Wild Greens

Volume 2, Issue vii

Bloom

Wild Greens 2, no. 7 (May 2022)

Bloom

Welcome to the May 2022 issue of Wild Greens

The cherry blossoms outside my bedroom window have started to shed their blooms. Every year, I get about seven days of gloriously pink puffballs, and if I miss it, if I forget to open the blinds and look out the window, I’m taken by an immense disappointment when I finally do. Instead of the long anticipated rosy branches, I see a sea of green. Then, I leave my apartment, down three flights of stairs to the hallway of my building, and out onto the sidewalk. On the stairs and pavement outside my door, the fallen petals have made a carpet of pink. Up and down the block, the sidewalk and the road and the cars parked in the street are covered in fallen petals, pristine like the first morning after it snows.

Bloom is about growing into ourselves, but it’s also about aging, growing together, and growing apart. Take the cherry blossoms on my street. They bloom in the trees, but when they fall they create something just as beautiful, only different. Things transform, things grow, things change. And things are cyclical. The cherry blossoms will be here again next year, if not for me then for someone else.

Them Jones’s song “Grow” gets us grooving with some wisdom. Even though you don’t understand it, “You’ve gotta grow where you’re planted.” Use the hours you have to live your life: “you can make some magic.” Listen and dance along as you start to explore the issue.

Douglas Hardman’s “the root of pure love” is about taking care of yourself and finding yourself. If you’re gentle with yourself, you can choose to let the sunlight in. “Glass Vase” by Saswat Kumar Mishra depicts a person sleeping inside a glass vase, holding an anthurium flower.

Tamsin Grainger’s “Late Bloomer” tells of one woman’s growth and adventures after living a full life. Sometimes we can surprise ourselves with our courage: it’s never too late to travel, or to try something new!

In “Little Bud Big Bloom,” Melissa Lomax creates a whimsical world of little characters. She writes that she imagines magic in tiny, everyday, overlooked spaces.

“When We Bloom,” created, performed, and written by Jessica Donahue, embraces the range of emotions we go through as we grow. Jessica reads her poem over the movement. The dance is scored by Tim Brey. Tim’s own poem “Blooming,” follows, on the fleeting nature of inspiration.

From inner inspiration and growth we move to the natural world. Sue Marie Radloff’s stunning watercolor “Bird of Paradise” captures the most beautiful of flowers in its moment of bloom. Jacqui Gray’s “The bluebell wood” recalls a sacred time in nature, and the anticipation of waiting for the bluebells to bloom.

In Lauren Kimball’s newest Turtle and Hare, Levy and Hatch experience growing pains.

Robin Brownfield’s mosaic “Marina” recreates a photo of her daughter with a sunflower. Both flowers, both growing. Lynne Marie Rosenberg’s “Seeds for Ukraine” uses the sunflower motif to respond to the present pain of Ukraine’s invasion, and the spiral of time as another cycle of refugees begins.

We end with Saswat Kumar Mishra’s poem “Dandelions,” contemplating relationships, growing together and growing apart.

The dandelion is fragile and ephemeral, it blows away in the wind. And yet—it disappears so that its seeds can spread, and grow more dandelions for next year. Growth is loss. It’s also a promise. For now, I will enjoy the lush green branches outside my window, and be content that the cherry blossoms will come again next year.

-Rebecca

02-24 - Grow - Frank Tobin.mp3

Grow

by Them Jones


For mobile listeners: Pressing "play" will open a new tab. As long as you keep the tab open, most phones will allow you to listen to the song while you explore the rest of the issue in a separate tab!


For desktop listeners: Press "play" and listen while you explore the rest of the issue!

