High Water and Hurricane Lilies

September 3, 2016 014

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The storm, Hermine, still spins off the coast making her way, slowly and majestically, towards the northeast.  Now off the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and back over open water, she gathers strength even as she loses speed.

Her winds are up, her pressure down, and she generously keeps sending rain showers our way.

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September 3, 2016 026

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The folks on-air at the Weather Channel obviously aren’t allowed to use the ‘H’ word anymore.  They call her a ‘Post-Tropical Cyclone.’  But we know the truth.  Her winds are back up to a sustained 70 mph and her pressure is down to 29.38 inches.  That sounds like a hurricane to me.

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The James River is well out of its banks here near Jamestown.

The James River is well out of its banks here near Jamestown.

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I’m thinking of loved ones on the ‘Eastern Shore’ of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.  They pretty much sit on a little peninsula out in the Atlantic Ocean, well out of site of the mainland.

It must feel very lonely out there when a hurricane is knocking at the door.  And this one brought an overnight bag; it may spin off their coast between now and Wednesday or Thursday!

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College Creek

College Creek

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We’re far enough inland to have benefited from the rain but not had problems caused by the winds.  Our streets, wet and covered with pine tags and fallen leaves, are blessedly clear.  The few branches we’ve cleared were all small enough to pick up and toss with one hand.

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September 3, 2016 022

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But the creeks and rivers have spilled out of their banks.  All the marshes and ditches filled and overflowing from the storm surge, reflect our low grey sky.  Flocks of birds gather and fly in great arcs above the wetlands.

They feel the change in the air, as do we, and have gathered to prepare for their autumn journeys.

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September 3, 2016 rain 003

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Our rain came last night, soon after dusk.  Quiet and gentle at first, we had to listen carefully to know it had begun.  It rained all night, giving life back to our desiccated  garden; and we awoke to a newly greened and wonderfully  wet world.

Plants which I thought were dried and finished plumped up and revived themselves overnight.

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September 3, 2016 010~

This slow, gentle rain has soaked in instead of running off.  The soil is soaking it in, channeling it down, down, to the reservoirs below.

There is nothing like a prolonged drought to remind us that water is the life’s blood of every living thing.  It is that magical, precious substance which animates and sustains us all.

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Alocasia 'Sarian' grows happily here in a pot filled with Coleus.

Alocasia ‘Sarian’ grows happily here in a pot filled with Coleus.

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The ‘Hurricane Lily,’ or ‘Spider Flower’ got its name when gardeners recognized that its bloom comes on only after a heavy late summer rain.  A long dry hot spell, followed by a heavy rain, such as a tropical storm might bring, triggers growth in this unusual bulb.

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September 2, 2016 hurricane lily 003

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Its flowers come first in late August or September.  Carried on tall bare stems, this flower is another of the lilies commonly knows as ‘Naked Ladies.’  Long, thin Liriope like leaves will emerge in several weeks, growing through autumn and into the winter.

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Even a damp and bedraggled Ginger Lily still smells sweetly.

Even a damp and bedraggled Ginger Lily still smells sweetly.

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My intense watering, these last few weeks, of the roses and Ginger Lilies growing near our bulbs triggered their early blooming.

They didn’t wait for the hurricane to pass before they bloomed.

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September 2, 2016 York River 001

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Now, if you want to order a few bulbs for yourself, please search for ‘Lycoris radiata,’ not ‘Naked Ladies,’ as a friend told me he recently did.  There are several lilies from bulbs which bloom either before or after their leaves appear, and so have earned this descriptive moniker.  My friend suggested that his returns on the search were more interesting than he expected.  And I promised to email a link to him for ordering some bulbs….

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September 2, 2016 hurricane lily 005

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We’ve now enjoyed 20 hours of nearly steady rain, with more to come.  The air smells fresh and the breeze is cool.

We are quite satisfied with Hermine’s brief visit.  And we wish her well and hope she moves on out to sea, sparing our neighbors to the north any ill effects from her passing.

