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Spring Holiday Weekend

Chag Pesach sameach! Happy Passover to Jewish family and friends!

And, to all who celebrate, Happy Easter!  





Here in Sarasota, it's mild and sunny about 75F. A good day for heading to temple or church, entertaining family or visiting a park. So, I know you're probably not on your laptop or smartphone today, but I'll use my quiet afternoon to update you for the week ahead.

I've used the past couple of weeks in writing short prose, and taking photos and creating haiku/art (haiga).  The result has been several submissions to lit mags, for which I hope to hear back soon. 

Acceptances always are wonderful, but I've learned to accept there will be rejections. That's life. Many rejections are opportunities for revision and learning--honing my craft. So, I persist and grow.


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I'll make only a brief comment about the turmoil in the U.S. with the release of a redacted "Mueller Report," and the realization, for many, that we face more difficult days with a dishonest and potentially criminal president. We take our updates in small bites enough to stay informed to make decisions, and we keep connected with Congress. We suspect there will be many changes and hope and pray they will be for the better this time.

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On the upside, my essay, Tenacity, has been published by The Remembered Arts Journal Elise Matich, in company with her fine team, has been gracious to continue to publish my work over the past few years, for which I am grateful and honored.  Following are the titles of my pieces with links to the publication. I hope you enjoy!
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April 15, 2019 Issue theme "Weeds"

Tenacity

Even amid tedium as a landscape gardener, I routinely found myself absorbed in calm, quiet reverie as I removed out of place plants—outcasts, unworthy, ungracious, ugly, useless. My clients trusted me to distinguish them from the purposefully planted, and paid me to redeem landscapes lost to those rogues and intruders. Without my expertise, plants not yet in bloom might be mistaken for the derelict. I could correctly identify vagrants—whether or not in flower. 

Always, my preferred method was hand weeding, work best taken up after rain when roots can be extracted in the least damaging way from a happily crowded perennial bed. The task can then be accomplished in a time-efficient way, which pleased my customers. I found a measure of satisfaction in pulling weeds from moist, well-drained, friable earth – although most weeds, like their planted companions, do grow lush in fertile ground.

Based on the weed crop’s growth habit, I’d choose my method; whether to stand and scratch the surface with a scuffle hoe, or to kneel, and with dexterity, tease and coax. To pull at green tops of deep-rooted perennial weeds, like dock and dandelion, is futile–they soon sprout from the root. And, I avoided herbicide, judging its harm to outweigh its good. Indeed, why do we insist on green suburban carpets of lawn, since such states of purity require chemicals that hinder insect and plant diversity?

I staked my reputation on the skill to provide beautiful, lush, weed-free gardens. Christopher Lloyd, in his classic, The Well-Tempered Garden, writes: “Many gardeners will agree that hand-weeding is not the terrible drudgery that it is often made out to be. Some people find in it a kind of soothing monotony.” Dreadful in blazing summer, weeding could be pleasant in spring’s cool, damp soil, among the flowers. Yes, I did find weeding and grooming plants to be a therapeutic occupation in those conditions.

When someone, having ignored the rapid growth of weeds around him, suddenly became aware and clamored for herbs, or roses, or cut flowers for his table, I responded to the call of his garden. Often summoned in summer, when weeds were most abundant, I cut the culprits back to the soil line, tilled, raked, and created an instant garden with hardy perennials. Indefatigable chickweed and purslane seed capsules might have popped and dispersed in the process, thistle roots might re-appear from my customer’s previously overgrown thicket, so I recommended post-planting maintenance as a remedy. 

In the solitude of those gardens, I would have mused how the tenacity, strength, and persistence of dubious plants enables them to survive among their more desirable bed-fellows; how they interweave and mingle within nature’s fabric.

My own resilience and tenacious spirit urged me through the hard work of those gardening years. When I survived a brain hemorrhage at fifty-seven, those same qualities served me through years of physical therapy. Persistence pays off.

First Rights to The Remembered Arts Journal
by Mary Ellen Gambutti

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The Gardening Years


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I'm thrilled to be included a second time in the beautiful magazine, Human/Kind Journalreplete with art and fine writing. 

Contributor, Mary Ellen Gambutti
Issue 1.4

Haibun
Mirrors of Loss

I can talk about how my mother surrendered me. Although a newborn, I knew. It mattered. That she held me for nine months, and might not have remembered, in her arms for a brief hello, I know. I remember.

At six, I learned my parents were not the ones. A deep flood of fear and questions arose.  Would there, could there be another separation, any other separation? I feared what new separation could—no--would bring.

Worry haunted me into my 20s and 30s. Inevitable, cruel separation, fear of final separation. There would be, and it would be my doing, my fault. The panic of ultimate loss—loss of self.

Wasn’t the mother cruel? Did her cruel destiny destine me to repeat her cruelty? Like my genetic father, whom I never knew, my Dad was a military man, and was away from me and Mom for a week, two weeks, months. More than once away for a year, so much time in awayness, in separation. I formed identity through loss without a living person to look in the eye or in the mirror to recognize, until this daughter bore a daughter. Until long search found my elderly birth-mother and birth-right of living kin.

Kin. The wow of reunite, recovery, realization. My fear abated in the knowing, maybe her own fears did, too. Lessened, never lost.
  
a sheer scrim ripples
over a girl’s image
waking to now  

First Rights to Human/Kind Journal 4.1 April, 2019
by Mary Ellen Gambutti


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Thank you very much for stopping by again! My books are available on Amazon, and by request directly from me (send me a Facebook message with your mailing address - U.S. only, please)




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I'LL CATCH UP SOON... I'm spending the Summer in Pennsylvania with Mom--97 in Aug. 🌺