Inspiration: The inspiration for the song came from the old idiom "Bloom where you're planted". The meaning is just about making the best of this life no matter what your place or struggle.


the root of pure love

by Douglas Hardman


splish splash crash

what would you do if you woke up outside covered in dew?

not really knowing the truth

what transpired here?


little did i know

watering my roots

would bring about growth

real growth

am i really changing for the better?

brush my petals gently

creeping through the meadow of wanton promises

i glided effortlessly into new territory

stemming from my trepidations

emergence and resurgence

the sunlight finally felt like home


i didn’t dare wash the mud off my hands

it held the key to my true destiny

chanting incantations of self-love and SSRI’s

i levitated into a new realm

welcomed with open arms that were just mine

this time, self-isolation was helpful


After three days, the world saw me again

Refreshed and exhausted

An eternal rest to awaken the spores

However, I still kept to myself

Unsure how long this could last

Because even if it does

This is for me


A freshly shaved bulb

A spunky new outlook

My green thumb finally put to good use

Sowing the seeds of positivity

Could you even believe

This is me?

20+ years of sunless pollination

I look in the mirror

And try to believe

From now on

I am going to truly see


Glass Vase

by Saswat Kumar Mishra


Adobe Illustrator Android app


Inspiration: This piece represents my love for the anthurium flower in full bloom.


Late Bloomer

by Tamsin Grainger


“One of the nicest things about gardening is the sudden surprise we may get when something that we arranged years ago comes into its own and is at last doing what we had intended to do.”

Vita Sackville-West, celebrated gardener of Sissinghurst, England.


I am what they call a late bloomer! In 2016, aged 51, I took a break from a life that had somehow stopped being as fulfilling as it once was, and a whole new flourishing one opened up.

My beloved kids had left home; my ongoing complementary therapy work which I believed in didn’t seem to be flushing me with happiness any longer; and, despite my efforts, I hadn’t been in a relationship since my divorce many years before. I was more of a single English tea rose than a floribunda, a single blossom on my own stem, not one of a cluster. To make matters worse, I kept coming across reports which said that people on their deathbeds were full of regret, provoking me to lie awake at night and worry: ‘What if I die before I do what I have always wanted?’

The urge to have an adventure was getting stronger and stronger, and I was working with a therapist to let myself go, but responsibilities restrained d me like weeds stifling the vegetable patch. Then, one midsummer morning, I woke to a burst of clarity— I should go to Spain. That autumn I took a train all the way from Edinburgh to Portsmouth to visit my Great Aunty Fay who was 101 years old. When she was in her late 20s, she met Uncle Alan and went out to Gibraltar to marry him. I was shown a fabulous photo of her perched on the ship’s rail in a natty outfit, hair tucked up under a scarf to manage the sea breezes, her happily grinning face like a sweet briar. Perhaps she influenced me more than I thought, because that was my decision made — I boarded a boat that sailed me through the Bay of Biscay and all the way to Santander on the northern Spanish coast. Halfway there, I heard the clapping of a great whale’s tail cheering me on.

I had promised myself I would say “Yes!”, even though I didn’t know where I was going to stay or what route I would take; I had sat on the sofa long enough and the waiting was over. I didn’t feel brave, no; I just knew that to grow into the next 50 years of a life like my Great Aunt’s, I had to behave like a sweet pea, I simply had to wind my curls around any suitable stalk and follow my nature to thrive.

All through that sunshine journey with the brine at my nostrils, I was checking messages from Gill in Madrid who had kindly translated my offer of ‘Shiatsu in exchange for a bed’ and sent it out to her students and associates. I lay myself flat out on a deck chair, closed my eyes, and nurtured my seedling dreams. As we neared shore, the invite I needed came: an offer from Pilates instructor Rosa. That was to be my first experience of the kindness of strangers, and I think that was when my soul started to blossom.

Over the next month, it was a pleasure to sit at the tables of the effervescent women who hosted me. I wandered the orchards of Salinas in the west, and gardens of Egileor in the east, picking figs and photographing magenta bougainvillea. I marvelled at the sprouting broccoli and kale growing in every Galician front garden and basked in the Feria market where there were groaning tables of produce from the Basque mountains — olive green and magnolia squash, speckled and striped, and orange pumpkins the colour of the rising sun. The Iberian climate enriched me as if I was a poor, sandy soil in need of feeding.

And then it happened. I plucked up the courage for a long-distance walk.

