Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Buttercups are Blooming

Hello, Sweet Friends, I hope that spring is bringing a smile to your face
 as we try to forget the cares of this troubled world
for a few precious moments each day.

The only certainty we can claim, is that life is always
moving forward, so we must try
to keep our eyes on the horizon and push forward in
the most positive and compassionate way possible.

Already, the first cutting of hay is wrapped and ready
in the fields, with summer just around the bend.

Time flies, so we must capture those beautiful, joyful moments to fill
our hearts, whenever and wherever we can.

I hope that Mother's Day was a day like that for you.

Sometimes, these special days can bring bittersweet emotions.

The lilac is blooming and filling the air with its intoxicating scent.
This lilac is very old and a survivor of children, pets, ponies and deer,
so I have a certain respect and appreciation for its persistence.

I planted two more by the deck a couple of years ago,
but they are slow-growing and taking their sweet time.

I suppose I shall be very old by the time they are blooming,
and so I will appreciate my own persistence by then, too.

I was spoiled with flowers and baskets for Mother's Day,
and gift cards for whatever else my heart desires.

This large, ceramic pot and miniature Japanese maple
was a Mother's Day 'heart's desire' one year.

The front of the house faces north and is perpetually shady.
I have ferns, ivy, arch angel and vinca on this end.
The hanging basket by the front door is a fuchsia.

The other side has a hydrangea hedge along the fence 
with bleeding heart. The green bells are a wildflower
called 'fringe cup'. I encourage it wherever it wants to grow,
but the bind-weed winding around the bleeding heart has got to go. 
I am forever discouraging it in my gardens, but it is a quick 
grower and sometimes escapes my watchful eye.  

Herb Robert is another wildflower that I encourage.
It loves shade and has lacy leaves that turn bright red in autumn.

It is also known as 'Stinky Bob', because it has
a pungent scent that repels nibblers.

I've turned one of my tables into an impromptu
potting area until I can find a place for my potting bench.

The canopy displaced the potting bench, 
but so worth the inconvenience. 

I haven't put out the pillows and throws yet, 
because the weather is still too unsettled, 
but candles and lanterns are being put to good use, already. 

This one has a little remote to turn it off and on. 
Another sweet gift for Mother's Day. 

I'm potting galvanized tubs with 
petunias, sweet alyssum, and creeping Jenny.

The coral impatiens are for the east and north window boxes 
and the shade of the canopy. 

It is raining this week, so I have been interrupted. 

I am catching up on housework, laundry, and shopping. 

'Catching up' is really not the right expression, is it?
Can you ever really 'catch up'? 

I turn around and the laundry basket is full again, 
the pantry is empty, and I need to start all over on the household chores

We won't even mention the weeding......

So, I just try to enjoy little moments in my day
to really notice what is all around me.

Evidence that there is more to life than constant duty. 
That tiny miracles are happening
at every single moment. 

I notice the dandelion growing in the crack of the pavement
and the nest of baby birds in the tree of the parking lot 
where the elderly couple walk hand and hand,
as I load  groceries into my vehicle. 

I notice the blooming trees along the road as I drive to my grandchildren's house.
Their little faces and tiny hands are the best part of these days. 

And the amazing sunset reflected in a tiny pond
or silhouetting the Olympic Mountains 
as we take the long, sentimental drive home
after a precious day spent with family.  

These things are the quiet parenthesis, 
the gentle backdrop to 
 the story of my days. 

Even difficult days have these quiet, miraculous markers. 

I remember the golden cradle of the setting, crescent moon through 
the winter trees as I made my way, pre-dawn to the hospital 
during my Mother's last weeks. 
I had no idea then, that time was so short......
and I have blocked out most of the trauma, 
but the memory of that beautiful moon somehow soothes my soul. 

Later that year, I was leaving the care home where my dear Father spent 
his last years afflicted with Alzheimer's. 
After my Mother died, I would make the long drive 
to visit him without her, and he no longer remembered who I was. 
This particular day it hit me hard, and I had tears 
in my eyes as I walked out the door. It was then that 
I noticed the most beautiful rainbow arced across the sky. 

That rainbow remained in the sky the whole drive home. 
Just for me.
It was a sign of hope. 

 I could still see the beauty in this world, 
and this ability was my grateful inheritance. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Sweet, Sweet May and Sweet Sixteen

"Sweet May hath come to love us,
Flowers, Trees, their blossoms don;
And through the blue heavens above us
The very clouds move on"

- Heinrich Heine -

The Camassia is blooming. 

Camassia is a native wildflower with bulbs that were an important 
food source for native people's in the Pacific Northwest. 

The green bell flowers are wild 'fringe cup'. 
Buttercup blooms below. 

Salmon Berry blossoms and fruit. 
These grow along the edges of the lawn. 
The flowers are so pretty. 

The ripe berry is 'salmon' colored and edible, but bland.

Robins love these and I've watched them comically 
'hover' over them to retrieve the berries. 
The branches are too spindly to hold their weight. 

Red Elderberry blossoms and unripe fruit. 
The fruit will turn bright red and is toxic to humans, but
loved by birds, especially our beautiful Western Tanager.

We always have a nesting pair. 

Red Elderberry (15-20 ft. tall)
 are very pretty and graceful with their frothy 
white flowers and later, large clusters of bright red berries, 
growing along the edges of the forest. 

These are growing  'down back', not too far 
from the house. 

Thimble berry's beautiful 'wild rose' blooms, growing along the drive. 
The rose colored berries pull away from the core
forming a little 'thimble' when picked.

We recently took a beautiful May drive to celebrate a 'Sweet Sixteen'.

Our new Granddaughter, Samantha has reached that magical age.

We have been blessed with two new, beautiful granddaughter's
through the marriage of my daughter Jennie to their father, Steve,
last summer.

Do you remember that magical age?

Oh, to be sweet 16 once again.
Innocent, yet wise.
Not quite a child, not quite an adult.

Sometimes, it's not so sweet.

At every age, life has its sweets and sorrows.

A wonderful opportunity to grow and learn.
No matter how 'old' we are.

16 year old me in my hand-sewn pantsuit :)

I think back on that magical age.

So long ago, yet, only yesterday.
My advice to my 16 year old self
would be to 'honor who you are - be true to yourself'.

"To thine own self be true"
-William Shakespeare -

So, my advice to all those 'Sweet 16's'
is to always, always listen to your inner guidance
and never doubt it.
Always be true to yourself.

What would your advice be, Dear Friends?

"I thought that spring must
last forevermore; For I was
young and loved, and it was May"
- Vera Brittain -
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