Tips from my fifty-year long love affair with nature

Author’s photo, taken in the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens

I was born in a city, to parents who had lived their whole lives in cities. As a young child, I lived in Queens, New York. The closest I got to nature back then typically consisted of going to the beach and swimming in the ocean.
One of my earliest memories from childhood was a time when a friend of mine and I snuck into a neighbor’s garden. I was around six years old and had never been in a garden before. …

Some made no sense at all yet taught me everything I needed to know about love and life.

Photo by Wim van 't Einde on Unsplash

My mother used to say some pretty random stuff, all of which had a deeper meaning and helped shape me into the person I am.

She was almost undoubtedly autistic, as I am, as at least one other family member is, and possibly others are. They were often odd ways, unique ways, of talking about an important message in life.

“Whether it’s cold, or whether it’s hot, we’re gonna have weather, whether or not,” was one of her favorite answers if you asked what the weather was like outside or what it was going to be like tomorrow. That set…


A haiku about yesterday and tomorrow

Author’s photo, taken in spring of 2021, Bloesempark in het Amsterdamse Bos

My hope is renewed.
My new home’s verdancy is
springing into joy.

© Candace LaRue, 2021

About my photo:

Hanami Matsuri, or the Cherry Blossom Festival, is when the Japanese celebrate the arrival of spring. In Amsterdam, people gather in the Amsterdam Forest to picnic under the blossoming cherry trees. The cherry blossom represents a new beginning while also referring to the transience of life. (Information gathered from the Amsterdamse Bos website)

This year, with Corona rules, people lined up for as long as an hour to see the 400 cherry trees in Blossom Park, donated to Amstelveen by the…

a poem

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

When I was a child
I didn’t have a bedroom.
My mom and I slept in one room,
and ate there as well.
Cockroaches fell on our heads
in the night,
when the light
was turned off.

Later, I was still a child,
and my dad came home
on furlough.
I didn’t know
where he had been,
only that he had to
go back again.
They said it was the hospital.

I think it might have been
somewhere else.

While my dad was there,
we moved across the hall.
I was still small,
and so was our space.
I still didn’t have…

Three things you can do to start gardening right now

Delicious strawberries, coming soon to a garden near you. Photo by Author

I’ve been gardening for more than 50 years. When the pandemic hit, I found that gardening became even more important for my health and well-being. Every year at around this time, I am ready to start gardening again. Today is a good day for you to start as well, regardless of where you live.

When it is cold and dreary out, or even when your garden is covered in snow, there are things to be done. Gardening is a year-round activity, even if some of that time is spent planning. In fact, I have always found planning your garden is…

A poem about growth

Photo by Daniel Herron on Unsplash

No, I don’t think so
No, no, thank you.
No, I’m so sorry.
No, not today.

No, I’m too busy.
No, I’m too dizzy.
No, please forgive me.
No, I can’t stay.

No, I don’t have to.
No, I don’t want to.
No, you can’t make me.
No, not for pay.

Nope-ity no
Joking, but no.
Gotta say no,
Sorry to say.

Oh no!
Just no.
Hell no.
Fuck NO.


It took me
a long time
to learn that
is a complete sentence.

© Candace LaRue 2021

In response to this prompt by Dennett

Tagging: Amanda Dalmas, Zara Everly

It was Valentine’s Day and things were still on lockdown.

Valentine’s Day 2021 Photo by author

I had entered the New Year with high hopes, but here we were, still staying in careful bubbles, social distancing when outside our homes, and communicating across multiple online platforms. “Ugh,” I thought to myself, “Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are all going to be a hot mess today.”

I checked my email quickly; there probably wouldn’t be any business messages because it’s Sunday, and there wouldn't be any Valentines’ day mail either, because right now, there aren’t any Valentine's in my life.

At least no one is asking me to do a zoom date today.

This story is the second in…


Writer, poet, gardener, life-long learner, warrior for children, lover of faerie, freedom, and joy. She/her/hers.

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