WPC: Transient

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“The only way to make sense out of change

is to plunge into it, move with it,

and join the dance.”

.

Alan W. Watts

~

~

“Nothing endures but change.”

.

Heraclitus

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~

“If a beautiful thing were to remain

beautiful for all eternity, I’d be glad,

but all the same I’d look

at it with a colder eye.

I’d say to myself: You can look

at it any time, it doesn’t have to be today.”

.

Hermann Hesse

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

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“It is in changing that we find purpose.”

.

Heraclitus

~

Clematis ‘Violet Elizabeth’

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For The Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Transient

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Sunday Dinner: Discovery

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“From so high above it,

the world seems ordered and deliberate.

But I know it’s more than that.

And less.

It is structured and chaotic.

Beautiful and strange.”

.

Nicola Yoon

~

~

“Our real discoveries come from chaos,

from going to the place that looks wrong

and stupid and foolish.”

.

Chuck Palahniuk

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

(parsley flowers and fennel leaves, after the rain)

.  .  .

For the Daily Post’s 

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Order

~

 

Sunday Dinner: Observers

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“To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees.”

.

Paul Valéry

~

~

“Chaos is peaceful

when you stand quietly & watch –

we are eternal observers,

reflecting both tiny & vast,

singing infinitely within.”

.

Jay Woodman

~

~

“Observation is, at its core, an expression of love

which doesn’t get caught up in sentiment.”

.

Takashi Hiraide

~

~

“Keep your eyes open

and you’ll see more than you ever dreamed of.”

.

Marty Rubin

~

~

“Learn to see what you are looking at.”

.

Christopher Paolini

~

~

“The world was beautiful

when looked at in this way—

without any seeking, so simple, so childlike.”

.

Hermann Hesse

.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

~

 

 

Living With Reality

~

The Real World we each live in daily, sometimes feels like a living tutorial in ‘Chaos Theory.’  As much as we might admire integrity, neatness, organization and beauty; it proves elusive.

It takes enormous vigilance to maintain, especially without staff.  It requires action and attention to pick up every discarded newspaper, wash every empty cup, dead head every spent blossom, discard every outdated idea, and eliminate every errant weed.

~

~

Have you ever watched a cooking show, and wondered how the host’s kitchen remains so spotless?  Have you ever watched a gardening show, and wondered how every path and plant remains so pristine?

I grew up watching movies and sit-coms , wondering why our home wasn’t as neat and elegant as the ones inhabited by TV families.  Was something wrong with us?

~

~

We still consume the day’s media messages, peering through electronic windows into some else’s seemingly perfect world, wondering why we can’t live that way, too.

Or, maybe we watch the day’s news, and know that things aren’t unfolding in the world as they should.  We feel a visceral disconnect between how we know things should be, and how they currently are. 

~

~

The hard truth remains that we all live in the midst of some measure of chaos and disorder.  We live surrounded by that which we can’t control, which constantly surprises us and throws new challenges our way.   And there is an art in knowing how to stage things for the photograph.

~

~

“Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable.
It teaches us to expect the unexpected.”  
The Fractal Foundation

~

~

We somehow figure out how to take control of those things that we reasonably can.  We plan ahead. We do our due diligence. We have high expectations for ourselves.  But despite our best efforts, perfection remains elusive.

And that is where we somehow learn to shift our focus.  None of us lives in a photograph or a bit of video.  We don’t have producers, set designers and make-up artists on hand to stage some imagined image of how things should be.  We can’t freeze time to capture that fleeting perfect moment.

~

… unless we also happen to be photographers….

~

Rather, we live in a dynamic and chaotic system.  Our lives play out and our gardens grow in the midst of many competing forces that we simply can’t control.

We eventually learn to expect the unexpected and flow with the living dynamic of our moment.

~

~

But we each still hold great power.  When we add our energy to any system, we change it, for better or for worse.  Our personal influence and expectation might prove the tipping point of change.

~

~

The choices we make in every moment, shape our future.  A small decision can forever change our lives, in ways we don’t even anticipate.

~

~

“Chaos is not simply disorder.
Chaos explores the transitions between order and disorder,
which often occur in surprising ways.”
The Fractal Foundation

~

~

Reality will always challenge our own ideas of how things should be.

