Wednesday Vignettes: Winter Beginnings

Helleborus argutifolius 'Snow Fever' offering its first flowers of the season.

Helleborus argutifolius ‘Snow Fever’ offering its first flowers of the season.

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“Those who love much, do much

and accomplish much,

and whatever is done with love is done well….

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“… Love is the best and noblest thing

in the human heart, especially

when it is tested by life

as gold is tested by fire. …

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Magnolia stellata in bud

Magnolia stellata in bud

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“… Happy is he who has loved much,

and although he may have wavered and doubted,

he has kept that divine spark alive

and returned to what

was in the beginning and ever shall be….

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Mahonia aquifolia

Mahonia aquifolium coming into bloom with Magnolia liliiflora in bud

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“… If only one keeps loving faithfully

what is truly worth loving

and does not squander one’s love

on trivial and insignificant and meaningless things

then one will gradually

obtain more light and grow stronger.”

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Vincent Van Gogh

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Helleborus

Helleborus

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

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Cercis canadensis seedpod left by the wind

Cercis canadensis seedpod left by the wind

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“Go out in the woods, go out.

If  you don’t go out in the woods

nothing will ever happen

and your life will never begin.”

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Clarissa Pinkola Estés

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“Imagination makes the world
and all the wonders in it.
The seed of every dream unfurls
as you with love begin it!”

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Eric Micha’el Leventhal

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Growth

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Bits of energy dissipate and coalesce, eternally, reshaping our world.

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Where does matter come from?  How does it organize itself into ever greater complexity?

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What guides the subtle patterns of its becoming?

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Gardeners ponder these mysteries as we watch seeds become plants become flowers and fruits.

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We ponder the wonder of it all as we eat the fruit and save its seeds for the coming seasons.

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In winter, we ponder these mysteries anew as the sky crumbles into snowflakes.

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We watch the formation of icy stalagmites and fragile ice crystals.

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Moisture, drawn from the air, materializes before us in the most intricate patterns.

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We watch reality crystallize around us. 

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Sometimes slowly, sometimes in a single breath; energy moves from form to form in its endless dance of life.

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Porcelain bowl by Denis Orton, filled with paperwhites stirring into growth and wild moss from the garden.

Porcelain bowl by Denis Orton, is filled with paperwhites stirring into growth and wild moss from the garden.

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Woodland Gnome 2017

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Water has a memory and carries within it

our thoughts and prayers.

As you yourself are water,

no matter where you are,

your prayers will be carried to the rest of the world.

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Dr. Masaru Emoto

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WPC: Tiny III

Clematis blooming in mid-November, well out of season.

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“When you do what you love,

the seemingly impossible

becomes simply challenging,

the laborious becomes purposeful resistance,

the difficult loses its edge

and is trampled by your progress.”

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Steve Maraboli

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Clematis blooming in mid-November, well out of season.

Clematis blooming in mid-November, well out of season.

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Change comes from within…

a greater passion, a greater commitment,

and a greater life.

You can begin today.”

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Farshad Asl

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Tiny

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

 

 

WPC: Tiny

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“Without water drops, there can be no oceans;

without steps, there can be no stairs;

without little things, there can be no big things!”

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Mehmet Murat ildan

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I tell you the truth,

if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,

you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’

and it will move.

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Matthew 17:20

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“You may not be able to move the mountain with one hit,

but you can do so by picking up the rocks bit by bit!

Stop loading yourself and go bit by bit…

You will get there!”

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Israelmore Ayivor

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“This is the only advice I offer you.

Pick the small thing, and carry it on.

Let it change your life.”

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Anna White

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“There are many things that seem impossible

only so long as one does not attempt them.”

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André Gide

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“Find magic in the little things,

and the big things you always expected

will start to show up.”

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Isa Zapata

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Tiny

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“So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning,

however small,

as it is wonderful how often in such matters

the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.”

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Florence Nightingale

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Blossom XVII: Samhain Magic

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“And above all, watch with glittering eyes

the whole world around you

because the greatest secrets are always hidden

in the most unlikely places.

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

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Roald Dahl

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“We do not need magic to transform our world.

We carry all of the power we need

inside ourselves already.”

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J.K. Rowling

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“I want to be magic.

I want to touch the heart of the world and make it smile.

I want to be a friend of elves and live in a tree.

Or under a hill.

I want to marry a moonbeam

and hear the stars sing.

I don’t want to pretend at magic anymore.

I want to be magic.”

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Charles de Lint

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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Blossom I
Blossom II
Blossom III
Blossom IV
Blossom V
Blossom VI
Blossom VII
Blossom VIII
Blossom IX
Blossom X
Blossom XI
Blossom XII
Blossom XIII
Blossom XIV
Blossom XV
BlossomXVI
Blossom VXIII

Sunday Dinner: Magic

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“And above all, watch with glittering eyes

the whole world around you

because the greatest secrets

are always hidden in

the most unlikely places.

Those who don’t believe in magic

will never find it.”

