Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today's View of Apples and Swallowtail on Blue Spruce

The apples are so beautiful

Blue of Spruce, butterfly and Sky.

"Stories are a great way to convey important messages — they inspire and teach at the same time. People forget facts, figures, and theories, but they remember stories."
~Ken Blanchard

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Touch the Earth so the Earth Can Touch You

"The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power...The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing..."

--Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX

"Have you ever noticed the relationship between children and the soil? Watch how happily they are touching the dirt. The children play in it and eat it. If you are stressed, go to a spot on the Earth, sit down, put your fingers in the dirt, dig in it. Wash your hands in the soil. When you touch it, notice what it does to your hands. Our bodies love to touch the Earth. Sometimes we get too busy and forget these simple things. Maybe you'll even want to plant a garden or flowers. These things are mentally healthy."

'Great Spirit, today, let me touch the Earth so the Earth can touch me." From The Elders

"I believe that once the Sixth Miracle of Nature enters
one's life -- the Miracle of inspired thinking,
feeling and behaving beyond mere instinct-driven
impulses -- there's something new in a being's life,
maybe something not yet named (unless it's "love-for-
all-things"), that's even stronger." Jim Conrad at BackYardNature

Back to Nature

Honestly, sometimes I really don’t want to be here any more, sometimes I feel like I cannot take this life on earth with all its bumps in the road, one bump more. Sometimes all the noise, the rush, the chaos, the cruelty, the dirt, the despair, the bad smells, the crowded spaces, the metal buildings, the cars, the trucks, the roads, the material mob, it is all way too much and I tell God, I really don’t know what you are thinking, this is WAY too much for me! What makes me better is to go into nature. A drive down a county lane, a walk though a meadow, or a hike to go to the source of water in a woods. Only then do I see what makes me say, “Look at this perfection!, God knows what he is doing!”

Monday, August 23, 2010

Butterflys Galore!

The weather has turned rare! I did our mailbox up with it's September face and found lots of butterflies.

I laughed with the delight of comradeship when, during a moment of repose recently, I read these words from another old gardener, Sydney Eddison. In her new memoir, Gardening for a Lifetime, she penned, “It took a great deal of time and energy to make my garden as hard to manage as it ultimately became,”
Life has days that make you wonder. Then, seemingly out of the blue, there comes a day like today. The blackberry harvest is dwindling. I found just a few handfuls of them on my trek to the patches. Is it the thought of less work that has cheered me? Perhaps. Yet, there is something else besides a change in my feelings, there is a subtle but sure alteration in the air, an unmistakable improvement in the landscape, the lift of some invisible oppression.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wild Meadow of Goldenrod, JoePye, Ironweed, Yellow Coneflower and More

Something has been begot beneath the ground and the waters of the valleys in the dark of the night, which rises when dawn breaks to spread a cooler air through these hills. No longer are the woods a blur of monotonous green. Instead, assorted trees and shrubs have painted their leaves, branches and berries in their choice of vivid or dusky shade. The sun, softer now, casts a rosy glow of warmth on everything.

Friday, August 20, 2010

August, Crickets and Thickets

August is here now, summer matured. There swells from the thickets, at the dusk of day, assorted birdcalls, cicada, cricket and frog song. I find it interesting how sounds affect people differently. I heard a cricket at a yard sale this summer and commented on it. The matron of the sale scoffed, “Oh, those nasty crickets!”

“Nasty?” I asked in surprise, “they sound so happy and are good luck.”

“Not around here they aren’t lucky!” she informed me and “around here they get stomped because they eat things."

“No, your kidding!” I responded,“ Like what kind of things do they eat?”

“ Linens and bed sheets,” the fine lady replied.

“Oh I see,” was all I could say. I looked down at the items for sale while the woman got busy with other customers. I kind of liked the blouse that I had been looking at. I checked it over real good to made sure that it didn’t have any cricket holes in it before I bought it.

I welcome crickets at my house, I guess I probably wouldn’t notice if they took a bite or two out of my bedclothes. Have you listened to your resident cricket recently, (you do have one, don’t you)? My old friend Tressie used to say that the cricket lets you know what is happening outside if you listen to his chirp. You will find him chirping fast when it is warm but slowly when there is a nip in the air.

