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 I dreamt orange, red and yellow poppies 
were sprouting from my legs... 

I used a small hand mower to shave the wild flowers and they regrew.

You are nature, I was told.

In my winter garden, I see the plants resting as I breathe the mistiness of the frosty dew. I feel the wet moss underfoot. I feel the icy ground water seep into my aching soul as I tap into a dormant leaf of my crimson heart; we share the same veins.

I see myself as a garden transforming through the seasons.

The colors are muted shades of raw honey, weather worn as a piece of driftwood and somehow itching to be reborn.

~Photograph by the author~
My garden has stories, like we all do. I remember who gave me what plant or which ones were rescued from the half-price bin. I take home the neglected plants and tend to them like they are an extension of me.

The bedraggled, brownish and limped leaf ones are often the strongest and most radiant given some love.

A lot like people.

Give them time and they will bloom.

I can get rather melancholy at this time of year. It’s reflective and introspective too. 

I am looking through the gray and the bleak to find a pocket of love and light.

The other day the tenacious flutter of a hummingbird parted my pensive mood.  He seemed to relay a message in his persistent attempts to sip nectar from a faded honeysuckle blossom.

What seems impossible and fraught with obstacles is a well-worn path to the bounty of sweet nectar.

There’s uneasiness in this personal transformation. I don’t particular enjoy feeling this way.

I’m in limbo.

'Compose:Decompose' Conceptual Photography by Brooke Shaden

I am swirling in a layered stream of decay and dust, much like my compost pile. 

I’m fermenting to create that rich, sweet humus, a spiritual layer to cultivate my roots.

My garden is tired and so am I. I need this long winter to refuel. 

As the seasons change, pruning and tending will be added to my meditation.  

For now, I sip hot Tusli tea, laced with honey and lemon while cocooned in a nest of soft blankets. I’m giving myself permission to rest while I listen to my heart for the sounds of spring.

It’s the sound of love, a big love filled with continuous rebirths as I meditate through this wintery refuge.

My Soul is a Winter Garden

Four corners
Four points
Like a tree
Roots solid
Branches lifted
Like the universe and infinity
The leaves swirl to an imaginary dance
The veins of life or leaf, pulsate
Even in a withered petal
Dormant in rest
Yet Alive
Hidden in slumber
Yet revealed
Our challenges are doors to be opened
Awakened leads to awareness
Change is here.

Carolyn Riker is a mom, teacher, gardener.  She enjoys quiet time with nature, books and music.  Carolyn continually loves learning about yoga, meditation, Auryveda and Vedic astrology. She has recently begun publishing articles with Elephant Journal. Click here to sample her piece called “Let Your Heart Be Your Guide”. You may get in touch with Carolyn at

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 


  1. I am drinking in this piece like manna, feeling every single pulse of the words between the words.
    Deep Gratitude for this Exquisite Expression of Becoming Whole....

  2. Mary, thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to read it! Much love and gratitude!

  3. Pardesi winters', The rosegarden of mystery, Life's theophany.

    The PoetAster@Large.


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