Greenwoman Marlaina Donato

Summer's Turning Marliana Donato (2)

Summer’s Turning by Marliana Donato

Summertime is the ideal time for connecting with other green women, so imagine my joy when Marlaina Donato wrote, sharing her art, her poetry, and an essay about her green love. Today, I’m happy to offer these literary blossoms to you.

–Sandra Knauf

A Garden 

White iris, the brides of the garden,
Toss veils of shadow against the wall.
Our hands wrist-deep in soil,
Whisper promises of roots and flowers
While the tulips flare their Gypsy skirts,
And the fountain sings in a language
Only the lilies know.
Winters from now,
I will take these out of my bag of memories
And shake off the years
To taste dappled days scented with cedar.
And flowers, well-versed in their mother’s origins,
Will tell stories about ladies wrist-deep in soil
Who had faith in seeds.

* * *

A golden umbilical cord connects me to the natural world, one going back to my parents, especially my mother. My early years were cocooned in an enchanted corner of rural Pennsylvania with an organic garden, a compost pile, and a few acres of bliss dotted with birches. I can still see us—mother and daughter—one turning the earth and the other sprinkling the seeds; our hands securing the soil, pinkies touching as we disturb the earthworm in his cool, rain-fragrant bed. I see us pausing after our work with our backs against dark-chocolate earth, dusk closing in. Robins sing the day to sleep with their plaintive liturgy, and in the gloaming, we giggle and then whisper a prayer, too.

Those years and my loved ones are lost in the dusts of that old unpaved road lined with wild roses and blackberries; now it is just me, peering from this curious rock called midlife. I claim no portion of soil as my own, but the world is my garden. My kitchen herb corner is filled with dried treasures from the meadows and lakesides of my favorite haunts. Mama’s whisper is still audible when I infuse anise hyssop from a friend’s garden or bruise marigold blooms between my fingers. Dad is still with me when I catch a fire in the air on a winter night, the scent of oak his and only his. As the seasons drift higher, one upon the other, I am still a child with a drift of August daisies in hand, wealthy beyond measure.

* * *

Marlaina Donato

Marlaina Donato is a writer for Organic Lifestyle Magazine and the author of thirteen books in the genres of fiction, body-mind-spirit, and holistic health including Naked Soul (Llewellyn, 1998 as Marlene Marie Druhan), Multidimensional Aromatherapythe novel Broken Jar, Goddess Consciousness, and Spiritual Famine in the Age of Plenty. She is also a painter and digital photographer. She lives in God’s country of rural Pennsylvania with her beloved husband, Jos. C. Donato, also an author. Visit her website at

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