Progress in Each Step

It is Earth Day and The Progressive Poem 2023 is here! As we are nearing the end of National Poetry month, I am profoundly grateful that I can participate in this poem, visit the blogs of the many talented poet-contributors, peer inside their process, and get a glimpse of their comings, goings, and life adventures.

The coincidence of Earth Day and my turn to add a line in this collective poem project has me thinking about the meaning of progress and the place in me that the natural world fills. I am a biologist and environmental scientist by trade, an avid gardener (addicted to flowers), a sometimes birdwatcher, a fan of foxes, raccoons, opossum, mice and all manner of small mammal, reptile, and insect which many of my suburban neighbors would prefer to be…elsewhere. I make it my business in life to think about the non-humans I share space with and I try to be, if not helpful, at least accommodating. In return for my efforts, I have a yard literally buzzing and fluttering with life. This April, I have come to understand that the visual and tactile beauty of nature, however wonderful, is only a fraction of the gift the natural world gives to me.

In early February, I was diagnosed with several conditions which required physical therapy, surgery, rest, and recuperation. Overnight, my daily walking practice, my daily immersion in the woods and ponds around my home, my sacred time of observing, of noticing, of being alone in nature was put on hold. It is still on hold. Gaia, what a loss this has been for me. As difficult as the physical pain of the last several weeks has been, the mental and emotional struggle of losing my time in nature has been worse.

Yesterday, for the first time since late March, I put on one of my old walking shoes and stepped, ever so carefully, into my garden.

For twenty blessed minutes.




Through some conjuring of the gods and goddesses of poetry, this year’s progressive poem feels very personal to my journey. Just as our young protagonist is finding wonder in a garden where someone has been waiting, I also feel the magic of a stepping into my garden, knowing that eventually, everything will fall into place.

Thank you, to all the poets who have crafted our way thus far. And to those poets waiting to add a line, I can’t wait to see where you lead us!

Suddenly everything fell into place
like raindrops hitting soil and sinking in.

When morning first poked me, I’d wished it away
my mind in the mist, muddled, confused.

Was this a dream or reality, rousing my response?
The sun surged, urging me to join in its rising,

Rising like a crystal ball reflecting on morning dew.
I jumped out of bed, ready to explore the day.

My feet pull me outside and into the garden
Where lilies and bees weave…but wait! What’s that?

A bevy of bunnies jart and dart and play in the clover.
A dog barks and flash, the bunderstorm is over.

I breathe-brave, quiet. Like a seed,
as the day, foretold in my dream, ventured upon me.

Sunbeams guided me to the gate overgrown with wisteria
where I spotted the note tied to the gate.

As I reached the gnarled gate, pollen floated like fairy dust into my face.
Aaah Choo!

Enter, if you must. We’ve been waiting for you.

Not giving the curious note a thought, I pushed the gate open and ran through.
Stopped in my tracks, eyes wide in awe- can this really be tr

Huge mushrooms for tables, vines twined into chairs,
A flutter of fairies filled flowery teawares

Find the next line of the poem at Reading to the Core

Happy Reading!

Here is the complete list of poet-contributors:

April 1 Mary Lee Hahn, Another Year of Reading

April 2 Heidi Mordhorst, My Juicy Little Universe

April 3 Tabatha, The Opposite of Indifference

April 4 Buffy Silverman

April 5 Rose Cappelli, Imagine the Possibilities

April 6 Donna Smith, Mainely Write

April 7 Margaret Simon, Reflections on the Teche

April 8 Leigh Anne, A Day in the Life

April 9 Linda Mitchell, A Word Edgewise

April 10 Denise Krebs, Dare to Care

April 11 Emma Roller, Penguins and Poems

April 12 Dave Roller, Leap Of Dave

April 13 Irene Latham Live You Poem

April 14 Janice Scully, Salt City Verse

April 15 Jone Rush MacCulloch

April 16 Linda Baie, TeacherDance

April 17 Carol Varsalona, Beyond Literacy Link

April 18 Marcie Atkins

April 19 Carol Labuzzetta at The Apples in My Orchard 

April 20 Cathy Hutter, Poeturescapes

April 21 Sarah Grace Tuttle,  Sarah Grace Tuttle’s Blog,

April 22 Marilyn Garcia

April 23 Catherine,  Reading to the Core

April 24 Janet Fagal, hosted by Tabatha, The Opposite of Indifference

April 25 Ruth, There is no Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town

April 26 Patricia J. Franz, Reverie

April 27 Theresa Gaughan, Theresa’s Teaching Tidbits

April 28 Karin Fisher-Golton, Still in Awe Blog

April 29 Karen Eastlund, Karen’s Got a Blog April 30 Michelle Kogan Illustration, Painting, and Writing

7 thoughts on “Progress in Each Step”

  1. Hi Marilyn,
    First I am glad you ventured into your garden and am sorry to hear of your trials and tribulations. I did not know that you were a scientist and natural world admirer, lover, gardener, etc. I love your line. The fairies are fluttering around, filling those “teawares” with happiness, too. Such peace in the gardens in our minds and in our lives. I am curious to see what is next as my turn arrives very soon!! I have loved this Progressive Poem for years. Have you read the previous ones? I have some favorites and some favorite lines along the way. It always intrigues me to see it develop.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Marilyn, your story pulled into your personal garden and journey. I felt your excitement for the earth you love and knew before I arrived at your line that it would be magical. Alliteration added to your beautiful, magical line that I can envision. Thanks for inviting fairies to a magical tea party in the garden.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Marilyn, this is beautiful. I am so happy you spent twenty glorious minutes in your garden, and I love the idea that this poem is personal for you. I look forward to when everything falls into place for you and our protagonist. The /f/ sounds in your line are magical, and I love that they are filling their teawares. What could be better than a tea party in a garden?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I imagine that you found your own fairies during those 20 minutes, Marilyn. This is a lovely addition to this magical scene. I love all the consonance, like Denise. You’ve given this person a magical time already! Best wishes for being better each day, meaning more nature!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So sorry to hear you haven’t been well and I hope you can return to the things you love and feel well soon. Thanks for your fun line. Of course with mushroom tables, fairies and teaware can’t be far behind.


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