A monarch in the meadow


The bud
stands for all things
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on the brow
of the flower,
and retell it in words and in touch,
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing.

~ Galway Kinnell

I’ve posted this poem sometime in the past (it seems like long ago), and it came to mind this morning as I was pondering “what next?”

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Thursday Travels: Let’s go to the falls

Hiking to Laverty Falls. Fundy National Park. New Brunswick, Canada.

I can’t believe it’s Thursday already.  This week has flown by so quickly that I hardly noticed it.

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320: Mountains

Longs Peak in the background. Rocky Mountain National Park. Colorado. August 2010.

Last year at the time, M and I were in Colorado, hiking around in Rocky Mountain National Park.  The WordPress Weekly Photo challenge for this week is Mountains, making this a great time to pull out some of those mountain photos that have been languishing in the archives.  Longs Peak is the only “fourteener” (summits over 14,000 feet) in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Back in the Bogs

(A Monarch visits.)

M and I arrived home late last night.  The train ride was longer than expected having been delayed twice.  We started on time in Philadelphia and arrived in Harrisburg early only to be told that the engineer who was to take over the next leg of the trip hadn’t shown up for work.  So we sat and waited while they called in someone else.  I think we were close to 90 minutes behind schedule when the call-in guy showed up.  The second delay occurred in Johnstown due to “police action.”  As we sat on the tracks waiting and waiting, an announcement was finally made telling us that they were coming through to do a luggage inspection and we were advised to keep our luggage nearby as any unclaimed luggage would be removed from the train immediately.  I don’t know what happened but once the train was moving our conductor came through and told us that a bad man was doing bad things and the police came and took him off the train.  I have no idea what that means in grown-up talk and have had no luck finding anything about it online.

(Breakfasting at the pond.)

We woke up this morning to find that the trees had acquired quite a bit of color in the short time we were away.  A great blue heron was at the pond, making himself comfortable and relaxing on one leg.

(This morning’s view of the pond.)

This is day 19 of my Great Outdoor Commitment.  I’ve spent most of the day outside soaking in the warmth and sunshine of this beautiful fall day.  We had friends from out of town stop by for lunch on their way home from visiting family.  We set up a table on the deck and enjoyed their company, the day, and the food outdoors.

(Leaving home.)

When our friends left I meandered over to one of my favorite spots on the property.  It’s a little alcove-like area where the peonies come up every spring, where the day lilies bloom every summer, and where we planted a few rhododendrons that have had some blooms on them this year.  There is a half circle of trees surrounding the alcove and the grass is soft and lush in that area.  Most of the trees are small oaks.  They are peaking in color right now, each leaf carrying a variety of yellows, oranges, reds, greens, and browns.

While standing out there enjoying the view and listening to the sounds around me, a Monarch butterfly stopped by to visit.  I was surprised by how close it landed and its willingness to just sit there with me.

Butterflies bring color and joy with them.  When butterflies come into your life look at how much or how little joy is within your life.  Lighten up.  Look for change.  Don’t forget that all change is good.  Butterfly medicine reminds us to make changes when the opportunities present themselves.  Transformation is inevitable, but butterfly will teach you that growth and change does not have to be traumatic.  It will teach you that it can occur as gently, as sweetly, and as joyfully as we wish.

~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

There is a field of wildflowers behind the alcove-like area and our main wildflower field is in front of it.  The flowers are abuzz with honey bees.  I videoed one of the bees in an attempt to capture the sound of them buzzing.  You should be able to hear them if you turn up the sound a little.

It is still early days where this commitment is concerned but I already feel as though it has changed me.  Being outdoors is, of course, a mood lifter but I think it’s more than that.  I look forward to my jaunts outside and I think it will soon become a habit, a good habit.  When I first told my husband about my new commitment he laughed and said if he wanted to make a change like that he would have to commit to coming indoors.  He spends hours outside every day, no matter what the weather is like.  There is so much work that has to be done on the property on a daily basis and he considers those chores part of his daily exercise.  I used to be like that when we first moved here.  Then I started making excuses (it’s too hot, too cold, too rainy, the mosquitoes and deer flies are biting, etc., etc., etc.).  I might still make excuses as this year goes along but now I have to honor my commitment rather than my excuses.

And that, my friends, is a very good change indeed.

For those who would like to see a little of our train ride home, I bring you Scenes From the Train:

You never know what you might see…

… when you step outside.  You might see a hot air balloon getting ready to land on the neighbor’s property.

Or a pair of caterpillars that will one day be monarch butterflies hanging around on a milkweed plant.

A grasshopper clinging to a blade of grass.

Flowers growing in the asparagus bed, where they really shouldn’t be but they were too pretty to pull with the rest of the weeds.  (Can someone please explain to me why the flowers that come up as “weeds” in the garden are so much prettier than the flowers we plant in the flowerbeds??)

(The last of the cherry tomatoes?)

As practice for the upcoming challenge, I wiggled my toes into my Vibrams yesterday morning and went outside for my walk/run.  Although we are in the midst of a warm-up, the morning was still cool with some of that fall wetness leftover from the morning fog.  Leaves were flying off the trees, dancing in the breeze like large, colorful snowflakes.  I went past fields of corn and soybeans, drying in the sun and the lateness of the season.  The meadows, seas of yellow from the goldenrod, are abuzz with bees.

I went out again in the afternoon to do some work in the garden.  It is a riot of flowers and grasses and seeds.  I got down on the ground, under the asparagus ferns, and pulled and pulled and pulled, enjoying the scent and feel of the earth.

After an hour or so I took a short walk around the pond just to loosen up a bit after all the kneeling and bending in the garden.  The leaves on the maple trees are starting to turn red.

You can get a glimpse of the fall colors in the reflections on the pond.

At the back of the pond the cattails look as though they are growing rabbit ears.  Perhaps they get better reception that way.

And near the woods these delicate and fragrant white flowers had popped up all over the place.  I’m not sure what they are.  They smell like lilies-of-the-valley but they don’t quite look like them.  Anyone have any ideas about what they might be?

(Last sunrise for the summer of 2010.)

I got up early this morning to say goodbye to summer and watch the sunrise.  With storms on their way and clouds moving in quickly, it didn’t last long.

(Sunflower greeting the sunrise.)

I’d forgotten how wonderful the light is at sunrise.  I’m going to make it a point (and a priority) to get outside at sunrise more often.