Sunday Dinner: Spirit

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“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous,
the cheerful, the planners, the doers,
the successful people with their heads in the clouds
and their feet on the ground.
Let their spirit ignite a fire within you
to leave this world better
than when you found it…”
.
Wilferd Peterson

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“Human spirit is the ability to face
the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism.
It is the belief that problems can be solved,
differences resolved. It is a type of confidence.
And it is fragile.
It can be blackened by fear, and superstition.”
.
Bernard Beckett

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“My religion consists of a humble admiration
of the illimitable superior spirit
who reveals himself in the slight details
we are able to perceive
with our frail and feeble mind.”
.
Albert Einstein

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“It does not matter how long you are spending on the earth,
how much money you have gathered
or how much attention you have received.
It is the amount of positive vibration
you have radiated in life that matters,”
.
Amit Ray

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“Age has no reality except in the physical world.
The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time.
Our inner lives are eternal,
which is to say that our spirits remain
as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom.
Think of love as a state of grace,
not the means to anything,
but the alpha and omega.
An end in itself.”
.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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“Great spirits have always encountered
violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
.
Albert Einstein

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“The first peace, which is the most important,
is that which comes within the souls of people
when they realize their relationship,
their oneness with the universe and all its powers,
and when they realize at the center of the universe
dwells the Great Spirit,
and that its center is really everywhere,
it is within each of us.”
.
Black Elk

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2019

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“Sometimes that
which we fear
strengthens our
spirit and gives
us a splash
of hope.”
.
Harley King
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Blossom XXXVI: Crocus

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“There is something infinitely healing
in the repeated refrains of nature –
the assurance that dawn comes after night,
and spring after winter”
.
Rachel Carson

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“Many children… delight in the small and inconspicuous.”
.
Rachel Carson

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2018
Another March Story

 

 

 

 

Sunday Dinner: Emergence

February 21, 2016 spring 008

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“Only keep still, wait, and hear, and the world will open.”

.

Richard Powers

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February 21, 2016 spring 009

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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February 21, 2016 spring 001

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“And suddenly you know:

It’s time to start something new

and trust the magic of beginnings.”

.

Meister Eckhart

 

Awakening

Columbine begins its annual growth in our garden.

Columbine begins its annual growth in our garden.

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Warmer days this week drew us outside to begin cutting back the dead branches of perennials, pull mouldering leaves out of planting beds, and look for the many tiny signs of spring.  Autumn leaves have found lodging everywhere, it seems.  Too wet to shred, we will leave them to mulch the soil a bit longer.

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Catmint has reappeared in the stump garden.

Catmint has reappeared in the stump garden.

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I was a little surprised to see abundant growth of new leaves on the catmint once last summer’s stems were cleared away.  Tiny green shoots of Comphrey poke a few inches above the moist soil.  New daffodil leaves emerge each day.

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Tete-a-Tete daffodils bloom in a pot with a budding Clematis vine.

Tete-a-Tete daffodils bloom in a pot with a budding Clematis vine.

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A single bright yellow daffodil blossom magically appeared over night on Tuesday in a pot near the drive, and a spray of tiny Tete-a-Tete daffodils opened the following day in the pot where a Clematis vine has already budded out.  Their cheerful golden trumpets brighten up this soggy Saturday.  Mid-March is muddy here in Williamsburg.

We are happy for the mud, however, as it shows us the ground has thawed.  Our last snow-pile finally melted by Thursday morning.

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March 14, 2015 spring flowers 011

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Now little bits of fresh growth have begun to emerge in the oddest places.  Bright moss shines along the front walk.  Deep rosy red buds appeared this week on the roses, beckoning me to finally trust that the worst of winter has passed and cut them back.

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March 14, 2015 spring flowers 006

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We’re walking around, taking stock; cleaning up what winter left behind.

Somehow a box of bare root Siberian Iris came home with us from Sam’s Club, and I scooped out moist holes for their roots yesterday.  I love their deep purple flowers waving in the warm May breeze.  They spread and multiply rapidly, making thick stands of saturated color as the Azaleas fade each year.  A bare root white Clematis from the same package now grows along a fence.

