In Case You Didn’t Make It…..

The causeway at Jone's Pond, along the Colonial Parkway in York County.

The causeway at Jones Pond, along the Colonial Parkway in York County.

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Just in case you didn’t make it to our beautiful area to drive along the Colonial Parkway this year, I’ll share a few of our photos from yesterday.

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Escapees from the Gospel Spreading Farm along the Parkway, near Jamestown Island.

Escapees from the Gospel Spreading Farm along the Parkway, near Jamestown Island.

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We are always astounded to notice license plates and see how far visitors have traveled just to spend a few days here, near Williamsburg.

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Sandy Bay, at the bridge onto Jamestown Island.

Sandy Bay, near the bridge onto Jamestown Island.

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It is one of the prettiest drives in the country, beginning at Jamestown on the James River and ending up on the beaches of Yorktown.  All along the way one enjoys beautiful vistas of the water, beaches, marshes, and of  course beautiful trees.  Modern life is mostly screened out as one travels along this historic road, through national park land, where eagles nest and herons fish by the side of the road.

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The path to a beach along the James River; a favorite spot for fishing and sunbathing.

The path to a beach along the James River; a favorite spot for fishing and sunbathing.

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Yesterday was a perfect autumn day; bright, golden, warmish and alive with bright colors and leaves swirling to the ground on the breeze.  It was the sort of day one fondly remembers in early February when the world has grown drab and frozen.

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Jones Pond

Jones Pond

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Yesterday was the kind of day relished by a dear friend, who left us last Monday.  His memorial service was at mid-day yesterday, and we were deeply grateful that the sun shone on him one more time.

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November 6, 2015 Parkway 032

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We drove along the familiar road remembering him, and remembering the many times we encountered one another at the various stops along the Parkway.

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November 6, 2015 Parkway 092~

We felt a need to appreciate the day all the more keenly in the wake of his loss, to soak in all of the color and life of this special place, in fond remembrance of those who have left us this year.

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College Creek at Archer's Hope

College Creek at Archer’s Hope

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So in case you haven’t gotten out leaf gazing this autumn, I hope you will enjoy these photos from our drive yesterday.

And if the trees in your community still hold scarlet and orange, screaming Ginko yellow or Gum tree purple;  please take a moment to simply appreciate the beauty of the day, the wonders unfolding around you.

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November 6, 2015 Parkway 076

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All we every truly have is ‘Now,’ and the only place we truly live is ‘Here;’ wherever your ‘here’ and ‘now’ might be.

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November 6, 2015 Parkway 029

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Please taste the sweetness of the joys each day offers us.

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November 6, 2015 Parkway 058

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Woodland Gnome 2015

NaBloPoMo_1115_298x255_badges

 

 

 

 

 

November 6, 2015 Parkway 083

 

Five Photos, Five Stories: Perspective

April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 195

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It had been a long and intense day, and I was exhausted.  After all, I was only a visitor on the West coast.  My body clock told me it was nearly 11 PM, but the sun told me it was the golden hour.

It was still at least a half hour before sunset.  My daughter and her family had just left my beach condo after a rare family dinner, and I gathered my keys and camera to head out in search of photos.

With no clear destination in mind, I headed south down Highway 101, hoping for inspiration.  The sky was filled with bulbous, ominous clouds, and although the sun glinted through as it sunk towards the horizon, rain spattered across the windshield of my rental car.

I had waited all day for this time to wander the coast alone with my camera, and now rain.

I pulled in to a favorite wide spot just across the bridge at Siletz Bay, and gamely crawled out into the drizzle.  I’ve taken photographs in the rain so many times before; I stuck to my plan.

And found this….

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 189~

These are some of my favorite photos from my entire visit  in Oregon, this past April.  The sun’s last light felt like it lingered forever.

Perhaps it is a trick of the latitude which makes the sunsets here so languorous.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 218

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The back lighting made for dramatic images of these bits of Earth poking up from the bay.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 222

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The next morning, with my sleepy granddaughter, I returned for more photos of the bay while her mother was at work.  We stopped on the near side of the bridge this time, in a little area with restaurants and shops, a pier and a boardwalk.  The sun was as bright and warm as any day on my trip; the air crisp and fresh, blowing in from the Pacific.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 252

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I settled her into her jogging stroller, without waking her, and set off to explore.

