Water Views

 

College Creek, a tributary of the James River.

College Creek, a tributary of the James River.

 

Forest Garden, and all of the Williamsburg area in fact, exist on a series of peninsulas.

We sometimes joke about living on “Williamsburg Island,” because water surrounds our area.

 

The York River, to our north.

The York River, to our north.

 

The Chesapeake Bay divides us from the Delmarva Peninsula, and then the Atlantic Ocean rolls in further east.

Our little finger of land is bound by the York River to the north and the James River to our south.

 

The James River, to our south

The James River, to our south

 

There are so many little creeks and ponds, bays, tributaries, reservoirs and rivers that we cross numerous bridges, large and small, to go anywhere.

Even our “Peninsula”, the term for our area on the local evening news, has its own little peninsulas.

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Our geography is formed by flowing water and the tides.  

Much of the real estate is at sea level here.

On Jamestown Island, where archeologiests race with the rising river to complete their work.

On Jamestown Island, where archeologists race with the rising river to complete their work.

 

That would be the rapidly rising sea level, caused in part by subsidence;  sinking land all around the Chesapeake Bay.

Fringes of marsh border most of the dry land here.

The banks of our main rivers and creeks were recently “hardened” by government contractors bringing in truckloads of granite rock to hold the land in place.

 

Powhatan Creek

Powhatan Creek

Rock is something we rarely see here, unless it has been imported.

Far more frequently, we see shells.

In fact, it is commonplace to find oyster shells dropped over the garden by a snacking bird.

 

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We love the water. 

We love watching its changing moods, and the quality of light reflecting from its surface at all times of day and in all sorts of weather.

Jones Mill Pond

Jones Mill Pond

 

We enjoy watching the changing year reflected in the water which surrounds our home.

 

Passmore Creek

Passmore Creek

 

Like all of the elements on Earth, water can be life-giving or deadly;  destructive or beautiful.

 

Indian Field Creek

Indian Field Creek

 

Yet we are drawn to live near flowing water.

Our bits of forest are always bounded by water.

 

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And those waterways were once the highways here.

In earlier times, before our modern roads were built, most travel was by small boat.

The Colonial Parkway skirts or crosses many waterways on its journey from Jamestown on the James to Yorktown on the York RIver.

The Colonial Parkway skirts or crosses many waterways on its journey from Jamestown on the James to Yorktown on the York RIver.

 

Most homes were built near water, and the waterways provided a rich variety of clams and oysters, fish, duck, and goose for food.

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And so we still are drawn to drink in the beauty of the water views which surround us.

Never attracted to inland life, we find happiness on the edges where land and water meet.

 

College Creek, explored by the Spanish in the late 16th Century, was passed over for settlement by the 1607 English colonists who chose Jamestown instead.

College Creek, explored by the Spanish in the late 16th Century, was passed over for settlement by the 1607 English colonists, who chose Jamestown instead.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

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A Walk About

The Camellia in full bloom along my driveway, setting out for a walk about the nieghborhood.

The Camellia in full bloom along our own driveway, setting out for a walk about the neighborhood.

 

Last evening was the perfect everything for a walk about the neighborhood.

When I set out in late afternoon it was  clear and sunny; not too hot or too cold.

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All in all it was the perfect opportunity to get out and see the wider world beyond our own garden, and I had the time to enjoy it.

The roses beside our driveway have come into bloom again.

The roses beside our driveway have come into bloom again.

 

My first destination was the home of friends.  A friend and I were splitting a bag of daffodil bulbs, and I had a delivery to make.

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From there, I made my way down the quiet streets of our neighborhood towards the pond.  Families were out walking their dogs and spending time with children.

Looking across the pond, the homes are still mostly hidden by trees.

Looking across the pond, the homes are still mostly hidden by trees.

The light faded quickly in this late October sky, and I wanted to make it to the Creek before sunset.

Down another friends’ driveway one finds the dusty pine needle covered path across an earthen dam separating our pond from the creek.

