the pelicans – thirty of them, I heard – but Sandhill Cranes come and go each morning and evening as do geese.  I saw a heron land tonight at dusk.

A trail of ducks crossed the street from pond to a yard.  I tiptoed through them so they could continue their walk but behind me a young man on a skateboard clapped and disbursed them into the air.

While we all wait for the inevitable cold, the Honey Locusts are scattering their leaves like golden confetti.  Take a share of bullion while you can.

*The speaker’s name is Baba Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari, and his most recent book is called, Making Your Mind Your Best Friend.


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Thornton W. Burgess

Entrance to the Wild Flower Garden at Green Briar Nature Center

Entrance to the Wild Flower Garden at Green Briar Nature Center

On a recent visit to Sandwich, MA I discovered that Thornton W. Burgess had been a resident and his home was open for visiting.  The name sounded familiar but it was not until I saw a drawing of a small rabbit that it clicked:  The Adventures of Peter Cottontail.

Burgess wrote children’s books back in the 19-teens.  With titles like Old Mother West Wind, The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad, Jerry Muskrat at Home and The Adventures of Prickly Porky, what is not to like?  Well, I’m sure the books are very tame to children raised on Where the Wild Things Are, but the stories are no doubt as charming as the illustrations, most executed by Harrison Cady.

The Burgess House in Sandwich, MA is no more, sadly.  The house still stands, but barely.  It is too expensive for the Burgess Society to keep up and the cost to renovate for a private home would be prohibitive.  Still, the Burgess Society soldiers on at Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen in East Sandwich, MA.

Burgess’ work as a naturalist and conservationist continues at the Nature Center.  I love that he encouraged children to join the War Bond effort with the formation of the Happy Jack Thrift Club in 1917.  The Burgess Society preserves Thornton Burgess’ legacy of books and articles plus maintains a focus on preserving and conserving natural resources.

However, the Jam Kitchen is where the real work of preservation is done.  In operation since 1903, the Jam Kitchen also prepares sun-cooked fruits in the oldest commercial solar-cooking operation in the U.S.  The names are enough to make your mouth water:  Apple Pie Jam, Beach Plum Jelly and Peter Rabbit’s Carrot Marmalade (with carrots, lemons and almonds).  The sun-cooked fruits are prepared with rum, vodka or Brandy.  ‘Mmmmmm!

The Jam Kitchens products are for sale in the Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen gift shop or on-line at

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