This was one of those moments when I’m happy to be a novice photographer content with a tiny little Nikon camera which fits easily in my palm or pocket.  I can operate it easily with one hand, and did just that as I pushed her stroller from smooth sidewalk onto the bumpy old dock.

And what a different view I found in the morning light!  The Bay was completely transformed.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 254

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Low tide and clear morning light gave me a completely different perspective on the scene.

This is one of the great truths of life the unfolding decades have shown me.  Our notions of reality and truth are completely shaped by our perspective.  If we can somehow shift our perspective, we’ll see the same thing in a different light.  Not only will see see it differently, but our feelings about it will shift as well.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 251

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That is why it is wise to withhold judgement for a while when we encounter someone or something new.

Our first impressions may be lasting ones, but they may not be entirely accurate.  They are true, but may not be the entire truth. 

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 258

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It is wise to wait for the wind to shift and the light to change; for the tide to turn and ourselves to grow a bit wiser… or at least let ourselves rest a bit and have some caffeine … before making any important  judgements or commitments.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 269~

But I also learned that my initial impression of this little coastal community is still the one I treasure.

This  is one of the most beautiful spots on the continent.  And I look forward to returning here again and again as my little granddaughter grows up in this spectacular place.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 264~

Barbara, at  Silver in the Barn, invited me to join the Five Photos Five Stories challenge, and this is my third post in the series.

This is a simple challenge:  To participate, you simply post a photo each day for five consecutive days, and tell a story about each photo.  The story can be truth or fiction, poetry or prose.  Each day one must also nominate a fellow blogger to participate in the challenge.

And today, I am inviting another West Coast blogger, who takes amazing photos and tells wonderfully entertaining stories, to join the challenge.

Allan and I chat about the pros and cons of using different cameras from time to time, and so I always look forward to his interesting photos.  Please visit Allan at Ohm Sweet Ohm, and I hope he is game to take up the challenge!

Woodland Gnome 2015

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Five Photos, Five Stories: Dormant Isn’t Dead

Five Photos, Five Stories: Hot

Five Photos, Five Stories: Turtle Mama

Five Photos, Five Stories: Chocolate Cake

 

WPC: Forces of Nature

Oregon coast, 2015

Oregon coast, 2015

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The physical forces of nature shape us as they shape our world.

We experience wind and water, gravity, friction and radiation every day of our lives.  But some parts of the planet feel an entirely more violent variety of Nature’s forces:  plate tectonics.

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Cascade Head from the beach at Lincoln City, Oregon

Cascade Head from the beach at Lincoln City, Oregon

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The Cascade Mountains, on the coast of our Pacific Northwest. are alive with these forces.

The Earth shudders and folds as plates collide.  Magma deforms the land as it gathers, and sometimes spews from the Earth to transform the landscape.

Huge rock formations along Oregon’s beaches remind us of this fiery heritage, even as the fault lines far out to sea come alive with fresh eruptions.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 073~

Tides rush in and recede. 

Fog settles over the beaches.  Wind blows in from the ocean, whipping loose sand into a gritty windborne wave along the beach.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 248

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Seabirds hunt for their dinner.  Friends gather together along the beach to honor sunset; and a lone photographer wanders amidst it all, wondering how a single image can capture such harmony.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 028

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The Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

Woodland Gnome 2015

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 027

Wordless Wednesday

Central Oregon coast, April 2015

Central Oregon coast, April 2015

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Photo by Woodland Gnome 2015

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 089

One Word Photo Challenge: Sun

A stranded Velella velella's sail catches sun instead of wind on the Oregon coast.

A stranded Velella velella’s sail catches sun instead of wind on the Oregon coast.

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Our sun powers all life on Earth.

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Water garden at the Newport Aquarium

Water garden at the Newport Aquarium

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The ancient Egyptians worshiped the sun as the Source of their lives, as did so many other ancient cultures.   It is still a mystery, although astrophysicists reveal more of its secrets each year.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 065~

Burning in its intensity, the sun reveals itself to us in refraction through our misty atmosphere.  Its reflected light illuminates our world by day and night.