The path is heavily wooded.

The path is heavily wooded.

Trees have grown here on both sides of the path, making it harder to see through to the water.  Birds and squirrels chatter at the intrusion into their private world.  I could hear the voices of children in the distance.  The homes ringing the pond are still mostly hidden behind the trees.

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It is nice to be able to walk back here again.  Many of us avoid this path once the weather warms each spring.  There are ticks and chiggers, mosquitoes and who knows what else in the heavy underbrush.

But by autumn, it isn’t quite so hazardous.  Or perhaps with long pants, hat and a jacket it just feels like a safer path to take!

I can see streaks of pink and purple gathering in the sky over the creek as I emerge through another driveway back to the city street.  I cut across past the playground, across the deck, and down towards the dock.  Darkness gathers, and I wonder whether these photos will turn out at all.

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With no street lights, and no flashlight,  it is best not to linger by the water for long.  There is the long climb ahead on the pathway home. 

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Turning my back to the sunset, I head out across the open field and into the shadows of the tree lined street.  Nothing I’m wearing is light or reflective.  It is way too dark here for photos, so my camera goes back into the relative safety of my jacket pocket.

It is a long steep climb.  The exercise feels good, and it reminds me to make this hike a bit more often.

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And not a single car passes on this leg of the journey.  No children’s voices sing out, no dogs bark, and no other walkers call greetings.

An occasional lighted window gives the only evidence of neighbors at home along the way.  Most are probably out for dinner on this Friday evening.

The glow of lamplight greets me as I near my own driveway once again.  My partner has turned on every outside light to greet me.

But even that pales in comparison to the sky, which has turned a fiery orangey pink in the space of only a few minutes.  I can see it again now, above my neighbor’s roof line as I turn towards home.  What beauty!

In another few weeks, once the leaves have fallen, the sky will open up to us once again at sunset.  For now we peek between the trees and above the neighbors’ roofs, basking in the reflected glow of it in the garden.

And I’m basking in the peace of it all.

I made it back home before dark settled completely across the community, knowing this should become a part of my routine during these gorgeous autumn days.

 

Robin challenged those of us who follow her blog to take a walk and post about it. 

This challenge is called “Walktober.”  Robin will gather up all of these posts, and publish links, so we can go along with one another to the interesting and beautiful places we have all visited. 

I hope you will follow the link back to Robin’s “Breezes at Dawn” blog to join her for her walk on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Shortly, I’ll publish a link back to all of the “Walktober” posts so you can come along, too.

 

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

Walktober  by Eliza Waters

 

Wonderful Walktober Walks by Robin, Breezes at Dawn

A Touch of Scarlet

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What is your favorite autumn color? 

A preposterous question, I know.  Sort of like, “Which is your favorite child?” or “Where is your favorite beach?”

Each autumn color has its own place in the progression, and its own astounding beauty.

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Just as the bare branches against a winter sunset display an elegance all their own.

But,  early in the season, I am always delighted to find a touch of scarlet amidst the still mostly green forest.

Euonymus alatus, known as Burning Bush, begins to turn scarlet in late summer.

Euonymus alatus, known as Burning Bush, begins to turn scarlet in early autumn.  These shrubs, common in our community, crop up as “volunteers” in wooded areas.  Originally imported from Asia, it is considered an invasive species in many areas along the East Coast of the United States.

 

Scarlet jumps out from the masses with its invitation to revel in the pleasures of autumn:  Fresh apples, freshly pressed cider, pumpkins, and woodsmoke on the evening breeze.

Birds enjoy the Euonymus berries, and we enjoy its scarlet leaves.

Birds enjoy the Euonymus berries, and we enjoy its scarlet leaves.

 

And much of the scarlet in our early fall landscape appears from the incidental “wild” things we might not even plant in our gardens:  Virginia  Creeper and other vines, Staghorn Sumac, “The Devil’s Walking Stick” tree, and native Dogwoods.