Leaving Pamplona, city of setas mushrooms and syrupy honey and cinnamon desserts, I set out with my backpack, for all the world as if I was a teenager just finishing school. I didn’t look back until I arrived in Santiago. I started trekking by fields of burgeoning corn and scarlet peppers, and already felt fitter than I had for many years. On day two, I nibbled my first wild fennel, the aniseed taste erupting in my mouth, and I basked in the heat which seemed to caress my arms and neck. I was treated to oysters and sparkling Cava — bubbles around my heart — and the heady burgundy of Rioja grapes accompanied the attentions from a new lover. I was as happy as all the fields of sunflowers put together. As the year turned towards winter, the scent of rotting chestnut leaves and the fresh-air fragrance of eucalyptus heralded the completion of my long walk.

The French man who I met very early on, and who had escorted me every step of the way, left after a few delicious days in Finisterre, Spain’s Land’s End, and though I was sad to see him go, plans had already been laid. I had an idea to write an article and when I returned home a month later, the article prompted a workshop invitation. On the back of that came an offer to write a book and four years later it was published.

I had to cut back some dead wood to make way for the new shoots of course, which is always a challenge; however, my new sense of blossoming made it all worth it. Continuing to walk abroad, I explored Zagreb’s Gradski Park (Croatia) and Tartu’s Botanics (Estonia), I penned my sample chapter in the balmy walled garden of a Picardy convent (France) and sketched the geometric pools and plots of Porto’s Seralves art gallery (Portugal). Finding my way over Austria’s sacred mountains was a highlight. In a pattern of three months away and three in Scotland, I cheated the seasons by taking trains and buses across countries and borders, and I met the most wonderful people by always saying “Yes!” when they asked me to look after their horses and hens (Greece), or walk the dogs amongst the pomegranate trees of the Sierra Calderona (Spain).

My petals are a little more withered as I approach 61. Some of my tendrils droop, and I suffered a severe pruning during the Covid-19 pandemic, but I am, nevertheless, more of a rambling than an English tea rose these days, and I believe my scent is as sweet as a damask, now that I am fully, if rather lately, blooming.


Little Bud Big Bloom

by Melissa Lomax


Crayon and Watercolor


Inspiration: “Little Bud Big Bloom” was created during the early springtime season and was inspired by the fresh colors and new life just outside my art studio windows. I have an affinity for tiny little worlds and love the idea that something magical is happening in places that we often overlook. The miniature characters that inhabit these enchanted environments are known as “Little Buds” and have bloomed into a collection that I am currently developing! I use a watercolor resist technique in creating this artwork. Drawing with wax oil pastel and crayons, then finishing with black watercolor washes—the final results are always a delightful surprise!


If you like the issue, you can donate to Wild Greens through our Ko-fi page!

When We Bloom

by Jessica Donahue


Inspiration: When We Bloom reflects all that we are in times of growth, adversity, pain, triumph and the many gray areas in-between. My biggest takeaway is that it is both okay and necessary to feel every wave of emotion in full acceptance. Love exists through it all.


Blooming

by Tim Brey


Like daylight enduring,

Inspiration blinds me for a moment


Waking, I wonder

If there might be permanence here

Or 

If the night might be

Permanent–here.


In forfeit,

I sing


Bird of Paradise

by Sue Marie Radloff


Watercolor


Inspiration: This beautiful majestic flower.


The bluebell wood

by Jacqui Gray


In May, something special happens in British woodlands. Nature puts on a seasonal show so magical that visiting the woods to see it has become something of a British institution. The timing can vary, depending on the weather, so you have to be patient – as anyone who likes to follow the seasonal changes knows, nature cannot be hurried. Since I enjoy both nature and photography, I look forward to it for weeks beforehand, and it never fails to take my breath away.

As the time draws near, I scan the woodland near my home, searching for the first sign. For what seems like an age, there’s nothing unusual; the wood is quiet, giving little away. But, then, suddenly, I spot what I've been waiting for. In the leafy green understorey, another colour is emerging. At first, it's the softest haze, like a mirage. But I’m in no doubt: the bluebells are coming into bloom.

My pulse quickens, because I know that from now on, the colour will keep building. In a week or two, the seasonal spectacle will reach its climax, and when I return with my camera to spend a day under the leafy canopy, I will be surrounded by a knee-deep sea of blue-violet.