To me it is always as if on the warmest summer days the cricket is jubilant. I always thought that it was an old wife’s tale but there actually is a formula to calculate the temperature based on a cricket's chirp rate. It is called Dobear’s Law.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Flutterbys and Crickets

The Crickets are chirping slower now, which slows my heart beat down and makes me relax more, frantic summer will soon be ore and what is not harvested will not get harvested.

You can determine the temperature by counting the number of chirps a cricket makes in 15 seconds, add 37 to this number and you will have a pretty close estimate of the outside temperature, unless your crickets are inside, like some of mine....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ken Carey and the Earth Longing for Us

Reading this touched my heart today.

"Ken Carey---"The earth has been longing for people like us . The earth has been desiring people that can see her gifts, her beauty for what they truly are; and when one comes along that can truly resonate with a biosphere, a bio-region, an area of earth, there is a synthesis. We become like a spokesperson, not only for that region, but for the many lifeforms that cannot speak for themselves. I think this is one of our primary human roles in the immediate future of earth's transition. We need to give voice to the Redwoods, to the Brazilian Rainforest....."

The "Rest" of the Story

by Robin Williams
Well my turtle friend has finally moved on, hopefully to a well watered place where he can quench his thirst and end the struggle I was privy to yesterday. It was almost dusk when he finally made his way around the neighbor's fence and slowly lumbered down the hill towards the cul de sac at the end of our neighborhood. But before he was out of sight, I had erected a fence of my own, feeble to say the least, but my attempt at keeping him from coming back to struggle in the brush and continue his own feeble attempts to find freedom.

This morning I awoke with thoughts of how frustrated I'd become later in the evening with my "turtle dilemma." On the phone with at least five different local agencies after lunch, I soon grew tired of the unhelpful responses and in one case outright sarcasm. The turtle's sense of entrapment soon came to be my own. I grew angry and even physically and emotionally exhausted as I sought to find a way out for one of God's creatures unwittingly trapped in my backyard for hours.

As I sipped my coffee and prepared to pray, I sensed God's voice speaking to  me about my own fears. One of the agencies mentioned I'd have to pay to have the turtle removed since our county animal control could do nothing about "turtles." My insecurities began to rage as I realized I was not physically able to remove it and had no idea who would be willing to go under the deck and pull out a 20 plus pound turtle that had apparently found respite from the sun and most likely gone to sleep there. Or was he dying from thirst... As the day wore on, the mental tapes of what might happen continued to roll over in my mind.

At about dusk, after a light rain, he appeared once again in the grass and headed straight for the fence and brush where he struggled for another hour. I finally out of frustration lifted up a request to God to help him find his way out of my yard and to a water source.When he finally found his way to the fenceline and rounded its corner, I first breathed a sigh of relief, then headed to the garage for some twine. It was at this point I pulled some lattice work fencing from under the deck and secured it to my neighbor's fence to prevent the turtle from re-entering my backyard.

As I began to talk to God this morning, I heard a question arise in my heart... Was the fence to protect the turtle and keep him out of your yard or was it to protect you from your fears? Were you so afraid I wouldn't or couldn't take care of this, you used your own devices to rule out another struggle? As I spotted the dusty shell of this large reptile slowly descending the hill a few houses down, I realized the depth of my struggle. How like this turtle I continue to be as I find myself up against relational fences, trapped in my own fears, sometimes headed right back to the place I struggled last.

This morning my quickly erected fence and my repeated efforts to find help seem so foolish. How quickly nature began to take its course after the refreshing rain. The turtle came out of hiding and though it struggled to free itself from the prison of my backyard, I have to believe something inate led him to a water source and to a more natural environment where he'll find himself back at home.

As I struggle with my day to day circumstances, I continue to hear God say, "Trust in me with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge me and I will direct your paths." I'm headed out to take down the fence I erected, reminded once again of God's intervention in my life. If He cares for the lilies of the field, the birds of the air and the slow and creeping reptiles... then surely He cares for us. I may be a bit slow in getting the message that I am free in Christ, but I thank God He keeps using my everyday life to tell me how much He cares for me.

"God is my shepherd!
I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your Word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.....

Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure....

Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

I can have the "rest" of my life for the "rest of my life." I get to choose.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Notice the dragonfly I managed to catch in motion in the upper right hand corner of the picture below.