The question remains, have we the courage to explore and understand the reality of what is? And once we begin to understand, to work within the flow?

~

~

Can we find a way to ride the waves of our lives so that we live with joy, find the beauty in everything, and abide in love?

~

~

Recognizing the chaotic, fractal nature of our world
can give us new insight, power, and wisdom.
The Fractal Foundation

~

~

Woodland Gnome 2017
~

WPC: Surprise

Athyrium niponicum ‘Joy Ride’

~

The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge this week invites us to explore the often overlooked details in form.  A ‘macro-lens view’ opens up new worlds of beauty.

Often, in the hurry of our daily lives, we glance around us and take the world into consciousness in chunks of meaning.  We register the traffic moving around us, the child moving towards us, the inventory of our fridge. Even in the garden, we register our landscape in chunks of form and color.

~

~

It takes undistracted time to focus the lens of our mind on the tiniest of details, like the uncurling fronds opening on our ferns this week.  This annual springtime show might otherwise be overlooked as the garden explodes in color and fragrance.

~

Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’

~

Who can pass a fragrant Iris to contemplate a tiny fern?  Only the child or the gardener!  Our eyes train on those tiniest of details as we pace the paths of our garden each day, documenting what changes have unfolded since our last visit.

~

Fiddlehead of Brilliance autumn fern

~

I had a few minutes to wander this morning, camera in hand, as I waited for a friend’s arrival.  And although I couldn’t pass the Iris without capturing another shot or two, I also spent time with several of our ferns.

Jen kindly crafted a challenge this week especially for us craven gardeners, who must photograph our flowers in minute detail.  But because that was the model she set, I decided to leave flowers to others this time, (well, almost….) and instead focus on the elegant and fascinating details found only in the leaves of ferns.

~

~

The Japanese Painted ferns, Athyrium niponicum, have just emerged from their winter dormancy.  Their fragile fronds disappear after a heavy frost each autumn, to reappear quite suddenly and surprisingly some warm spring day.

They are one of the most beautiful surprises our garden offers us each spring.  I realized today, in sharing our garden with friends, that we have something of a collection now of Athyrium niponicum cultivars.

~

Athyrium ‘Branford Beauty’

~

Not that I intended to make a collection of them, I simply like them and wanted to watch some of the different varieties grow out.  I have ordered a few, like A. ‘Joy Ride’, A. ‘Branford Beauty,’ and A. ‘Burgundy Lace’ from Plant Delights Nursery near Raleigh, NC, in years past.  They carry a staggering and surprisingly wonderful variety of ferns and other unusual perennials which do well in our Zone 7 climate.

~

~

I am still lusting after A. ‘Lemon Cream,’ A. ‘Godzilla’ and A. ‘Thrill Seeker.’  And that lust will go unrequited for the foreseeable future, it seems, as their shipping charges just keep climbing each year.  Now that the minimum shipping charge is nearly $30, I am seeking out these wonderful cultivars locally, and asking our nearby nurseries to consider stocking these beautiful new varieties.

I was absolutely thrilled to find a beautiful pot of A. ‘Ghost’ at Green Planters, Inc., in Gloucester earlier this week.  I will be returning, as they carry a satisfying selection of native ferns in addition to their various Japanese Painted ferns and other cultivars.

~

~

The best ferns in our garden, year round, are our Autumn Brilliance, Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’.  Their tough, but graceful fronds weather sun, rain, drought wind and winter.  Who could ask for more?

~

~

These sturdy clumps expand a bit each year, and each new year’s fronds seem a few inches taller than the last.  We’re not talking tree ferns, of course, but the older ferns make a substantial presence.  What I admire in these ferns is their wonderful bronze color as  new fronds emerge each spring.

~

~

As each frond unfolds, the hairy brown fiddleheads relax into soft, shiny fresh rose-gold leaves.  It is quite a show and goes on for several weeks.  By mid-summer, each leaf will have relaxed further into a soft medium green.  It’s not until winter that the same fiddlehead brown begins to frost the edges of the mature fronds once again.

~

~

It is the surprising beauty of leaves which carries our garden through the seasons.  Flowers come and go all too quickly.  They may delight with a bold color or enticing scent.  But flowers prove ephemeral by nature.

