we lost our last chicken a little over a year ago. chickens are not high maintenance but they are not low maintenance either. so given that my husband had a lot of writing to do this year, and given that he would spend much of his day mildly stressed out about squawking chickens and predators and neighbors’ dug-up flower pots, we decided not to replace our beloved flock of golden buffs in 2017. now this year, it turns out, he may be editing a book and trying to get it into publishable condition under the watchful eye of a minneapolis editor, so 2018 is probably not a good year to be chicken farmers either. but for the last week, he has been watching out his office window, where a lone cottontail rabbit has emerged from under our deck , once each morning, to sit still in the sun for awhile, and munch a painful breakfast of spruce branches. there is nothing else green or tender or sweet or satisfying anywhere in sight. and so my non-chicken-farming husband has been strewing handfuls of arugula, tossing chunks of carrot, and scattering handfuls of sunflower seeds and granola, so that his beloved bunny does not experience too much late winter deprivation. it might be easier just to buy some more chickens.
frosted oak leaves from my driveway this morning
misnomer or not?
when i look at this phot0–that i made today–i see angry energy, maybe the end of a relationship , or stolen dreams, or broken promises. it’s ironic this photo came out of me, because i feel neither angry nor energetic. it’s mid-march, there is still snow on the ground, the skies have been gray for days. i feel…well…generally blasé. not angry. although come to think of it, i am pretty sick of this particular winter with it’s roller-coaster temps and icy sidewalks. i never have liked daylight savings time either, and the older i get the more it irks me. and there are still four full weeks of tax season and it already feels like it has been going on forever. oh, and did i mention menopause? or hot flashes? or sleepless nights? okay, so maybe these calla lilies were trying to say something.
dried and crushed calla lilies
oh, by the way…happy vernal equinox to each and every one of you!
hello longtime friends and new arrivals! about six months ago, an intrepid and talented video storyteller named maribeth romslo approached me at my creative mornings talk and told me about a project she was working on, making short video profiles of creative women in the upper midwest. the project was sponsored by reese witherspoon’s “hello sunshine” media company, and i thought to myself, well this is really flattering and of course i’m willing to play along, but they will certainly find more famous and influential creative women to profile than mary jo hoffman and her daily nature blog. for a number of delightful reasons, i was dead wrong. and today my profile appears on the hello sunshine website, maribeth romslo is now a friend and collaborator, and reese witherspoon just introduced me on her facebook page. please go check it out, and i guess let’s all stop underestimating ourselves, shall we? much love and deep thanks to all of you. xoxoxo mary jo.
not spring yet
once, in our twenties, my husband and i spent three months of winter in french polynesia, from mid-december through mid-march. we planned to come back in march because, hey, march is sort of like spring, right? we arrived at msp airport tanned and thin and beautiful, and then we stepped outside to get a cab and looked around ourselves in disbelief. i actually think we might have been wearing tank tops. there were snowdrifts everywhere, it was below freezing, and the air was so dry it was as if we could see our skin retracting, cracking and splitting, like desert floor over the course of a prolonged drought. march, we concluded, as we drove home under gray skies, past highway embankments piled with gray snow, is not spring. march, in minnesota, is still winter.
morning frost on prairie grass
this is an inside joke. my husband is headed downstairs this morning for his second sunday in a row of tax work, after two straight weeks of seven appointments a day. in such a state, a whimsical exhortation to “play,” like most pop culture affirmations, will drive him slightly mad, in a kind of adorable way. don’t worry, i’ll have a fire in the fireplace and a glass of rose waiting for him at the end of his 14th straight day of fully-booked schedule. he’ll be a lamb by bedtime.