Thinking about September


I read and ponder this quote from Frederick Buechner:  “Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” 


September is like January – a new year – for me. September was full of birthdays when I was young. A new school year usually brought anxiety calmed with new notebooks and writing instruments and outside school activities.


There are far fewer people to celebrate their September birthdays in family and among friends, leaving only my cousin and I to celebrate our mutual date.

 My mother used to speak of things that ‘had fallen by the wayside.’ Trees have fallen here. This one caused the death of our cherry tree and now cherry pie in June has ‘fallen by the wayside’.

fallen tree

 Two friends died, suddenly, like great trees fallen from our lives. And we mourn.

 squirrel   deer   Carolina Wren

Squirrels gather black walnuts, deer stroll through – eating the gardens when I’m not looking and the Carolina Wren draws me to the windows early in the morning  as if to remind me, ‘there are new mercies for each new day, open your eyes, Elaine. Wonder abounds, be grateful!’

day lily   hydrangea


Cooler weather finally arrived, the lighting changed and autumn arrived. And I enter in, reflective, pondering. Taking more notice of the moments. Before they are fallen by the wayside.

autumn sign


Garden Notes

calla lily

September 20, 2014  I wrote about discovering seed pods in my neglected pot of Calla Lilies.calla lily seeds

July, 2015, I wrote of sprouted seeds.
calla lilies

Last fall, we moved the pot of sprouts into the garage where they would not freeze. In the spring, we rolled the pot out and up steps to where the plants would be seen and watered.

And we waited.

Our sprouts popped up and flourished. Sort of. We have a great pot of leaves. But no blooms.

Calla leaves

Around July, I did some research. Too late, I found that they don’t like to be all cozy but needed to be given some space when you plant them. I would need to use more pots or space in the gardens.

Soon, we’ll move the pot back down the steps and into the garage. I hope the tubers have strengthened and  will overwinter again. If they do, then next year, I will follow instructions and give them all room to grow and hope for bloom.


Another note: Last fall, I dug up the Elephant Ear bulb and found 3 offsets, which I saved.  They managed to survive the winter cast onto the pot where the Calla Lilies slept.  Potted up, they sprouted and have grown well.  Previous years, I was not successful in keeping the bulb over winter, so this was great fun.            Colocasia The “ears” wiggle in the slightest breeze.

 Elephant ear

Rain and dew collect on the fleshy leaves and I’ve seen butterflies stop for a drink but they are much to quick for me to capture to share here.

Note #3: An odd sighting on the grounds. We have a bird bottle from Williamsburg, VA nailed up by the wood shed near our driveway. I’m used to wrens nesting in it twice each summer. However, the other week as we were driving out, I looked up and saw something quite startling — and certainly not a bird! You can click on the picture for a better look.bird bottle

So many things happen from day to day, it’s good to take note. One never knows just what might happen next in a wild, living community!

An old school question

There comes a time when autumn* asks,

What have you been doing all summer?  Anon.

Perhaps you too had teachers who asked that same question and required a paragraph or two of fun and exciting adventures.  Oh my.

I think it was the shoes I bought in spring,   shoe though it would be a while before I remembered the brown buckle shoes of many childhood summers. But once remembered they stirred other memories of those long ago summers — countless hands of Canasta and hours of board games with my sisters, afternoons of stitching, evenings of reading and porch sitting while thunder and lightening rolled across the sky. There were late, dark nights spent twirling the dials of a vintage radio dad brought home, listening for already old-time comedy or suspense broadcasts still playing in other places.

And I realized that while they might not have gotten me a good grade in school,  those simple pleasures set me for life. I’m always up for a great adventure to distant parts, but the everyday life here is one I am grateful to be able to enjoy even on the days when everything seems all wrong in the world.

embroidery  Simple embroidery,

learning a new quilt pattern from Craftsy,  scrappy quilt

finishing a small quilt started last year, small quilt.

or recalling seashore trips of other years with small vignettes shells & stuff   shells  are parts of my summer days now.    20160824_080926

Reading continues to be a blessed pastime and storms are part of every summer here. I’ve added other pleasures to these simple rhythms of life – letter writing, daily cooking, gardening, and the joy of meeting a friend for coffee. And old time radio has been bypassed by streaming videos, sometimes much too late into the night!