Dogwood

Dogwood berries feed migrating birds over many weeks.

 

I believe it is in some way a reward for allowing these wild native plants space in our gardens.

Even Poison Ivy turns scarlet each autumn.

Even Poison Ivy turns scarlet each autumn.  Although it creates a terrible rash when we touch it, Poison Ivy is an important plant for birds and nectar loving insects.

 

We  watch for these gorgeous reds as we drive around Williamsburg, deeply satisfied with every sighting of scarlet.

Virginia Creeper lights up this tree on the Colonial Parkway

Virginia Creeper lights up this tree on the Colonial Parkway

They preview the beauty about to unfold as our forests blaze into color.

We heard, earlier this week on the Weather Channel, that our  forecast for  peak fall color has been pushed back to early November this year.

That would be the latest ever for peak color in central Virginia; at least in modern times.

Staghorn Sumac sports scarlet leaves and burgundy berries.

Winged Sumac,  Rhus copallina, sports scarlet leaves and burgundy berries.

 

A friend and I discussed the strange autumn weather  as we inspected her Passiflora vine, showing new growth and tiny flower buds, this afternoon.

There are Paperwhite flowers already in full bloom on our street.  A strange sight indeed, this early in the season, before our first frost. 

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What has caused the strange timing of our seasons this year?  Is it the  pole shift?  Climate change?   Radiation in the atmosphere?

We are both keen observers of the unfolding seasons.

 

Pineapple sage lights up our garden in October.

Pineapple sage lights up our garden in October.

 

And we’re wondering whether it is still too early to plant our daffodil bulbs this year.  There’s talk of some afternoon temperatures close to 80 degrees for us next week….

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But some of the Sumacs have already dropped their leaves.  And the trees across the creek get a bit brighter with each passing day.

Looking across College Creek this morning, watching it get a bit brighter each day.

Looking across College Creek this morning, watching it get a bit brighter each day.

 

The Dogwood berries shine scarlet in the sunshine, and I have faith that this touch of scarlet will soon spread far and wide as autumn comes suddenly upon us once again.

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

Paperwhites in bloom on October 15.

Paperwhites in bloom on October 15.

 

The Butterfly Effect

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After a summer spent watching for butterflies, we celebrate each one which crosses our path this October.

I say, “Crossing our path” intentionally.  We  cringed each time a Monarch came fluttering towards the windshield as we drove along  the Colonial Parkway this weekend.

We believe they all survived, carried in the wind over the roof of our car and safely on their journey.

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Often, as I stopped to take photos, familiar orange and black wings lit somewhere nearby.

Monarchs and Painted Ladies  delight us as they flutter around our garden on these warm, late October afternoons.

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A Painted Lady enjoys nectar from Lantana in our garden.

 

Paging through the new “Winter” issue of Arts and Crafts Homes,  I was a little surprised to see a photo of Monarch butterflies crowded on an evergreen branch.  Since the butterfly is a common motif in “Arts and Crafts” decor, the decline in our butterfly population rated an article even here.

Artist Amy Miller is raising Monarch butterflies in her kitchen!

The article explains how Amy set up a “mating tent” made of mosquito netting in her home,  stocked with nectar flowers and fresh milkweed.  Amy brings pairs of butterflies to the tent, releasing the males back into the wild after mating.  Females are kept until they lay their eggs on the milkweed.

Amy carefully raises the caterpillars until mature butterflies emerge.  Thus far, Amy has released more than 500 adult monarchs back into the wild.  Her 27 acre property along Wisconsin’s Trimbelle  River, is a natural habitat for Monarchs.

 

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Also mentioned was fellow blogger Kim Smith, who initiated the Cape Ann Milkweed Project  in Gloucester, Massachusetts.  Kim distributes milkweed seeds and  encourages homeowners to create more habitat for Monarch butterflies.

