Fruit Box Castles: Poems From a Peach Rancher’s Daughter and Living through a Pandemic!.

Nature is my great source of solace and joy during this pandemic which has brought human contact and activity to a great stillness. Now is a time of physical distancing, turning inward, slowing down, finding new ways to connect on zoom, texting, talking on the phone, meditating and sending healing thoughts out to the world. The pandemic has arrived just as nature is awaking sending life out in all directions. We want to follow her too and celebrate this rebirth. Instead we must find other ways to focus our energies safely, find ways to connect virtually, and work in solitude.
Lately, I wake up at 3 a.m. my heart pounding from a nightmare. I wake and remember the virus. Slowly my heart-rate slows and I am reassured with my husband lying next to me, the cat at my feet and the dog curled up between us. But I find  being outdoors seems to center me the most. I am lucky to be in California with its relatively calm weather. Sinking my hands and boots in the mud, reaching for the great mother as we did as children to our mothers, and surrogates is where I find my grounding (no pun intended). I started spring by making piles of winter's remnants for mulch, then, sat with the garden observing. What has made it through the winter and what was offered? What has sprung up from the seeds of fall? I have so many annuals all volunteers.
After this sitting quietly and observing,  I began turning over the soil, my thoughts, amending, restoring, planting, transplanting, and caring. Here in the garden life continues. Spring has brought much needed rain to California and so much flora has awakened.  I spy my first Ladybug, and am amazed at the ingenuity of the worm burrowing into the safety of the earth. Here I dwell with the bird song of jays, sparrows, finches, mourning doves, hawks and crows. Here the garden squirrels appear for their handouts of walnuts. Here I am safe, warmed by blankets of sun on my back, and baptisms of rain. I have no profound insights, but am profoundly grateful to the garden, to the Mother earth for her continuity that is larger than my human understanding, grateful that despite the human suffering she offers hope and purpose opening her arms to us.
So, whether, you take a walk, sit on your porch, rooftop, yard, or take a ride  on your bike get out and commune with nature and of course wear a mask.

My  book of poetry, Fruit Box Castles: Poems From a Peach Rancher’s Daughter is coming out in Oct. 2020.  The book launch may be postponed till later!  It my very first chapbook that I did not publish. Thank you Finishing Line Press Press. I was a finalist in the New Women’s Voices Competition (FLP) and also nominated for a Pushcart Prize for Poetry! I guess the old saying “good things come in threes” is true.
Here are two of my poems appearing in my book:

https://paddockreview.com/2019/01/03/a-poem-by-jennifer-oneill           https://poydrasreview.com/blog/2020/1/13/bountiful
Here are some words of praise for my new book from poets you may know.

What a pleasure it was to read Jennifer’s work. Sometimes I simply sat back after reading a
poem and said aloud, Wow these are shot through with originality and love. In one
of her most powerful poems “The Alchemy of Grief,” she writes, “In theory we begin our
journeys at birth. Travel backwards moving forward.” Take that journey with her in Fruit Box
Castles.
Wendy Patrice Williams In Chaparral: Life on the Georgetown Divide, California (Cold River
Press) Bayley House Bard and Some New Forgetting. Her prose is published across the U.S

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