Our new friend Tim has just left a bag of tomatoes on the front railing – another splendid gift of summer! Rosy smiles in the face of heat and humidity.

*I recently learned that September 1 is the meteorological first day of autumn.

August – delightfully interrupted

Hot. Humid. August. Definitely in need of a lovely interruption.

Our daughter came bringing the Grandpup, Marigold,IMG_8273

and Grandkittie, Sadie 20160814_103830

Both are rescued and well loved. It was first visit for Sadie who made herself at home at my writing table right away. IMG_8275 Although she also kept me company as I did some hand stitching. 20160817_102627

Marigold was harder to capture but was so much more at home on this second visit — until the thunder storms. Then, although she has a crate, she tried hiding in all kinds of places she did not fit. Including beside the dryer. That turned out to be a bonus gift for us as we became aware of a hole hidden in the folds of the venting material. A hole unseen, but big enough to interfere with the function of the machine.

The days went so quickly and then, it was time to say our goodbyes.

20160817_110315 Marigold was ready to go with her mama wherever she was going!

We hugged and waved and there may have been a tear as we held each other and watched the car disappear from view. Come again, sweet girl!


From the Garden

sticks  It has been the summer for yard exercise. When rain comes, it is heavy. Dead wood becomes sodden and gives up clinging to the trees. truck            So, I pick up and pray gratitude for the county brush recycling just a few miles away.

In between rains, I am working at conscious beauty rests.  Join me for spa treatments?

morning light     elephant ear     wild ginger     butterfly bush     rainbow     daylily rebloom     butterfly     cleome     butterfly

Early morning light, Elephant Ear leaf, Wild Ginger “cushion”, Butterfly Bush, Rainbow, Stella re-bloom, Butterfly feeding, Cleome, Nectar hunting! Click on photo for best view.

My friend, Marta, at Selah Reflections takes beautiful photographs as she lives her goal to find moments of stillness in the midst of the busyness of life. Whenever I forget, there she is with a post to remind me to stop and really be aware and rest in the beauty so generously supplied to me.

Lilies of the field

While not true lilies by botanical standards, daylilies are more welcome in my gardens. Their prolific and long bloom season with its ever changing presentation of unique blooms is so lovely to me. One of the last to bloom was a gift from my garden loving sister.

daylilyThe first blooms opened on July 12 and each day brings me new joy.


In the New Living Translation of the Bible, Jesus says, ” And why worry about your clothing. Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.” It’s a beautiful passage about the love and care that God has for His creation. Even for the blooms that last only one day.

Dublin Elaine

                                   Dublin Elaine      Dublin Elaine

Dublin Elaine

Dublin Elaine

As I gaze into these fragrant blooms, I find a quieting in my soul, a gentling, if you will. The world brought into my home daily, is a sad and sometime frightful place, and yet, in the garden, in the face of exquisite beauty, I feel hope. Hope for me, that with grace, I might show a kind and peaceful face to those in my world, just one day at a time.

Dublin Elaine

From the Garden

More and more I choose to appreciate simple things and then find they are not simple but intricate, complex, wondrous even.

morning lightThe quick change of light at dawn and dusk creates a kind of magic across the landscape. sunset

The wind blows where it will, now in the rustle of treetops, then down in the shrubbery and only sometimes playing the wind chime. windchime There can be silence or bird chatter, cricket drone or the startling scream of a vixen in the night.

There are birds, hummingbird bees, bee in astilbe bloommoths and butterflies moth on butterfly bush to capture the attention.

As Robert Lewis Stevenson observed, “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” Or I, a queen! Early last Monday I gathered riches from the garden.

garden flowers  Simple, old fashioned flowers: hydrangea , spikes of hosta bloom, and a few day lilies became my treasure to be counted. blooms

flower arrangement Each day brought change, of course. and the fun of the new look of things.

Day 2  day 2  Day 3: Day 3   Day 4: day 4

Day 5:  day 5  Each daylily bloom had its day, each fairy bell of hosta too. The hydrangeas wilted with the heat so that by Day 6, my play was almost over.

hosta bloom  We retreated to the cool of the house. And enjoyed each other’s company for another day.

