I’m Not Ready

It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready. ~Sarah Kay (American poet)

earlyduskWPI’m not ready. I’m not ready for Christmas, I’m not ready for winter, I’m not ready to wake each morning into the dark and cold world of late December. This morning, I awoke to snow and bitter temperatures under a dark gray sky and murmured to Angel “I’m not ready.” She sighed a doggy sigh and snuggled closer, ready to dream some more and pulling me in her wake.

MusicTreeDetailIt is no wonder that Christmas and many other traditions celebrate this time of the year with lights. In the northern hemisphere, the light of dawn comes late and the fading light of dusk comes early. With so few daylight hours and so many of them gray and dark, the bold and hopeful lighting of many lights is necessary to the human spirit and a reminder that the days will soon grow longer.


This year, our unusually mild weather icybranchesWPhas allowed me to work in the garden deep into what is usually a cold snowy month. I’ve accomplished garden chores that often get delayed until spring – the leaves gathered and shredded, the trees and shrubs pruned, the summer soil from the pots emptied into the woodland’s edge for building new beds. I’ve already planned next year’s garden – the seeds to start, the plants to order, the perennials to propagate. In fact, it is focusing on next year’s garden that has softened the sting of the coming of winter.

frostyspruceWPThe effects of El Niño are predicted to extend our weather into a long mild winter here in the mid-Atlantic states. It may be global warming, it may be a temporary weather pattern, but whatever it is, I admit that I will welcome a mild winter after the severe weather conditions that have prevailed for the past few years.

I’m cutting branches of pine and holly to decorate the house, I’ve strung many lights on the tree, and I’m planning the Christmas feast for our family, but in my heart, it is all about garden dreams – the return of nature’s light and warmth and new growth. Winter is about endurance of the cold and dark, spring is about the renewal of life. Today, I dream of sugarplums and spring flowers. Here’s to the return of light to the world and to your life- may you be ready for whatever comes.


December’s wintery breath is already clouding the pond, frosting the pane, obscuring summer’s memory… ~John Geddes


Primavera, the Italian word for springtime, is also the name of Botticelli’s famous painting. I was privileged to see the original in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, and stood before it for hours, entranced by its beauty. There are over 500 identified plant species depicted in the painting, including 190 different flowers.Botticelli Primavera

Flora Primavera

Detail of Flora

As I write this, the earth shifts into the vernal equinox, the time when there is an equal number of hours of light and dark all over the earth, and the official start of spring for the northern hemisphere. I’ve been dreaming of light in dark places lately, even of singing of light in those places. Without light, we cannot see color and it is color that is promised by the arrival of spring.  As in Botticelli’s depiction of Flora scattering flowers on the earth, the vernal equinox signals a shift in the turning of the earth to more light and new growth.  Happy springtime!

Images of Primavera courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Four Elements: Light

What is to give light must endure burning. ~ Victor Frankl

Light in CloudsAt last, I have finally completed the music and video of “Light,” the second piece of The Four Elements. As I did with “Breath” I am offering a free mp3 download of “Light” for the first week of release, which you can find on my Facebook Music Page or at CD Baby.  (After midnight EST, Sunday, August 26, it will revert back to a $.99 download.)

Since I’ve previously written about the creation of this piece in Fire and Light: When the Idea is Too Big and At the Speed of Light, today I simply present the video, the lyrics, and a few acknowledgements. Enjoy!

A special thanks goes as always to my creative partner and husband, Bill Purse, who not only engineered and produced the audio recording, but also played bass and sang. Another thanks to two of my former students, Mike Elliott and Rob Balotsky, who played electronic percussion for the piece, no mean feat considering the odd time signatures and shifting rhythms. A final thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope Program and NASA video sources for such inspiring images of our world and our universe.

Lyrics to “Light”   ©2011 Lynn Emberg Purse

Light, Light
Solar plexus, solar flare
Fire burning through the air becomes
Light through the leaves, Light through the clouds

The edge of dawn, the hem of night
chasing shadows in the race to light.
Light, Light.

Gathered on the waters, reflected by the moon.
Even once removed, its power streams into the night, light.
Light, Light.

Lux aeterna, Lux aeterna, Lux, Lux

Facing the Light

Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher. William Wordsworth

As daylily season winds down, I spend each morning removing spent blooms and reflecting on how new blossoms turn towards the light.  When I first began gardening, I was dismayed to find that the daffodils and daylilies I had planted along the paths turned to face the sun but often faced away from garden visitors.  It was like being in a hall before the concert starts and looking at the back of everyone’s head and an empty stage.  It took a while to get the hang of planting flowers with faces in the right spot, often with a sturdy shrub at their backs, so that they turned towards the light and the garden visitor.

I cannot help but see the metaphor of this, of trying to find one’s place in life, preferably with a friend at one’s back, so that it is easier to face the light. As always, the garden teaches me a gentle lesson. Here are a few photos of daylilies and other flowers with faces as the garden nears the end of the July flower extravaganza. Enjoy!

To see more photos of light in nature, visit Carol’s Light Words and Robin’s Life in the Bogs; Kerry has a wonderful series of light filled photos of the Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks of Utah in his Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog.  I will be taking a two week vacation from the blogging world; I look forward to catching up in August, the first anniversary of this blog.

All photos ©2012 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved

Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.  Walt Whitman

On Being Versatile

Charlotte the spider told Wilbur “I’m versatile.” Wilbur asked “Does “versatile” mean “full of eggs”?” Charlotte replied “No, it means I can change with ease from one thing to another.” Adapted from Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Once again, I have been honored with another blogging award, The Versatile Blogger, from poet AZ/catcherofstars of Verse Not Prose and photographer Kerry of Lightscapes Nature Photography. I accept it with humility and grace, knowing that it is coming from two WONDERFUL bloggers and I apologize for the delayed response. Kerry particularly had insightful thoughts on the practice of giving and receiving blogging awards, and I refer you back to his post with “Ditto, what he said!” With the award comes some obligations: post the image of the award; acknowledge the one(s) who nominated you; share 7 facts about yourself; and nominate others in turn and inform them of their nomination. The numbers vary on this last one, so I take the path of moderation in all things.

However, I will preface this post by the admission that I am of two minds about the award, but not from the obligations incurred. No, for me it is all about the perception of being versatile in the world of creative arts.

Tools are often sold on the basis of their versatility, whether it is a Continue reading