Sunday Dinner: Water Is Life

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“Brushing the clouds away from my eyes,

I see clarity in the raindrop

and beauty in the first ray of morning sun… 

Life is strange and wondrous…”

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Virginia Alison

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“On the fifth day, which was a Sunday,

it rained very hard.

I like it when it rains hard.

It sounds like white noise everywhere,

which is like silence but not empty.”

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Mark Haddon

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“The sky mingled with the Earth infinitely

in the tenderness of rain drops.”

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Meeta Ahluwalia

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“Sometimes enlightenment descends upon you

when you least expect it…”

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Dean Koontz

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

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“Mist to mist, drops to drops.

For water thou art,

and unto water shalt thou return.”

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Kamand Kojouri

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First Rose

April 8, 2016 garden 001

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Our first rose of the season opened this morning.   This is the earliest we’ve seen a rose bloom in our garden.  Normally they open around Mother’s Day.  But the early warmth brought our roses out early.  Freezing temperatures earlier this week left our roses untouched, we are happy to say.  And this beauty opened despite the wind and chill these last few days.

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April 8, 2016 garden 006

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In addition to this early rose, we also have Azaleas blooming.  They’ve been slowly opening over the last two weeks.  Mid to late April is their usual time, along with Dogwoods, Wisteria, Tulips and the late Daffodils.

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Our garden has filled with beautiful flowers and unfolding ferns.   Like friends returning after a long time away, we gladly greet each as it appears.

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This post is dedicated to all those friends whose gardens remain asleep while winter lingers.  I hope these photos bring you joy, and remind you of the beauty waiting to unfold for you, too, one day very soon…..

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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April 8, 2016 garden 008

New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2014 frost 014

On New Year’s Eve I’m reminded that the new is always born out of all that has gone before.

The ghosts of our past both comfort and haunt us, traveling with us into the newness of each day, each new year.

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Our roots run deep into the soil of our life experiences, and our parents’ and grandparents’ experiences.  Our roots live in the  knowings and acts and loves of all of those who came before, and all those who journey with us now.

We draw the energy and motivation to move forwards from the richness of our past .

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As we reflect on our lives up to this moment, there are moments of sorrow as well as joy.  Disappointments mixed in with our accomplishments.

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There are those loved ones we’ve lost along the way, friends estranged, colleagues left behind.

And of course there are those friends and loved ones with us still, who have been our companions for much of our lives.

Each of these relationships, each of these experiences  has enriched us in countless ways.

They are all our mentors. 

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So let us bless it all.  Let us recollect all of those people who have been our companions along the way.  Because our history also shows us our path forwards.

Whether our memories are bitter or joyful, or mixed; let us bless them, forgive them, appreciate them, and acknowledge what we have learned from each one.

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Let us recollect the many experiences of our lives. Let us accept them, the painful as well as the positive ones, as part of our story.  Each one has played its part in bringing us to this moment, at the cusp of a new year.

Our lives are infinitely enriched with the people and experiences of each passing year.

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Let us move forwards in peace, accepting what has been, and forming a  clear vision of the life we intend to live moving forwards.

It is our inner vision, our power of imagination to create the life we desire, which moves us forward.

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On this New Year’s Eve, skip the resolutions and instead envision the life you intend to live from this moment on.  Determine what you want to hear, and see, smell and feel in your daily life.

Our dreams and intentions are the seeds which create what we desire. 

Planted in the rich soil of our life, nurtured with awareness and intent, our vision will grow into reality.

May you walk in beauty and happiness through all the days to come.

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Woodland Gnome 2014

Weekly Photo Challenge: (More) Signs

October 3, 2014 mushrooms 086

This photo challenge brings back a familiar soundtrack from my childhood:

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”

by The Five Man Electrical Band.

MIlkweed pods bursting to release their downy seeds is a sure sign of October in Virginia.

MIlkweed pods bursting to release their downy seeds is a sure sign of October in Virginia.

 

Perhaps that ’60s childhood, living for a while on the safer fringes of “hippie culture” near VCU in Richmond, left me with a prejudice against too many signs.

 

Wild mushrooms form a signal along the roadside.  What might they be trying to say?

Wild mushrooms form a signal along the roadside. What might they be trying to say?

And so I look to the natural world for  “signs.”

 

Ripened chive seeds burst from their pods.

Ripened chive seeds burst from their pods.

 

Yes, I, too, appreciate that large “restroom” sign on the wall of the grocery store.  And I almost appreciate the fast food and gas directional signs at interstate exit ramps.

 

Virginia Creeper, full of ripe berries, has turned scarlet.

Virginia Creeper, full of ripe berries, has turned scarlet.

 

And yes, super-sized street signs and stop signs make driving much nicer.

But I always cringe at the huge political placards which sprout in late summer from lawns and roadsides.

 

"The Devil's Walking Stick" berries ripen at the end of summer.

“The Devil’s Walking Stick” Aralia spinosa

 

The best display I’ve seen this season featured all of the signs hung upside-down.

