Thursday, May 28, 2015

humble crown

When you walk into
shady spring woods,
long enough to look
under the twin umbrellas
of Mayapple leaves.

There you will discover:
hidden, nodding,
at the joining of stems,
a soft and subtle
wild flower
with magnificent petals;

a white crown
of humility.
© 2015 Richard Havenga

You may also enjoy: 

Inside the Mayapple Colony - April 28, 2012

Mayapple Memories - May 5, 2014 

Photo Location:

Home Woods - Cannonsburg, Michigan

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


riding the raft of sleep
into the pearly light of dawn,
being introduced and welcomed
to this fresh new day...

hope rising with the sun

eyelids opening to 
the opening of this day
to the opening door

the tender opening leaves
of American Beech
the soft opening petals
of Round-leaved Hepatica

dew pearls strung 
along a geometry of silk
at the opening of morning
evaporating with time

the mind opening
to imagine
the heart
opening to display
gratitude for this day.
© 2015 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations:

1. & 4. Snake River - Grand Teton National ParkWyoming 

2. Home Woods - Cannonsburg, Michigan 

3. Townsend Park  - Kent County, Michigan

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day ~ 2015

"The dead soldier's silence sings our national anthem."   ~ Aaron Kilbourn

Photo Locations:

1. Santa Fe National Cemetery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

2. Amway World Headquarters - Ada, Michigan

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Language of Flowers

soft and subtle

bright and bold

 pink and personal

divided and divergent

fresh and fragile

inviting and intricate

© 2015 Richard Havenga

Photo Identification:

1. Mayapple - Home Woods - Cannonsburg, Michigan

2. Califronia Popppy / Mexican Poppy - Tucson,  Arizona 

3. Swamp Rose - Grattan Township, Kent County, Michigan

4. Brown-eyed Susan / Blanket Flower - Hungry Horse, Montana

5. Wild Geranium - Home Woods, Cannonsburg, Michigan

6. Chicory - Grattan Township, Kent County, Michigan 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Found Poetry

Often, when I'm reading prose, (usually creative non-fiction, and nature-related essays) I discover during the re-reading, that some sentences and passages sound very much like poems. I know this is nothing remarkable to writers and readers, but it happens with such frequency in my reading, that I've decided to begin a new category at my blog and call it:

"Found Poetry"

My first example comes from one of the best non-fiction writers of the past few decades; an author in the top five of my all-time list of favorites. Her name is Diane Ackerman.

The following passage is from Dawn Light (Dancing with Cranes and Other Ways to Start the Day) by Diane Ackerman. 

"Then the canvas of our awareness fills with a vastness so ancient, astonishing, and visceral that we can neither understand nor turn away from it because it speaks a dialect of bone, whispers through our cells with revelry and relief about the joy of finding oneself alive, again, on one more morning, as night sails off, replaced by a floating world of color and birdsong." - p. 51

Dawn Light - © 2009 Diane Ackerman

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Bells of St. Patrick's

Catholic girls from
St. Patrick School
pick lilacs from 
farmhouse yards,

then place them near the altar
with reverence and humility;
(and secret pride)
more meaningful than any
store-bought, flower-shop bouquet.

From this fragrant offering,
one small flower 
shaped like a tiny bell,
falls softly, silently,
next to the candles
that are reflected 
in the gold chalice.

These lilacs, fresh as 
a May morning,
are expressive of the love
these girls possess,
the love they profess 
in prayer
as they attend 
morning mass,

listening to
the bells of St. Patrick's,
to receive the grace
they hoped for 
when they offered 
these living treasures
flowering in lavender.

Soon the same hands
that gave the gift
that flourished in the sun
will receive the bread of life,
the body of Christ, God's son
who flourished briefly on earth,
who continues to guide
these willing participants,
continues to bless their lives.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Twenty years later one of these girls
will receive a bouquet of 
lavender love from lilac bushes
planted by her husband,
now picked by her husband
from their farmhouse yard.

From inside the screen door,
on the back porch,
the young mother watches
her toddling daughter being 
guided through the grass,
holding in her little palm
the father's finger,
the living flesh.

Now he lifts his daughter 
into his arms, up high,
to smell the fragrance.
Her new church dress
the color of lilacs.

She cannot express
the joy she feels
in her little girl heart,
until she hears the bells
of St. Patrick's 
across the fields.

The child's laughter,
ringing across the fields, 
and inside her father's heart,
becomes a pure gift
for her father,
for her Father.

The mother,
watching silently
from the back porch,
holds this moment
deep in her heart.

Now, closing her eyes,
she inhales this fragrant offering
from her own table,
listens to the bells of St. Patrick's,
senses His presence,
still feels the reverence,
and the faith of her family.

As they prepare for church,
she imagines the altar
so many years ago
gifted with lilacs,
and is grateful
for the grace 
she was given.
© 2015 Richard Havenga

You may also enjoy: The Steps of St. Patrick's 

Photo Locations:

1, 3, 5, 7, 11, 12 : St. Patrick Church - Parnell, Michigan

2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 14 : Home/Garden - Cannonsburg, Michigan

9. Parnell, Michigan 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

fade away

Stepping out
in early May,
spun like fine
silver silk,
is woven into
the morning light. 

Listen to them

Listen to
their voices...

warblers to grace your day,
warblers that will not stay,

like the silver light of morning
soon to fade away.

© 2015 Richard Havenga

Bird Identification:

1. Prothonotary Warbler - Kalamazoo River - Allegan State Game Area, Michigan

2. Bay-breasted Warbler - Home Woods - Cannonsburg, Michigan

3. Blue-winged Warbler - Goodwillie Environmental School - Ada, Michigan

4. Yellow Warbler - Home Woods - Cannonsburg, Michigan

5. Black-throated Green Warbler - Home Woods - Cannonsburg, Michigan

6. Chestnut-sided Warbler - Home Woods - Cannonsburg, Michigan

Play these bird calls from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Prothonotary Warbler 

Bay-breasted Warbler

Blue-winged Warbler 

Yellow Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Thursday, May 7, 2015

giving birth

For months, 
the secret was held;
held firmly within 
its winter bud,
now unlocked by 
the keys of spring,
on this day in early May.

So much potential packed 

into the tip of a twig.

Giving birth to samaras;

winged seeds 
capable of flight,

giving birth to 

an infancy of leaves,
golden in the morning light,
eager to grow green 
and expand.

Life bursting from buds;

the secret is out:
the Creator
giving birth
to new creation.
© 2015 Richard Havenga

Photo Location:

Chief Hazy Cloud Park - Grand River - Ada, Michigan

Silver Maple - Acer saccharinum 

Monday, May 4, 2015


So fun to run
along the tongue
of pronunciation.

Misty green leaves
unfolding in the understory
of still-bare woods.
Your early invitation to spring.

The small, sweet
taste of nectar
when squeezed
between the teeth.

These bright white
asterisks ask for
your attention and

Its tubular,
flaring flowers
will perfume the 
afternoons of June.
© 2015 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations:

Home Woods - Cannonsburg, Michigan