May your 10 toes curl as our earth does a twirl

Know how you can get a song stuck in  your head?

Well, now that I've discovered David McMahon's delightful authorblog and his verse-and-worse feature, I can't seem to stop myself  from thinking in rhymes! Helpful, though, for not taking oneself too seriously. Thank you so much to all who stopped by with a bit of wit. 

And in honor of our lovely planet today, I turn to the charming Minnesota poet John Caddy, who calls himself  "an aging poet whose spirit is more lively all the time."

April 20, 2009 Morning-Earth

Beaver rummaged under the pond bank
and came up with a root treat.
Now, as beaver rolls against his teeth
the tasty root, it satisfies so entirely
his eyes closes and his flat tail curls.

Makes me wish we had tails to curl
We must make do with  our ten toes.

(A frog, why'd it have to be a frog?)

And now for a little story about John Caddy . . .

Not long ago, quite by coincidence, I signed up for a daily photo and poem known as morning-earth. The idea sounded great to me. (How many people take the time to
write and publish a poem and offer a fascinating photo every day? Besides David, of course.)

I'm so glad I did. This is not an e-mail I plunk into virtual trash when I'm overly busy. In fact, when I'm overly busy, it's one of two e-mails I find I must open. Every morning, I'm treated to bit of the wild and some lovely words to accompany one of John's photographs, which he often takes on walks near his home a bit north of the Twin Cities.

It's been great way to start the day. So when I began to blog, I asked for his permission to use one of his pictures from time to time, and thus began some of the funiest, mosty pithy e-mail correspondence I've ever had.

Doing his due diligence before granting me permission, John checked out easy for me to say and discovered from one of my grumpier posts that I was recovering from a bad concussion. He wrote back and shared that he knew a bit about brain trauma because he'd had a stroke. He reminded me that our brains are largely made of water and that we must be kind to our "organized puddles."

Point well taken.

Not long after that, I attended a reading by my friend, wilderness guide and poet Chris Heeter, who'd just had a book of poetry published. The event also featured Jim Johnson, poet laureate of Duluth, who was reading when I arrived (late as usual) midway through the event.

I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible, which is not so easy when you've got to shed 3 layers of outerwear in a room packed with people listening to a poet.

The gracious Louise Erdrich, author of Love Medicine and The Beet Queen, who owns
Birchbark Books, where the reading was held, kindly helped me find the one unoccupied chair at a crammed table near the door, and I squished myself in to hear some very fine poetry, unfortunately never paying attention to anyone sitting around me. (I really must work on this paying-attention thing.)

The next day, I e-mailed John to ask him if his ears had been burning the day before. Jim Johnson had mentioned him. John wrote back immediately and said he had actually been there. And as it turns out, he was sitting at the very same table that I was. 

Such a small world, this planet. 

It's still Earth Day somewhere (in California, I think) so I'd like to do my part to honor our planet, and I can't think of a better way to do so than to blantantly plug Morning Earth, in John's own words, of course: 

"Morning Earth's focus is to help people of all ages to discover and adopt an eco-centric world view. Such a view sees humanity not as above nature or in conflict with it, but as a literal part of the Earth, with a body made of Earth . . . 

Art and artmaking have the power to heal--as we experience the arts, we learn that none of us is alone. When we take our pain out of ourselves and transform it into a poem, a song, a dance, it becomes outside of us, which enables us to deal with it in a way we couldn't when it was locked  inside.

Turning the leaf, when we celebrate our joy and transform it into a poem, a sketch, a twirl around the room, our celebration becomes shareable, our joy passed to others. It expands. It makes our single selves become part of a larger whole.

Poetry is a path to the heart. Engage the heart, and the mind will follow.

Amen to that. 

I hope you'll pay a visit to Morning Earth, especially if you're a teacher, a poet, an artist/naturalist, an artist of any ilk, or just a very nice person or a philanthropist.

Here's to all who help us connect art, healing, and the home we call Earth! May your toes curl often.

Image and poem printed with permission from
Image of John Caddy by Pioneer Press

(Thank you, John.
Yours truly,
Smiling Woman, aka Curly)


Pyzahn said…
Wow, you hang out with Louise Erdrich!

There is a lot of good stuff in this post, but I need to revisit at a reasonable hour (it's current 4 a.m.). My brain is on high rev but not fully functioning.
Rudee said…
This is a great story Kathleen. As soon as I get my puddles organized today, I'll drop by John's site.
Renie Burghardt said…
Poetry is a path to the heart. Engage the heart, and the mind will follow. !

What a lovely quote, and a wonderful post, Kathleen. I will check out Morning Earth.

I have been reading your blog, but have such a difficult time posting a comment, that I just usually give up on it. Looks like blogger is cooperating this time. Just wanted you to know I have been here.

Have a wonderful day!

"Green" Hugs and blessings,

Erin Davis said…
I checked out authorblog--delightful! And I love the Caddy poem. When we find something that "satisfies so entirely" we are blessed indeed!
Kathleen said…
Pyzahn--Don't I wish! No, LE owns the store where the reading was held. Are you a night owl? I used to stay up till 4ish beading. Don't have the stamina for that these days.

Rudee--so glad you'll visit John. He's one of a kind and has publshed several books of fine poetry .

Renie--I know what you mean about posting comments. My computer has a mind of its own. Glad you'll pay John a visit. And I love your blog...makes me feel so at home. Thank you so much for visiting.

Erin--What fun, that authorblog, eh? Gald you liked the Caddy poem. Morning-earth daily email is such a pick-me-up.

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