One day I walked out my kitchen door to discover the most curious display. The sky in our back yard was swarming, not with honeybees as usual, but this time with Dragonflies. There must have been thousands of them. They were flying so fast that I couldn’t get a good look at them to find out what kind they were but I could see an emerald green color about them as they whirled by. I guess these remarkable creatures can fling themselves through the air at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Flinging themselves is what they were doing none of this flying about gracefully, like the butterfly, for them. I stood there a long time gazing up at the sky watching them and wondering if they were teenagers because they seemed to be displaying the same kind of frantic energy that a teenager can sometimes exhibit.

I was also hoping that someone in my family (even my teenager) would get home in time to witness the grand phenomena with me. I tried to catch it on camera but how do you catch a three-inch helicopter as it zooms by, darting back and forth? Not only were miniature helicopters patrolling the whole span of our back yard but barn swallows were bobbing and waving with the current of the wind like kites, in a dance with the helicopters. Looking in awe up at the sky I was amazed to see that the birds looped around and around our yard making even wider circles then the insects. I walked out of the gardens and crossed over the road into the field to get a wider perspective. The whole effect was like the circling ripple that a pebble dropped in water makes. The swallows pointed wings and dark, forked tails silhouetted against the light, blue sky. I wondered if the birds were eating the dragonflies and if the dragonflies were eating something too or just trying to get away from the birds? Were the dragonflies feasting on our honeybees?

I came in the house to do some research and found out that dragonflies love mosquitoes and we have been bothered by those pesky insects lately. I couldn’t find any information about dragonflies or swallows eating honeybees so hopefully bees are too much for them. According to my bird field-guide from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, swallows are indeed aerial insectivores and as such forage for flying insects, mentioned were mosquitoes, moths, and dragonflies.
So, our yard ended up being a food forage-for-all as the dragonflies and swallows turned it into a space show. It sure was a grand show to see. Man’s way would have been to spray the mosquito. Nature’s way was to supply food. I like nature’s way better, no toxic poisons, just the circle of life continuing. I was happy remembering that space show as I relaxed outside this evening with nary a mosquito to bother me.

After this display I began to look and search as I was traveling about and I saw fields full of dragonflies on the way up towards Columbus alongside the highways. Several times as driving about I noticed some people pointing and looking up into the sky. I would look in the direction they were pointing to but couldn't see what they were seeing. As the car I was riding in drove on I smiled inside and thought, maybe they are seeing a swarm of dragonflies too!

It is so much fun and you don't feel so all alone when somebody else discovers the same magic that you did. I really enjoyed reading Jim McCormack's take on what he titled the dragonfly invasion on his blog blog Ohio Bird's and Biodiversity.

As one who is interested in how the Native American Indians who lived on this land before us read into things I was intrigued when I learned that they regarded the dragonfly as representing transformation as did many cultures of old.

I truly think the dragonfly has something to say to me at this time as articles and snippets about them just keep dropping onto my lap ever since the day they visited my yard. I read this from Alice Kitselman.

Dragonfly / Connection - Illusion - Transformation

"Dragonfly teaches us to apply the art of illusion to our own questions and situations - to remember things are never completely as they seem. It teaches us to look at the illusionary facade we accept as reality. The shifting movement, energy, form, and color of its iridescent wings open vague memories - reminding us of alternative perspectives. Dragonfly is the essence of change, the messages of enlightenment and wisdom. It also brings communication from the elemental world, nature spirits. Dragonfly asks us to look at the habits we need to change, guides us through the mists of illusion - is the gatekeeper to the pathway of transformation.

Some legends say that dragonfly was once dragon, that coyote tricked it into changing form. In accepting a challenge to prove its magical prowess and powers, they were lost and dragonfly was trapped within its new shape. Have you been trying to prove your power to yourself or someone else? Have you become trapped in someone else's illusion of happiness? Dragonfly medicine brings you to the gate of transformation, to a place within where magic is still alive - within, where all transformations take shape." Alice Kitselman,this was at Dragonfly Dream

It just gets better and better! This came in a letter from a friend, just by chance?

Meaning of the Dragonfly

"In many cultures, the dragonfly is regarded as a symbol of light, adaptability, grace and transformation. It is no wonder that the dragonfly holds out its wings so straight and proud. Not only is it one of the most brilliant and beautiful insects, but it is also rich with meaning too!

This ability to reflect and refract light is responsible for the dragonfly's status as a "light-bearer," as well as a symbol of all the power and presence that is associated with light and love. Dragonflies remind us that we, too, are "light-bearers" and silently encourage us to let our own light shine forth. In addition, dragonflies exhibit the many colors of life. With maturity, the dragonfly's own true colors come forth, as it learns to bend, shift and adapt light in a variety of ways. These bright colors take time to develop, but are always worth the wait because they ultimately reveal the insect's deepest inner beauty. The dragonfly demonstrates the utmost adaptability and grace as well.