Kim often blogs about Monarchs and her efforts to support gardeners around the country willing to grow their host plant.  Milkweed is the only plant on which Monarch butterflies will lay their eggs. Monarch larvae eat only milkweed as they grow.  Often considered a weed, few homeowners include it in their landscape.

Monarcch on Staghorns umac along the Colonial Parkway this weekend.

Monarcch on Staghorn Sumac along the Colonial Parkway this weekend.

As natural areas, and the native plants they support, disappear; and roads, neighborhoods and shopping centers proliferate across the landscape; we see the direct consequences in our dwindling butterfly populations.

Many of us in the blogging community have written about our search for Monarchs and other native butterflies this season.

Many of us share the concern that they haven’t visited our gardens in their usual numbers this summer.

This male Monarch has made himself at home in our garden, enjoying the Lantana buffet these last few weeks. Do you see the spots, near the body, on his rear wings? These spots indicate a male butterfly.

This male Monarch has made himself at home in our garden, enjoying the Lantana buffet these last few weeks. Do you see the spots, near the body, on his rear wings? These spots indicate a male butterfly.

 

Eliza Waters, another Massachusetts based blogging friend,  also documents her efforts to support the Monarch population in her gardens.

Much like Rachel Carson raised the alarm about our native birds in her 1962 Silent Spring, so our generation documents our concerns for the butterflies.  Carson’s book launched the environmental movement in the United States, bringing about sweeping changes in our laws; eventually  banning DDT and other harmful insecticides and pesticides.

And now, more than 50 years later, we witness a resurgence of the  environmental movement inspired, in part, by the loss of our beloved butterflies.

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We know that herbicides used in commercial farming, along with over development, play in a major role in the loss of both milkweeds and the nectar flowers Monarchs, and other butterflies, depend upon for their life cycle.

And although this problem appears very large, each of us can do our own small part to make a positive difference.

We can each have our own tiny “Butterfly Effect.”  Do you know the term? 

Edward Lorenz coined the term in 1961 to describe how one tiny change in the initial conditions of a system may dramatically effect the outcome.  It is an axiom of Chaos  Theory.

 

Monarch spotted feeding in our garden this morning.

And while we might feel helpless to have much effect against multinational corporations spraying herbicides on their GMO crops, or the energy giants building thousands of miles of new gas pipelines across our communities; we can create a safe and supportive habitat on our own properties for butterflies, frogs, songbirds, and the other beautiful little creatures whose presence indicates a rich web of life in our garden.

 

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Tiny insects on Rose of Sharon seedpods

We can plant milkweed for the Monarchs. And we can plant  fennel, parsley, dill, black cherry trees, and other native trees to host  the other butterflies we love.

Even those of us gardening on a condo balcony or patio can grow these simple host and nectar plants in pots.

Every tiny effort makes a positive difference.

 

Joe Pye weed, new in our garden this season, has fed many creatures over the season.

Joe Pye Weed, new in our garden this spring, has fed many creatures over the season.

 

We can stop using pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers in our gardens, thus keeping them out of the water supply and out of the food chain.

 

Unknown larvae feed on Virginia Creeper vines growing on this Eastern Red Cedar.

Unknown larvae feed on Virginia Creeper vines growing on this Eastern Red Cedar.

 

We can include berry and seed producing shrubs and trees in our garden, and leave some untended “wild” places for creatures to nest and shelter.

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And we can support our neighbors in their efforts to create wildlife habitat in their own gardens.

 

MIlkweed pods bursting to release their downy seeds is a sure sign of October in Virginia.

MIlkweed pods bursting to release their downy seeds is a sure sign of October in Virginia.  These grow beside  College Creek in our community.

 

Let us all keep “The Butterfly Effect” in mind. In our seemingly chaotic world, every small act of kindness and goodwill has the potential to make an enormous difference as our story unfolds here on Earth.

Every milkweed seed we nurture may host hundreds of Monarch butterflies.

Every bit of garden we cultivate may feed thousands of creatures.