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Siletz Bay, Oregon

Siletz Bay, Oregon

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Broken into living colors, sparkling off of water, dancing in jiggling waves through the watery depths of a pool; we think its light alive.

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"D" River Beach

“D” River Beach

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Sun, Sol; the source of all energies on Earth.  We find joy and healing in its beauty.

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Newport Aquarium

Newport Aquarium

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 With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells

for her One Word Photo Challenge:  Sun

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

Back To My Garden

Siletz Bay, Oregon

Siletz Bay, Oregon

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I’m finally back to my own garden after a little more than a week enjoyed along the Oregon coast.

Arriving home this morning around 1 AM, I was delighted to find the Azaleas still vividly opening, the trees covered in bright new leaves, and the first of the golden bearded Iris in bloom.  Cannas have poked their first leaves up through the mulch, and the geraniums we brought out of winter storage just before I left have sprouted new leaves along their bare stems.

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"D" River State Park at sunset

“D” River State Park at sunset

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How wonderful to be back at home in my own garden!

The week in Oregon with family was a wonderful gift, and I enjoyed every minute of the trip.

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Siletz Bay, low tide

Siletz Bay, low tide

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Oregon is stunningly beautiful, especially along the coast.  This time, Ricki at Sprig to Twig  had tipped me off to visit the Connie Hanson Garden.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 647~

You will see many of the photos I took there over the next few days.  What a treasure of gorgeous Iris, Rhododendrons, ferns, Columbine, and countless other perennials, bulbs, trees, and shrubs gathered in a peaceful setting maintained by volunteers.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 639

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Some of you know the real reason for my trip, which centered on spending some extended quality time with a certain very little person who is happily learning to walk and do so many new things.

These precious first years are so special and fleeting.  Many of the photos I’ll share with you over the next few days were taken while also pushing a stroller and enjoying all of this amazing beauty with her.

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Granddaughter and I enjoyed the Connie Hanson gardens together.

Granddaughter and I enjoyed the Connie Hanson gardens together.

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This was my first trip to Oregon in April.  Oregon’s spring came early this year, after a very mild winter.  Still, the gardens along the coast are only a week or so ahead of ours at this point.  We’ve caught up quickly. 

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The garden across the street from our beach access stairs....

The garden across the street from our beach access stairs….

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Oregonians are tremendous gardeners.  The humblest little cottages have Rhododendrons and Callas, Azaleas, Iris, ferns and Rosemary in bloom in their tiny yards.  Abundant rain and a mild climate nurture such lush and vivid growth.  A simple drive to the grocery or the next town down the coast is filled with beautiful sights.

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Another gardener's garden along the way of our walks...

Another gardener’s garden along the way of our walks…

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A week with spotty Wi-Fi, a hand held tablet, and very full schedule precluded much posting to Forest Garden; but I checked in to read comments and see others’ blogs as I was able.  I wasn’t there long enough to adjust to PDT, and kept thinking (and living) dually in EDT and PDT.

Sleep wasn’t high on the agenda for the week.  But I watched every sunset and walked the beach every evening that weather permitted, fully aware that friends and family back in Virginia were approaching midnight as the last rays of daylight drained from the sky over the Pacific.

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Monday evening, at nearly 9 PM, but I was on the deck enjoying this sunset.

Monday evening, at nearly 9 PM, but I was on the deck enjoying this sunset.

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Bags unpacked, first dinner home cooked, cat groomed and photos downloaded; I’m settling in to home again.  My partner and I have admired the garden together, and my mental list of things to do in the garden keeps growing.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 418

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But a tender part of my heart remains on the Oregon coast, with a certain little someone who is blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 610~

She can hear seals barking to one another from the beach, see whales swimming off the coast, fall asleep listing to the calls of sea birds, and grow up among the beautiful forests which cling to the mountains near her home.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 443~

While away, I took about a hundred photos a day.  And my heart took more still.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 511

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One of the most beautiful sights, which no camera could capture, was a golden sunset streaming through the clouds as we approached ORD last evening.  It was cool and rainy on the ground.  But on the approach, a tremendous vertical rainbow appeared in the clouds; a column of vivid color where the sun’s rays illuminated the interior of the clouds.