No bird or other insect has the flight maneuverability of the dragonfly, which can quickly change directions when necessary. They are experts at going where they need to be and doing what they need to do. Traditionally, the dragonfly is the symbol of transformation and life's ever-constant process of change. Although the dragonfly spends the majority of its life on the bottom of a pond as a larva, it always rises above that. The dragonfly works its way through the weight of water and into the sunlight, gathering and garnering what it needs to change and unfold. When it is ready, it sheds its protective casing and flies away from the pond, to ultimately unite with other dragonflies, which have also completed their transformation and are even more vibrant and alive." The Kelly Foundation

When I picked up the Sojourner's Magazine to read the latest issue was I surprised when I spyed Cathleen Falsani's article in GodStuff ABOUT dragonflies?

"Dragonflies tend to turn up at times in my life that I would describe as liminal-threshold moments when you stand in the doorway between what your life was before and what it will be." Cathleen Falsani

An Unexpected Visitor

by Robin Williams

I live on the outskirts of the city. By no means would you say we normally see wildlife in our neighborhood. Occasionally there will be a deer sighting in the early fall on a rainy day. The days of late have been so extremely hot, man or animal welcomes a refreshing summer storm. This morning we are enjoying lower temperatures but the humidity is so oppressive as the cloud cover seems to be settling down over our area and we wait on the relief that may come later as the clouds can no longer contain their heavy load.

I had just finished my daily walk to DVD and was pouring myself a cup of coffee when  I saw it. At first I decided my neighbors had purchased their children a most unusual pet. Lumbering slowly to the back of the back fence that encloses our neighborhood, was a very large turtle. Not the customary pet sized version! As I stirred my coffee and continued to gaze out the window, I suddenly realized it was not in my neighbor's yard, but my own. How in heaven's name did it get there? I am certain there may be a pond on the other side of the fence since we back up to some of the only real farmland this close to the city. However, this unexpected visitor had come from the opposite direction. I later learned my neighbors had seen it in their front yard  a bit earlier.

Grabbing my camera, I ran out to get some shots, knowing no one would believe this story without proof. By the time I arrived on the scene, he or she (how would I know?) had made it to the fence and found itself trapped. After realizing I would not be able to get this large creature in my car, I called animal control. The young man who answered my call did not spare me his sarcastic reply of  "Ma'am we don't come out for TURTLES. Would you like to speak to someone at Wildlife?"  Wildlife? We actually have a division for that here in our area? For those of you in more rural settings you may find my response quite foolish... not as foolish  as my attempt to give this turtle water from a dish.

After taking a shower and feeling quite guilty that it remained trapped in the leaves and brush without any water, I set out a tray of water. After it climbed over the dish several times spilling all the water, I decided my efforts were futile. My neighbor and I got enough video and pics to make a wildlife scrapbook for the county fair coming soon. After all our attention and that of the neighbor's dog and cat, he or she decided to make a trek in another direction, coming to rest in a much cooler place under my deck. Can't say that I blame the poor creature. Out of harm's way and the lens of three cameras, it seems to be sleeping or resting quietly.

Perhaps much ado about nothing to those who are used to an occasional wildlife specimen in their vicinity but for those of us city gals it has been an exciting moment in an ordinary day. So many thoughts running through my mind as I think about this unusual guest. How often we feel trapped in our ordinary days and climb fences or walls in our minds. We search for a place of solitude and peace. If we, like this turtle would just move another direction, perhaps we'd find ourselves headed for just the right place in the shade of God's hand.

I dont have any idea how we will get my new pet to a place where he or she can get the water it needs but I trust the Creator will make a way for it to happen. I am amazed at how he makes a way for all those he loves, His creatures great and small. Will keep you posted on this story and how it unfolds.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Then Comes the Rain


Summer Storm

God came by yesterday,
And chased the somber mood away,
He roared and stomped and shook his fist,
What an awe, to witness this.

On north porch, front seat to the rain,
I was hot and tired, and so glad that he came.
He washed and he blew, and his river came down,
I watched as pine trees bent to the ground.

At times I thought of running in, but was hypnotized by the power of him,
So I stayed and I watched as all was transformed,
By the ebb and the flow,
Of the summer storm.