As blooming time peaks, I come back to the cool, green sanctuary of centuries-old oak trees. Hazy shivelights pierce the young foliage, scattering dappled shade. The woodland floor is springy, young ferns shooting up from it like spears, their coiled fronds the colour of podded peas. And stretching deep into the woodland, as far as my eyes can see, thousands upon thousands of bluebells that seem to hover above the ground, like morning mist.

The mist of deep blue-violet drifts around emerald-green ferns, each colour intensifying the other, so the whole wood seems to glow. Bluebells fragrance the air, a cool, green, earthy scent with a hint of floral that evokes for me a bygone age, when children played in woods, gathered berries and firewood and enjoyed the simple gifts of nature. And into this heady mix, wild garlic adds its starry white blooms and unmistakably pungent scent. All around me, the wood is unfurling, opening, pushing up, shaking free, its vernal energy rising, like the sap in the trees. A transformation is taking place and there’s a joy in the air that is palpable. I breathe out, my senses tingling, my mind soothed.

Crouching down, I take a close-up picture of a bluebell. These are native English bluebells, the type most often found growing in woodlands, and an indicator species of ancient woodland. Smaller and more delicate than the Spanish bluebell, they're recognisable by the way their flowers distinctively grow on only one side of the stem, causing the flower spikes to droop at the tip. Some of the country names by which they're known are charmingly old-fashioned – witches’-thimbles, lady's-nightcap, wild hyacinth, cuckoo's boots.

Bluebells reappear here every year, fresh and new, as though for the very first time. But they are ancient keepers of the past. They've grown in this little patch of woodland, and many others, probably for centuries, and have bloomed through countless springs, bluing woodlands for generations of families, country dwellers, and nature lovers to enjoy. Alongside the big, old oaks, the cool ferns, and the garlicky ramsons, they've been silent observers as history has unfolded, bearing witness while successive Kings and Queens reigned, scientific discoveries were made, wars were waged, and seismic social and political shifts took place. I ponder on this as I take a last look before leaving.

When I walk in the wood at bluebell time, I feel an invisible connection to nature. For a few hours, in this timeless place, I can step outside the modern world and glimpse something of how it might have been when we lived slower, simpler lives that were more in touch with the seasons, the land and the wild things that grow and bloom around us. The bluebell wood shares that with me. It lets me hear the pulse of spring. For me, it's where the season's beating heart is loudest.


Growing Up

by Lauren Kimball


Digital stylus



Editor's Note: An earlier version of this comic used the word “gyp.” On May 1, a reader brought to our attention that “gyp” comes from “gypsy,” a racial slur whose origins come from offensive stereotypes about the Roma people. We’re sorry we didn’t catch the slur earlier and allowed it to go live on the site. When we reached out to the author to make her aware of the word’s origins, she immediately rewrote the punchline.


Lauren has this to say in addition:

"Dear Tooth Fairies and Tooth Fairy lovers everywhere: I want to thank that person for the care that their note showed for my comic, for the magazine, and for readers. Wild Greens is a special community for me, and I’m honored to be a part of it. I’m grateful for this opportunity to learn something I didn’t know." - Lauren


If you like the issue, you can donate to Wild Greens through our Ko-fi page!

Marina

by Robin Brownfield


Stone, glass beads, recycled glass tiles


Inspiration: Long before it was politicized, there was this beautiful photo of my youngest daughter, Marina, with a sunflower. When I think of her, I think of that photo, featuring two beautiful flowers.


Seeds for Ukraine

by Lynne Marie Rosenberg


Micron pen


Methods: drawing, map-tracing


Inspiration: Done early in Putin's reprehensible invasion of Ukraine, this piece came from a journal entry on the spiraling nature of time, as refugees headed to Poland, a place from which my ancestors had to flee not that long ago.


Dandelions

by Saswat Kumar Mishra


With your touch, I bloomed

And you bloomed with mine.

Unknowingly, both of us bloomed

into dandelions meant to be

blown away by the wind.



See behind the scenes of Wild Greens. Our Ko-fi page contains concept art for past issues.