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Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

The Daily Post Writing Challenge:  The Butterfly Effect

 

The Butterfly Garden- plant lists

 

 

Wildflowers and Autumn Leaves

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I took a quiet walk down to the Creek this morning, and enjoyed the wildflowers emerging now, late in the season, in the neglected places along the way.

 

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They all bloom in their own season.

And like another spring, many wait until the cooler, shorter days of early autumn to open to the world.

 

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Wildflowers and brilliantly changing leaves offered splashes of color on this cool and overcast day; this nearly silent Sunday morning.

 

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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Surrounded by Reeds

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Our creeks, marshes, and ponds lie surrounded by thick stands of reeds.

Reeds are a very large, very tough, very long lived grass.    Found in temperate and tropical wetlands across much of the planet, they have their uses.

But like any grass, they grow from extensive mats of roots and rhizomes, creeping along in the mud.

Some of our reeds are native plants. 

 

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Known as Phragmites australis, subspecies americanus;  the native reeds grow across our entire continent from southern Canada south to the Mexico border in the west.

Here on the east coast, they grow as far south as our border with North Carolina.

Another species, possibly native, grows along the Gulf coast.  Phragmites australis subspecies berlandieri may have crept northward from Central and South America at some point.  It has now moved westward and is found in parts of Arizona and California.  Items made from reeds, found in archeological digs in the American Southwest, date to over 40,000 years old.

 

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Our native species co-exist with other marsh and aquatic plants.  They were used by Native Americans for food, shelter, and to make useful things.   Every part of the plant is edible.  Spring shoots may be harvested and eaten like bamboo shoots.

But another, hardier species of reed, Phragmites australis, was brought to North America by European ships in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Like so many “exotic” species, it has become invasive, choking out other species which at one time grew along our waterways.

Phragmites australis grow across much of Europe, North Africa,  and the Middle East.  They are an ancient species.  In their own native areas, they aren’t invasive.  And they have been used for many purposes for thousands of years.  But transplanted to North American waters, they behave differently.

Why should we care about which reeds grow along the creeks and in the marshes?

It all comes down to biodiversity.

 

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When lots of different types of plants grow together in a community, many types of animals find food and shelter.  A greater number of species can live together in harmony in a place.  Their relationships are rich and complex.  The whole community becomes stronger and better able to withstand fluctuations in climate.  The ecosystem remains in balance.

When an invasive species gets a foothold, it often grows stronger and faster than the native species it replaces.  It has fewer animals which use it.  Soon the invasive species takes over, creating a monoculture, spreading, and changing the community so that fewer species can live in that place.

And that is exactly what is happening to our waterways across much of the United States.

The area where we live, around the Chesapeake Bay, is one of the few areas in North America where the native species of reed still lives.  And the natives are crowded out, more each year, by the invasive Eurasian reeds.

Now, these reeds, known as Phragmites (pronouced “frag-mahy-teez“), gobble up real estate along waterways.  They can grow to  over 15” tall.

 

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Like bamboo, their system of underground roots and rhizomes grow many feet each year away from the clump, to cover new territory.  These roots and rhizomes grow many feet deep below the surface.

At the surface, stolons, or horizontal stems, grow many feet each year.  New plants emerge at each joint in the stolon, and each of these new plants sends down new roots.  The result is a very dense, thick mat of growth at and below the surface.

Thick, dense vertical growth of the actual grasses grow anew each spring.  They are so dense and so tall that they shade out any other plant which tries to grow in their midst.  The stems of each plant are hollow.  Large leaves grow at nodes along the length of the stem, much like the leaves on a stalk of corn.  The plant is crowned with a very large plume of flowers, which produce thousands of seeds each season.

It is easy to see why these Phragmites spread so quickly!  They not only spread out with their rhizomes and stolons each year;  but those seeds travel by air and water to colonize new areas.  Very few species of birds use the seeds.  Very few species of animals make their homes among the Phragmites in a marsh.  And currently, we aren’t harvesting and using these reeds in any substantial way.

