Fabulous Friday: Change Is In the Air

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Our drought dissolved in inches of cool, wonderful rain last weekend.  We had a break from the heat, too, with some wonderfully cool nights and mornings.

We’ve left doors and windows open to air out the house and gotten outdoors a bit more.   Mornings, especially, have been wonderful for puttering and watering without getting roasted when one steps out of the shade.

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Our newest crape myrtle, with blooms this year, after a visit from the doe and her fawns.  I’m relieved to see lots of new growth, which is especially pretty on this cultivar.

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Yesterday evening, we ventured into the front yard on the way to collect the mail, and were amazed by a cloud of graceful dragonflies.  Neither of us could remember seeing so many dragonflies flying about the garden all at one time.  We stood in awe, admiring them.

All sorts of creatures begin to show themselves when the rain returns and temperatures dip.  Not only dragonflies, but butterflies show up, too.

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And I’ve had a tiny hummingbird gathering courage this week, flying ever closer to the fine spray from the hose as I water.  It zips up close in the blink of an eye, and hovers, jumping forward a few inches at a time to the edge of the cool mist of water.

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The magic of cropping allows us to enjoy the crape myrtle’s flower without seeing where the tree was nibbled….

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We have a family of small rabbits sharing the garden this summer, too.  They watch us from the shadows, hopping off briskly only if we get too close for their comfort.   Small lizards rustle among the pots on the front patio, sunning themselves along the windowsills and on the porch.  A tiny one, less than 2″ long skittered through the slider as I let the cat out Wednesday morning.  I shudder to think where it may be hiding, and choose to believe it found its way back outside unseen.

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Our garden’s soundtrack begins before dawn as birds call to one another, and lingers late into the evening with frog song and chirping cicadas.  Birds nesting in the yard follow us around, calling to us from nearby trees as we work.

These are reasons we love living in our forest.  You must know, though, that its not all peaches and cream, at any time of year.  We’ve put out deer repellents three times in the last week.  It remains all too common to look out of our front windows to see a certain doe and her two fawns munching the Hydrangeas on our front lawn.

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Back out into the sun, a favorite pot of Caladiums also hosts a Crinum lily preparing to bloom. This is one of the few lily blossoms deer won’t eat, and these tough perennials get better each year.

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Yesterday afternoon, it was a black snake that surprised my partner in the shrubs beside our front porch.  It was the first we’ve seen near the house this year, and we hope the last!  Now I’ll be extra careful working near the shrubs, and keep an eye out for it.  (A former gardener’s wife refused to venture into the yard at all, for fear of snakes.  She admired it all from the windows of our home.)

Yes, change is in the air as we settle in to August.  The garden has visibly revived and begun to grow again since our rain.  We watch the forecast daily, greedily waiting for the next shower and cool day.  I’ve a ‘to do’ list which begins with pruning the roses before moving on to some serious weeding; just waiting for a cool, damp morning to inspire me.

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I noticed the interesting texture eaten into these leaves above our deck yesterday evening.

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Hibiscus fill our garden this time of year.  All of our Crape Myrtle trees have begun to bloom, and the golden Rudbeckia are coming into their prime.   There is plenty of nectar for every pollinator in our corner of the county.  Butterflies hover around the Lantana, and every sort of fabulous wasp buzzes around the pot of mountain mint growing on our deck.

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Hardy Hibiscus coccineus began to bloom in the front border this week.

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August reminds us to take some pleasure and rest while we can.  It is a month of kicking back and savoring the sweetness of life.  It is a month for catching the first whiff of change in the cool morning breezes.

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Basil loves this hot, sunny weather!

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I hope you are preparing for a weekend getaway this Fabulous Friday.  Maybe you are already there, settling in for a little holiday time.

I began the day catching up with a good friend over coffee, and am looking forward to a few hours in the garden this evening.  I’ll plan to get away later in October, once the butterflies fly south again and the hummingbirds stop dancing around me as I water.

August is too full of sweetness to leave the garden now.

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Fabulous Friday:  Happiness is contagious, so let’s infect one another!

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Woodland Gnome 2017

Sunday Dinner: New Horizons

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“When we look up, it widens our horizons.

We see what a little speck we are in the universe,

so insignificant, and we all take ourselves so seriously,

but in the sky, there are no boundaries.

No differences of caste or religion or race.”

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Julia Gregson

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“There is so much to say about a past.

It’s a vein of gold through a mountain,

leading to an incontrovertible stone heart of truth.