Artists and Contributors

Them Jones

Band

Them Jones is a Philly band that has been making music together since 2014. Their sound combines the stranger elements of post-60's pop with the less-mined saccharine sounds of acts found in the Haight-Ashbury scene. The members of Them Jones are Dan Leyden on drums, Brian Dlugosz on bass, Jim Leyden on vocals/guitar, and Frank Tobin on vocals/guitar. Follow Them Jones on Spotify and Instagram at @themjones.


Douglas Hardman

Poet

Douglas (he/him/they) is a veterinary technician by day and a brooding lyricist/poet by night. He has a background in theater and journalism, with a few original productions under his belt and a national award in collegiate journalism for editing and writing. Philadelphia has been home since August 2019, and he has loved pursuing different mediums, forever being inspired by the beauty of the city. Check out their Instagram @the_hideaway16 for snippets of unpublished poetry and song lyrics. His personal Instagram is @caliboynewyorkmind.

Saswat Kumar Mishra

Poet and Artist

Saswat (he/him) has a thing for literature and gardening. An agriculture graduate plucking flowers of poetry from a meadow full of muse. Digital art is his newfound love. You can find him on Instagram @thenovicewordsmiths.

Tamsin Grainger

Writer

Tamsin Grainger (she/her) is a writer, bodyworker and walking artist living in Edinburgh. She was a successful applicant of ‘Our Voices’ Creative Scotland 2021, and her work has been featured in Caught By the River, Wanderlust Journal, Wild Woman Press, The Cure for Sleep (substack), and Monstrous Regiment’s So Hormonal. Her book, Death and Loss in Shiatsu Practice, was published in 2020 by Hachette. You can follow her at tamsingrainger.com / @walknodonkey (Twitter) and @tamsinshiatsu (Instagram).

Melissa Lomax

Artist

Melissa Lomax (she/her) is a freelance illustrator, art teacher, and cartoonist, with 20 years of experience in the creative industry. Some of her clients include American Greetings, Recycled Paper Greetings, Sellers Publishing and Highlights for Children. Her comic 'Doodle Town' posts on GoComics.com, the largest catalog of syndicated cartoons and comics. When she is not in the art studio, she enjoys spending time in nature, drinking really good coffee, and 'everyday adventures' with her husband. Pop by her Instagram @melissalomaxart for weekly inspiration!


Jessica Donahue

Poet and Artist

Jessica (she/her) is a 31-year-old “heArtist” whose passions run deep. Her backgrounds are rooted in the creative and healing arts, dance, theater, movement and direction, yoga, wellness, mental health advocacy, and community event coordination. Most recently, Jessica is rooted in cross-blending the worlds of Art, Self-Love and Environmental Awareness to bring people together. Jessica has been deepening her learnings in sustainability practices and clean beauty for a better way of living. She is currently pursuing her Associate's Degree in Communications and is grateful for the ability to both exchange with others in all art mediums and be a forever student in life. You can find her storefront, Community Outreach and Personal Ventures through https://linkfly.to/JessicaAnneElizabeth.

Tim Brey

Poet & Music Editor

Tim Brey (he/him) is a jazz pianist living in Philadelphia. He holds positions as Artist-in-Residence and Adjunct Faculty at Temple University and The University of the Arts, where he teaches jazz piano, music theory, and improvisation. Check out more of his music and his performance schedule at https://www.timbreymusic.com.

Susan Marie Radloff

Artist

Susan Marie Radloff (She/her) lives in Corona, California, where she served on the board of the Corona Art Association as Art Show Coordinator. Her love for painting began when she was 11 years old. Since then, she's worked with acrylics, oils, pencils, and most recently, watercolors. You can find more of her artwork at her website https://suemarie.com.

Jacqui Gray

Writer

Jacqui Gray has been an editor for over twenty years and currently works as a managing editor. A nature lover, she enjoys photographing and writing about seasonal changes in the beautiful British countryside. You can find her on Instagram, @moonlightandmocha.

