Category Archives: Adventures

Gratitudes aplenty

“Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.”

                                                                                                         Colossians 4:2 Mess.

We were blessed to visit in Williamsburg again. One of my favorite places is the Botanical Garden there. Like most everywhere else, it was and had been very cold. The afternoon that we visited was brilliant.  Bird chatter from high above or feeders or deep within shrubbery was constant and timid squirrels clung high.

Botanical Garden

I was surprised to find that there had been late Iris bloom, sadly hit by the bitterness. But new buds seemed untouched. There were, in fact, many brilliant things to see in this small place.


Beautybush, Winterberry, Wax Myrtle (?); Roses, gorgeous leaves, Flowering cabbage; Iris, Tansy, Bald cypress

Then I took another look to see how the garden was dressing itself for the holidays. Here is just a sample.Subtle

I really missed the names of many of these as the colonies are large. But the first is Hops and directly below is Queen Anne’s lace. In the center, trailing pinkish petals, Echinacea and next to it, Northern sea oats. I could hardly take it all in, the variety of subtle was intriguing as I walked round and through the many pathways. Then all to soon, it was time to leave.


I wish everyone a joyous Thanksgiving! May your tables be full of the bounty of family, friends and provisions. Look well, stay alert!

Treasure Hunting on a Windy Day

Loch RavenToo windy for reflections this beautiful day, but as I turned away from the water view, a glimpse of color near my feet sent me off on a hunt for tiny treasures.

Loch Raven“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”               William Cullen Bryant

Several autumns we drove from Elmira to Ithaca, both towns in New York. Near the end of this route we would come round a bend and the hillside would be swathed with purple. I always wondered what trees turned purple, but this year we have purple trees in our neighborhood! They are a bit difficult to photograph, there are not many places to stop on winding country roads but I captured this one on the drive home. IMG_4139From Seeing Trees, I am learning about anthocyanin, a blue, violet or red pigment found in the leaves of some trees. It’s activity is  dependent on sunlight, rainfall and weather. Our long cool and sunny days are producing interesting variations in the leaf color of maple trees this year. I’m learning to pay attention to these wonderful details.


Sunday hours at the river

There were three wonders to absorb my play time at the park. Gunpowder

1. Three oak trees clustered along the bank where we chose to sit. I have not yet identified them, but perhaps a reader knows. There seem to be a dozen species native to this state.

Oak 1   oak 2   Oak 3

2. Sweet gum trees. I had learned that the color of these leaves is dependent on cool nights and sunny days. The range of color on a single tree is amazing.

Sweet Gum Even the stems are colorful! Sweet Gum

3. Black Walnuts – so many trees! You will notice them first by the fruit.

Black Walnuts   Black walnuts   Black walnut

The thick green husk gives way to thick shell. Only persistence will yield the nut meats. Lacking my own trees and having heard the tales of blackened hands – from the husks – and the challenge of wresting the meat from the shell, I’ve never opened one, preferring to buy the delicious morsels by the bag. The taste is not at all like that of English walnuts. If you are not familiar with the taste of them a great way to start is with Black Walnut Jiffy Cake which is one of the easiest cakes to make. I highly recommend it! Follow the link to the recipe. It freezes well so it can be made ahead of the holidays. No frosting is needed. And, as my Great Aunt would say, I hope you have good luck with this!

I so agree with Anne –


“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”

Anne Shirley – Anne of Green Gables



Blue singing

The ocean sang from the cover of a book on the library table; I listened to it call my name and I hurried it away.


They usually file it in the children’s section where I might never look. Ocean Poems. Perfect for a summer day. So beautifully illustrated that I’m drawn into the words like listening to a shell held tight against my ear and I dream … kite surfer … ocean roars

quiet swimming … jelly … cool water and sand  beach

Listen now from Water Sings Blue by Kate Coombs and hear the “Song of the Boat” …

Push away — heave-ho –from the heavy brown pier, from its pilings huddled and dull.

For the water sings blue and the sky does, too, and the sea lets you fly like a gull.

Now go and find a copy and sink into the illustrations of Meilo So and feel the ocean.

sea foam


Summer visit to my secret garden

I had the opportunity to visit this garden again the other day. Frog and I had another quiet visit as he continued his work. Frog pond

The waters bubble and flow through a small waterfall to his pond. waterfall I love the serenity in this place, although perhaps it is not place exactly, but the intention to go and breathe deeply and just be present to the timeless wonder of plants and fish and sun in the summer breeze that brings tranquility. Do you see that bright green edge? Look deeply now… slide into the pool of green refreshment.


The Roses of Lent

“Delectable”, “luscious” are used to describe Lenten Roses in Seeing Flowers by Teri Dunn Chace with photography by Robert Llewellyn. Exquisitely complex comes to me.

first signs

Nourished in shade and deep composting tree litter, they are shy blooms rarely lifting their heads to gaze back at you. rose colonyTo see their beauty requires determination and the humility to bend low or even kneel in the woodsy damp round them. lenten rose bloomI’m sitting in the coffee shop surrounded by human bloomings and thinking about the passing of time and people and how difficult it can be to see the exquisite beauty of each person. How difficult it can be to lift my own head to look into the eyes of others. In the Book of Malachi, these lovely words are found, “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings;” Lenten roses in morning sun

I think about how hard it can be to lift my face to the Sun of righteousness Who has healing in His wings so that I might then serve others with humility.

