Sunday Dinner: Becoming

~

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere

or achieving a certain aim.

I see it instead as forward motion,

a means of evolving,

a way to reach continuously

toward a better self.

The journey doesn’t end.”

.

Michelle Obama

~

~

“She said the music made her wonder,

Does it alter us more to be heard, or to hear?”

.

Madeleine Thien

~

~

“You may live in the world as it is,

but you can still work to create the world

as it should be.”

.

Michelle Obama

~

~

“But in the midst of all that uncertainty

and lack of clarity, there lies a wild beauty.

A hope. Possibility.

The promise of something bigger than us

happening just beneath the surface

that we can’t see.”

.

Mandy Hale

~

~

“Over and over again we
become lost and un-lost
We become and un-become.
This is meant to be.
Without our knowing and
unknowing we would have no
splendid, epic stories to tell.”

.

Susan Bocinec Terry

~

~

“Or maybe they weren’t changing.

Maybe they were just now becoming

what they had always wanted to be.”

.

Eilis O’Neal

~

~

“My fears teach me courage.

My weaknesses coach me to strength.

My scars remind me

not to make the same mistakes.

I can become who I long to be

by loving who I am now.”

.

Toni Sorenson

~

~

“We are all in the process of becoming.”

.

Harmony Dust

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2019

~

~

“Give focus

only to which you want to see expand,

anything else is nonsense.”
.

Nikki Rowe

*

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Six on Saturday: Portraits

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Our garden buzzes and hums with the voices of hundreds of hungry bees and wasps.

~

~

The butterflies silently float by, elusive and aloof.  A dragonfly lights on a petal, watching me, patiently posing while I take his portrait.

Our garden is filled with such beauty this week.  We are enjoying the butterflies and bunnies, expanding perennials, trees clothed in their summer colors, expanding ferns and flowers.  Oh, so many flowers opening each day.

~

~

As we celebrate the summer solstice, our garden is still becoming fuller and fuller with each passing day.  Vines grow so fast we wonder whether they are under some magical, summertime spell.  Clusters of grapes on their wild vines swell, well out of reach, in the tops of some dogwood and rose of Sharon trees.  Our family of cardinals swoops through the garden, clearly playing tag, and watching for the opportune snack.

~

~

I wander about with my camera, trying to capture a portrait here and there to savor the beauty unfolding all around us.  It is so much bigger and more expansive than my tiny lens will capture.  And so I focus on the details, the tiny bits of beauty we might otherwise overlook.

Here are six portraits from our garden today.

~

~

Woodland Gnome 2019

~

~

“When magic through nerves and reason passes,
Imagination, force, and passion will thunder.
The portrait of the world is changed.”
.

Dejan Stojanovic

Many thanks to the wonderful ‘Six on Saturday’ meme sponsored by The Propagator.

 

Sunday Dinner: Uncertainty

~
“Embrace relational uncertainty. It’s called romance.
Embrace spiritual uncertainty. It’s called mystery.
Embrace occupational uncertainty. It’s called destiny.
Embrace emotional uncertainty. It’s called joy.
Embrace intellectual uncertainty. It’s called revelation.”
.
Mark Batterson
~
~
“Let go of certainty.
The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness,
curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox,
rather than choose up sides.
The ultimate challenge is to accept
ourselves exactly as we are,
but never stop trying to learn and grow.”
.
Tony Schwartz
~
~
“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality,
they are not certain;
and as far as they are certain,
they do not refer to reality.”
.
Albert Einstein
~
~
“Have patience with everything
that remains unsolved in your heart.
…live in the question.”
.
Rainer Maria Rilke
~
~
“You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
.
Max Ehrmann
~
~
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2018
*  *  *
“Everything you’ve learned in school as “obvious”
becomes less and less obvious
as you begin to study the universe.
For example, there are no solids in the universe.
There’s not even a suggestion of a solid.
There are no absolute continuums.
There are no surfaces.
There are no straight lines.”
.
R. Buckminster Fuller

~

~

“There are souls in this world
which have the gift of finding joy everywhere
and of leaving it behind them when they go.”
.
Frederick William Faber
~

How many insects can you count on the Joe Pye Weed today?

