Sunday, December 31, 2017

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Bath

The weather outside is frightful and there is no fire nearby for delightful...but the birds do not seem to care and love taking a bath in the heated bird water dish!  This little gray Titmouse seemed to not mind how he looked.
  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Those Winter Sunsets

Winter sunsets come early these days but tend to last almost as long as summer sunsets.  The sun and earth tend to dance the same in this long marriage of circles.  But I think they somehow have a colder-gold look about them in the winter months.  If there are no clouds, the sunset is bright and clean and clear.  When there are clouds throwing veils against the blues of our sky, nature takes the opportunity to dip her brush into the pinks, the fuschias, the corals, and the salmons.  She works in watercolors and not oils.  When shadows begin to flow across the highest part of the sunset, nature pulls our her drawer of purples and lilacs and dark wines and then pauses and waits while we admire her handiwork.




Above the lights of our Christmas Tree are reflected in the window against a recent sunset.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Red and Thorny

This photo is from the first (and thus far last) snowfall which came in one night and stayed most of the day. It was wet and sloppy and made everything bow down before its beauty. I had to hurry outside to catch the angle of the rising sun against these wild raspberry bushes at the edge of the woods.


Not the best focus, but I have others to sort through! I love the red of the thorny branches against the snow.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

December Morning





Softly and gently
The morning begins 
Holding out fresh hope. 
Light waits at the sweep 
With a sanguinity
and dewy cool smile.
It reassures us
offering a bare
and mist hidden hand
to invite first steps
over the passage
when we cannot see
into the reveal,
the clearing ahead.
Faith is the steady
mettle holding us
balanced, straight and tall.
Faith in our selfhood.
Faith in our knowledge.
Faith in our placement
in the universe.
Faith in the advance
of a perfect plan.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

This Tree






When we first moved to these woods this beech tree was half the size it is now. It stands watch near the path to the dock with long gray fingers spreading into the soil, resembling an elephant leg with slender toes.  This soldier fights for sun as it competes with several larger and older oak trees.  The beech hangs on to its bronze leaves far longer than the other trees and while it crackles like cellophane in the sharp fall winds, it hangs on tight to the leathery beauty well into winter.  The leaves are smooth and almost like sculptures or manmade works of art rather than living photosynthesis machines.

The gray, smooth bark is a favorite for people to carve initials proclaiming love for someone.  This permanently scars the tree, and I many times wonder if their love lasted a quarter of the life of the tree.  This tree is ours and is spared such mutilation.  There are better ways to sustain and prove love.


I am awed by the way it captures the autumn angle of the sun and turns a brilliant bronze.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Predictions

At first, there was some confusion. An earlier than planned departure to the city to avoid dangerous sleety roads resulted in moving over dry roads with fewer cars than normal. Waiting for dinner and a school play and the start of the predicted snowfall resulted in a cold but dry nighttime walk through the neighborhood to the nearby elementary school past the houses with bright holiday decorations. Greetings in the early morning on my laptop said: "Welcome, it is now snowing where you are." This all was very confusing as there were absolutely no white stars falling from the sky. We packed our overnight bags to head back home mid-morning just as small dots of dandruff danced down from the sky. Predictions kept saying 2-5 inches, and the further south we drove getting closer to home, the predictions finally began to come true.  

Because the roads were mostly dry we took a drive down some country roads before heading home.  I like the bones of abandoned homes and old tobacco barns outlined in newly fallen wet snow.





These black birds were on the country road eating something and flew up to the trees when we drove by.




Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Listening and Looking



Why can nature create chaos and the mess looks so perfect and peaceful and progressive?  It is as if I stumbled unto a waltz in perfect time.  Everything seems to be in the right place and it is certainly the right time and ready for the next whirling change.  We can learn so much from nature if we just stop and look and listen.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Leaving

Thought I would share photos I took of a few of the leaves that have left this past month.







Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Long Season

This golden time of year has been gentle and ever so slow in our woods.  I usually blink and we go from brilliance to gray silhouettes and bruising cold winds.  We patiently wait for a winter snow that comes late and sometimes lasts only a day or two.



But this November is transitioning into an "Indian Summer" as December slides on in.  The earliest source of the expression according to the ubiquitous Wikipedia is from an essay written in the United States in the late 1770's, perhaps based on a Native American description of a warmer than usual hunting season.  With the warming of the planet, these Indian Summers will be even more common.  The angle of the sun turns the water that unusual turquoise blue that is most often seen in the high mountain lakes of Canada rather than the rivers of the Mid-Atlantic.  The green algae have sunk to the bottom and the sunlight filters pure.


Not many birds come to the feeders as the weather is warm and they need fewer calories.  I count birds for Cornell and my numbers are going to be small this fall.

I harvest an abundance of persimmons as I watch the oak leaves sail like golden-brown kites across the yard and glide to my feet.


The lawn has been covered in outdoor carpeting and I like it that way.  The first to arrive were the red maple leaves.


This was followed in a week or two by the leathery oak leaves creating a brown carpet in the backyard hiding the path to the dock under a crunchy sound alarm, making it impossible to sneak up on the waterfowl for photos.