The journey is a grand adventure, The reward to see exquisitely complex beauty is before me.

Do you find it easy to find the amazing beauty in others? I know I have often walked by without even noticing.

Spring searching in Virginia

I have a family member who hates to talk about the weather. Certainly it is a boring topic this year. Snow, wintry mix, ice, freezing rain, wind, rain… March continues roaring about but spring is beating in the heart of the earth. We were blessed to go to Williamsburg last week. One of our favorite small places there is the Botanical Gardens. We roamed and sat in warmth for hours, listening.

Virginia spring

One day, we took the ferry from Jamestown to the lovely town of Smithfield. The other month Cathy at Morning Musings wrote about bronze sculptures. This is my sole attempt to follow her lead – hubby and George Washington.

GeorgeIn her post last Monday, she quoted Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, so this one is for Cathy. The sculptor, George Lundeen, portrays the author writing that very poem.

Robert FrostThere are seven stops to view these marvelous works. All are historical figures except one.ValentineThis is “The Valentine Couple”.      Valentine    Valentine So sweet.    You can click on the photos to enlarge them and see the amazing detail.

It is cold here at home and of course the forecast is for snow tomorrow. I’m listening, I know the earth is sheltering buds and blooms and green. For now, I’ll enjoy the memory of these Lenten Roses.Virginia



Winter Marches along

Marching ducks

Last week we had an out and about day. While hubby kept an appointment, I strolled through the nearby import store. I felt so warm as I returned to the car that I threw my heavy jacket in the back seat. Driving along to the library I realized it was 28 degrees. What a winter to leave me with the feeling that 28 was warm! March at the MarshShopping, services and office buildings were built near the edge of marshland. I took what I hoped would be a shortcut back and was totally distracted. Geese strolled along a stream and drew my attention to a pond full of birds.

Gulls at the pond

They must have quite a fan club from the footprints left in the snow and I was disconcerted as they came flying and running toward me. Since I was not offering them treats, some stood nonchalantly while the white ducks moon-walked away without a backward glace. ducks on the MarshIt was such a glorious afternoon and the duck chatter and antics as they slid across the ice had me laughing out loud. It was so fun to find such a treasure hidden so close to the familiar.

At the Marsh


January snow

Hibernation sounds like a good thing. I’m grateful for down comforters and cozy quilts, crocks of soup and stews and the warmth of home. Simple things like watching birds and light and shadow, reading and coffee seem to fill the days while chores sit and the list of things I planned to do on snowy days is long forgotten in what seems like a never ending winter – and it is only January <sigh>.

red amamryllis

The amaryllis has been such a joy and I will miss its cheerful greeting as the blooms begin to fade.

A few years ago we left our winter snow and went south. Far south.  Where it is cold in summer. I decided to share a few photos from that January when I didn’t mind wearing my winter coat.

port of call - Punta Arenas

And yes, the birds in the background are penguins!  Port of call - Punta Arenas

    Port of call - Punta Arenas These are Magellanic Penguins. They nest in burrows. January is summertime in Punta Arenas, Chile but the season is short; the chicks grow fast and the parents take them down to play in the water’s edge.

Port of call - Punta Arenas

Port of call - Punta Arenas

The most wonderful thing was that we walked on a simple path marked out with sticks and twine right along the edge of their mounds and they didn’t seem to pay the slightest bit of attention to us as they went about. They, however, had our full attention!

Port of call - Punta Arenas

Such amazing creatures hidden away in a remote part of the world waiting for eons for people to even know of their existence, delighting their Creator.

Christmas Day

It was to be a quiet Christmas Day for two. We decided to splurge on the drive and spend time in the beauty of  Longwood Gardens. We were a bit surprised at the number of folks with the same plan. From the voices traveling around us, many were far from homes in other countries.

Longwood Tree

It has been a number of years since we visited and always there are cameras. This year it seemed that at least half our fellow travelers were using other kinds of devices.Longwood Conservatory

Progress into the conservatory was slow as so many groups and couples posed every few feet.

Longwood Conservatory

I had taken my camera so I was caught up in capturing everything I could see when I suddenly realized the camera was flashing its low battery signal.

Longwood Conservatory

And it came to me – my battery was low too and I needed to recharge: breathing fragrance, looking deeply into plants, enjoying the laughter, marveling at the gardeners work,

Longwood Conservatory       Longwood Conservatory

walking slowly, holding hands,   Longwood Conservatory  watching sunlight fade and lights glow from trees  Longwood Conservatory  sharing dinner, walking in cold, crisp air, recharging, rejoicing! Longwood Gardens

We had seen stars shining, nature singing! Singing the praises of their Lord and Creator this Christmas Day! Joyous Holidays to you!

Longwood Longwood Longwood Longwood

Longwood IMG_2161 Longwood Longwood conservatory