~
“So what do we do? Anything. Something.
So long as we just don’t sit there.
If we screw it up, start over.
Try something else.
If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties,
it may be too late.”
.
Lee Iacocca
~

In Pursuit of Happiness

~

“I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage
with my books, my family and a few old friends,
dining on simple bacon, and letting the world
roll on as it liked,
than to occupy the most splendid post,
which any human power can give.”
.
Thomas Jefferson
~
~
“Do you want to know who you are?
Don’t ask. Act!
Action will delineate and define you.”
.
Thomas Jefferson
~
~
“Determine never to be idle.
No person will have occasion
to complain of the want of time,
who never loses any.
It is wonderful how much may be done,
if we are always doing.”
.
Thomas Jefferson

~

~

“The equal rights of man,
and the happiness of every individual,
are now acknowledged to be
the only legitimate objects of government.”
.
Thomas Jefferson

~

~

“Peace and friendship with all mankind
is our wisest policy,
and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.”
.
Thomas Jefferson

~

~

“There is not a sprig of grass that shoots
uninteresting to me.”
.
Thomas Jefferson

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2018
at the Williamsburg Botanical Garden

~

~

“I like the dreams of the future
better than the history of the past.”
.
Thomas Jefferson

First of June

Bumbly on Verbena bonariensis

~

The first Crepe Myrtle blossoms have opened on median strip trees near our home.  It surprised me to see their pink fluffiness in the upper reaches of these trees which so recently sported only bare branches.

It still feels like witnessing a miracle to watch the annual progression of leaf and blossom, a miracle which still thrills me.

~

Oakleaf Hydrangea, showing the first tint of pink in its blossoms.

~

I was chasing two does out of our garden this afternoon, when I noticed a new soft blueness from the corner of my eye.  Looking more closely, freshly opened mop-head Hydrangea flowers came into focus in the depths of our shrub border.  These were well hidden, out of reach of hungry mouths scavenging for any greenery not lately coated in Repels-All.

The nearby buds of a  R. ‘John Paul II’ were gone.  We’ve had days of rain lately, so no use worrying too much over what’s been nabbed.  We’ve done our best.

~

Our flowering carrots have proven very satisfying.

~

But my day’s ‘to-do’ list is still not done.  I’ll head back out to the garden at dusk to spread what’s left of our bag of MilorganiteMaybe that will discourage further trespass.

It’s impossible to remain grumpy for long, when in the garden.  For every hoof print or buzzing bitey, there are a dozen newly opened flowers to enjoy.

~

We stopped to enjoy this Zebra Swallowtail feeding on milkweed while in Gloucester yesterday.

~

It is fabulous to watch our summer garden finally unfold.  The first Canna flowers opened today, too, and the first vibrant spikes of Liatris are showing color.  Everywhere I look, there is something new to discover and to enjoy.

~

First Liatris flower from the bulbs we planted this spring.  Pollinators enjoy these, too.  The feast is spread; where are our butterflies?

~

We celebrated this turning towards summer yesterday with a day trip to  Gloucester.  It is a beautiful drive, first of all, along the Colonial Parkway and over the Coleman Bridge.  The York River was alive with small craft.  There’s an active Osprey nest nestled into the bridge’s structure above the control booth, and I always watch for a glimpse of mother or chicks.

We visited at the Bulb Shop and spent a while meditating on the new season’s growth in the Heath’s display gardens.  I’m always studying how they assemble groupings of plants, looking for fresh ideas.

But I was distracted at the Heron Pond, photographing their newly opened water lily blossoms.  There is so much to see, so much to learn, and so much to enjoy.

~

~

Now that their summer stock is marked down by half, I took advantage of the opportunity to try a few new perennials.  I’ll be planting our first ever Kniphofia.  I don’t know how to pronounce it, so we’ll just call them ‘Red Hot Pokers’ and you’ll know what I mean.  This is another perennial I admire growing in huge clumps near the Pacific beaches in Oregon.  Pollinators and butterflies love them , and so I plan to plant a clump in our front garden to see how we like them.

~

Daucus carota

~

Other than moving the remaining Caladiums out to the garden, our spring planting is about finished.  Now comes the joy of it all, as we sit back and enjoy watching everything grow; and enjoy, even more, sharing it with friends who stop by for a leisurely summer-time visit.