No complaints on my part.  All is well in the season of autumn.  I can be patient.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

That Time of Year

We are easing into that time of year for the fall and winter holidays. Strenuous for some and a celebration of joy for others. I have little work to do this year other than shop for gifts. Thanksgiving is being done mostly by others.  My expectations are low which is a peaceful place to be.  So, I am going to go to my happy place and enjoy the wonderful fall weather we are having and select a blessing each time I snap the shutter.


I am blessed to have the time to follow the birds and plants and their changes on this land as they head down for a long winter's sleep or at the very least slowing down.


I am blessed that the rain this year has come at all the right times and pretty much in the right amounts.


I am blessed to be where I am and still be able to reach the river down the small hill when I want.  I am blessed to still be able to get in and out of a canoe.


I am blessed to have these giant oak trees as friends that put on such a show throughout the year.


And I am blessed to have to rare hawk stop buy to shop for food.  Have a peaceful and healthy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Just a Tree

When I bought and planted this sugar maple tree, I was told that the climate warming changes to my state meant that the tree would really struggle as the winters became less lengthy...and perhaps less cold.  I was told this was not the place to plant such a northern tree.  I did not care because I just love how this pioneer catches fire each and every fall never failing to warm my soul.

Please note that the colors in these photos are what the camera was able to capture with no color boost!




Monday, October 30, 2017

24 Hours of Heavy Rain

And everything becomes liquid color. (liquid paint filters on these photos with color boost.)


Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Gathering

I spend cold spring mornings gathering blossoms that seem artificial in shape with their large petals in sunshine colors. Summer has an abundance of blossoms in all shapes and sizes. Fall includes the daisy-shaped blossoms of asters and mums. Then it all changes as I collect the sugar maple leaves that have been scattered across the distant lawn. They soon curl into crinkly pieces of parchment, but the glow does last for days.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Currently, in my Area

I am alone this month.  All alone.  No demands on my time and a schedule of my own making.  I ate leftover pizza for early dinner and then made my way down to the river for a chance at capturing a fall sunset.


The oaks hang on to their leathery leaves until the last.  Tonight will be a big wind that may tear away some of these beauties.   Temperatures will drop a few degrees.


The gulls are taking advantage of the last calm evening for a while.  They cry and laugh and look like white flags swooping over the river from my vantage point at the house.  When I get down to the water's edge a few stay behind out of curiosity, perhaps.

All is unusually quiet.  No workman on the house across the river, no boats creating waves and wakes, no barking dogs.  It is as if "they" are mourning the departure of summer and looking for autumn and getting ready for a change.  It is marvelously peaceful and I sigh.  I am alone and not alone which is the best of pleasures.


I like the way the rough bark on the old cedar captures shadows as the sun heads downward.  It is strong and handsome and protects the smaller oaks from the stronger winds.


The saltbush is now in its white fuzzy glory, throwing fairy wisps across the water when the wind picks up.  While I do not get a beautiful sunset, I enjoy the evening quiet until it is past dusk and I slowly head up the gravel path to the house.  I surprise and am surprised by a yearling deer that is crossing the path.  He stops framed by the trunk of the beech tree, as do I framed by the last of the light from the water, and we assess each other in admiration before we both move on to our different paths.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Slipping Into Shorter Days

The sun continues to move to the left as it sets at the mouth of our small inlet from the larger river. Most days there are no clouds in the pale blue sky to catch the dwindling rays of that orange orb and create a jaw-dropping sunset, but the angle of the sun as it bounces off of the water is, in itself, a lovely event. Let me share. Below the sun reflects off the water to shine upward through the drying dogwood leaves in the early part of the sunset.




Then as the shadows darken, the water still hangs on to the last bit of golden light as if in a departing lover's embrace.



The saltbush has begun to lose its feathery seeds and is the last to kiss the sun goodbye.  While the air is mostly cooler now and I pull my jacket closer, the image is of warmth through my camera lens.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Color Most of the Year

I am one of those gardeners that want to squeeze the life out of the growing season by making sure something is blooming throughout the months until that first freeze. I have found that in late February I get started with the Lenten roses and move through the spring with bulbs that turn bold yellow faces to the winds and showers. My summer beds show lots of traditional flowers as well as traditional bedding annuals. Then comes the fall. In early fall which is our mid to late September, I get the asters. Huge bushes of starry flowers that reach out across my walkway and crowd against the boxwood. They attract the smaller and larger bees but not too many butterflies. They have no fragrance, but their abundance is glorious.






Once the starry blossoms close their heads I then look forward to my chrysanthemums, which also have no fragrance. I bought four new varieties this year to fill in some bare spaces where other perennials passed on. (I have no idea why my font changed here!)





That last one in the photo above is my favorite with such a rich autumn orange.  I pinch these back in August or whenever they want to bud so that I get a later autumn bloom and bushier plants.  They still have to be staked.  Yes, sometimes the ones you buy from the nursery in fall can be transplanted, but only the sturdy ones make it through my winter, so I get mums in the spring and plant them out at that time.  Then in November, everything except the pyracantha berries and a few trees loses their color and slumber until the next season.