Author – Mary Bruton Sandifer

Quarantine Revisited – March 2020 5

Much as life in the time of Covid-19 is a chapter I would like to omit, a valid chronicle doesn’t leave out the hard parts. A few notes for “Grapes and Old Stones”:  Early March 2020.   After a woefully diluvian winter, the first days of Spring.  Delirious, we shed our rubber boots and venture barefoot over the paquerettes and dandelions.  The baby eats the dandelion stems and we smile at his herbalist wisdom.  We carry platters outside for the first family lunch in the sunshine.  Carry tea and cake outside for the first little gathering of friends to shake away the […]

Longest Night of the Year 4

Years ago when the children were little, we bundled them up against the cold and rode our bicycles to the banks of the Thames.    It was the darkest, longest night of the year.  We brought hot chocolate, brandy, candles.   I wrote a poem for the occasion.  We stood in a circle, the river rushing below.    In their shining, fresh innocence the children were completely present and sincere.    If we believed, so did they.   We lit a candle as each read his or her verse; our own private stage, actor and audience,  creators of our own moment. Then […]

Lavender Meditation – July 2018 10

It’s high summer.   The time of first fruits from the garden, long sunny days, kayaks on the water, cool starry nights, village fêtes, music rising from parties all along the river… Lavender time. When we planted the first row several years ago, I didn’t fully realize that lavender is much more than a flower.    We knew of the medicinal properties against insect stings, and also hoped to deter some mosquitoes.   But now, several plantings later, the spectacle of evening lavender has become central to the setting of high summer. Just before sunset is best.    I sit on a broken old […]

At Year’s End 8

  Your Yoke of Fear   I give you back your yoke of fear It’s broken now. Rent asunder, I am broken too   I give you back your yoke of fear It’s broken now Useless, like the perverse turbulence that stirred up worst case scenarios In your imagination In your projections In your fury   If only you had known then That it was in vain Useless Worse than useless. When real danger arose It kept you from dressing yourself in the very armor, The only armor That might have helped In those moments when yes, we must take […]

Winter Solstice 2016 – Tuning the Radio 2

At first we were just ruminating and tinkering.  How to entice beneficial micro critters into the soil; how to prepare potions from the “weeds” in the prairies… At first it was mostly amusing.  Stumbling on Henri’s odorific jars of fermented vegetables in my linen closet (sauerkraut and the like for healthy gut flora); trolling a pasture for fresh cow patties to fashion a “praline” dip for fragile tree roots. Just trying things out, trying to find our north. In our ramblings, we sought out the rural elders. They proudly hobble around their havens of pre 50’s bio diversity, amidst beehives […]

A Place for Dreaming

Over the years we’ve lived so many stories on this land my journal entries could fill an 18th century armoire.  In truth, La Tourbeille is such an out of world/out of time place, she should really be the subject of sonnets.  Even the postman goes poet when he steps on the land.  He brings extra junk mail as an excuse when he can’t fill the box with bills; he lingers and chats and reminds me every day that we live in a “magical” place.  For sure, this is a place that makes people dream.  Maybe that’s why I’m trying to write […]

Grapes and Old Stones– the Blog

Be careful what you wish for. They say be careful what you wish for, but I guess we weren’t.  My husband’s standing prayer for years was, “Just some grapes and old stones.”  I added, “please, God” and a bit of hocus pocus.  And then one day, there we were.  Bound and shackled to the endless mending of centuries’ old stone buildings and risking our savings to revive a vineyard.  One result is this almanac of what life has become; not exactly what we wished for, and not exactly what we would have wrought if we’d had the prescience to know […]