Sunday Dinner: Joy

Flowers bloom on Main St. in Gloucester, earlier this week.

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“There is not one blade of grass,
there is no color in this world
that is not intended to make us rejoice.”
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John Calvin
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“The same stream of life
that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world
and dances in rhythmic measures.
It is the same life that shoots in joy
through the dust of the earth
in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves
of leaves and flowers.”
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Rabindranath Tagore
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“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life,
the tidal wave of being,
the perfect joy of
each separate muscle, joint, and sinew
in that it was everything that was not death,
that it was aglow and rampant,
expressing itself in movement,
flying exultantly under the stars.”
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Jack London
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“Sorrow prepares you for joy.
It violently sweeps everything out of your house,
so that new joy can find space to enter.
It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart,
so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place.
It pulls up the rotten roots,
so that new roots hidden beneath
have room to grow.
Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart,
far better things will take their place.”
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Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi
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“When you do things from your soul,
you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
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Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi
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“Joy does not simply happen to us.
We have to choose joy
and keep choosing it every day.”
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Henri J.M. Nouwen
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From the “River City 3  Railers” Train Club train show at The Great Big Greenhouse in Richmond, VA this weekend.

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“Joy is strength.”
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Mother Teresa
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WPC: Bridge

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Bridges connect us, but also separate us in important ways.  Tidewater, Virginia, is riddled with bridges, large and small, linking communities across several rivers and lots of marshes, creeks, canals and the Chesapeake Bay.  As a child, observing the world from the back seat of my parents’ car, some of these old and narrow bridges frightened me.

We traversed the Bay Bridge Tunnel each summer to visit family on the Eastern Shore.   You soon loose sight of land on this miles long bridge.  Back in the day, when it was only two lanes wide, it was always an adventure.   Still is, when a storm is sweeping across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and wind buffets trucks, sometimes pushing a big rig over the rails.

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Nowadays, many of our area bridges have been upgraded and modernized, but now carry heavy tolls.  Commuters may not be able to afford to cross for casual shopping and visiting; and nearby communities become isolated from one another.

Years ago, I left my home in the Northern Neck,  knowing that a toll was to be levied on this beautiful Coleman Bridge, which links Yorktown and Gloucester. I brought my family south, so we didn’t have to depend on passage across the bridge, and settled in the heart of  urban Tidewater.

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The beautiful and rural peninsulas of Virginia’s bay front coast rely on this bridge to link them to the rest of the state, especially to the nearest cities in Southeast Virginia.  Paying for every trip to shop, visit family, work and stay connected to the larger communities, takes a heavy financial toll.  This bridge becomes a barrier, separating people and communities from one another.

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Now, many years later, I love driving across the Coleman Bridge for day trips and get aways back to the small towns and rural beauty found in Gloucester,  Mathews and Lancaster.  I’ve long loved the gentle lap of our Virginia rivers along their sandy banks, and the villages which thrive along these shores.

From its top, one can see beautiful vistas of the York River, historic Yorktown,  and Gloucester Point.  Every trip is different, depending on the sky and waves, wind and river traffic, and what birds may be nesting on the bridge or flying over the river.

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Our bridges remain part of the fabric of our lives, allowing us to weave a rich tapestry of partnerships and friendships across our watery landscape.  They enrich our lives, even as they impose substantial costs on our families and our communities.

Art and engineering combine to form this beautiful legacy of bridges; which mold our present, even as they shaped our history.

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
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For the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge:  Bridge

 

Daffodil Paradise

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We’ve just spent the day in daffodil paradise… or the nearest to it in Virginia.

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We drove north across the York River to Gloucester County to visit Brent and Beck Heath’s gardens and garden shop at their daffodil farm.

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Penny, in the shop, invited us to come back regularly as the gardens continue to transform every few weeks through the season.

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These gardens demonstrate the many shrubs, trees, perennials, and of course, bulbs, which grow well here in coastal Virginia.

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Meticulously planted and groomed, we were astounded at the wealth of beautiful growth already visible in the gardens this early in the season.

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We visited only the first few areas of the gardens today.  The many acres are divided by theme, as you might expect.  I was particularly interested in the bird and butterfly garden and the native plant gardens.

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Walking through these gardens has my head spinning with new ideas of how plants may be used and grown together to create beautiful spaces.

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And it is only April….

The Gloucester Daffodil Festival begins this coming Saturday, April 11 and continues on Sunday, April 12.

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The village is in full preparation mode, with daffodils blooming literally everywhere.  Daffodil themed wreathes and ornaments grace most doors.  Trees in front yards are decorated with round kissing balls covered in flowers.  If you are within driving distance, and love flowers, this is a festival which shouldn’t be missed.

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We just wanted to see the flowers, and so popped in for a quiet visit today ahead of the crowds.  Even on a cool and rainy spring day, we were dazzled.

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I’ll show you more of the photos we took over the next few days.    And honestly, I have a few things waiting to be planted up…

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When you’re planning to make your next purchase of bulbs, please keep Brent and Becky in mind.  They have a beautiful nursery right here in Virginia.

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Everyone we met there today was absolutely kind, helpful, and delighted to be a part of their operation.  The prices are fair and the stock healthy and robust.  There are hundreds of pots filled with flowering spring bulbs just waiting to go home with you to your garden, and bags of summer bulbs waiting for you in the shop.

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And by the way, if you do make the trip to Gloucester this spring, please remember to stop at Short Lane for home made ice cream on your way home.  It is absolutely the best of the best.

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Woodland Gnome  2015

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