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March 14, 2015 spring flowers 004

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A fitting surprise waited for me in the old bag of potting soil which has lingered beneath the wheelbarrow these last frozen months.  I opened it to fill a pot for the second Clematis yesterday, and found little shoots of green already growing in the mix.  Apparently, this was soil I had scooped out of a pot at the end of the season to save, forgetting there were tiny bulbs mixed in from another spring.  The bulbs sprouted anyway, and their leaves were poking out of the moist soil.  I rescued them from the bag and tucked them into pots where they can prosper in the sun.

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Crocus emerge beneath a woody web of Lantana stems.  We want to wait until the weather settles a bit more before cutting the Lantana back for spring.

Crocus emerge beneath a woody web of Lantana stems. We want to wait until the weather settles a bit more before cutting the Lantana back for spring.

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Always filled with interesting surprises, spring cheers me like no other season.  As each perennial emerges from its winter rest, as each bulb breaks the Earth with its brilliant green leaves and each fruit tree bursts into flowers; I am reminded again that life is full of beautiful surprises.

Our gardens, like our own lives, remain perennially capable of new growth.  Although we don’t find it in every season, the potential remains.

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March 14, 2015 spring flowers 019

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When the soil is warm  and moist, things always grow.  Whether that growth is what we planned or whether it ends up a straggler which blew in from elsewhere; the soil covers itself with interesting leaves, spreading stems, and sometimes a delicate flower.

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I've transplanted Hellebores seedlings to grow beneath this Camellia shrub.  They will make a lovely ground cover in a few years.

I’ve transplanted Hellebores seedlings to grow beneath this Camellia shrub. They will make a lovely ground cover in a few years.

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The sun beckons, even as rain clouds mute its life giving rays.

March: the month when our garden awakens to spring.  May all of its verdant possibilities inspire you.

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March 12, 2015 watershed 004

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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March 14, 2015 creek 041

One Word Photo Challenge: Beaver (Brown)

March 10, 2015 brown 005

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Some might call it ‘mole-skin’ or ‘cafe au lait,’ but Jenny calls it ‘beaver.’

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March 10, 2015 brown 006

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By whatever moniker, it proves a dull and washed out shade of brown.  Or perhaps a dark faded khaki?

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March 10, 2015 brown 008

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This color looks to me as though it has been through the washer a time or ten too many.

It is the color still most prominent in our garden: the color of winter bleached leaves and long dead stems; spores, and cold scorched foliage.

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March 10, 2015 brown 007

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But from such as this is the newness of spring nurtured.  It holds life, potential, promise.

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March 10, 2015 brown 010

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And so as always, I want to thank Jenny for choosing the perfect color again this week.

In searching for ‘beaver brown’ I was able to look beyond it and find more signs of change; more promises of  spring’s return.

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March 10, 2015 brown 012

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owpc-logo-21One Word Photo Challenge:  Beaver

94715B

Woodland Gnome 2015

 

“There are times to stay put,

and what you want will come to you,

and there are times to go out into the world

and find such a thing for yourself.”
.

Lemony Snicket

~

March 10, 2015 brown 002

One Word Photo Challenge: Saffron

Daffodils blooming at the end of March 2014

Daffodils blooming at the end of March 2014

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Saffron may also be described as “pollen yellow.”  Saffron, the spice, comes from the stamens of a particular cultivar of Crocus.

One of the most expensive of all of the spices, it has been cultivated and treasured for many centuries.  Such a rich warm color!

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Crocus in bloom, with their "saffron" stamens covered in golden pollen.  This photo from February 16, 2014

Crocus in bloom, with their “saffron” stamens covered in golden pollen. This photo from February 16, 2014

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How nice it would be if I were posting more photos of our own early saffron yellow Crocuses today, but that will have to wait.  Ours are resting under 6 inches of fresh snow.

The yard is beautiful, but there will be no ‘saffron’ photos taken in the garden today!  This winter has been so long and cold that no part of me want to show you photos of the snow.  I’ll stick with photos of flowers, if you don’t mind.

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Our front border last March 22.  We had a cold, late spring last year.  I wonder when we'll see these appear again?

Our front border last March 22. We had a cold, late spring last year. I wonder when we’ll see these appear again?

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I’ve looked back into the photo files from last spring to find a bit of golden yellow saffron for Jenny’s challenge today.  Have you ever noticed that the very first flowers each spring are usually golden yellow?  Yellow Crocus, Forsythia, Witch Hazel, Dandelions, and Daffodils usher in each spring.