Cleaning, blowing, flowing,
It seemed God to Mother Earth his love was showing.
Watering her thirst, healing her hurt.
In a flurry of passion between heaven and earth.

Today the ground is watered; the sky so blue, the air has cleared,
Because God has came through,
And loved his precious Earth,

From Where Comes Peace?

One morning during quiet prayer at Quaker meeting I was contemplating the question of fighting for peace because others in the congregation were gathering to protest the war. As I focused on this I heard the words. “ You are to be instruments of peace.” And so I wondered, how do we do this? The voice answered my question with, “By playing the chords of love.”

Monday, August 9, 2010

Even the Grass

I am so glad that I have my camera now, it makes life more fun. It is amazing the beauty that The Creator puts everywhere.

I LOVE this Lady, click here to listen to her tell it like it is.
"Look around you, right where you are now--that's where you begin. Heed the Instructions that arise within you. Only PEACE will be effective. Love all people, even--especially--your perceived 'enemies'. We want to save the world, not destroy it. My love and encouragement to each of you."

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Apple Harvest

See that basketful of apples still undone? Arm wore out before spirit ever could. Left them falling from the tree, for some other day? Most likely they will end up mush for the wasps to eat. Wish they could just lie there, ready for picking from the ground like in August, all the time. Arm wore out before spirit ever did.

Friday, August 6, 2010

New Life

We cannot all do great things,
but we can do small things with great love.

~ Mother Teresa

My first Grandaughter is here, Lillian Alane, they gave her my middle name, Alane. I know she is going to be very special in my life just like her big brother Aiden is.

It was in July before they had come up with a name for the baby and after I had looked at the ultra sound pictures of the little girl in my daughter’s tummy when I fell asleep on the couch.

There, I dreamed that my daughter just had the baby and was telling me that she named her Myia and that it means, The Bringer of the Harvest. I was thinking to day that it is funny that I was born on March 4th which comes just as spring is beginning and this child was born on August 4th just as summer is beginning to end, right in the midst of the harvest. I was born before any of the seeds had yet been planted and the earth was just awakening from its dark sleep. This baby arrives as the harvest in the fields is ripe and ready to be picked, brought in and stored and we share a name and a lane.

I love this message from Native American Elders

"The Elders have taught us to balance our lives emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. If I am out of control emotionally, I get angry, doubtful or erratic, I am out of balance. If I trigger bad mental pictures of my brothers and sisters, I am out of balance. If I get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, I am out of balance physically. If I don't pray and talk to the Creator daily, I am out of balance spiritually. To be centered, I must be in balance. The Creator talks to me in the quiet and still place. So if I get angry, what I should do first is to pause and get still so I can hear the guidance of the Grandfathers."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Elderberry-Blackberry Jam

Transient Times

"the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18 The New Oxford Annotated Bible

transient = lasting only a short time; existing briefly; temporary

eternal = without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Be the Root

One day as I was lying on the couch I had the vision that I was a root. I could feel my tap root go from the top of my head through my body and down my legs and out the soles of my feet. My arms were side roots which could reach out and gather nourishment. I could feel the flow from out of the top of my head and out on soles of my feet. Stuff was flowing out and stuff was flowing in.

I thought, I don't want to be the dark ole root! I want to be the fresh green shoot that rises up to meet the sun and grows flowers. The instant I thought that I also saw a sickle come and chop down the fresh green growth that I had imagined. And faster then fast, the green sprouted up and grew again and got chopped down again. Chop, Chop, Chop I watched the sickle go. Always cutting down the sprouts.

I could see the root was unaffected by this harvesting and just went on living and sending up shoots. And I heard a voice say, " Be the root!" It wasn't three hours later that hubby and I were sitting at the table with a friend. Hubby was processing his horseradish, and our friend was sad because hers got tilled over. Hubby was fast to tell her not to worry. “You can cut that root and dig up that root, and it will sprout again!” he told her. “Don't worry, you will have horseradish.” Wow! I thought! Be like the root!

It wasn't but a few more hours later that we were walking and hubby pointed out a small maple tree that he had chopped down numerous times, only to have it persistently send up new stump sprouts. Alright God I whispered to the wind, I will be like the root, ever quietly alive, sustaining and nourishing the new life.

Later I was very intrigued when I was lead to this scripture from the bible.

Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the Lord. Jeremiah 17;5

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream. Jeremiah 17;7-8