This week starts fresh with a small posy for the kitchen table, promise of a delightful week. May your week be blessed with health, safety and beauty in abundance.  a fresh posy


From My Desk in the Field

Collage June

The month of June has been unsettling. I’ve been spending a lot of time outside, working and thinking, sometimes writing a word or three. Wondering if the writing can or even should continue.

As I rarely post without photographs and I am having a bit of a learning curve challenge with some photo software issues, I feel somewhat lost.

That said, I have taken many photos with my phone, especially of flowers.

I’ve been using Instagram for a while. Stop by, if you like. I post under my name. day lily

June Days

There is a freshness in the air today. Glowing greens and beautiful bloom where yesterday there were only buds.


In the early mornings, This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies, we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”

Lamentations 3:21-24 NKJV



The way we measure out life in minutes,hours, days, years.

Taking time and using it wisely and well.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:

I read that April was National Letter Writing Month, from Barb.  This took me back into my love for snail mail and I accepted the 30 day letter writing challenge.  30 days to think about relationships, to mark the days and honor those put on the path of my life. It was a time to remember events that brought people – unique and wonderful people – into my time.


On the 15th of April, on FB, I read of the death of the Mother-in-Love of an old acquaintance. Over several months, Libby had briefly shared the illness, the frustration with medical care and finally, their decision to bring this lovely lady into their home until she passed into the arms of God.  Now it was time to write sympathy, condolence, a time to acknowledge a life well lived and loved.

I met Libby when we were young. She spoke highly of this lady through the years we shared an office and on every occasion before and after she married into that family.

A time to be born, and a time to die… a time to plant… a time to heal… a time to build up…


Death is never an easy thing to face. Whether long or short, a life is a great presence and its passing is loss that can make us fragile while it seems to expand our hearts.  Acknowledging the grace gift that is life is so important.

a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;

spring bloom

I’ve mentioned that I’m reading Looking for Lovely. Annie Downs started her chapter, “Tragedy” with the text of Matthew 11:28-30 NIV,  and eventually drew me into Ecclesiastes*. She speaks a truth I’m learning, that only in Christ Jesus, can I find rest in the weary and burden and tragedy of life. Only if I look to Him, choose to come to Him in the pain and suffering. And that is not my usual response, my first response.

Like me, you are probably not a stranger to pain and suffering. No one wants to live in pain, sadness, loneliness, rejection, shame, war, tearing down, ripping apart… I want to  avoid it. Annie writes of this pain and tragedy and says, “I’m not sure I’ll find beauty in this. But the only way to truly see beauty, for my heart to grow in capacity and in ability to love and cherish, is through pain and heartache.”

Later, she continues, “I don’t know exactly how it works, I just know that the more I hang on and feel, the more I am able to feel; and each time more balm gets rubbed into the wounds of my soul.”  She finishes the chapter with these words, ” But there is beauty in choosing to feel that pain, in calling hurt what it is, and not pretending everything is okay.”

calla lily

The world is not comfortable with pain and often we are encouraged to ‘just get over it’, move, on, count your blessings. But the wise man said, there is a time to weep… a time to mourn…  And somehow in the mourning, in the weeping, there is a balm that is rubbed into the wound.

rain on the window

May 1, 2016. Sunny. Changing to sheeting rain, creating impressionist art outside my window. Reducing seed heads to earth stars.

dandelion star

May 1, 2016, checking FB updates in the afternoon, I found get well prayers for Libby. These were followed all too quickly by posts of grief at her death. Shock is not really an adequate word to express my state that evening.

Many old relationships just die a natural death, but some go on, changed, but connecting us to our history, our lifetime scrapbooks. She was one who knew me “then”; who was part of bridal and baby showers. We went to each other’s weddings. For Libby and I, our lives unfolded in different places and ways and we rarely took the time to meet although we promised in every Christmas update — next year!

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose;

Looking for the lovely, the good reports, the praiseworthy things**, I continued to read the FB updates.  I believe that the many seeds of goodness and love planted by this gracious woman will produce a harvest in the many lives she touched.

Dear Libby, you leave gaping spaces in the hearts of so many.  You will not be forgotten; your legacy will endure.  I’m so glad our lives touched.

white blooms of May

*Ecclesiastes 3:1-8   ** Philippians 4:8