Polo and Clover and I are so happy we can work outdoors again. Which means me and my laptop and my tea on the back patio at the octagonal picnic table and them lying close by.

The early part of spring is not pleasant where I live because of all the oak pollen, but we had lightning and thunder and rain last night, and the air is no longer yellow-tinged. Today the birds are rowdy. Their chattering goes well with Sondre Lerche, whose music I’m listening to over my phone.

I have done almost no writing over the last couple of weeks—only editing. I feel stiff, sort of like I did when I went to yoga this morning. Afterward, sufficiently warmed in soul and body, I opened my sun roof and actually enjoyed my jaunt to Walmart.

My daughter had a preschool teacher who called April “lion and lamb month,” referring to the weather. How we have thunderstorms, like last night, followed by gorgeousness, like today. I’ve found that lion and lamb metaphor to be quite apt for this month, this year. Storms, sun, oak pollen, rambunctious birds.

I’ve kept myself centered during the other thing that distinguishes April—National Poetry Month—by going through a poetry collection poem by poem and trading notes with my friend Laura Lynn Brown. Even with all the lion and lamb stuff, I’ve stuck with it. Indulging my writer’s crush on Kevin Young has been a nice way to end each day.

Usually I wake early and bright, but not so much this month (early, yes; bright, no). My solution? More poetry. I had an idea while reading “I Happened to be Standing” by Mary Oliver yesterday at The Writer’s Almanac.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing

just outside my door, with my notebook open,

which is the way I begin every morning.

If there was ever a morning I needed Mary Oliver at 6:44 a.m., it was yesterday morning. And in the middle of this  meditation on prayer and animals and sunflowers, Oliver writes these exquisite three lines, which aren’t even an actual sentence, but there’s a capital and a period, so she made it so.

Oh, Mary. I actually like the way I do begin every morning, walking Clover and Polo. But what you describe is something I could do immediately afterward. I could feed the dogs, get my coffee and then sit “just outside my door, with my notebook open” and listen. Maybe I need to stand, the way you do with your  “pen in the air,” to listen better.

But no pens for me. I listen much better with a pencil.

Poetry Dare: Tweetspeak Poetry


  1. So you’re a pencil girl, eh?

    We should all step into our day with open notebooks, open eyes, open hearts. On the back patio. In the warm weather. With a cup of tea.

    Yes, that sounds ideal.

  2. Love that last sentence……and the whole post.

    Too agitated to sleep,
    I got up too early,
    spent some time reading blogs of friends,
    first time in too long,
    and now I find
    the agitation has passed.
    Thank you.

  3. I thought that wanted spring.
    The cold and dark left me plenty of time to dream
    to add more warmth and more sunny days.
    By February, this spring dream was like summer weather.
    I was ready to gather blueberries in March.
    Spring seems very late.

  4. Any morning spent with sunshine, dogs, rambunctious birds, and Mary Oliver is a good morning.