Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Gathering Moments, Hours, Days

Gathering Moments, Hours, Days by Jan Godown Annino

I Meant To Do My Work Today
by Richard Le Gallienne

...“but a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
and a butterfly flitted across the field,
and all the leaves were calling me
and the wind went sighing over the land
-       copyright Richard Le Gallienne

Exploring and experiencing are what the talent-saturated & prolific author
Jane Yolen calls Gathering Days. In these summer days & nights,
she recently reminded social media followers to take time to fill the
wells of experience. Look for unusual plants & animals. Pay attention to
the everyday trees, flowers and creatures, too.
Listen to live music. Note odd names on streets and signs. 
Dance a folk dance.
Try a wild ride.
Or wild walk.
                                                     Acorn Street, Boston - May 2015 
                                                                Gathering Wobble!

A Gathering Day, or the Gathering Times & Gathering Moments are

                                                   Our yellow cottage front yard blossoms that 
                                                                       will = eggplants!

some of the many ways we connect with the thrum of activities that
can hold kernels of energy that lead to eyedears & stories.

 For example, how much better for me to write a garden story,
when I have wet dirt under my fingernails (my garden gloves become soaked
& mucky so I usually pull them off.) And when I attempt to grow a new plant 
to my garden patch, such as this year's eggplant & cotton.

How better it is for me to write these poems
about the seashore that I’m at work on after I’ve been engrossed in
following this olive snail’s trail, down on the Gulf of Mexico at St. George Island.

How easier it is to write about fear if I’ve climbed telephone-
pole-high in tree tops, to wobble along Myakka River State
Park’s shaky tree canopy walkway. I do NOT like heights so much.
Or, even a leetle bit.
And I did this!!

Gather Ye Gathers in Summer! 

Gathering Days ought to be sprinkled in our life all year, but for many 
with family & work rhythms tied to the school year, summer is a
fine time to gather aromas, to touch farm animals, to ride horses,
to observe sea creatures, to walk far into fields, run up hills,
even traipse into mountains.

Here are a few Gathering Day moments of mine, through the years,
woven into my stories & poems.

* Meeting a mama bear and her two cubs when they walked up -
and I walked RAN!  along a steep Mt. LeConte, TN trail.

* Meeting a Florida panther in South Florida (an actor for movies &
commercials, but nonetheless a moving, bounding panther.)
I JUMPED back!

* Riding horses on Paynes Prairie, Florida, to see bison up close. (They
were re-introduced, having once roamed there.) But the touch-and-go
moment of the ride was dealing with alligators strewn about this wet
prairie, which made the horses nervous. My husband & I are alive to 
tale the tell. Or to tell the tale. I rather like tale the tell.

(Todd... this Florida bison is for you!)

If the heat index for recent days wasn’t 103 upwards here in North Florida,
I would go out for my Daily Gathering during the day, instead of at nite.
On a regular foot journey, we small- city nayborhood dwellers can
easily walk from this little yellow cottage to a vet’s office, post office,  sub and burger chain & an independent country buffet & indy cookie/cake shop, plus a chain grocery, & bank. And yet - 
we can also climb hilly streets intensely wooded in swaths with tall growth pines, live oaks, dogwoods, cypress & other tree beauties.

The area is pocketed with an elevated road thru swamp, undeveloped grassy and woodsy gathering places where the animals in hiding (sometimes not in hiding) include fox, bunnies, coyotes, armadillos, opossums, bats & other small mammals such as the daily tree scrambles of the squirrels. Herons, Canada geese, owls and many song birds such as jays, cardinals, wrens & warblers visit. As do blackbirds, cowbirds, & treat of treats, hummingbirds. 
Surprising for a swamp, no gator spotted yet!
 Oh - quail. Can't forget the juvenile quail.

                                            (Cutie flew away last week when I went to fix a leetle 
                                                 box lined with soft stuff... Our cat is strictly inside,
                                                 we have no doggie, so why it landed on our door
                                                 mat is a mystery.)

To get back to that Gathering Wobble, our daughter works in Boston 
& the Gathering Day events she’s written to us about include bunny-watching, 
turkey watching, maple syrup making & kayak drifting on the Charles River.

Some gathering moments our family enjoyed together with her in
May in Boston were chipmunk watching, lilac sniffing, bleeding tooth-plant
finding, cobblestone walking on Acorn Street in Beacon Hill,
(avoiding falling) & robin-watching.

Where do you like to spend gathering days? 
What have you gathered in summers past? 
Is it too soon to report in on your “gathers” this season? 
I wish you many great gathering moments that will fill you with eyedears, words,
poems, pages, stories, scripts, illustrations & books.

Free Event!
If you would like to join me & several Group Bloggers in an online summer children's writing school, which is a great boost in gathering pages accomplished and in writing THE END, 
please read my essay about it & think about becoming a summer student in the comfort of your own home. It's created by two energetic SCBWI members. Last summer National Book Award-winning children's author Kathryn Erskine set the nourishing & exciting pace as the first day's faculty member. 


  1. Jan, lovely post about the wonders found in Gathering Days. You have the soul of a poet.

  2. O. My Janie, this is the bee's knees. Not deserving, but smile-inducing - appreciations!

  3. Thank you, Jan, for a beautiful written post about Gathering Day, Gathering Time, and Gathering Moments. Pay attention and be in the moment. There is much inspiration all around.

    Happy to know that you and your husband lived to tale the *tell.* Hope the little cutie who landed on your front door mat is happy and free.

    1. The eggplant flowers make me think of you & all my dirt diggin' pals!
      On the feather friend, we have unstrollable area around that front concrete step pad, so I feel that's what happened. Thanks for your sweet words.

  4. I love the description of your Gathering Days! Great post, Jan!