~

Calla lily, or Zantedeschia, with Black eyed Susans nearly ready to bloom and starts of Obedient plant given to us by a friend. 

~

Woodland Gnome 2017
.
“Bees do have a smell, you know,
and if they don’t they should,
for their feet are dusted
with spices from a million flowers.”

.
Ray Bradbury
~

Allium

Sunday Dinner: Community

~
“No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were:
any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind,
and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls;
it tolls for thee.”
.
John Donne
~
~
“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.”
.
Gene Roddenberry
~
~
“What should young people do with their lives today?
Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing
is to create stable communities
in which the terrible disease of loneliness
can be cured.”
.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr
~
~
“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. ”
.
Michael Pollan
~
~
“Remember that the happiest people
are not those getting more,
but those giving more.”
.
H. Jackson Brown Jr.
~
~
In Memory of Special Agent Michael Walter,
who was lost in the line of duty May 26-27, 2017
~
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
~
~
“But many of us seek community
solely to escape the fear of being alone.
Knowing how to be solitary
is central to the art of loving.
When we can be alone,
we can be with others without using them
as a means of escape.”
.
bell hooks
~

Wildlife Wednesday

July 27, 2016 morning garden 016

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The beauty and mystery of this world

only emerges through affection, attention,

interest and compassion . . .

open your eyes wide and actually see this world

by attending to its colors, details and irony.”

.

Orhan Pamuk

~

July 27, 2016 morning garden 017

~

“Once again, we are reminded that awakening,

or enlightenment is not the property of Buddhism,

any more than Truth is the property of Christianity.

Neither the Buddha nor the Christ

belongs exclusively to the communities

that were founded in their names.

They belong to all people of goodwill,

all who are attentive to the secret

which lives in the depths

of their breath and their consciousness.”

.

Jean-Yves Leloup

~

July 27, 2016 morning garden 010

~

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention.

This is how we cultivate mindfulness.

Mindfulness means being awake.

It means knowing what you are doing.”

.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

~

July 27, 2016 morning garden 066

~

“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

~

July 26, 2016 leaves 049

~

Appreciation to Tina, at My Gardener Says, for hosting Wildlife Wednesday the first Wednesday of each month.  She has hosted this meme for a little more than two years now, encouraging all of us to notice the wildlife sharing our gardens.

Tina writes:  ” Especially in urban areas, planting for birds, pollinators, and other wild animals helps balance ongoing damage to natural zones and allows our world to heal–if just a little bit–by providing for those who can’t speak for themselves and with whom we share our world.”

~
July 27, 2016 morning garden 057
~
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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July 27, 2016 morning garden 056

 

 

Summer Fireworks

Asclepias incarnata, milkweed.

Asclepias incarnata, milkweed

~

What a wondrous sight when the nighttime sky is painted with moving light.  We love watching fireworks. 

Out of doors in a warm, humid summer night; listening to music; enjoying a light picnic with friends, sets the perfect mood for a fireworks show.

~

July 5, 2015 garden 027

~

Meteorological fireworks passed around us last night a few hours ahead of our Williamsburg fireworks.

Strong thunderstorms and heavy rain threatened all evening.  We stayed in and watched the shows broadcast from Washington DC and New York.

~

Hydrangea, 'Ruby Slippers'

Hydrangea, ‘Ruby Slippers’

~

We enjoyed the spectacles in comfort, still listening to the distant booms of our local fireworks filling the sky in a break between showers..

The is air is filled with distant booms again tonight; low rumbles threatening from south of the James River.

Another huge thunderstorm is struggling to stretch northeastwards this evening.  It stalls at the river’s bank, contained by this beautiful river.

Another summer night fills with rain, running into creeks and falling on our spongy ground.

~

July 5, 2015 garden 010

Yucca grows near a new bed of Colocasia

~

Yet the sun greeted us this morning, coaxing clouds of steam up from pavement and lawn.

The roses were still covered in water droplets as I trimmed back spent flowers riddled with shiny green beetles.

~

July 5, 2015 garden 030

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The morning air shimmered to a soundtrack of hungry bees buzzing around their breakfast feast.  Bright dragonflies and damselflies swooped from shrub to shrub, pausing only seconds before taking off again.

