Friday, August 22, 2014

Green Darner Goddess

In my previous post I had mentioned that I would photograph the progress of my self-sown planter full of snapdragons, campanula, and catmint that looked like this in June:

While photographing the August planter, I focused in closer and discovered this beauty was sitting there on the snapdragons all the while! I was astonished!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ah, Summer

Each morning, in the days since the weather has warmed and the flowers have sprouted up and begun their blooming, I walk around my gardens with my first cup of coffee in hand to see what surprise will greet me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Where to Be Happiest...

Wild Phlox
Tiny Pink Wild Rosebuds
Black-winged Damselfly
Common Toad
“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”  
{Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast}

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Homage, Mother

The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom.
{Henry Ward Beecher}
Happy Mother' Day to my Mom, who has a gem of a heart and has taught me so very much.
I am forever grateful~*
My Mother's Heart

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Homage, Om


(n.) In Hinduism and other Indian religions, a sacred syllable considered the greatest of all mantras. The syllable om is composed of the three sounds a-u-m (in the Sanskrit, the vowels a and u join to become o), which represent three important triads: earth, atmosphere, and heaven; the major Hindu gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; and the sacred Vedic scriptures, Rig, Yajur, and Sama. Thus om mystically embodies the essence of the universe. It is uttered at the beginning and end of Hindu prayers, chants, and meditation and is also freely used in Buddhist and Jain rituals.
Concise Encyclopedia

Triad of Trees

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tremendous Power

"As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or dehumanized." {Haim Ginott}

Today I cleaned out my art room. I had plans to dump a whole bunch of things, but as I sifted through materials, I realized I needed only to let go of the dried markers and a few other miscellaneous items that had been around too long.  Mostly, I took the time to examine much of what I had saved over time. (I was even happy to find a couple of items I thought I had tossed.)

Amongst the items I examined were a half dozen laminated quotes I had hung in my classroom when I was a teacher. I was struck by the acumen of Haim Ginott's words. the quote is so on-target and I have such awareness of this, even now, when I visit classrooms. I shuddered a little to think of the tremendous power teachers hold when I reread those words.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Homage, Soul's Whole Truth

The Soul's Whole Truth
Here, with no audience but trees,
let your heart speak freely.
Where the elders once gathered
to pass an eagle feather
round their sacred circle,
hand to hand,
find your life's bold path
and let it call you forward.

Take the feather when it comes to you,
and dare to be transformed.
As wings spread wide,
rise above the tree tops,
open sky inviting you into

the soul's whole truth.

           {Danna Faulds}

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Leaving a Trail

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
{Ralph Waldo Emerson}

Quite a while ago now I wrote a post about not wanting to go back to work - at least not in the context that work seemed to drum up any time I thought about it too long--which really wasn't very long to be truthful. I had, after all, experienced one of the most fulfilling jobs I could ever have imagined during my career hiatus, the role of a work at home mom. My son has really begun to branch out on his own now, (he just got his license last week) and I can see that it was every minute a worthwhile job to be at home, a job I was very fortunate to have. He is making some good decisions and involved in some healthy activities with some terrific friends.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Homage, Weal

(n.) : a sound, healthy, or prosperous state


"I sometimes teach classes on writing, during which I tell my students every single thing I know about the craft and habit. This takes approximately 45 minutes. I begin with my core belief—and the foundation of almost all wisdom traditions—that there is nothing you can buy, achieve, own, or rent that can fill up that hunger inside for a sense of fulfillment and wonder. But the good news is that creative expression, whether that means writing, dancing, bird-watching, or cooking, can give a person almost everything that he or she has been searching for: enlivenment, peace, meaning, and the incalculable wealth of time spent quietly in beauty.
Then I bring up the bad news: You have to make time to do this."

{Anne Lamott}

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Happy 80th Birthday Gloria Steinem, Drinking the Elixir

Today Gloria Steinem turns eighty. But truth be told she looks like she is fifty. I know, I met her a few weeks ago. I was with my sister at our alma mater, MCLA, and Gloria was speaking. The setting was laid back, maybe a few hundred people, and Colleen and I were first in line to take our seats. (We even got in a little early to 'test' the stage before anyone had arrived.)

Listening to Gloria was every bit the exhilarating experience one would expect as a baby boomer, born in the very age that Gloria had taken a strong hold of the women's liberation movement. She propelled women's rights forward in only the way someone as smart, passionate, and honest as Gloria could. She admits to realizing her beginning in the feminist movement was when she was speaking out about abortion, it all clicked then, she says. She had one in her early twenties. She would later coin the phrase, "reproductive freedom" meant to describe a woman's right to have a child, or not. She says her abortion meant she was directing her own life and taking responsibility for it.

Ms. Steinem had lots of terrific things to say about women and motherhood the night I heard her speak. My favorite was she acknowledged women who stay home to raise their children as a third of our nation's workforce. She also said there should be tax laws to support stay at home parents, assigning their work an economic value that they could then make tax deductible when filing taxes. I got a chance to thank her personally for this, and she said to me, "Of course, I mean c'mon."

It was an exciting night. On our way back from talking with Gloria we, again, stopped by the podium we had visited earlier and my sister spontaneously grabbed the last of Gloria's tea.

That night, after being with an icon who lead women up out of the trenches of oppression with sheer determination and keen insight, right in the very age we were born, (we would have been about five and six when Gloria began her mission) we felt invigorated! And guess what? We each took a sip of tea, an elixir we felt, something that would confirm that she, Gloria Steinem, feminist leader of the twentieth, and twenty-first century, was a part of us! Of course, I mean what else could we do, c'mon.

elix·ir (n.)                                              

: a magical liquid that can cure illness or extend life           
:  a substance held capable of changing base metals into gold


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Homage, Figment


(n.) : something produced by the imagination : something that does not really exist


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Grateful (Walk with Rich)

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”  
{Marcel Proust}

A year ago my brother was going through chemotherapy and radiation at this time. Today he is cancer free. He is coping with the changes in his life with the same grace he exhibited throughout the entire uphill climb, one step at a time, with discipline and with perseverance. It isn't easy.