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Phragmites die back each winter, but are perennial and re-emerge each spring.  The previous year’s stalks stand all winter long.  Silt accumulates around them, and the water becomes progressively shallower each year.  They eventually form a wall between the shoreline and the water, blocking the view and creating a dense barrier for anyone trying to access the water for fishing or boating.

Invasive Phragmites emerge early in the spring, before the native species and before many other aquatic plants.  They grow taller and with more vigor than our native  Phragmites australis, subspecies americanus.

They have grown into a hot topic of debate among those of us who live along the waterways they choke.

Many would like to get rid of them.  But from what you now know about Phragmites, you probably understand why this is difficult and expensive.  Their extensive root system allows them to regenerate after harvesting or burning.  They must be burned for several years in succession to eventually destroy the roots.

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There is experimentation with herbicides.  But how will broadcast herbicides affect the birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and other plants living in marshes and shallow creeks?  Herbicides are a  controversial solution.  Permits are required, and the herbicide must be sprayed during the period of active growth in late summer or early fall.  The sprayed herbicides will travel, like the Phragmites’s seeds, in the air and water for many miles.

And who will pay for the herbicide, even if a community decides to go that route?

This is one of those slowly creeping problems which eludes an easy fix.

But Phragmites, though invasive, remain a useful plant. 

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They are sometimes planted to filter and clean waste water.  They help catch run-off, trap harmful chemicals in their biomass, and remove other waste products so the water can be used again.

Phragmites also filter our air.  They filter excess carbon from the air, using it to grow.  Carbon, a major greenhouse gas, is removed from the air and returned to the soil through their efforts.  While filtering carbon, they also remove other polluting gasses from the air we breathe, releasing pure oxygen and water vapor.

Phragmites stop erosion.  Because they grow in any moist soil, they can hold areas which might otherwise erode from run off , tides, and flooding.  They can tolerate brackish, salty, or fresh water.  Tidal flooding doesn’t bother them.

These are wonderful plants with many uses and benefits.  We don’t value them because we no longer need them as a natural resource for making things.   We no longer eat them as a staple of our diet.

As with so many things, it is our own point of view which defines “nuisance” as opposed to “resource.”

Perhaps the solution to our problem can lie more in creativity and less in destruction of the growing world around us.

 

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Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

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For More Information:

Phragmites Field Guide

Invasive Species of the Chesapeake Bay

Guide to the Control of Phragmites, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

 

 

Find Beauty

Hibiscus seedpods open so the seeds may disperse.

Hibiscus seedpods open so the seeds may disperse.

 

We live surrounded by wonder, magic, and beauty. 

And yet how often do we find ourselves going through the day on “auto-pilot?”

The last rose of August, but the first of September...

The last rose of August, but the first of September…

 

Do you ever wonder where your day has gone?  Find yourself so wrapped up in the trivial details of living that you neglect to do the things most important to you?  Have difficulty beginning projects, accomplishing long-cherished goals, or keeping up with loved ones?

 

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After a while, a kind of sluggish inertia sets in; an attitude of, “We’ll get through this” rather than a genuine joie de vivre.

When we feel this, there is a need to break through it to recapture the joy and magic life sometimes holds.

 

Wild, perennial Ageratum grows in our garden.

Wild, perennial Ageratum grows in our garden.

 

We live surrounded by miracles.  Our very existence is a miracle.  And remaining awake to the “catch your breath” excitement of life on this planet remains our challenge.

 

Spotting an Eastern Box turtle fills us with delight.

Spotting an Eastern Box turtle fills us with delight.

There are so many obstacles to keep us mired  in lethargy and boredom.

There is the stress inherent in daily life, the fears which come with each stage of life.  There is frustration, a sense of responsibility to others, and the commitments we have to fulfill at work and in our community.

 

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And we humans have found so many ingenious ways to “break out” of our everyday.

