Sunday, April 24, 2022

Ode to the Minuscule


Ode to the Minuscule

To worm castings –
bubbles of fresh soil,
froth of loam.

To beech’s leaf buds –
tightly wrapped
bronze spikes.

To Squirrel Corn –
your heart on your sleeve,
treasures hidden at your feet.

To Harbingers of Spring –
salt and pepper
of the forest floor.

To gnat –
the first Trillium Grandiflorum
is all yours.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

This Earth Day weekend, I traveled to South Bend, IN to celebrate the life of April Pulley Sayre. On Friday afternoon, between rain showers, April's husband, Jeff, took us on a wildflower walk through April's favorite woods. All but the worm castings were sighted there. Those I spotted as we walked to Lake Marian Island before the luncheon on Saturday. 

During the memorial service, I jotted this note about April's belief: we can "...change the world by changing the way we look at it." Yes, we need to look at the big picture. Yes, we need to give everything we've got to reversing the warming of our planet. And yes, we need to seek out and appreciate all of the tiny intricate wonders of the natural world.

The photo of worm castings is via Project Noah, and the beech leaf bud is via Wikimedia Commons. The others are photos I took on Jeff's nature walk.

earthworm castings

beech leaf bud

Squirrel Corn

Harbinger of Spring ("Salt and Pepper")

Trillium Grandiflorum (can you spot the gnat?)


  1. Yes, I spot the gnat & all the other wonders. Thank you for sharing your poignant trip, Mary Lee. It feels as if April was nodding 'yes, look' to you all.

  2. Another one I absolutely love, Mary Lee. "Froth of loam"... really? Seriously, how good is that!

  3. It is positively refreshing to take a moment with the miniscule after carrying the weight of the major for too long. The language here is wondrous, especially that first stanza, and I learned some plants I didn't know--squirrel corn?! I'm so glad you spent time with April's memory. Our Earth Day book was THANK YOU, EARTH. What genius.