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March 23, 2014 parkway and flowers 055~

I hope you enjoy them, and know that this year’s saffron yellow flowers will emerge from the thawing ground any time now.

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Our yellow crocuses are currently under the snow.  This photo of them was taken March 2, 2014.

Our yellow crocuses are currently under the snow. This photo of them was taken March 2, 2014.

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F4C430

One Word Photo Challenge:  Saffron

See more photos of Saffron here.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014 

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Forsythia

Forsythia

As Above, So Below

March 8 2014 golden 021

“That which is below is like that which is above, and that which is above is like that which is below, to perform the miracles of one only thing.”

Hermes Trismegistus

March 8 2014 golden 022

“If thou but settest foot on this path, thou shalt see it everywhere.”

Hermes Trismegistus

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

March 8 2014 golden 002

Opening

Hellebore

Hellebore growing in my friends’ garden

What has been closed and tight is opening,

Daffodils

Daffodils

What has been cold is warming.

February 16 spring flowers 035

Galanthus nivalis

What has been still is moving at last.

February 16 spring flowers 010

Life stirs again in freshness and hope.

February 18 2014 parkway 046

Green grows to replace what is brown and brittle.

Garlic chives

Garlic chives

Hard turns soft,

Rose budding

Rose budding

Dark grows lighter

Crocus

Crocus

Days lengthen, and harsh wintery wind blows

February 24, 2014 daffodils 015

More gently now as spring’s warm breath.

Violas

Violas

Let our minds grasp this miracle of newness and growth

Hellebore in my friend's garden,

Hellebore in my friends’  garden

From the crusty remains of another season;

Hellebore in my friends' garden,

Hellebore in my friends’ garden

Let our hearts respond in love,

February 27, 2014 hellebores 008

opening to unexpected possibilities….

New plantings

New plantings

Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome, 2014

February 27, 2014 hellebores 002

Turning the Corner At Last

February 16 spring flowers 004

After days of snow and rain, the sun set golden last night beneath the last of the storm clouds clearing out from the west.

Sunrise this morning found our sky deeply blue and nearly clear, frosty morning air crackling with fresh energy and promise.

February 16 spring flowers 038

The sun called both of us out of doors to see what changes have come to the garden. 

February 16 spring flowers 037

Ground spongy from days of rain, with water still puddling in low spots; the Earth shifts and oozes with every step.  Each step must be carefully placed to avoid slipping on the uneven ground.

February 16 spring flowers 010

Today brings that magical moment when we first begin to feel winter slipping away into earliest spring.  The sun is brighter than when we saw it last, and is lingering later into the evening.  We have turned the corner at last.

February 16 spring flowers 034

In the afternoon I gathered hat and coat, scarf and camera to make the walk down to the Creek, in search of evidence. 

I went looking for any sign that we have, in fact, begun the unfolding of spring, here in Williamsburg.  I wanted proof that winter’s hard shell has begun to crack, allowing new bits of living green to unfold.

February 16 spring flowers 020

The first new green always comes to the mosses, plump now with moisture and responding to the sun.

February 16 spring flowers 011

They green as they thaw, and stretch out luxuriantly.  The moss, and brave blades of green bulb foliage determinedly poking out of the frozen mud animate winter’s muddy ground.

February 16 spring flowers 027

Even bits of fern, and the first bits of weed populating the mulched beds of daffodils, gave ample proof of winter melting away for another year.

February 16 spring flowers 015

Snowdrops, early Crocus, and one radiant patch of blooming Daffodils in a neighbor’s yard cheered me on my way.

February 16 spring flowers 022

The Hellebores are thickening in their beds with new growth, buds nearly ready to open their petals to early bees who might wander by.

February 16 spring flowers 029

Spring is returning to the garden; slowly, now at the beginning, but still an irresistible force of new unfoldings and fresh starts.

February 16 spring flowers 031

It was the perfect day to get out into the sunshine and fill our lungs with the first breath of spring.

February 16 spring flowers 024

A perfect day for our friend to celebrate her birthday, and a perfect day for winter’s cloak to pull away, even for a moment, as sun and warmth called us back out into the garden.

February 16 spring flowers 002

All photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

February 16 spring flowers 003

in time of daffodils (who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why, remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so (forgetting seem)

in time of roses (who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if, remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek (forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us free)
forgetting me, remember me
 

e. e. cummings

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