~

July 5, 2015 garden 006

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I made the tour of the garden, clippers and camera both close at hand.  A large bucket half filled with soapy, Borax laced  water went with me, ready to swallow those sadly eaten flowers and their still munching attackers.

~

July 5, 2015 garden 011

Someone ate the petals away from this Echinacea, but the bees don’t mind. The crown is still filled with rich nectar.

~

Summer’s sweet fragrances filled the air: warm roses, crushed mint, sweet grass and damp soil.

~

July 5, 2015 garden 012

~

I am interested in a different sort of fireworks this morning.  

So many of mid-summer’s flowers echo the rockets and starbursts of last night’s spectacle.

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July 5, 2015 garden 013~

Hundreds of tiny flowers cluster together, a welcoming committee laying a buffet for their hungry visitors.

~

July 5, 2015 garden 031

~

There is power in numbers, always.  Each tiny nectar filled flower humbly takes its place somewhere in the mass of flowers.  But opening together,  their invitation is clear.

~

July 5, 2015 garden 032~

July is the rising crescendo of each year’s floral fireworks spectacular.

Still months from the finale, the intensity of sound and smell and sight grow daily.  Such energy!  Such variety!

~

July 4, 2015 Jamestown 096

~

We have neared the far edge of Solstice.  Our daylight will grow shorter by a second or two each day, starting tomorrow.

Soon we’ll feel that our slide back down the slope towards shorter, cooler days and longer nights.

~

Crepe Myrtle begins to bloom in our garden, and will fill the garden with flowers until early September.

Crepe Myrtle begins to bloom in our garden, and will fill the garden with flowers until early September.

~

But not yet.  No, we are still at the top of the wheel of the year, looking across our gardens filled with color and life.

~

July 4, 2015 Jamestown 097

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It is summer, and even our night time skies are painted with phosphorescent gardens of bright, neon-hued light.

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July 4, 2015 Jamestown 090~

Summer, and the garden nearly bursts with pent up energy. 

As above, so below….

~

July 4, 2015 Jamestown 086~

Woodland Gnome 2015

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July 5, 2015 garden 018

Bee-Friendly

July 4, 2015 Jamestown 087

~

“Once again…welcome to my house.

Come freely. Go safely;

and leave something of the happiness you bring.”

.

Bram Stoker

~

July 4, 2015 Jamestown 081

~

“There is no hospitality like understanding.”

.

Vanna Bonta

~

July 4, 2015 Jamestown 084

~

“Create inclusion – with simple mindfulness

that others might have a different reality from your own.”

.

Patti Digh

~

July 4, 2015 Jamestown 085

~

“It only takes one cat – or person –

to make another feel welcome and special.”

.

  Laura C. Monteiro

~

July 4, 2015 Jamestown 082

~

“But still – that is our vocation:

to convert the hostis into a hospes,

the enemy into a guest

and to create the free and fearless space

where brotherhood and sisterhood

can be formed and fully experienced.”

.

  Henri J.M. Nouwen

~

July 4, 2015 Jamestown 080~

We are all strangers in this strange land; all but the natives who greeted us in 1607 and their children’s children who live among us now.

The genius, the energy, and the stubborness of “Americans” comes from our identity as immigrants, as newcomers.  Every new wave of immigrants brings some special something with them, which woven into the fabric of our culture keeps us ever new and relevant.

America remains in a constant state of rebellion against what is outdated and stale.  We welcome the fresh breezes from the sea to clear away the smog and offer us a view of the infinite blue sky.

~

Jamestown Island, July 4, 2015

Jamestown Island, July 4, 2015

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Happy Independence Day! 

May our Nation be always blessed by love.

~

Jamestown Island still bears sweet fruits for those who stop to gather them.

Jamestown Island still bears sweet fruits for those who stop to gather them.

~

Woodland Gnome 2015

~

July 4, 2015 Jamestown 043

Silent Sunday

Allium with bees

Allium with bees

~

“Handle a book as a bee does a flower,

extract its sweetness but do not damage it.”
.

John Muir

~

June 7, 2015  Yorktown 099~

“One can no more approach people without love

than one can approach bees without care.

Such is the quality of bees…”
.

Leo Tolstoy

~

June 7, 2015  Yorktown 094

~

Woodland Gnome 2015

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