Sunday Dinner: Transformation

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“How does one become butterfly?’ Pooh asked pensively.
‘You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar,’ Piglet replied.
‘You mean to die?’ asked Pooh.
‘Yes and no,’ he answered. ‘What looks like you will die, but what’s really you will live on.”
.
A.A. Milne
~
~
“As we enter the path of transformation,
the most valuable thing we have working in our favor
is our yearning.”
.
Cynthia Bourgeault
~
~
“With full attention,
you become an instrument of healing on our planet,
for all that you touch
and every being you meet
is then transformed
by the power of your focused attention.
Therein lies the possibility
of Heaven on Earth.”
.
Mary O’Malley
~
~
“Justice is the very last thing of all
wherewith the universe concerns itself.
It is equilibrium that absorbs its attention;
and what we term justice
is truly nothing but this equilibrium transformed,
as honey is nothing but a transformation
of the sweetness found in the flower.
Outside man there is no justice;
within him injustice cannot be.”
.
Maurice Maeterlinck
~
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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
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After the first winter storm passed in the night, the sun came out brilliantly this morning.  Ice still lingers in the shadows, yet we are surrounded everywhere by color; even in our winter garden.

~
“Turning imagination into matter
is the most beautiful and fulfilling challenge of all.
I was about to find out
this is also my purpose and meaning.”
.
Gi Young
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Determined to Live: Ebony Spleenwort

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“Perfection is born of imperfection.”
.
Richie Norton

We were surprised today to find tiny ferns growing in the cracks of an old brick wall encircling Bruton Parish church in Colonial Williamsburg.   Near the end of our walk to photograph this year’s wreathes, we were headed back to the car when tiny bits of green growing from the mortar between old bricks caught our attention.

~
~
“Being strong is not just about your physical strength, no,
it is about your capacity to handle
difficult problem with ease.”
.
Nurudeen Ushawu

We noticed patches of moss, which is not so unusual, growing near these very persistent an determined ferns.  This part of the wall is shaded by an ancient live oak tree.   The wall itself dates to the mid-eighteenth century, and has stood through good times and dangerous times in the colonial district of Williamsburg, Virgninia.

~

The Bruton Parish chuchyard, where prominent Virginians have been buried since the late 17th Century.  We found ferns growing on the outside of this wall.

~
“Continuous effort –
not strength or intelligence –
is the key to unlocking our potential.”
.
Winston S. Churchill

The ferns are native to Virginia.  Commonly known as ebony spleenwort, these small ferns grow in little clusters in moist locations throughout our region.

They can be found in many shady places.  But they particularly enjoy growing on calcareous rocks and between old bricks.  Growing on a vertical wall doesn’t phase them, and they can also sometimes be found on rock walls, rotting wood and old fences.

~
~
“Dripping water hollows out stone,
not through force but through persistence.”
.
Ovid

I admire the perseverance of such determined little plants.  Their airborne spores landed in a crack in this centuries old mortar, in a moist crevice where they began to grow.  Despite  past summers’ droughts, the tiny plants have found enough moisture to keep growing.

No gardener waters them or grooms them.  These tiny plants look out for themselves season after season.

These are evergreen ferns, and will cling to their crevice and to life no matter what weather this winter coming brings.

~
~
 
“Most of the important things in the world
have been accomplished by people
who have kept on trying
when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
.
Dale Carnegie

If you love ferns growing in your garden, you might consider growing ebony spleenwort.  Please don’t collect from the wild.  The fern you dig or rip out will leave much of its roots behind.  You may or may not be able to replicate its habitat.

No, please buy a nursery grown fern and establish it in a moist, shady spot in your garden.  These ferns like lime-rich rocky soil, and you may be able to get them to establish in a rocky area, or even on a wall in your own garden.

I actually found a pair of these little ferns growing in some mulch carelessly left on top of some Juniper fronds over the summer.  They had rooted into the moist mulch, and I could easily lift them and re-plant them in soil in a shady spot nearby.  Once established, they will produce spores each year, and these spores will spread and allow for new ferns to grow nearby.

Ferns sometimes pop up as if ‘by magic’ in our area.  And natural magic it is, this miraculous journey from a tiny spore into a growing fern.  But that is another story best left for another post.

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Asplenium platyneuron, ebony spleenwort, is named for the ebony colored stipe and petiole of each frond.  This fern was once thought to have medicinal properties for curing diseases of the spleen. 