Lauren Kimball

Artist

Lauren Kimball (she/her) lives in Philadelphia. She teaches literature and composition at Rutgers University- New Brunswick. In her spare time, she plays with paint, digital pens, words, and home improvement tools.


You can find her comics on Instagram @turtle_n_hare_comic.

Robin Brownfield

Artist

Robin Brownfield (she/her) is a former sociology professor who turned to art after becoming disabled. While she dabbles in numerous art forms, she finds mosaic art is a great way to recycle old materials and found objects. She has created murals, garden walkways, and countless other mosaic works, but she especially enjoys creating portraits and works for social justice. In 2020, she was featured in a FOX-29 News report after she was commissioned by Tamika Palmer to do a mosaic portrait of her daughter Breonna Taylor, whose death, in part, launched an international movement for justice for victims of racial violence. That portrait can be seen in the documentary “Bree Wayy: Promise Witness Remembrance”, which features the artwork done to honor Taylor. She has also won numerous awards in juried art shows, was featured as one of the Best Mosaic Artists in New Jersey in Best of NJ, and has had her art displayed in galleries all over the United States. She is currently working on a mosaic mural with the help of volunteers at Thomas Sharp Elementary School in Collingswood, NJ.


You can find her on Instagram @nebula1400 and Facebook - Robin Brownfield Mosaics Online Gallery. You can also visit her website Robin Brownfield Mosaics.

Lynne Marie Rosenberg

Artist

Lynne Marie Rosenberg (she/her) is a performer turned advocate turned Emmy-nominated content maker turned visual artist. She is the host and creator of the interview show, "Famous Cast Words" on New York's PBS affiliate station, ALL ARTS, and the one-person-band behind the Etsy store, Hungry Bodhisattva. Lynne works predominantly in graphite and ink with additional forays into charcoal, watercolor, and stop motion animation. www.LynneMarieRosenberg.com, IG: @LynneMarieRosenberg VENMO: @Lynne-Rosenberg-1

Myra Chappius

Copyeditor

Myra Chappius (she/her) is the author of six works of fiction and poetry. While her passion lies with shorter creations, it is her aspiration to complete a full-length novel and screenplay someday. She enjoys reading, music, travel, and learning. When not doing mom things, she is working full-time, seeing the latest movie, or waiting an acceptable length of time before returning to Universal Orlando to satiate her Harry Potter obsession.


You can follow Myra on Instagram at @inwordform. Her work can be purchased on Amazon or at www.reverebyjnicole.com


Jacqueline Ruvalcaba

Fiction Editor

Jacqueline (she/her) is a senior undergraduate student at the University of California, Riverside, working toward earning her BA in English and creative writing. She was a 2021 publishing fellow with the Los Angeles Review of Books and served as a co-editor, copyeditor, and producer on the fourth issue of PubLab journal. As a bookworm, writer, and homebody at heart, she spends her spare time looking for new fictional worlds she can lose herself in and working on crafting stories of her own.


Maggie Topel

Artist

Maggie Topel (she/her) is an artist and writer living in Philadelphia. She designs our seasonal Wild Greens logo and social media avatar.


Hayley Boyle

Arts Editor

Hayley Boyle (she/her) creates the cover image for each issue of Wild Greens magazine and serves as the Arts Editor. Hayley is a social justice seeker, world traveler, rock climber, dog snuggler, frisbee player, event planner, and storyteller. She loves to paint with watercolors, embroider, and write. She grew up reading sci-fi and fantasy, and to this day she still turns to those genres to help her make sense of the world. She calls Philadelphia home and wouldn't have it any other way. You can find Hayley on Instagram @hayley3390 or @haypaints. She accepts commissions, and you can find examples of her work on her website.

Rebecca Lipperini

Editor-in-chief

Rebecca Lipperini (she/her) is a writer, teacher, and academic living in Philadelphia, and the founding editor of Wild Greens magazine (hi!). She holds a PhD in English from Rutgers University, where she taught all kinds of classes on literature and poetry and writing, and wrote all kinds of papers on the same. Her essay on the soothing aesthetics of the supermarket was recently published in PubLab.


You can find Rebecca on Instagram @rebeccalipperini (personal) @wildgreensmag (you already know it).