They are only there long enough to lure a bee, butterfly or hummingbird to pollinate them. so they can get down to their real business of seed production.  Even the hybrids seem confused on this point, and fade far too quickly despite their sterility.  Like kids gone off to college, what is left behind is none too pleasant to look at, oftentimes….

~

~

But leaves prove their worth and loyalty; offering sum and substance, color, drama and incredible detail.

*

Woodland Gnome 2017

~

~

For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Surprise!

 

Wednesday Vignette: Meditations

Columbine, Aquilegia vulgaris

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“The soul becomes dyed

with the colour of its thoughts.”

.

Marcus Aurelius

~

~

“Accept the things to which fate binds you,

and love the people with whom fate

brings you together,

but do so with all your heart.”

.

Marcus Aurelius

~

~

“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority,

but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”

.

Marcus Aurelius

~

~

“The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.

The second is to look things in the face

and know them for what they are.”

.

Marcus Aurelius

~

~

“Very little is needed to make a happy life;

it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.”

.

Marcus Aurelius

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

~

~

“Do not act

as if you were going to live ten thousand years.

Death hangs over you.

While you live, while it is in your power,

be good.”

.

Marcus Aurelius

quotations from The Meditations

 

Sunday Dinner: Details

~

“Everything made by human hands

looks terrible under magnification-

-crude, rough, and asymmetrical.

But in nature every bit of life is lovely.

And the more magnification we use,

the more details are brought out,

perfectly formed,

like endless sets of boxes within boxes.”

.

Roman Vishniac

~

~

…  pay attention to the world and all that dwells therein

and thereby learn at last to pay attention to yourself

and all that dwells therein.”

.

Frederick Buechner

~

~

It is imperative, whether consciously or not,

that one observe the vast

as well as the infinitesimal

in order to create the image

or choose accurate words that ring true.”

.

Elizabeth Winder

~

~

“Tiny details imperceptible to us decide everything!”

.

W.G. Sebald

~

~

“To pay attention,

this is our endless and proper work.”

.

Mary Oliver

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

~

~

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness.

If you are attentive, you will see it.”

.

Thich Nhat Hanh

~

~

“Miracles… seem to me to rest not so much upon

… healing power coming suddenly near us from afar

but upon our perceptions being made finer,

so that, for a moment, our eyes can see

and our ears can hear

what is there around us always.”

.

Willa Cather

~

Wednesday Vignette: Living Geometry

~

“The geometry of the things around

us creates coincidences, intersections.”


.

Erri De Luca

~

~

“Philosophy [nature] is written in that great book

which ever is before our eyes –

– I mean the universe –

– but we cannot understand it

if we do not first learn the language

and grasp the symbols in which it is written.

The book is written in mathematical language,

and the symbols are triangles, circles

and other geometrical figures,

without whose help it is impossible

to comprehend a single word of it;

without which one wanders in vain

through a dark labyrinth.”

.

Galileo Galilei

~

~

“You don’t see something

until you have the right metaphor

to let you perceive it”

.

James Gleick

~

~

“The harmony of the world is made manifest

in Form and Number,

and the heart and soul

and all the poetry of Natural Philosophy

are embodied in the concept of mathematical beauty.”

.

D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson

~

~

“Number rules the universe.”

.

Pythagoras

~

~

“Maths is at only one remove from magic.”

.

Neel Burton

~

~

“A circle has no end.”

.

Isaac Asimov

~

“Seed of Life” Mandala designed and stitched in cotton thread by the Woodland Gnome 2016.  Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

~

More on Geometry:

Sacred Geometry, Flower of Life…. (additional links at the end of the post)

 

Gathering Dusk and A Christmas Tree

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Light fades slowly from the winter sky, blushing, as the sun eases below the horizon.

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Late afternoon found us at Colonial Williamsburg on Christmas day.  I wanted to photograph the huge Christmas tree, ablaze with lights, that we had found the evening before.

~

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We were out on Christmas Eve enjoying the lights in our part of town, when we spotted a blazing tree, covered in white lights, visible from Francis Street.

And I vowed to return, camera in hand, to photograph it in all its brilliance at dusk.

~

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And so I lingered nearby, watching colors shift in the evening sky as lights popped on against the gathering dusk.  But the Christmas tree remained unlit.