~
Woodland Gnome 2017
“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.”
.
Seneca
Many thanks to Helen Hamilton for her field guide, Ferns and Mosses of Virginia’s Coastal Plain

 

Sunday Dinner: Faith

~

“All the world is made of faith,
and trust, and pixie dust.”
.
J.M. Barrie
~

~

“All I have seen
teaches me to trust the Creator
for all I have not seen.”
.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
~

~

“I have come to accept the feeling
of not knowing where I am going.
And I have trained myself to love it.
Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air
with no landing in sight,
that we force our wings to unravel
and alas begin our flight.
And as we fly,
we still may not know where we are going to.
But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings.
You may not know where you’re going,
but you know that so long as you spread your wings,
the winds will carry you.”
.
C. JoyBell
~
~
“And still, after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe Me.”

Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.”

.
Hafez
~
~
“Do not be afraid; our fate
Cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.”
.
Dante Alighieri
~
~
Woodland Gnome 2017
~
~
“None of us knows what might happen
even the next minute,
yet still we go forward.
Because we trust.
Because we have Faith.”
.
Paulo Coelho
~

Sunday Dinner: Simple

~

“As you simplify your life,
the laws of the universe will be simpler;
solitude will not be solitude,
poverty will not be poverty,
nor weakness weakness.”
.
Henry David Thoreau
~
~
“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease.
Hack away at the inessentials.”
.
Bruce Lee
~
~
“Besides the noble art of getting things done,
there is the noble art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life
consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”
.
Lin Yutang
~
~
“Every solution to every problem is simple.
It’s the distance between the two
where the mystery lies.”
.
Derek Landy
~
~
“It’s as simple as that.
Simple and complicated,
as most true things are.”
.
David Levithan
~
~
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
~
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“Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus.”
.
Ann Voskamp

Sunday Dinner: Grateful

~
“I am grateful for what I am and have.
My thanksgiving is perpetual.
It is surprising how contented one can be
with nothing definite –
only a sense of existence.
… I am ready to try this 
for the next ten thousand years,
and exhaust it …
 My breath is sweet to me.
O how I laugh when I think
of my vague indefinite riches.
No run on my bank can drain it,
for my wealth is not possession
but enjoyment.”
.
Henry David Thoreau
~
~
“Be thankful for your allotment in an imperfect world.  
Though better circumstances can be imagined,
far worse are nearer misses
than you probably care to realize.”
.
Richelle E. Goodrich
~
~
“You have to be able to slow down enough
to switch your focus away from
all the ways things could be better,
to know how good they already are.”
.
Katherine Ellison
~
~
“One single gift acknowledged in gratefulness
has the power to dissolve the ties of our alienation.”

.
David Steindl-Rast
~
~
“It’s a funny thing about life,
once you begin to take note
of the things you are grateful for,
you begin to lose sight
of the things that you lack.”
.
Germany Kent
~
~
“Behind every creative act is a statement of love.
Every artistic creation is a statement of gratitude.”
.
Kilroy J. Oldster
~
~
“The single greatest cause of happiness is gratitude.”
.
Auliq-Ice
~
~
Photos By Woodland Gnome 2017
~
~
“Don’t ever stop believing in your own transformation.
It is still happening
even on days you may not realize it
or feel like it.”
.
Lalah Delia

Transformation

~

“Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.”

.

Lao Tzu

~

~

There is sadness in wandering along our familiar garden paths in these first few days after frost touched our garden.    Withered leaves litter the ground.  Herbaceous stems droop, their once rigid cells irreparably broken when they froze.

What was once growing a bit more beautiful each day, is now clearly in decline.  Papery brown seedheads replace vibrant flowers.    Our trees grow more naked each day.

~

~

“Do you have the patience

to wait until your mud settles

and the water is clear?”

.

Lao Tzu

~

~

But as the graceful structure of our trees stands stark against the sky, we see that next spring’s buds are already forming.    When dried leaves drift away on the breeze, the magic is revealed:  new flowers and leaves have already begun to grow along every branch.

The buds will grow more plump and full through the wintery weeks ahead, waiting for conditions to signal them to unfold into new growth.

~

~

“The reason why the universe is eternal

is that it does not live for itself;

it gives life to others

as it transforms.”

.

Lao Tzu

~

~

Our sadness in watching the garden decay touches our hearts, even as we understand the familiar process of renewal and re-growth.

Like waves on the beach, things are always coming in, and flowing out.  Like our breath, we receive and we give continually.

Trees draw their life from the soil beneath their roots and the air surrounding their leaves.  And then, after a period of growth, they willingly drop their leaves to decay and feed the life of the soil.  There is balance.

Every root absorbs moisture, and every leaf allows those precious drops of water to evaporate back into the sky.

~

~

 

“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.”

.

Lao Tzu

~

~

Nothing is ever truly gained or lost; everything transforms.  The garden helps us see this truth, and another:  Life goes on. 

No matter the appearance in the moment, life continues; and we are a part of this beautiful flickering, flaming, raging dance of life.