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Along the walk to the kids' play area at the aquarium in Newport, OR.

Along the walk to the kids’ play area at the aquarium in Newport, OR.

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The week has been about light and shadow, growth, rain, and new beginnings.  I hope you will enjoy sharing a bit of it with me.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 662

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Woodland Gnome 2015

… To Preserve This Beautiful Planet …

Late February, 2015

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“I begin with nature today, which gives us so much, including the amazing opportunities for photography. Hence it must be our duty to preserve this beautiful  planet, in whatever small way we can in our own capacity.

This is the best gift we can give to our coming generations.”

Suyash Chopra

This morning, while looking at a series of photos Suyash recently published in black and white, I found this beautiful thought.  I resonate with Suyash’s understanding of photography as a sacred act, as a way to “preserve this beautiful planet, in whatever small way we can.”

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April, 2014

April, 2014

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Gardening allows me a very immediate and hands on opportunity to preserve the tiny bit of our planet’s ecosystem within our garden.  Planting for wildlife habitat, protecting the soil, increasing diversity, and using sustainable, organic practices all help to make this tiny garden lush, beautiful, and life sustaining for many species- including ourselves.

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Female Tiger Swallowtail on Lantana.  Lantana is the most visited plant in our garden by both butterflies and hummingbirds.

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But this is only a first effort.  Writing about it and sharing its beauty with others through photographs; nurturing friendships with other gardeners and building community, allows this harmonic to resonate around the planet. I am keenly interested in gardens from Portland Oregon and Conway Massachusetts to Queensland Australia; Greenville, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina to Brussells, England, Puerto Rico and New Zealand.  Through reading about other gardener’s efforts, and seeing photos of their gardens in progress, I absorb their ideas, their passion, and their ecology.

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October, 2014

October, 2014

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Suyash invites us to enlarge the context of how we think about our own photography.  Reflecting on his words,  I’m reminded of photos, published nearly a century ago, documenting glaciers in our national parks.  Seeing those photos again, alongside current photos of the same topography, documents the profound changes to our planet in a tiny span of geologic time.

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September, 2010

Oregon coast, September, 2010

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Comparing my own photos taken on west coast beaches in 2010 with those taken this past fall demonstrates, with sickening clarity, the terrible loss of life along our coast.  Tidal pools filled to overflowing with starfish, sea urchins, mollusks and small fish in 2010 sit nearly empty today.

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September 2014

Oregon coast, September 2014

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While mussels and barnacles still thrive along these beaches, the starfish and sea urchins are nearly gone and the sea anemones reduced.  Our planet’s ocean harbors trash and toxic chemicals, petroleum, radioactivity, and acidity which turn great expanses of living ocean into watery desert.

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September 2014

September 2014

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Preserving the beauty of our quickly changing planet through our photographs, to share with later generations, somehow elevates photography from hobby to historic trust.  I had not really thought of my own photographs in quite this way until reading Suyash’s words today.

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August 2014 Virginia

Virginia, August 2014

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These photographs I take each day, recording our own garden and the changing of seasons in our greater community, serve a larger purpose.  They not only entertain, they document.  They share not only beauty, but also an aesthetic of beauty and vibrant organic life so important to our own well being.

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College Creek, Virginia, August 2014

College Creek, Virginia, August 2014

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As more of our planet sleeps under pavement and architecture, living soil buried beneath concrete and asphalt; those areas left to grow and support life shrink with each passing day.

Even in our own community we watch trees felled and marshes filled as developers try to turn a profit with new homes and commerce.  Where do animals go once their habitats are destroyed?  Who digs and moves the native plants?  The answers are all too clear, and too poignant to frame with words.

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August 28, 2014 turtles 061

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And so the photos we take today, the photos our parents and grandparents took decades ago; serve to document the beauty of nature which remains.

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August 22, 2014 Parkway 031

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And perhaps they will inspire someone to value and nurture organic, life filled beauty in their own tiny bit of the planet.  Perhaps they will spark a memory of when mankind truly did inhabit ‘the garden.’

