Monday, June 8, 2015

And Then The World Exploded!

***Oh my!! This post was slated for mid-May but was never posted.  Here it is now!***

This year the newly sprouted green leaves struck me as if I had never seen them before!

 May announced the rebirth of the earth in my part of the world in an explosive way.  One day there is almost nothing and then there comes an explosion of green - a rapid fire succession of growth.

My garden survived the harsh winter with few casualties and I am blessed with an abundance of plants and birds.

 Soon enough we will have to begin the arduous task of trimming the shrubs that threaten to overtake the yard but right now we are just sitting back enjoying this embarrassment of riches.

 June, July and August will bring an explosion of flowers of every color in the rainbow.  But right now there is mostly just a myriad of greens - surely a sight for winter weary eyes!

Painted Fern

More fern at attention!

Lady's Mantle - adorned with morning dew

Dead Nettle - my favorite ground cover


Hosta nestled under the cherry tree

Wild Geranium




Cinnamon Fern in all its glory

Solomon's Seal

Witch Hazel

Wild Columbine


A new variety of day-lily 

Columbine leaves

New growth on an Andromeda



A shy wild Iris
During the renovation of our home the past several months, I felt very lucky that one of the rooms we could use was the sunroom which faces my garden.  It has enabled me to keep my sanity and most of my serenity in the midst of chaos.  

With any luck at all, I will have my home back in another month or so!   In the meantime, I will find refuge in the green wonderland behind the house.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Back In The Garden

Today we were finally able to get our hands dirty in the garden.  It was glorious!  After such a harsh and relentless winter, it felt so good to touch the warming earth.

As I cleaned out the beds and clipped back the plants in need of a haircut, I couldn't help but notice how marvelously the earth rejuvenates itself every spring.

In spite of a wicked cold winter, the perennials and shrubs and trees were sending out the shoots of new life.  The Weeping Cherry, a bit late this year, is ready to pop when the temperature goes up a little more.

And who could possibly frown once they have been greeted by the sweetest yellow daffodils in the world - a sight for winter eyes, if ever there was one.

Last week there wasn't a single sign of the peonies but low and behold, they are a foot tall this week!  Isn't that amazing.

If a garden is the metaphor for our life cycle as humans, then there is surely much to be hopeful about and there is no better time to celebrate that than in the spring.  Just look at how this hosta is rising up from the dead leaf mold of last autumn's debris.  Easter, indeed!

After an afternoon of stretching and bending, I sat down to rest for a few minutes.  (One of the perks of being in our age group is lots of time to rest and smell the flowers, or in my case, photograph them)  

I spotted the moon - the day moon - just creeping over the  top of the cherry tree.  For some reason this gave me great pleasure.

Later I noticed this fellow helping himself to the tender new leaves just sprouting on this oak.  He is our resident acrobat, the one who keeps us entertained all winter.

The newly planted herb garden seems to have wintered over nicely.  All of the perennial herbs have returned and
are starting to grow although none of them were ready for a close-up today.

Already I am planning to move a few things, add a tree and  I'm figuring out where and when to plant annual herbs and flowers.

Take Away for Today 

 Spring gardening rejuvenates my body, mind and my soul.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Signs of Spring - Glory Be

There is a good reason why I have Witch Hazel planted in my garden where I can see it from the house.  Witch Hazel, bless it's wild and wonderful little heart, blooms here in New York, in late February and early March,  just about the time I become desperate for a bit of color and some sign that spring is, indeed, on the way.  

Another late winter clue comes from the birds.  They begin chasing one another around the yard in a decidedly amorous way.   Their winter silence is broken and  an occasional song can be heard.  

Inevitably, one damp and dreary winter morning, I will look out the window and notice that the sweet American Goldfinches, who turn a dull gray in winter are beginning to show traces of their coming yellow glory.  Everyday they are a bit brighter!  

Of course, in another week or two, there will be daffodils and other fancy stuff starting to bloom.

 But right now, in spite of cold and wind and lingering piles of snow, thanks to the Witch Hazel and the Goldfinches, I can believe in spring!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Is Orange the New Black ? - A Haibun of Sorts

Someone asked me recently if I thought 80 might be the new 60.  I wondered, irritably, I might add, why in the world she would ask ME that question since I'm nowhere near 80 or even 70 for that matter?  How in heaven's name would I know?

For me, whatever age I am is a new adventure and some years have been a slide down while in other years, I have seemed to gain ground.

Take for instance the year I took up running. I was 57 years old and by the time I had been running for two years, I was thinner, stronger and healthier than I had been at 50.   Then came Rheumatoid Arthritis and with it, enough pain and stiffness to take running off the table. For almost two years, I was without an effective treatment and unable to exercise at all.  The downward slide was all too evident in those years.

crying child
orange balloon
just out of reach

My mental attitude was even more important than my physical condition.  At first I resented the betrayal of my body and I was angry. Stubbornly I decided I would not exercise until I could run again.  Call it denial, call it stupidity, whatever it was, I did not benefit much from that attitude.

snow moon
the brim of her hat
too wide

Once I accepted my body as the gift that it is, I began to move again and found that I really LOVED walking - long hikes at the beach, in the woods and in the city.  I realized I had missed so much while running and now I could enjoy the sights and sounds, particularly of nature, in a whole new way.

deep shade
just off the path
a blue heron

One of the triggers for R.A. is high levels of stress and my doctor suggested I take a look at what kinds of things were stressing me and how I was responding to that stress.  I began a meditation practice.  This changed my life in ways that are still a challenge to describe. 

stone Francis
outside in February
a dove perch  

I use several forms of meditation, each one adds significantly to the quality and joy in my life. They include contemplative prayer, breathing exercises and guided meditation.

 As you may know,  I have an active practice of writing Japanese short form poetry especially haiku.  This kind of writing brings my mind and senses to the present moment - and once I began to live in the present, I discovered, it is not only the best place to be, it is the ONLY place to be.

 winter snowfall -
a lotus blooming
on her kimono

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