But the future is a horizon –

a faintly visible line that will promise much,

and always remain too far away to touch.”

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Aliya Whiteley

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“Watching the infinite horizons

gives you infinite dreams, infinite ideas,

infinite paths!

Choose a great target

and then you will see

that great instruments will appear for you

to reach that target!”

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Mehmet Murat ildan

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“Material and technical changes

are mostly quite visible.

But less visible are the changes

in the mind of the people, their way of thinking,

their conception of the world

and the quality of their fears.”

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Erik Pevernagie

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“Dreamers are mocked as impractical.

The truth is they are the most practical,

as their innovations lead to progress

and a better way of life for all of us.”

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Robin S. Sharma

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“In a world of change,

the learners shall inherit the earth,

while the learned shall find themselves

perfectly suited for a world

that no longer exists.”

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Eric Hoffer

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

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“We’re treating the sky as an open sewer.”

“Every night on the news

is like a nature hike

through the book of Revelation.”

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Now we have solutions to the climate crisis,

and they can create tens of millions of new jobs.” 

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Al Gore on CNN’s ‘State of The Union,’ June 4, 2017

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Re-Claiming Our Joy

Narcissus ‘Katy Heath’

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“A flower blossoms for its own joy.”
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Oscar Wilde

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The past several months have been an emotional time for many of us.  We are weathering a perfect storm of disturbing thoughts and feelings about our nation’s leadership and our nation’s destiny.   We may worry about the actions of some groups  across our United States.  Our hearts go out to so many individuals who are suffering and who have suffered harm.

It is hard to witness what is happening to our government.  It all feels very, very personal. 

It isn’t necessarily easy, these days, to discern truth from disinformation; reality from ‘spin.’  And it is exhausting to just keep up with each day’s events, let alone try to participate and have an impact on our country’s future.

And I’m weary of it all.   You may be feeling weary as well

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Whatever your politics, you may share an uneasy feeling about how things are happening.  There is too much dishonesty and secrecy on display in the narrative, for our nation’s present  leadership to be working for the general welfare and good of our country. It’s clear they have a different agenda in mind…..

If they were doing good things, they would want us to know.  Secrecy hides actions that you already know are hurting people; that you already know are in violation of our laws.

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We all know, from our own experience, that living with anger, fear, suspicion and dread takes a painful toll on our minds, our bodies and our heart.  We can’t let that happen. 

Feelings like anger, depression and fear drain our positive energy and intent.  We’ve got to somehow ‘fill ourselves back up’ with the  positive energies which come from joy and contentment. 

Before this latest political season began, we each had our own concerns.  And those likely haven’t gone away.   Now we’ve added a huge helping of national angst to our own personal dramas; it is a heavy load to bear.

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“Light chases away darkness.”
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Anasazi Foundation

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But we are strong.  And we have our goals firmly in mind for ourselves, our families, and our communities. 

And we know, with every fiber of our being, that the love, support, and joy we bring to our loved ones makes us all ever stronger.

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“Joy is the holy fire

that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.”

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Helen Keller

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The key to our survival is keeping our focus on what is positive and life-affirming.

Bask in what brings you joy.  Draw energy from what is most beautiful.

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There is real energy available to us when we focus on beauty.  The Native Americans have a blessing, “Walk in beauty.”  It invites us to celebrate what is good, and authentic, harmonious and pleasing. 

Walking in beauty, making beauty a conscious part of our daily lives, helps us ‘plug up’ the drains on our energy and re-fill the reservoir of our joy. 

Did your parents demonstrate this life skill?  Mine did, and I bless them for this teaching.

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“The universe is energy,

energy that responds to our expectations.”

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James Redfield

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As winter gives way to spring, let’s open our minds and hearts to the changing season.  Let’s know that change is a constant in our lives; and we always have power to affect that change. 

We are not victims.  We are not disenfranchised or alone.  There is always ‘something’ we can do to have a positive impact in our community.

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“Faith, hope and love abide, these three….

and the greatest of these, is love.”

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Paulus

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Let’s re-energize ourselves, re-claim our joy, and re-affirm the goals we are working towards.  Let’s determine to walk in beauty; and more importantly to nurture beauty in our lives. 

Our gardens offer a place to begin.  Once we set foot on that path, there is no telling where it may take us.

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“Look for light
Listen for inspiration on the wind
Let water cleanse your soul
Set yourself on a firm foundation
Serve as the plants
Do not offend your fellow creatures
Live in harmony with all creations”

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Anasazi Foundation

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 Woodland Gnome 2017

 

Sunday Dinner: Acceptance

July 8, 2016 sky 014

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“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.

Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow.

Let reality be reality.

Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

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Lao Tzu

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July 13, 2016 garden close ups 022

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“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining

is let it rain.”

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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July 13, 2016 garden close ups 023 - Copy

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“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.”

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Tony Schwartz

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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My happiness grows

in direct proportion to my acceptance,

and in inverse proportion to my expectations.”

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Michael J. Fox 

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For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Details

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July 12, 2016 garden layers 026

The Way of Things

March 25, 2016 Daffodils 002

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Things are always changing.  This is the touchstone for all of us past a certain age, I’ve learned.  Gardening brings one intimately close to an understanding of our lives in this material world.  Sometimes changes bring happiness.  Other times we feels frustration as we lose something we enjoy, something we expected to last.

Understanding the nature of change is a lifetime’s work.  Accepting, even embracing it, hones our spirits.

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March 25, 2016 Daffodils 003

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Our beautiful evergreen Star Jasmine vine covered the railings to our porch long before we ever came to this garden.  An ancient thing, with a large trunk, we enjoyed its greenness all winter and waited for its lovely fragrant flowers to open each spring.  Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds all came to sip from its flowers.  It was one of the most beautiful gifts of the garden.

But harsh cold in winter 2013 weakened it.  Some of its stems never sprouted fresh leaves and flowers that next summer, and flowers came late.  We worked with it all summer and hoped for the best.  But a second harsh winter in 2014, followed by the cold and late spring last year, finished it off.  Its leaves dropped for months.  We were saddened to loose this beautiful vine.  And we didn’t want to lose its bulk and intricate stems which had protected our porch for decades.  What to do?

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March 25, 2016 Daffodils 005~

Although we did some cleaning up and trimming back, we left the vine in place;  and decided to use it as a framework for growing other vines.  The handful of Muscadine grape seeds I’d casually planted below the Jasmine in 2013 were growing happily, undamaged by the cold.  So we spent last summer training those new vines up and over the framework left by the Jasmine.  I planted a Clematis in a pot at the base of the old trunk, and began training it up into the Jasmine as well.

And now, our bare framework of vines is greening.  The grapevines sprouted tiny green leaves this week, which grow larger each day.  The Clematis has sprouted new leaves as well, with new growth stretching further each day.  We’ll help anchor it along the front face of the old vines above the trunk.

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March 25, 2016 Daffodils 009

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Change is happening to our framework of vines.  It will glow green and fruitful once again this summer in its fresh clothing of grape leaves and Clematis flowers.

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March 25, 2016 Daffodils 001

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Change remains the dynamic force of creation.  We can harness its principles to create great beauty around us.  We can work with it when it comes unbidden.  But we cannot arrest its eternal power. 

The tale of change is written all around us in the incredible transformations which have swept over our beautiful planet.  The story unfolds within each of us, and in the faces of our loved ones.

It is the way of things. 

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March 25, 2016 Daffodils 004~

Woodland Gnome 2016

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March 25, 2016 Daffodils 022

Sunday Dinner: Changes

November 20, 2015 garden 013

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“Walking on the land or digging in the fine soil

I am intensely aware that time quivers slightly,

changes occurring in imperceptible and minute ways,

accumulating so subtly that they seem not to exist.

Yet the tiny shifts in everything-

-cell replication, the rain of dust motes,

lengthening hair, wind-pushed rocks-

-press inexorably on and on.”

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Annie Proulx

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November 20, 2015 garden 012

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“When a pebble is thrown into a lake, everything,

down to the furthermost depths, moves with it.

… And if, afterwards, everything seems as it was,

the level of the lake has none the less been raised

by imperceptible, incalculable degree.

The old order has been overthrown –

– by a pebble.”

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Théophile Thoré

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November 20, 2015 garden 014

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“Life and summer are fleeting,’ sang the bird.

‘Snow and dark, and the winter comes.

Nothing remains the same.”

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Elyne Mitchell

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November 20, 2015 garden 006

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

 

 

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Sunday Dinner: Changes

November 1, 2015, fall drive 019

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“In every change, in every falling leaf

there is some pain, some beauty.

And that’s the way new leaves grow.”

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Amit Ray

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 031

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“When we resist change, it’s called suffering.

But when we can completely let go

and not struggle against it,

when we can embrace

the groundlessness of our situation and relax

into it’s dynamic quality,

that’s called enlightenment”

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Pema Chödrön

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 015

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“Fret not where the road will take you.