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September 3, 2016 rain 001

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Mirror

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September 2, 2016 hurricane lily 007

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Woodland Gnome 2016

 

 

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

November 13, 2013 parkway 017

The James River, from a bank along the Colonial Parkway

Jamestown, Virginia, November 2013

The scarlet Virginia Creeper vine caught my attention.  I was walking along the bank, camera at the ready, on this first very cold and windy day of autumn hoping to see birds out on the river.  The wind was too much for all but the eagles, who were riding the wind currents far above.  All of the ducks and gulls were sheltering in the marsh on the other side of the Parkway.  This place, in and of itself is about layers.  Layer upon layer of life and living gathers in this place.  

November 13, 2013 parkway 009

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The presence of the native people is still strong here.  The mighty Powhatan Confederacy controlled most of present day Virginia west to the Shenandoah Valley, north as far as Washington, DC, south into North Carolina, and east along the Eastern Shore of Virginia as far north as Delaware.  A political alliance of many individual tribes, their seat of power was very close, across the York River in Gloucester.  They fought hard against the British colonists for control of this beautiful and rich land, attacking again and again until treaties limited them to small reservations in 1647.  The Pamunkey Indians, who still have land to our northwest along the Pamunkey river, were native royalty, and at times ruled the Powhatan nation.

The presence of the first English colonists is also strong here.  Replicas of their ships sit tied up to the river bank near where this photo was taken.

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Replicas of the ships used by the first group of colonists to come to Virginia in 1607 sit anchored at Jamestown Festival Park.

Replicas of the ships used by the first group of colonists to come to Virginia in 1607 sit anchored at Jamestown Festival Park.

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The archeological dig is ongoing at the site of their 1607 settlement less than a mile away.  I’ve visited with groups of students, sitting in the first chapel at Jamestown, gazing at the foundations of their homes, their grave sites, and even the recovered skeletons and armor of those first, ill-fated colonists.  The decisions they made, precedents they set, and political organization they established here, along this river, still reverberate in our lives today.

Their attempts to establish themselves here were broken and scarred, again and again, by fire, starvation, war, and disease.  So many died in terrible circumstance, to be replaced by the ongoing replenishment of ship after ship of hopeful immigrants to Virginia.  Eventually the colony took hold, and spread, and prospered; you know the rest of the story.

But tangible evidence of that awkward beginning is what remains here at Jamestown.  Like the dead limb overgrown with vines in the photo, layer after layer continues to accumulate, the new overlaid on the remains of the old.

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The ferries run all day between Surry and Jamestown.

The ferries run all day between Surry and Jamestown.

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Part of the new is the ferry which crosses this river many times each day.  So many people who actually work in Williamsburg and James City County commute daily from Surry and other rural areas south of the James; from Newport News to the east; even from as far as Richmond to the northwest.  Many people find work here in the hospitality industry, in retail, at the hospitals, or at the college; yet choose to live elsewhere.

We have a vibrant, thriving community here now thanks in large part to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, established in the town of Williamsburg by the Rockefeller family beginning in the late 1920s.  The “colonial capital” fell into disrepair after the seat of government was moved to Richmond in 1780, during the Revolution, for greater security further inland.  It would have decayed into oblivion but for the efforts of Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, once rector of Bruton Parish church, and  John D. Rockefeller, along with his wife Abby, who began purchasing property and restoring buildings with a vision to preserve the area’s rich history.  Their efforts laid the foundation for the beautiful community and strong economy we enjoy here today.

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August 11 2013 CP trees 008

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And development continues.  We grumble as forests are cut to make way for new shopping centers and neighborhoods.  A new hospital was just completed, along with a new road through what was forest just months ago.  Signs of more development along that new road are already apparent.  Traffic has noticeably increased in just the few years we have lived here.

And we remain keenly aware of the children growing up all around us.  Students at The College of William and Mary prepare for their professional lives in wave after wave of coming and going each year.  Some remain and join the community.  Others move on.  All follow in the rich tradition of Jefferson, Monroe, Marshal, Clay, and so many others who have studied here since 1693.

Layer upon layer of life and living, all here, in this tiny bit of Virginia; accumulate like the layers of stone on a stalactite.   They are all visible at once.  It’s easy to feel the fourth dimension of time here as though the shades of all who have come before remain.  We can see and examine them all; tease them apart, see their interconnections, and hopefully learn something from the rich tapestry they create.

“You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.”

Alan Wilson Watts

November 13, 2013 parkway 027

A marsh on Jamestown Island near the original 1607 settlement.

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