Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Rest and Relaxation

Today | Mary Oliver

Here’s a seemingly simple poem from Mary Oliver. Words are easy; actions are difficult. Which is why I’m sharing it with you today. Not because I think you need to hear this poem, but because I need to hear and live in it more than once in a blue moon. My comments follow.

Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

From A Thousand Mornings, Poems by Mary Oliver,  p. 23
Published by Penguin Books 2013
© 2012 by NW Orchard LLC

Dear Mary,

I wonder. Do I have voodoos of ambition these days?  More likely, I’m stalked by voodoos of things I must do whether they seem ‘ambitious’ or not. Think of long lists of things to do. Today, not tomorrow!

So what are you inviting me to give up just for today?

To be honest, I wouldn’t mind being a bee in the garden—provided there’s plenty of sweet stuff to go around. Then there are those fish jumping up out of the water, daring me to come and play with them. Though I’m not sure who wants to compete for gnats anyway.

Okay. I think I get it. It seems you want me to stop ticking off my long list of things I must do so that I can be a productive member of the human race. Though I’m not at all sure what the human race is about.

So yes, I’m going nowhere today. You won’t even know I’m here. Besides, given your lovely poem, I’m not at all sure I’ll ever understand the ‘terrific distance’ this stillness will give me.

I just know that today it’s time to rest, relax, and enjoy letting my ‘voodoos of ambition sleep.’


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 May 2023
Photo taken by DAFraser in June 2019, Longwood Gardens Meadow

Longwood’s Garden Benches | Photos

The WordPress Prompt for today is Brassy, not one of my favorite words, given its history of being used in negative or derogatory ways. Nonetheless, in the photo above you see a ‘brassy’ cat! Note that she’s gorgeous, beautiful and calm. Also content and independent-minded. With a coat the color of a gleaming brass tuba or trombone. Enough said.

It’s Friday, time for more photos of Longwood’s garden benches. D took most of them over the last few years. In the top photo above, we’re sitting with one of three Garden cats, looking back at the promenade that leads to the Conservatory and Café.

Sturdy, tasteful garden benches line the promenade,
with plenty of room for wheelchairs.

Here’s another angle on the promenade and its benches,
taken in warmer weather from beneath a huge copper beech.

The Meadow Garden is a favorite during late Spring, Summer and Fall.  A handful of benches and a few covered pavilions line the edges of the meadow. Here’s an example of a rustic bench, followed by what you might see if you’re sitting on this bench, looking back across the meadow. Notice the cool, shady garden benches at the edge of a wooded area.

Here’s another set of two.
In the first we have a well-behaved gentleman named D
sitting on one of those shaded benches,
along with a photo of the view from this bench in later Spring.

There’s nothing like the café after an hour or two of walking or hiking through the meadow. Below you’ll see outside seating followed by indoor seating in one of three café dining rooms with views of the gardens. You can also be seated in the upper-priced restaurant. We almost always choose the cheaper café with its healthy and unhealthy options. Something for everyone!

The Gardens have public restrooms in three strategic areas–the Visitor’s Center, the Café and Restaurant area, and the Conservatory. Even though you may not be in dire distress, I highly recommend a visit to the Conservatory restrooms. These are by far the most spectacular public restrooms I have ever visited. Imagine restrooms so beautiful you can’t resist taking a photo. And the garden benches? They’re behind the doors, at least one behind each door, plus lots of room, a beautiful sink and mirror. You’ll think you’re royalty!

Following are other indoor options for sitting and enjoying the fragrance, sound of water, an occasional musical concert from the side hall, or happy shrieks from children exploring the Children’s Garden. You might have to look closely to spot the seats.

One last promenade photo taken on my birthday, two years ago. We’d just spent the day exploring the meadow and Conservatory, and are on our way to the Visitor’s Center (far left corner) before heading home.

I hope your weekend brings unexpected beauty and delight!


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 June 2017
Photos taken by DAFraser, and other family members

early Spring splendor

early Spring splendor
fills chilled air with blossoms–
garden seat beckons


For one of my followers who wants to know where the garden seats are in Longwood Gardens. There are many–which I’m now collecting from my photo albums. This particular bench has always been one of my favorites–at the end of the flower walk, often in the shade, always off the beaten path.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 May 2017
Photo credit: DAFraser, March 2016 at Longwood Gardens
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Infuse

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