Saturday, July 20, 2019
A friend of mine gave me a tomato bought at a farm stand near her house. I was flabbergasted by its size. I hoped, since it was small and local, that it was organic but I accepted it with gratitude and served it for dinner. It tasted good, not a doubt, but there was something missing – it wasn’t eaten fresh-picked. That, I discovered, was the secret to taste.
I planted some heirlooms this season and had an incredible Jubilee tomato. It wasn’t nearly as large as my friend’s gift and it was orange, not red, but oh, what flavor. It went from plant to plate to mouth. I had to close my eyes to savor its flavor as the juice dribbled down my throat. I’m eagerly waiting for the others to ripen so I can enjoy the experience again.
But the original tomato gift had something to offer besides just its taste. It was offered with kindness and enthusiasm. As I ate each bite, I remembered our friendship and valued all that we have shared over the years. It was as much a treat in its own way as the heirloom tomato was. I think if we pay attention to the wholeness of what we experience, life ripens in our hearts as well as in our gardens.
Thursday, May 30, 2019
I get yelled at each time I pass by the Smoke Tree in our backyard. The yeller is a robin trying to get me away from her nest and the four beautiful blue eggs inside. She, or he because both male and female robins are very protective of the nest, zooms out of the Smoke Tree and onto an extended peach tree branch, all the while watching me with intense eyes. When I move out of the immediate nest area, the robin flies back to the nest, no doubt content that the immediate danger has passed.
I understand her/his need to protect the potential babies. I try to walk as far from the tree as I can, reassuring the scolding robin as I move along slowly and calmly that I would never harm the future birdies in any way.
There seems to be more robins around this Spring. I see them flitting in and out of the oak tree out front. It seems that some of them may be staying north during the winter. Could that be an indication of our warming temperatures? They have always been a symbol of Spring, their red breasts a signal that warmer weather is approaching. Now maybe sooner than we expect. As nature changes, other things change, too. I hope we will be as delighted at the changes as we are at seeing the robins.
Some robin images:
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
We are greeted by the most amazing azalea bushes in our front yard! Big puffs of pink remind us of the beauty of Spring. I stop before getting into my car to gently touch the buds and thank the bushes for their greeting.
But the warmer weather is not just about the brilliance of a flowering bush. Before the flowers burst open and awe us, there is the hint of what is coming. Buds slowly appear on bare stalks, anticipating what is waiting to expand into fullness. Then they unfold, expressing their rapturous enthusiasm for being in the world. The energy of the flowers in full bloom interacts with our energy as we appreciate Nature’s offerings. And after the flowers have spent their allotted time with us, they fade and lose their colorful petals, the bush, now green, reminding us that it is still with us and now mature.
It is Nature’s reminder, I think, of the wholeness of being. Not unlike our human progression from conception through infancy, adulthood and our last years here. Our energy remains even when our petals fade. Nature is always offering us a broader picture of life.
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
The seasons have been varied this year. Fall had some frigid days. Winter had some warm days. And now, in the early days of Spring, we have summer-like temperatures. Today was 82 degrees! I wonder if it is confusing to the plants and trees that bloom at certain times.
This flowering plum tree in our front yard seems to be taking it all in stride. It flowers in early-middle Spring, in pretty much any kind of soil. For me it is a sign of awakening regardless of what the weather does. I stop along my afternoon walk to calmly watch the delicate petals float down from the branches as the season progresses.
So much is happening in the world today that a simple gift of nature like this is much appreciated. The delicate pink flowers remind me of how life flutters on, how it shifts from beautiful to decimated and hopefully back again to a space that offers us a chance to take a deep breath, to experience joy and to share our awareness of life's flowering with those around us.
Lots of flowering plum trees info:
Thursday, November 1, 2018
Autumn at Last
The trees have been late in losing their leaves around here this season. Some leaves have turned a brilliant orange, some a subdued red, but for the most part the leaves in my neighborhood are still attached to their branches. At least until this week when some suddenly started to float down and coat the sidewalks.
I like Autumn. I like the colors that brighten up the trees and the crunch of the leaves that have fallen to the ground. The slight nip of the wind in the air energizes my walk. Mostly, though, I feel my energy lift after the lethargy of the hot summer days.
This Fall, though, has been slow in offering up its charms. The summer heat seemed to last longer than usual. After a round of cooler days, we are back to temps in the 70s! I wonder if our winter weather will be different as well. Certainly different from my childhood memories of autumn.
But then so much, these days, has changed. Weather-wise there are more storms, more drought, more floods all across our nation and the world. There is more political animosity, more anger, more active hatred. I try to look at people in a universal way, hoping to see what connects us rather than tears us apart. I look for the joy in life even though I know there are times for grief.
As the leaves finally fall, it is easy to forget their beauty. But they will be back, vibrant as ever, as Spring comes around. I hope that we all remember that as the seasons can change, so can we. Let’s seek the kindness and beauty of life and reach out to share it with those around us.
How are the seasons figured globally?
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Hippos in the AquariumHere is an amazing creature! No, he (actually she) wasn’t in my immediate backyard but she was close by in the Camden Aquarium. There were two hippos swimming around in a tank where visitors could observe.
Hippopotamus is Greek for river horse. The adult visitors were entranced by how such a large animal could swim so gracefully; a female hippopotamus weighs about 2,000 - 3,000 lbs. and a male can weigh 3,000 – 4,000 lbs. on average. The kids just wanted to touch the hippos as they came up to the glass. The hippos seemed as curious about the people as we were about them. It may have been that when they see people they anticipate getting fed and that is what happened. Large plant leaves were tossed into the tank and the hippos lunged for them.
It's hard to believe that these huge creatures are somewhat delicate. Their skin burns easily so they tend to eat in the morning hours when the sun isn’t too strong and spend a good part of the day in the cool water. They are also vegetarian. But don’t let their gentle eating habits fool you. They are not always friendly and can be aggressive.
wary at the same time. It makes me think of how all aspects of nature resonates with the whole of
nature. Like a big, if somewhat diverse family. Perhaps if we can appreciate nature’s wide
diversity, we can do the same with people.
Lots to know about hippos:
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Sparrows on the Bird Bath
We have a lively collection of sparrows here. They make their home in one of our bushes on the side of our house and several times a day visit the bird bath in back. They drink and bathe and fight and fly back and forth until all their needs are satisfied.
I’ve counted as many as a dozen sparrows on the bath at the same time. They flapped on and off in a flutter of feathers. When there was room, it looked as if one of them was swimming across the water!
Sparrows may be small but they have a lot of energy. Sometimes I see them having a lively conversation on the slanty part of our roof above their bush. They have been known to yell at me as I pull my car onto the driveway and disturb their private together time.
It’s interesting to observe nature’s creatures. We can see relationships, both friendly and not. We can watch them solve problems and sometimes create them. There are many behaviors that are reminders of our own people interactions. I wonder if they watch us and think the same things.
Lots to know about house sparrows: