Wild Life Wednesday: All Calm Before the Storm

~

It was gently raining when we awakened this morning, but the sun was breaking through along the horizon by the time we made it outside into the new day.

~

An early morning bumbly enjoys the sweetness of Rudbeckia laciniata.

~

We are all very conscious of the weather here in coastal Virginia this week as we watch the updates on the progress of Hurricane Florence.  We are on high ground and so flooding isn’t a concern.  But we live in a forest, and any amount of wind can change the landscape here; especially when the ground is saturated.

~

The Solidago, goldenrod, has just begun to bloom.

~

It looks as though the storm will make landfall far to our south, and the track no longer suggests it might travel northwards into Central Virginia.  Yet Florence remains a dangerous storm, and is absolutely huge.  We may start feeling its outer bands of rain and wind sometime tomorrow or Friday.

~

Rose of Sharon

~

Which made today all the sweeter.  Do you know the Japanese term, Wabi-Sabi?  The Japanese find beauty in the transience and ultimate imperfection of all phenomena.  The impermanence and changeability of the world around us heightens our appreciation of its beauty.  We can appreciate things while feeling a deep tenderness for their inherent imperfection.

I was pondering these things this morning as I wandered through our upper garden, wondering how it might appear in a day or so after wind and heavy rain have their way with it.  Already, our tall goldenrod and black-eyed Susans lean over into the paths, making them almost disappear in the abundance of growth.

~

~

It is my first time wandering through the garden like this since I got a nasty insect bite last Friday afternoon.  It is still a mystery what bit me, as I was fully armored to work outdoors.  It was a small bite at first, but quickly blistered and swelled up to a massive angry red blotch that stretched several inches away from the original bite on my knee.  It has been a slow process of tending it, and I stayed indoors until yesterday, hoping to avoid another until this one was resolved.

~

Ginger lily with orbs

~

But today I was out in the early morning wetness, capturing the beauty of it, and trying to ignore the mosquitoes greeting me along the way.  I wanted to see everything and admire everything on the chance that the coming storm will shatter its early September magnificence.  It was the beautiful calm before the storm, and we have taken today to celebrate it.

~

~

The rain was past and the day gilded with golden September sunshine when we set out along the Colonial Parkway to see the sky and watch the rising waters along the James and York Rivers.  If you’ve never seen the sky filled with enormous, rain shadowed clouds in the day or two before a hurricane approaches, you’ve missed one of the most beautiful spectacles of atmospheric art.

~

Yorktown Beach, looking northwards towards Gloucester Point and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science

~

The clouds are arrayed in regular, rhythmic patterns, punctuated here and there with towering, monstrous storm clouds.  The sky is blue and clear beyond them.  They float rapidly across the sky, these outer bands of the approaching storm.  These days of waiting are moody, morphing quickly from dull to golden and clear blue to stormy grey.

~

~

One keeps an eye on the sky while pacing through the rituals of preparing.   There is an edge to the mood as highways fill with strangers moving northwards, inland, away from home and into an uncertain future.  We encountered one today at the next gas pump who needed to tell us he was traveling, just passing through, on his journey to somewhere safer than here.

~

~

We found a nearby parking lot filled this morning with state police, huge generators, Klieg lights, and emergency response trailers.  The lot was filled at eight, but emptying out just a few hours later.  We’re still wondering where the equipment will ultimately end up.  We hope not here…

~

Jones Mill Pond, near Yorktown on the Colonial Parkway

~

I wondered whether the butterflies would move out ahead of the storm.  But we counted more than a dozen as we drove along the Parkway from Jamestown to Yorktown.   We saw mostly small ones, Sulphurs, but we were glad for their happy fluttering along the roadside.  We noticed the tide is already high along the way.  Jamestown Island is closed as preparations there continue.

~

~

The rivers lap high up into the reeds, mostly covering the narrow, sandy river beaches.  The York River is already climbing the rip rap hardened banks constructed a few summers ago to protect the shoreline.  Small Coast Guard craft patrolled the river near Yorktown, but that didn’t deter a few families here and there, determined to enjoy this bright and sultry day at the beach.

~

The York River, looking eastwards towards the Bay.

~

The lizards were scampering around the drive and back steps when we returned home.  They’d been basking in the mid-day sun; our return disturbed their peace.

The squirrels had been at the grapes again, and we saw a pair of hummingbirds light in a Rose of Sharon tree nearby, watching us arrive.

It was too silent, though.  We didn’t hear the usual chatter of songbirds in the trees.  It was still, too.  Though the wind was blowing off the rivers, here the air hung heavy and still.

~

Our Muscadine grapes are ripening over a long season.

~

I believe in luck and omens, and perhaps that is why I planted a few little pots of Baptisia seeds this morning.  I’d knicked the seed pods from a plant I’ve watched growing all summer at the Botanical garden, and carried them in my pocket for weeks.

~

~

With the seeds tucked into little pots out on the deck, I’m already thinking of the sprouts that will soon emerge.  Life goes on.  I believe that is the wisdom of wabi-sabi.

No matter the current circumstance, change is constant.  We can’t outrun it, or stop it.  Wisdom invites us to embrace it, observe its power, and find the ever-present beauty, come what may.