Instead concentrate on the first step.

That’s the hardest part and that’s

what you are responsible for.

Once you take that step

let everything do what it naturally does

and the rest will follow.

Do not go with the flow.

Be the flow.”

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Elif Shafak,

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 013

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“Consciousness is only possible

through change; change is only possible

through movement.”

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Aldous Huxley

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 008

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“Man cannot remake himself

without suffering, for he is both the marble

and the sculptor”

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Alexis Carrel

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 005

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“Anyone who knows me, should learn to know me again;
For I am like the Moon,
you will see me with new face everyday.”

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Rumi

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 002

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“Nothing endures but change.”

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Heraclitus

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 017

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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National Blog Posting Month

NaBloPoMo_1115_298x255_badges

Inspired by The Daily Post’s     

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat

WPC: Change

September 25, 20015 foliage 032~

“If you realize that all things change,

there is nothing you will try to hold on to.

If you are not afraid of dying,

there is nothing you cannot achieve.”

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Lao Tzu

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August 25, 2015 changes 007~

Change is the constant in our garden. 

We, like everyone else, watch the seasons come and go.  We watch for the first green leaves to push through the frozen soil in February.  We watch for the lizards to wake up in early summer, and for the butterflies to magically appear in the garden sipping from their favorite flowers.

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August 25, 2015 changes 012~

We watch for tender green leaves to unfold from bare stems and for those same leaves to yellow and fade, finally blowing away on autumn’s wind.

We witness ice flowers growing from a frozen stem with awe and wonder.

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“To see things in the seed,

that is genius.”

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Lao Tzu

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August 25, 2015 changes 021

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Yet gardening teaches us to work with change in deeper ways.  We work in longer cycles of time than the changing of a single season.

We weigh the potential of a site before ever moving in.  We build the soil over many seasons, nurturing those living microbes so tiny we will never see them.

We can visualize the vase of flowers inherent in a packet of seeds.  We see the tender petals already forming in a rough brown bulb.

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September 25, 20015 foliage 024~

We plant trees, knowing it will take decades for them to mature, and that we may never taste their fruits.

Time is a constant in our algorithms. 

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September 25, 20015 foliage 006

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We take into our accounts the potential of passing time.  We understand the richness of the wait.

Like thoughtful parents, we understand the profound power of love and attention.

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August 25, 2015 changes 024~

“Change will not come

if we wait for some other person,

or if we wait for some other time.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

We are the change that we seek.”

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Barack Obama

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September 23, 2015 foliage 028

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We inhabit this Earth for such a short time; and yet we are witness to uncounted change. 

We contemplate those fruits which ripened centuries before our birth.  Myths and paintings bear witness to those fruits and flowers of another age.

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August 25, 2015 changes 018

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We wonder how the span of our own lives might enrich the harvest in those years to come.

What seeds may we plant now, trusting them to still blossom and bear fruit in a future we can barely  imagine?

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“Become totally empty
Quiet the restlessness of the mind
Only then will you witness

everything unfolding from emptiness”

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Lao Tzu

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Perhaps some of us are drawn to gardening through our fascination with the process of change.

We can watch endless cycles of change play out  just beyond our doorstep.  Our garden is our laboratory, where we tinker with the unfolding of life itself.

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We watch and we listen, smelling the wind, noting the comings and goings of every thing as the seasons unfold.

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And perhaps, if we are very observant, we might learn a bit about life, and maybe even about ourselves.  What things will change; and what will seem immune from its endless transformations?

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Woodland Gnome 2015

For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

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August 25, 2015 changes 009

Seeds of Change

Milkweed pod ready to share its seeds:  Asclepias incarnata

Milkweed pod ready to share its seeds: Asclepias incarnata

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“Only those who sow seeds of change

can hope to grow and reap a harvest.”

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Andrea Goeglein

 

Photo by Woodland Gnome 2015

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August 25, 2015 garden 003

Silent Sunday: Change

Jamestown Island, March 6, 2015

Jamestown Island, March 6, 2015

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“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.

Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow.

Let reality be reality.

Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
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Lao Tzu

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Jamestown Island, May 19, 2015

Jamestown Island, May 19, 2015

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“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.

Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
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Rumi

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May 19, 2015 hot 012

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“I alone cannot change the world,

but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
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Mother Teresa

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“Change the way you look at things

and the things you look at change.”
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Wayne W. Dyer

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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May 19, 2015 hot 035

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