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Roald Dahl

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“The world is full of magic things,

patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

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W.B. Yeats

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“I want to be magic.

I want to touch the heart of the world

and make it smile.

I want to be a friend of elves and live in a tree.

Or under a hill. I want to marry a moonbeam

and hear the stars sing.

I don’t want to pretend at magic anymore.

I want to be magic.”

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Charles de Lint

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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“But you must not change one thing,
one pebble, one grain of sand,
until you know what good and evil will follow on that act.
The world is in balance, in Equilibrium.
A wizard’s power of Changing and Summoning
can shake the balance of the world.
It is dangerous, that power…
It must follow knowledge,
and serve need.”
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Ursula K. Le Guin
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For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Frame

WPC: Frame

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This beautiful yellow garden spider, Agiope aurantia, made her web framed by Black Eyed Susans.

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She found a perfect protected spot where lots of insects fly by.  And her delicate ‘zig-zag’  web makes this spot even more beautiful.

For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Frame

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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WPC: Close-up

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“This week, discover the hidden details that can only be seen up close.”

The Daily Post

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How many intriguing sights do we pass each day, blind and unaware of their beauty? 

It takes concentration and time to take in the details.  How often are we rushing and distracted in our daily lives?  Often, we feel rushed and perhaps a little ‘absent minded’ as we juggle the many responsibilities of a normal day.

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This challenge asks us to spare a few moments for mindfullness; to take the time to focus on the details already around us.  While the camera brings the world into focus, we have the opportunity to simply breathe. 

Our attention grows more focused as the field of view contracts.

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When there is no time to take a break ‘away,’ we can take a break ‘within.’  Without traveling, we find a new landscape, and perhaps discover a new horizon within our own mind.

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Each time we look ‘close up,’ our vision widens to the worlds within worlds of our everyday life; just as it already is.

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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“He who knows others is wise;

he who knows himself is enlightened.”

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Lao Tzu

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Wild Fruit

Wild grape vine found growing along the Colonial Parkway

Wild grape vine found growing along the Colonial Parkway

Have you ever eaten wild fruit, picked from seeming “weeds” growing wild?

There are those who believe wild fruits are the sweetest…. or is that my conditioning from an adolescence lived in the 1970s speaking up again?

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(Yes, my ears still perk up when I hear the languid strains of  “Afternoon Delights” by the Starland Vocal Band.)

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If you’ve ever picked wild blackberries and eaten them while still warm from the sun, you understand.

There was a time when I could locate every wild blackberry patch and Sassafrass tree within biking distance.

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Mother didn’t so much ask where those berries came from, as she set about making a crust for the cobbler we would enjoy after dinner.

Oh, how delicious those cobblers tasted drenched with melting vanilla ice cream.

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Somehow my best summer memories include freshly picked blueberries or peaches; apples from our own trees; blackberries, or hidden grapes left behind by the birds.

Wild Muscadine grapes

Wild Muscadine grapes

These blackberries and grapes grow along the Colonial Parkway.

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Protected by the National Park service, they are there for the wild creatures who live nearby.  So no, we didn’t gather or sample….

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Grapes grow here in abundance, popping up as though by “magic.”

Another gift of nature, ready to offer up their sweetness, if only allowed to grow.

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Last autumn we bought  some  Muscadine grapes, a species native to this area of Virginia, from our favorite farm stand.  And you know what I did with those seeds now, don’t you?

And, yes, I’m finding tiny little starts of vines popping up in the many places I scattered them.

Not edible; in fact poisonous, these berries grow among the grapes.  I believe they are called "Canada Moonseed."

Not edible; in fact poisonous, these berries grow among the grapes. I believe they are called “Canada Moonseed.”

You see, our plan is to grow a little “wild fruit” of our own here in our forest garden.

Poisonous, but still pretty.  These vines are semi-evergreen, and grow to great heights in the trees.  These berries will turn dark purple by fall.

Poisonous, but still pretty. These vines are semi-evergreen, and grow to great heights in the trees. These berries will turn dark purple by fall.

There are “wild” blackberry vines growing now along the fence line in the edge of the ravine.

And grape vines one day will cover the stump in the center of our “stump garden.”

Our "stump garden" is coming along well.  I hope our own Muscadine grape vines will grow on the stump, replacing the Virginia Creeper growing up the stump at the moment.  Virginia Creeper produces berries loved by birds.

Our “stump garden” is coming along well. I hope our own Muscadine grape vines will grow on the stump, replacing the Virginia Creeper growing up the stump at the moment. Virginia Creeper produces berries loved by birds.

Perhaps that is the lesson learned in one’s fifth decade on the planet:  “Wild fruit is still the sweetest; but it is best when eaten from your own garden.”

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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Inspired by Ed’s Sunday Stills:  Macro  Since we took these photos on Sunday, perhaps they’ll count 😉  And Ed, you’re right- so much “macro” to enjoy beyond flowers and bugs.  But I still included the shot with the spider.

Please also enjoy Cee’s Sunday Stills for some fascinating photos.

 

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