And many of them land us in hot water eventually…

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Just as there are seasons to the year, so there are seasons to our lives.  It can’t always be spring….

And so our challenge is to find beauty, no matter the season.

 

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Beauty helps us break through the malaise to touch the magical again.

It helps us find a different perspective from a wiser place, so we can re-order our thoughts and our priorities to keep ourselves moving towards our higher vision.

 

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Seeking out beauty, and letting it fill our minds and hearts re-news us.

Seeing beauty in another’s face re-freshes our connection with them.

Seeing the beauty in every season of our lives offers the energy and courage to continue moving forwards with joy and optimism.

 

Hibiscus, still in bloom

Hibiscus, still in bloom

 

“Walk in beauty,” the blessing of our native brothers and sisters, holds a key to our happiness during every stage our journey here on this magical Earth.

 

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Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful;

for beauty is God’s handwriting

— a wayside sacrament.

Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky,

in every fair flower,

and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome, 2014

 

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“We live in a wonderful world that is full

of beauty, charm and adventure.

There is no end to the adventures that we can have

if only we seek them with our eyes open.”

Jawaharlal Nehru

World Blog Tour: Next Stop, G. Michael Vasey

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The World Blog Tour continues. 

Novelist, poet, and professional analyst, G. Michael Vasey writes this week on Inner Dreaming. 

Please visit his site  for a funny and realistic view into his way of writing.

 

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Other stops along the Blog Tour:

The Butterfly Net: World Blog Hop by Sue Vincent

Tried and True Approaches For the Time-strapped Writer by Ellen Shriner

Blog Touring by Cynthia Kraak

World Blog Tour by Carolyn K. Boehlke

Blog Tour, Forest Garden

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Transition

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August is slowly, steadily, sliding into September.

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Summer sun still bakes the beach,

and the garden ,

at mid-day;

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But

Nights whisper in

Cool breezes.

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Frog and cricket song

Start a little earlier each evening;

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Birds greet the sunrise a little later each day.

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Dew gilded mornings feel fresh;

Clear blue skies deepening  to sapphire.

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Energy of beginnings :

Renewed interest –

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Reawakened purpose –

Opportunities taken-

Journeys begun.

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Berries swell and ripen.

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A season’s efforts almost complete.

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Greens soften into plum,

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crimson, gold, magenta,

nutty brown.

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Paring down.

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August 27, 2014 Parkway 057

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Discarding the extraneous,

The exhausted, the empty husks of yesterday.

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August 27, 2014 Parkway 090

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Transition.

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August 27, 2014 Parkway 102

 

 

Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

August 27, 2014 Parkway 069

WPC: Dialogue

 

College Creek with Great Blue Heron wading in the shallows

College Creek with Great Blue Heron wading in the shallows

 

Our community is surrounded on most sides by water, and also holds several natural ponds, springs, and an ancient swimming pool.

 

Trees turning for fall before our community pool has even closed for the season.

Trees turning for autumn before our community pool has even closed for the season.

 

As water divides us, so it also brings us together. 

 

One of the ponds in our community.  The trees along the dam have grown up so much this summer, it is hard to even see the water.

One of the ponds in our community, reflecting the setting sun.  The trees along the dam have grown up so much this summer, it is hard to even see the water.

 

This series of photos speaks to light, water, inclusion, exclusion, and the constancy of change.

 

August 28, 2014 turtles 071

It is a snapshot of my walk around the community yesterday evening, between dinner time and sunset.

August 28, 2014 garden 009

 

A dialogue about the end of summer, the beginning of autumn, and the deeply satisfying beauty of nature in all of her guises.

 

August 28, 2014 garden 013

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue

 

“Dialogue is an engaging conversational exchange.

When it comes to photography, dialogue can be perceived as a consensual interaction between two images.

Placed next to each other, each photograph opens up to meanings that weren’t there when viewed alone.

Each composition reveals the photographer’s specific sensitivity to certain content or visual elements.”

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