Last year I walked over a hundred walks and said prayers on each of those walks that he would heal and find strength.  I couldn't ask for a kinder, more loving brother, or friend.  I am grateful we could walk this walk together.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Homage, Enjoy

en : surround with

joy (n.) :  a source of delight

“We're so busy watching out for what's just ahead of us that we don't take time to enjoy where we are.”   {Bill Watterson}

Friday, February 28, 2014

Homage, Spirit


(v.) :  an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms

As soon as I enter the trail that takes me through the forest each day, I can feel the spirit in nature. It takes on different qualities as I amble along. The invasive, common buckthorn trees, growing amongst the senescent apple trees in the aging orchard, give me a slightly uneasy feeling as I pass through. I have no reason not to like the buckthorns, though thorny, they have pretty bundles of deep blue berries that color this otherwise white season. Yet, I am aware that they are slowly dominating the area.

This goes on for close to a mile, and then I come upon bittersweet berries, brilliant, in the canopy above, the vines themselves are chunky, and wrap around trees; they give off a different quality of spirit. It is said that bittersweet is commonly found in areas that are suffering from disturbance, and sure enough, these vines have emerged in land where once abandoned metal buckets, twisted wire fencing, and even an old iron head board, and box springs landed. There is even a kitchen sink.

Further up, the forest of evergreens begins; elegant, they hold the snow in their airy branches. Dispersed among them are ancient trees, each in varying stages of their life cycle, some with enormous girth, yet few branches, and others branchy but full of holes that provide entryways for fauna. There is a spirit of community and wise energy here; I like to pause and take it in.

About three miles up, I come to a group of venerable white pines, one whose split trunk has become a shrine, here I leave wishes, and prayers of thanks, and treasures buried under the dense needles that have collected in the trunk's fork.

Whether I am in the terrain of ferns or the locus of icy mountain streams, replete with mossy rocks, I am always aware of the spirit of the forest. Machelle Small Wright, in her book, Behaving as if the God in All Life Matters, talks about the spirit in nature as devas. The origin of the word 'deva' comes from Sanskrit language, meaning "to shine," or, "become bright." If this is how the devas reveal themselves, it is easy to see them as I move through the forest.

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.                {e.e. cummings}

Friday, February 21, 2014

Homage, Recognize

(v.) : to perceive clearly

re :  again
cognize  :  become aware of
Re-cognize : to become aware of again, but in a new way; to see things differently, to create thoughts anew based on your current awareness. To be with your thinking in the present moment. To know who you truly are.

 "Only a few find the way, some don't recognize it when they do - some... don't ever want to."
  {The Chesire Cat}


Friday, February 14, 2014

Heart Path

Everyday hearts greet me on the path where I walk. These photographs show just one day of my daily treks in the forest. I feel grateful that these hearts reveal themselves to me all along my journey. They seem to be confirming that I am on the right path, a path with heart.

“For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length--and there I travel looking, looking breathlessly.”  
{Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge }

Friday, February 7, 2014

Homage, Transmute


(v.) : to completely change the form, appearance, or nature of (someone or something)


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Homage, Surface


(n.) : the upper layer of an area of land or water

on the surface
:  to all outward appearances
: over; above; beyond
archaic :  presence, sight
It has been so cold, the brook and mountain streams I walk along are all frozen.

As I walked today, I tried to locate the right piece of ice to place my "homage altar" upon, and thought a little bit about the word surface.

I realized that on any given day, in any given relationship, or activity, or location, there are two, or more, realities: what is happening on the surface, and what is happening below the surface--which could involve many levels.

Even as a young child I have always known this. When I went about my day, entering places, relating to others, I always noticed what appeared to be happening on the surface and what was going on  just below the surface. Mood, tone, body language, facial expression, calm, or disarray, registered just as easily as what was being spoken, or presented.

This is the plight of sensitive people, I guess, we rarely live on the surface, instead we dwell just below, which separates us, ever so slightly, from what seems to be going on in the moment.

 It took me a while, but recently, I realized, life is much richer here, just below the surface.

"Look beneath the surface: never let a thing's intrinsic quality or worth escape you."
{Marcus Aurelius}

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Homage, Three


  (n.) : a union or group of three :  trinity
The number three is considered mystical and spiritual.

Three is featured in many folktales such as: Three Wishes, Three Guesses, Three Little Pigs, Three Bears, and Three Billy Goats Gruff.

The were three primary gods of ancient Babylonia: Anu, Baal, and Ea, representing heaven, earth and the abyss. The Egyptian sun god had three aspects: rising (Khepri), midday, (Re) and setting (Atum). In Christianity three is represented in the trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Plato considered the number three symbolic of the triangle, and believed the world was built from triangles. William Shakespeare referenced the number three in MacBeth, with three witches, whose spell begins, "Thrice the brindled cat hath mewed." In folklore a three colored cat is considered a protective spirit.

Three Graces, Yosemite {via}

In Greek mythology Zeus had three daughters, considered to be charities, called the Three Graces. The Three Graces have been depicted in art through the centuries, and three sequoia trees in Yosemite are named for them. According to Ted Andrews, in Animal Speak, three represents creativity, rebirth, and the mystical.
(Many of these facts were obtained through the Encyclopedia Britannica.)