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My partner parked and eventually joined me.  And we waited together as the minutes crept past.

~

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We watched a silent flock of geese glide overhead.

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Clouds glowed bright, illuminated by a sun no longer visible from where we stood, moving ever further beyond the horizon.

But the Christmas tree remained dark, melting into the shadows of the coming night.

~

december-25-2016-cw-christmas-045

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We began walking towards our car, shivering now in the evening chill.  Slowly, hoping for a flash of sudden brightness to draw us back, we covered the blocks of the old town still filled with visitors and costumed staff.

But the only lights greeting us flickered in windows and on lamp posts.

~

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And though a little disappointed to have missed the photo I hoped to take, we were glad to be a part of the community in this place and on this special night.

~

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It was the following evening when we found the tree lit again in all its glowing glory.  We had been away all day, and drove to the tree on our way home.  It was already long past dusk when we arrived, but the Christmas tree was lit, and I hopped out while my partner circled the block.

~

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One feels the weight of years and lives here most at night.  Shades of those long gone from daylight still linger in the shadows near these historic places.

The elder trees, still growing, hold memories, too; as they stretch their protective branches over the land.

~

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But the blazing Christmas tree drew me ever closer, and I set off alone across the field.   Others were gathering around it too, basking in the warmth and comfort of its lights.

~

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In this season we celebrate the power of the light.  We reaffirm our deep belief in the powers of goodness and love to push back against the gathering and ever-present darkness of our  world.

We know there is an ever shifting balance between darkness and light; greed and generosity; kindness and anger;  love and ambivalence.

And all of these forces live and shift within each one of us; none of us is beyond their power.

But it is always ours to choose; to seek the light, even when we must walk through the darkness to find it.   And as we journey ever closer to the light, we find good company sharing the walk with us; so that we are never left alone in the darkness.

~

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~

Woodland Gnome 2016

~

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“It is neither wealth nor splendor,

but tranquility and occupation which give happiness.”
.

Thomas Jefferson

Where the Paths May Lead

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The last few days of December find  us nostalgic for other times and places. 

As the little ones among us look ahead to Christmas Day and the promises of wishes made real; many look back across the years to joyful moments passed.

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We remember loved ones no longer with us.  We look back along the winding pathways which led us to this particular moment.

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It is a time to take out stored memories, like the treasured ornaments we place on the Yule tree each December.  Normally wrapped up and put away, we allow them to breathe and shimmer for a short time each year.

As our collection grows it takes on a certain luster of age, a patina wrought of familiarity.

~

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Some recollections bring us an echo of joy across the wide space of years; others fresh waves of sadness or regret.

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It is part of being human, I believe, and a hallmark of a lifetime’s journey.  For our paths aren’t always straight and clear.  They meander through fate and circumstance, opportunity, and those choices we claim and those  we reject.

~

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Sometimes we can see paths which parallel our own, but can’t find the gate to access them.  Sometimes our paths wind in spirals or loops which feel closed off from further progress along the way.

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Other paths feel inevitable, wide, clear and straight.  We travel them with groups of loved ones and friends who share the same destination we hold before us.

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But always, at this time of year, we finally look ahead; considering where to journey next.  Whether to continue on our present path or to seek a new one.

~

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What goals do we hold out for ourselves in the months ahead?  What changes do we need to make?  What special wishes will we hold in our hearts at this magical time of Winter Solstice?

~

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Are we seeking fresh challenge or warmth and comfort?  Is there a cause calling to us, or is it time to enjoy a span of  peacefulness and rest?

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Is the way ahead clear, or are there obstructions we must  move before we continue on our way?

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In the quiet space we find in late December, we have an opportunity to ponder our life’s path.  Time away from work and the normal routine invites us to ponder where we have been and where we are going in our lives.

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We can enjoy the peace this season brings us to look both behind us and ahead of us.

And perhaps there is a bit of child-like wonder in our hearts, yet.

~

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As we articulate our wishes to the Universe, we can almost hear sleigh bells in the distance; and once again believe in the magic this season holds.

~

All photos taken at Colonial Williamsburg, December 23, 2016.

All photos taken at Colonial Williamsburg, December 23, 2016.

~

For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Path

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In loving memory of those we loved and lost in 2016. 

May they continue along their eternal pathways

in light and in peace.

~

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