This part of Nebraska and many other states are officially in drought. If our eyes can’t see the results of this dry spell, the nightly weather forecast provides a daily update from the National Drought Monitor that shows the extent and severity of drought in our part of the country. Wildfires are raging across much of the western half of the United States. Smoke from those fires reduce air quality for millions already stressed by the effects of COVID-19.

I’m choosing to add photos to this blog from earlier in the summer when gardens and pastures were green and trees bloomed with great promise.

I’m also in a bit of a writing dry spell. The pandemic has shut down most face-to-face interaction. My writing group did not meet for four months. Some of us are now meeting virtually, but as all of us surviving zoom meetings know, it’s not the same experience as an in-person gathering. I dearly miss the people in my writing group, our conversations, and in-person writing feedback. The monthly writing group meetings provided me with valuable discipline to bring new and/or revised work to our meetings. Now, I still write on a schedule, but it feels like everything is in draft form, never finished.

Happily, I’ve had several poems published in journals this year. I wrote most of the poems before the pandemic. It gives me hope that although we meet virtually for now, eventually we will figure out how to meet in person, in ways that are safe and meaningful to everyone.

I water my vegetable gardens and flower beds. I decided to let the lawn tend to itself. Mostly only weeds grow in the lawn. It needs to be periodically mowed even though the grass has gone domant. Today it’s 95 degrees, too hot to even weed. These temps are expected to get even hotter as the week progresses.

Gardening is a process that helps me cope with both emotional and physical dry spells. Nature provides endless inspiration for me to write, photograph, and occassionally paint.

My poem Garden Therapy was published in Nebraska Life Magazine in 2019.


A recent study proves

what I’ve known

for years:

digging in the dirt

treats depression

as well as

or better than


There’s something magic

about bending, reaching,

kneeling on soil

that stretches us

out of our bad backs,

cures headaches,

helps us forget troubles

Gardening is a break

from social media,

a fine way

to chase away

a day of frustration

with government

paperwork, website


When my sheepdog

Pickles drops

a frisbee

in front of me,

it’s time to stop

and play for a while,


Published by llzranch

parent, writer, mental health counselor, gardener, environmentalist

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