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August 19, 2014 lavender 019~

“The more clearly we can focus our attention

on the wonders and realities of the universe about us,

the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
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Rachel Carson

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November 18, 2014 moss 029

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“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn”
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Ralph Waldo Emerson

Woodland Gnome 2015

Keeping Company

February 28. 2015 parkway 043

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Keeping company just makes it feel warmer, sometimes.  Sitting close, holding hands; flocking together. 

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February 28. 2015 parkway 032

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We took off together this afternoon, with the world slowly melting around us back towards its normal self.  We wanted to see the familiar landscape of the Colonial Parkway under snow.

Silly us thought we’d have the place to ourselves.

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February 28. 2015 parkway 008

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But no, lots of others had the same idea today; flocking together along the snow-narrowed roads between frozen “guard rails” of snow pushed up by the plows.

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February 28. 2015 parkway 001

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Save for the sky, it was a “black and white” world of bare trees and pristine snow.  And birds.  Flocks of birds blown up the James from the coast filled the shallows of Sandy Bay, keeping one another company, and hoping for a bit of warmth from the sun.

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February 28. 2015 parkway 036

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Snow still covers the sandy beach along the James River, but two sunny days in a row have melted much of the ice cover off of the waterways.  Sheets of ice still cling along shaded north facing banks and snow still covers the push ups in the marsh.

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February 28. 2015 parkway 009

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Can you imagine snuggling up with your mate in a winter home of frozen mud?  I shiver just thinking of it, knowing that each of these snow-covered push-ups houses a sleeping family of muskrats waiting out the weather.

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February 28. 2015 parkway 044

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Saturday’s sunshine brought us out of our hibernation for a few hours.

It was enough to feel a little warmth against the still frozen winds whipping off of the river. The urge to get out and move again is intense, and we were only a little surprised to share the road with bicyclists in thermal suits today.  Their happiness in the sunny day was contagious.

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February 28. 2015 parkway 041

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Longer days send their own signals to the trees, and many show swelling and opening buds despite the snow.  We’re nearly at the spring equinox, coming very soon in the third week of March.  Daylight Savings Time starts again next weekend, believe it or not.

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February 28. 2015 parkway 030

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Each passing day brings us a little more light; a little more solar warmth  in spite of the wintery weather map.

But wintery it is, still.  Snow melting off of our roof refreezes into hanging icicles.

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February 28. 2015 parkway 016

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The waterways will be solid ice again by morning, and the roads will be icy, too.  Probably a good day to stay at home, and keep one another company.

 

Woodland Gnome 2015

Wild-Life

January 4, 2014 garden 029

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“Patience, he thought.

So much of this was patience – waiting,

and thinking and doing things right.

So much of all this, so much of all living

was patience and thinking.”

Gary Paulsen,  from Hatchet

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January 4, 2014 garden 021

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

One Word Photo Challenge: Taupe

Redbud tree seedpods

Redbud tree seedpods

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Taupe: Tan, brownish grey or greyish brown; 

Khaki?

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November 28, 2014 thanksgiving 074

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Not my favorite color, but sadly, much of our garden fades to taupe in winter.

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December 5, 2014 ornaments 003

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This is the dried out husky color of dead grasses.

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December 3, 2014 CW wreathes 165

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The bleached left-over color of fallen leaves and dried seed pods. 

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December  11, 2014 cold 045

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It is the background, the default; Nature’s neutral. 

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December 12, 2014 ornaments 003

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It cloaks the marshes and carpets the forest floor. 

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December  11, 2014 cold 090

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We distract ourselves in December with pine green, berry red, cone brown. 

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December 3, 2014 CW wreathes 170

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We gild it all with frost and snow. 

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November 28, 2014 thanksgiving 063

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But Taupe is patiently waiting. 

It’s death-mask tranquility will still greet us

in January, February, March. 

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 December  11, 2014 cold 044

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Beaten by rain, blown by wind, bleached by sun, rotted by time;

Taupe will not  surrender

Until it is overpowered with fresh spring green growth.

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December 3, 2014 CW wreathes 185

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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March 31 2014 flowers 007

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her

One Word Photo Challenge:  Taupe

Our Forest Garden- The Journey Continues

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A new site allows me to continue posting new content since after more than 1700 posts there is no more room on this site.  -WG

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