Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Tender Growth

All seasons have their beauty but summer is a riot of color. The world, from the green in the garden to the bright flowers, is beautiful. Now at the height of growing season, the plants are at their sturdiest. Or are they? According to Emily Dickinson, the news from Nature comes with "tender majesty." She wrote:

This is my letter to the world
That never wrote to me
The simple news that Nature told
with tender majesty.

Her message is committed
to hands I cannot see,
For love of her, sweet countrymen
Judge tenderly of me.

To read Dickinson's poetry is to invite questions. Some of her poems existed in several versions. When it came to choosing words, she was a stickler and would rework a poem in order to make it appropriate for the person receiving it in a letter. In this poem, the most salient feature is Dickinson's metaphor of her poems as "my letter to the world." I do find it noteworthy that she speaks of Nature's "tender majesty." I think she chose tender for a good reason. She also commits Nature's news to "hands I cannot see." How many generations into the future did she imagine? I think she realized the earth was tender and needed care of many hands. 

Honore' invites us to link our reflections on the word we chose for 2020. At the end of July, tender raises more questions while reminding me of the power in a poem. Tender, though fragile, is not necessary weak.

So today tendril from tender. Tender and tendril share the same root word. Tendrils, those thin coils of sensitive stem that stretch out in an effort to attach a plant to a secure support. They look fragile but once attached they have quite a grip. Tendrils of sweet pea, cucumber vine, and justice stretch out with hope. For me, taking care of the natural world and realizing its tender majesty is one of the paths to justice and peace.



  1. Oh my. This is lovely Jane! "Tendrils of sweet pea, cucumber vine, and justice stretch out with hope" This... so much of this! Thank you!

  2. You have such a way with words, Jane!

  3. Just lovely, Jane! I have been admiring the new tendrils on cucumbers and cantaloupes, and your observation that tender, though fragile, is not necessarily weak is wonderful.

  4. she's one of my favorite poets. I'm sinking into myself as I finally just go with the flow knowing my world is smallish but I am safe for now. I hope you get to see your kids soon. I see my son but my daughter doesn't want a visit currently.

  5. This is so lovely....tendrils of sweet peas and cucumbers are most welcome, but I have the most invasive viney tendrils that are hugging everything in my garden unless I vigilantly patrol. Keeps me out and about doing stuff, so maybe I should even be grateful to them? NAH.

  6. Beautifully put. Honore and those words! I forgot mine usually! Balance was a word for me once. I balance from time to time now! Boundaries was a big word when my father was alive.
    Perhaps my word is going to be: Routine
    The summer routine here at Camp, as I call it, changes daily. Today was out of sorts taking Beatles to the vet. Somehow we needed naps this afternoon. So this should lead to a long porch night, with some good knitting coming in ten minutes