Our sadness springs from our clinging to one beautiful form or another.  And even that sadness can transform to joy, when we see beyond the loss of one thing to welcome what comes back to us in its wake

~

~

Let’s dance the dance of life with joy in our hearts, and embrace the magic of each season of our lives.

~

~

Woodland Gnome 2017

Camellia

~

“Nothing in the world is permanent,

and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last,

but surely we’re still more foolish

not to take delight in it

while we have it.”

.

W. Somerset Maugham

~

~

“There is no “the way things are.”

Every day is different,

and you live it differently.”

.

Marty Rubin

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

~

~

“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

~

For The Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Temporary

Dichotomy, or, Courageous Gardening

~

“Success is not final,
failure is not fatal:
it is the courage to continue that counts.”
.
Winston S. Churchill

~

November isn’t for the faint of heart.

As chill winds blow and birds flock up to travel to gentler places, a season’s growth shrivels before our eyes, and blows away.  Much of what  we have nurtured and admired for the past several months perishes in the short span of a couple of weeks.

The changes come almost imperceptibly at first, and then overwhelming in their inevitability.

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~

The trees in our garden transform themselves from green to scarlet to brown or bare.  More and more branches stand naked in the morning chill each day, and we know from our years of watching this that soon enough our garden will fall away to its barest bones.

Our lush landscape will soon be made mostly of brown and grey sticks, beige grass, bare beds.

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~

November is when you feel deep gratitude for every vibrant green Camellia shrub you’ve planted, and wonder why you haven’t planted more.

You study the framework of evergreens; box and myrtle, Osmanthus, juniper, holly, Magnolia and hemlock.  These are the stalwart companions that sparkle in the winter sunshine, assuring us of the continuity of life through the gardens’ time of rest.

~

~

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time
and always one more time.”
.
Maya Angelou
~

We dig into the cooling Earth, placing our faith in dormant bulbs and tubers; trusting that they will eventually awaken and strike new roots and greet us with fresh growth and soft flowers and bright color when the days have grown longer and warmer once again.

We know those days will come, despite the wintery months ahead.

~

~

November shows its two faces in our garden.  Leaves fall as flowers bloom.  Birds gather and fill the air with music.  Buds swell on the Magnolias‘ newly bared branches, and berries redden among the prickly holly leaves.   One day the sky is low and white, the next it’s deepest blue.

~

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening,
or exactly where it is all going.
What you need
is to recognize the possibilities and challenges
offered by the present moment,
and to embrace them
with courage, faith and hope.”
.
Thomas Merton

~

~

Yet summer lives in all the seasons of a gardener’s heart.  We watch nature’s machinations in autumn, knowing that it is only a preparation for what is to come.  We take courage in the sure knowledge of vibrant life in every root and limb.  We look past the illusions of disillusion,  putting our faith in ripening seeds and and expanding rhizomes, hungry earthworms, mycelium, and moss.

We take courage from our own determination to cultivate beauty in every circumstance.  We trust November as surely as we trust May, and so breathe deeply; knowing that all is well.

~

~

Woodland Gnome 2017

~

Sunday Dinner: Remembrance

~
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
.
Thomas Campbell
~
~
“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
~
~
“Beauty exists not in what is seen and remembered,
but in what is felt and never forgotten.”
.
Johnathan Jena
~
~
“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
~
~
“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
~
~
 
“You must learn some of my philosophy.
Think only of the past as its remembrance
gives you pleasure.”
.
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.”
.
Kamand Kojouri
~
 

Sunday Dinner: The Journey

~

“Change is in the air.

This change reminds us

that we are made

and beautifully sculpted

by the same power

that orchestrates the change of season.

Let this be the season you embrace

and align yourself with this change.”

.

Steve Maraboli

~

~

“Learn to adapt.

Things change, circumstances change.

Adjust yourself and your efforts

to what it is presented to you

so you can respond accordingly.

Never see change as a threat,

because it can be an opportunity to learn,

to grow, evolve and become a better person.”

.

Rodolfo Costa

~

~

“Joy is sometimes a blessing,

but it is often a conquest.

Our magic moment help us to change

and sends us off in search of our dreams.

Yes, we are going to suffer,

we will have difficult times,

and we will experience many disappointments —

but all of this is transitory.

it leaves no permanent mark.

And one day we will look back

with pride and faith

at the journey we have taken.”

.

Paulo Coelho

~

~

“Peace is a daily, a weekly,

a monthly process,

gradually changing opinions,

slowly eroding old barriers,

quietly building new structures.

And however undramatic the pursuit of peace,

that pursuit must go on.”

John F. Kennedy

~

~

“Times change, as do our wills.

What we are – is ever changing;

all the world is made of change,

and is forever attaining new qualities.”

.

Luís de Camões

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

~

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In nature nothing is created,

nothing is lost,

everything changes.”

.

Antoine Lavoisier

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