~

This beautiful cluster of lichens was waiting for me beneath a shrub this morning.

~

Woodland Gnome 2018
*  *  *
“To Taoism that which is absolutely still or absolutely perfect
is absolutely dead,
for without the possibility of growth and change there can be no Tao.
In reality there is nothing in the universe
which is completely perfect or completely still;
it is only in the minds of men that such concepts exist.”
.
Alan Watts

~

~

“But when does something’s destiny finally come to fruition?
Is the plant complete when it flowers?
When it goes to seed? When the seeds sprout?
When everything turns into compost?”
.
Leonard Koren

~

Begonia

 

Advertisements

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

28 responses to “Wild Life Wednesday: All Calm Before the Storm

  1. Sorry about the bite – could be a spider? Bicarbonate for bee stings (B4B), vinegar or lemon for wasps…..one is acidic, one alkaline.

  2. We do not get hurricanes here, but I can remember local parking lots filling up with people migrating away from areas being evacuated for fires.

  3. Lovely post as always – thinking of you when the storm hits and looking forward to hearing how the garden and yourselves fared.

    • Thank you so much, Cathy. All good wishes appreciated so much. Thus far we’ve only had some rain, but already some of the taller perennials are falling over. C’est la vie ❤ ❤ ❤ We keep in mind and heart our neighbors along the coast who face much graver worries this week.

  4. ps
    have you ever tried activated charcoal for bites.
    it is amazing amazing amazing

    • I’ll have to find some . Thanks for the tip😊

      • walmart sells the capsules – 6 dollars a bootle and you open a couple caps and apply –
        really awesome for other things.
        I hope to post about activated charcoal later this year – I want to do a series of health posts but whew -all in due time – eh?

        • All in time- but what a really helpful idea! An herbal healer had recently told me about using clove oil on bad insect bites- especially tick bites. I used clove oil and poultices of moist baking soda the first few days, with regular ice packs. That is what helped a lot. But finally, I had to give in and take an antihistamine to really clear it up so I could get past ice and elevation and back to work. I’ll pick up some charcoal and give that a try should I get another nasty bite. I’m sure it draws the poison out, like baking soda does. Thanks for the tip, Yvette! ❤ ❤ ❤

          • right on – and clove oil is a item I love – and it is special in the herb and essential oil world for its power antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. and oregano oil is up there with the power ones – (which you might already know) and in some healing protocols we use clove for egg parasites – because it is particularly good for the egg cycle if someone is on a parasite cleanse. The trio is usually wormwood, black walnut hull, and then clove. Many herbalists (of which I am not – ha) have that formula for that –
            oh and clove is just good for so much –
            but here is what i have learned about the power of activated charcoal.

            it started a few years ago – a vet in my yoga class was telling us how they use it for pets who have consumer something dangerous. They give it orally and via IV and enema.
            Same at hospital. Activated charcoal is what the college-binging drunk gets when they get wheeled into ER.
            – Dave Asprey – of the bullet proof blog – also shared how activated charcoal can help if you have an upset tummy or think you had bad food –
            and then – well – so many more things – and first hand I know it can draw out toxins and my personal uses are too long to share now.
            but do need to share two more stories.
            son’s gf went to patient first with a spider bite.
            we told her to try the charcoal – but she went there – they kept marking the size of the bot and used a marker to note the expanding and it was non-sensical – they sent her home gave her antibiotics and told her to check back in – and all that – she looked online and saw the charcoal suggestion – made a poultice and within 90 minutes (canhged it three times) the redness was down and it shrunk 80% –
            she tossed her bottle of whatever it was –

            and some folks use charcoal on the gums to draw out metals from dental work or to heal old infections that might have lingering bacteria in gum line.

            so anyhow, the clove is wonderful and while it attacks pathogens and can reduce inflamation and heal (even dentists use a blend of clove oil to heal gums – woo hoo)
            but activated charcoal PULLS and draws toxins and it is one of the most wonderful items to have.
            Some suggest that if people use ot for intestinal healing – like if they take 2 caps 3 x a day – they should also take it with fiber to move it along through the system and then make sure to take some vitamin and mineral supps.
            but the charcoal also chelates –

            • This is wonderful , Yvette , Thank you for this wealth of information ! I will get some act. charcoal as soon as we can get out to the store , and do more research about it online . What a valuable and potent healer to keep on hand . Thank you for sharing all of this . 😊

              • my pleasure and I wish I had known about it years ago.

                And um…
                I also use it if I have a beer with dinner – wow – got that tip from the bullet proof guy – feel better the next day and able to enjoy a tasty brew –

  5. excellent post and did not know about wabi sabi = and I need to share that in an upcoming post (hope you do not mind – ) I am going to be writing about a Japanese term for overwork called “karoshi”
    and so awesome to learn this.

    I hope the equipment does not end up here also –
    and enjoyed the flow of the post
    with your
    atmospheric art.

  6. Stay safe! We may get high winds and flooding here in northeast Georgia.

  7. Hope you, your garden and critters are safe from the storm. It looks like it’s a strong one.

We always appreciate your comments. Thank you for adding your insight to the conversation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 611 other followers

Follow Forest Garden on WordPress.com
Order Classic Caladiums

This Month’s Posts

Topics of Interest

%d bloggers like this: