Sunday Dinner: Building A Community

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“The world is so empty
if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities;
but to know someone who thinks & feels with us,
& who, though distant, is close to us in spirit,
this makes the earth for us
an inhabited garden.”
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches
is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum,
and that as long as the sun still shines
and people still can plan and plant, think and do,
we can, if we bother to try,
find ways to provide for ourselves
without diminishing the world. ”
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Michael Pollan
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“I know there is strength
in the differences between us.
I know there is comfort,
where we overlap.”
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Ani DiFranco
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“Community is a sign that love is possible
in a materialistic world
where people so often either ignore or fight each other.
It is a sign that we don’t need
a lot of money to be happy-
-in fact, the opposite.”
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Jean Vanie
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“If man is to survive,
he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences
between men and between cultures.
He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes
are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety,
not something to fear.”
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Gene Roddenberry
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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2018
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“Every human activity
can be put at the service of the divine and of love.
We should all exercise our gift
to build community.”
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Jean Vanie
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April Sunrise

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“Every sunrise is a blessing,
it’s a opportunity to learn something new
and to create something that can benefit others.
It also gives a chance to make amends.
Use it wisely before sunset.”
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Euginia Herlihy

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“Nature unfolds her treasure
at the first ray of sunrise.”
.
Kishore Bansal

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“That time of day when the sun hasn’t come up yet,
but you can already feel it coming.
It’s an elusive warmth,
like a subtle promise whispered in your ear
and you can go on with your day knowing
you’ve been given another chance
to get it right.”
.
Cassia Leo
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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2018

Sunday Dinner: Remembrance

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“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
.
Thomas Campbell
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“There is no death, daughter.
People die only when we forget them,’
my mother explained shortly before she left me.
‘If you can remember me,
I will be with you always.”
.
Isabel Allende
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“Beauty exists not in what is seen and remembered,
but in what is felt and never forgotten.”
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Johnathan Jena
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“And even if we are occupied by most important things,
if we attain to honour,
or fall into great misfortune –
– still let us remember how good it was once here,
when we were all together,
united by a good and kind feeling
which made us…better perhaps than we are.”
.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’
I do not agree. The wounds remain.
In time, the mind, protecting its sanity,
covers them with scar tissue
and the pain lessens.
But it is never gone.”
.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
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“You must learn some of my philosophy.
Think only of the past as its remembrance
gives you pleasure.”
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Jane Austen
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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
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“I don’t want to be remembered for my work.
I want to be remembered for my love.”
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Kamand Kojouri
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Eclipse

Sunset over  College Creek, at (Gabriel) Archer’s Hope, near Jamestown, Virginia

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Just as light and darkness maintain their own balance, and follow one another; so too do times of darkness and light follow one another in human history. Opposing forces remain in cyclical tension throughout our planet’s history.

We welcome the darkness which allows us to rest each night, and we awake hours later refreshed and reinvigorated. Our bodies heal and re-energize while we sleep.

Plants also need a period of darkness for their growth and cellular repair after many hours of photosynthesis in the sunlight each day. Many plants need a period of dormancy and rest each year, before vigorous new growth responds to the lengthening days of spring.

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Winter Solstice morning

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Northwestern Oregon, where the eclipse over the United States will begin next Monday, symbolizes the farthest point of our continental cultural expansion during the 19th Century. John Jacob Astor established Astoria, Oregon, in 1811, and his team blazed the trail which opened the Northwest to settlement. He led the economic battle to incorporate the Pacific Northwest, and its resources, into the United States. In those days, the borders between the United States and British Canada remained fluid.

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Oregon’s coast, near where the eclipse will begin sliding across North America on August 21, 2017.

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Our nation’s power and prosperity come in large part from our westward expansion to the Pacific, and the rich natural, human and energetic resources of our western states. This part of our country remains energetic, innovative and largely progressive.

Charleston, South Carolina, symbolizes the first shots fired in treasonous rebellion in our Civil War, which began in 1860-61. This terrible time in our nation’s history potentially could have destroyed our republic. But it did not; and the slow and torturous process of re-unification has played out in our courts, congress, statehouses and streets ever since.

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The James River, just a few hundred miles north of where the coming eclipse will move offshore next Monday.

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This is a critical time in our nation’s history once again. The nihilistic forces of nazism, facism, and communism which were pushed back in Europe and Asia during the 20th Century, have infiltrated our own society and American government in the 21st.

We see this with sickening clarity after the election cycle of 2016, when these forces of hatred and anarchy have been publicly emboldened both in the media, and on the ground in cities across our nation.

And only a week after the tragic and disturbing events in Charlottesville last weekend; we will experience the rare astronomical event of a full solar eclipse beginning in Oregon and ending on the coast at Charleston, South Carolina.

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Jones Millpond, where The Battle of Williamsburg raged on May 5, 1862, in the early years of our nation’s Civil War; remains a peaceful spot along the Colonial Parkway in more recent times.

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Many of us wonder what this means for our country. We are disgusted and uncertain with elements of our own government and citizenry. We are deeply troubled about what our nation’s future may hold, and wondering whether the Republic established by our Constitution in 1788 remains sufficient to order our society today.

At this time of uncertainty, we have given much thought to the meaning and potential effects of the coming eclipse. Historically, many cultures have viewed eclipses as important times of vulnerability as the sun disappeared from the sky, and dramatic changes occurred in the aftermath. There could be several interpretations of the phenomena of darkness falling across a huge swath of the United States, from coast to coast, in the middle of a summer afternoon.

We choose to interpret the coming eclipse as a time of national renewal. Beginning in the west, where our country’s economic destiny was determined with the founding of Astoria and securing our border with Canada; and sweeping eastwards across our nation to the very city where our Civil War began; the darkness of this eclipse will be followed by new light.

The emerging sun, Sol Invictus,  will shine brightly over our nation for many hours on Monday, August 21, after the moon moves on in its orbit, allowing the sun’s light to burst forth once again.

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As morning follows night, we choose to focus on the ‘second morning’ that will occur as the eclipse ends on Monday afternoon as a time of national renewal and re invigoration. Let this ‘second morning’ usher in a time when our Constitutional government will be set right once again, and these current threats of tyranny, hatred, and lawlessness ended.

Let foreign intervention in our politics be exposed and expunged. Let nazis and their ideology, influencing our political discourse, be exposed and expunged.

Let the corrupting influence of foreign and criminally laundered money holding our political leaders to nihilistic political ideologies be exposed and expunged. Let the corruption and lawlessness in our own communities be exposed and expunged.

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Let us use this energetically potent period of a summer solar eclipse to power the necessary changes which will re-claim our communities and our state and national governments for our founding principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of the good.

Let us reclaim our heritage as a land of promise and equal protection for all under fair and just laws.

Let our United States fully become a center of innovation and opportunity; tolerance and love; and a haven for the endless positive potential of humankind.

Woodland Gnome 2017

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Powhatan Creek

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Winter Solstice: “Let There Be Light!”

december-21-2016-winter-solstice-006

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“Namaste.

It was a Nepalese greeting.

It meant: The light within me bows to the light within you.”

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Jennifer Donnelly

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“Find the light. Reach for it.

Live for it. Pull yourself up by it.

Gratitude always makes for straighter, taller trees.”

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Al  Young

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“It may be that you are not yourself luminous,

but that you are a conductor of light.

Some people without possessing genius

have a remarkable power of stimulating it.”

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Arthur Conan Doyle

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“Gardens are made of darkness and light entwined.”

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F.T. McKinstry

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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“May every sunrise hold more promise

and every sunset hold more peace…”

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Umair Siddiqui

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Merry Yule!

Happy Solstice! 

And the Blessings of Yalda to you and yours!

 

WPC: Morning

July 27, 2016 morning garden 038

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For the Daily Posts

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Morning

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July 27, 2016 morning garden 006

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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July 27, 2016 morning garden 028

 

What’s Hanging On Your Tree?

December 25, 2015 Christmas tree 007

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What hangs on your Christmas tree this year?

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December 25, 2015 Christmas tree 010

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I hope the ornaments give you joy, whatever they may be; are fun, and hold good memories.

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December 25, 2015 Christmas tree 002

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Our friend brought us a beautiful hummingbird last night, made by her daughter, who is a potter.

The top half of our Christmas tree is always covered with birds.  I’ve been collecting them for more than 40 years now, and some of the originals are still with us!

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December 25, 2015 Christmas tree 008

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I also collect stars and snowflakes, loving their beautiful geometry.

The only snowflakes we’ll see this  Christmas are the porcelain kind.  But that is really fine. 

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We have our snowflakes on the tree, and the garden remains full of flowers instead of blanketed in ice and snow.

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And I was inspired to make a new set of ornaments for our trees this year, which celebrate the beauty of bare branches against a winter sky.

These are simply glass balls decorated with free hand drawings of bare trees.

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December 25, 2015 Christmas tree 005

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They bring to mind the traditional Yggdrasil, the World Tree, which allows one to travel between the worlds.  The roots of all of these trees connect.

It is as though each orb is covered with a forest of small trees, which really are only one tree growing out in all directions.

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December 25, 2015 Christmas tree 006

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Our Christmas decorating has also been minimalist this December.  We are enjoying the simplicity of it.  Most of our traditional decorations remain packed away.

We didn’t plan it that way; I was busy with other projects and left the decorating to the last minute this year.

But we have our lights and our trees.

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December 25, 2015 Christmas tree 004

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And we greeted the sun’s rising this Christmas morning, barely visible behind the  mist  and clouds.

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Beauty always surrounds us, when we remember to remain in the ‘Now.’

Merry Christmas!

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December 25, 2015 garden 014

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Woodland Gnome 2015

For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: Now!

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We found this Great Blue Heron on her nest, along College Creek this afternoon.

We found this Great Blue Heron on her nest, along College Creek this afternoon.  What a beautiful gift to find this majestic bird on Christmas Day!

Winter Sunrise

December 12, 2015 sunrise 001

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“In the beginning…
when ray and day hadn’t yet come into existence at all,
there was a kind of radiance that illuminates universe.
That radiance is the light of knowledge and goodness.
That radiance will persistently and consistently shines brightly
even after all the stars and moons in this vast universe died out.”

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Toba Beta

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December 12, 2015 sunrise 004

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It continues an odd sort of December:  bare, but warm.  The leaves are mostly fallen now, exposing the intricate lace of bare branches against the sky.  Endlessly fascinating, this living filigree which shifts and changes from one winter to the next.

There were enough cold and frosty nights to wither most of the last of autumn’s perennials; but not all. 

In sheltered places flowers still bloom.  A few golden Susans and scarlet sage flowers linger still. 

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December 12, 2015 sunrise 002

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The season began its shift, then reverted. 

We haven’t had a frost now for more than a week.  And afternoons are balmy.  Each day grows shorter still.  But what gorgeous days of bright sunshine glinting from evergreens and berries.  Camellias and roses pump out bud after blooming bud.

We keep burying bulbs in the damp and yielding Earth.  And they have begun to grow.  Fresh green spikes poke up through the mulch and newly fallen leaves; over eager, perhaps, in this phantom spring.  Swelling buds on Forsythia and Magnolia bear witness to the garden’s confusion.

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December 12, 2015 sunrise 007

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And the garden calls us out day after day.  It called to me this morning before the sun had even crested the horizon.  And I went out into the damp and misty morning looking for the beauty of this new day.

Winter sunrise grows more precious as each day grows that much shorter.  We’ve almost glided down to the bottom of the year, still losing a few more seconds each day. 

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The sun returns a few moments later each morning.  But it returns, and its warmth adds sweetness to these brief, golden December days.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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December 12, 2015 sunrise 005

 

 

“A Forest Garden 2016” gardening calendar is now available, featuring some of our favorite photos from 2015. 

Write to me at woodlandgnome@zoho.com for details.

 

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