 

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And the huge, neon, animated  billboards towering over some interstate highways are way over the top.

 

Poison ivy

Poison ivy

 

I prefer the visual peace and quiet of trees and waterways; lawns and medians filled with wild flowers.

I even prefer a high concrete sound barrier, softened with vines, to the assault of hundreds of competing signs.

 

Mushrooms grow where the soil is moist and fertile.

Mushrooms grow where the soil is moist and fertile.

 

Perhaps I’m simply  looking for information which won’t turn up on signs printed by man.

Let the signs in nature alert me to changes in the weather, and the progress of the seasons.

 

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Dogwood berries entice the birds. Do you see the female cardinal in the tree?

 

Let the rustling wings and calls of birds tell me the sun is up for another day, and the color of the soil tell me whether to spend my morning watering the garden or chatting with a friend.

 

Our trees filled with hundreds of black birds this morning, all calling to one another as they searched for ripe berries.

Our trees filled with hundreds of black birds this morning, all calling to one another as they searched for ripe berries.

 

Let the color of the sky tell me whether to bring a jacket or umbrella, and the color of a fig’s skin give testament to its sweetness.

 

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These are the signs which speak to me, and the signs I watch for in the ever-rushing stream of time.

 

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Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Signs

 

 

World Blog Tour: Next Stop, G. Michael Vasey

August 27, 2014 Parkway 086

The World Blog Tour continues. 

Novelist, poet, and professional analyst, G. Michael Vasey writes this week on Inner Dreaming. 

Please visit his site  for a funny and realistic view into his way of writing.

 

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Other stops along the Blog Tour:

The Butterfly Net: World Blog Hop by Sue Vincent

Tried and True Approaches For the Time-strapped Writer by Ellen Shriner

Blog Touring by Cynthia Kraak

World Blog Tour by Carolyn K. Boehlke

Blog Tour, Forest Garden

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

After the Rain

May 29 2014 after the rain 045

I can remember a time when the weather was just the weather.

We didn’t check in with The Weather Channel several times each day.

We didn’t need to.

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Rose, “Easy Does It”

Summer thunderstorms weren’t agents of mass destruction.

Our winter storms weren’t named, and we rarely broke a temperature record, summer or winter.

Tricolor annual geranium

Tricolor annual geranium

The weather was just…. the weather.

We had something each day, but rarely did it make the news.

Coleus with Columbine and a newly sprouted morning glory vine.

Coleus with Columbine and a newly sprouted morning glory vine.

Oh, I remember going to watch the  badly flooded James River rip through Richmond after Hurricane Camille caused severe flooding.

It was only a tropical storm as it crossed Virginia, but our family still went down to the Nickle Bridge to watch white water on the James.

Lamb's Ears are just beginning to flower.

Lamb’s Ears are just beginning to flower.

But it was such a rare event…. we didn’t worry about our cities flooding multiple times each year.

Sinkholes didn’t swallow homes and roads, and we didn’t see fresh footage of terrible tornadoes each day for weeks at a time.

Our weather is so extreme these days.

The rose scented geraniums have just begun to bloom this week.

The rose scented geraniums have just begun to bloom this week.

This week Alaska endured wildfires while families living around the Great Lakes had their Memorial Day picnics next to icy beaches.

Children taking a dip in the lake were actually taking a “polar plunge” into water cold enough to still be filled with chunks of ice.

Caladium

Caladium “Postman Joyner”

Landslides from too much rain have become commonplace in many states, while other areas are grappling with crippling droughts.

There is too much suffering and loss attributed to the weather these days.

All of us in coastal areas are now paying attention to news about how quickly sea levels are rising.

And we’re watching stories on our local news about  neighbors caught in urban flooding,  just driving from home to work.

The stump garden is filling in.

The stump garden is filling in.

As a gardener, (and a human being,)  I just want a nice balance. 

Let there be enough rain to support our gardens.

Japanese Painted Fern

Japanese Painted Fern

Let the summer be mild enough that we can stand to go outside to mow the grass and pull the weeds.

Let the winters be cold, but not too cold for too long.

And please, no destructive storms. 

The fern garden

The fern garden

Yes, I’m nostalgic for the days before extreme weather became the norm.

We never talked about climate change, or geo-engineering, global warming or weaponized weather when I was young.

It felt like a far simpler world back then.

"Golden Celebration," a David Austin English shrub rose.

“Golden Celebration,” a David Austin English shrub rose.

I love the rain soaked garden after a summer shower; when the plants are glowing and basking in the cool, moist air.

I love raindrops clinging to leaves and petals, the freshness of the breeze, and the feeling that all is right with the world for another day.

Dusty Miller growing against Lantana, which survived our winter.

Dusty Miller growing against Lantana, which survived our winter.

A simple pleasure, to walk in the garden, after the rain.

Caladium, "Candidum"

Caladium, “Candidum”

May you enjoy these simple pleasures, too.

Photos by Woodland Gnome, 2014

 

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