In spring, I love seeing shrubs flower. One of the most beautiful is the native viburnum, Viburnum dentatum, that blooms right off my patio. The white flowers turn to blue berries in late summer, and are devoured by birds. I wrote this poem in honor of this very important native shrub. You can read more about it here in my garden post. The pictures here are of that wonderful viburnum that blooms profusely in my garden each year.
I am joining in with Poets Unitedfor their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and with Gillena@verses for her Monday WRites meme.
“Silence was the cure, if only temporarily, silence and geography. But of what was I being cured? I do not know, have never known. I only know the cure. Silence, and no connections except to landscape.”
-Mary Cantwell, Manhattan, When I Was Young
I wanted to wrap up this series with another trip back to the lake across the street. Several months ago, I started this series called, Beyond Words. I wanted to showcase different spots I find, in pictures, with as few words as possible. I have been focusing on the lake across the street; already seen in late summer,late autumnand winter.
Now as we are full into spring here, I thought it would be interesting to see how spring unfolded in late April at the lake. It was chilly still in April. Some days were warm, and many nights freezing cold. But still life moved along, and the leaves just started to show up on the trees.
So let’s see what early spring looked like, at the lake.
This is the iconic view as you pull up to the beach. Picnic tables and grills to the left in the trees, and the playground and bathhouse to the right. Of course the still lake in the background is always a peaceful sight…..when there are no swimmers!
The beach wasn’t much different, just a bit greener as the grass grew quickly through the sand in spring. Soon the machines will be there to dig up the sand, sift it and get it ready when the beach opens this weekend. For now, geese and gulls are making the beach their home. And watch out for those cigar-sized goose droppings.
Closer to the shore you can see all the grass and wood debris that continues to wash up on shore, all needing to be cleaned up too.
Looking left toward the jetty we can see it is just beginning to green up, and tall grasses will grow out into the lake soon. Mallards are likely nesting along the shore.
Again looking toward the little cove, we see all the tall grasses and weedy plants, along with small trees greening up too. I love how the lake was still and calm making it a reflecting pond.
As there were no fishermen on the lake or boats yet, I turned around toward the woods that were alive with activity.
Looking up we can see visitors stopping by. I was unsure who this was….perhaps a sparrow. And I was checking out the woodpecker holes to see if anyone was claiming them as a home. And you can see the maple trees were first to leaf out.
I decided to walk the path to the bench. It looked a bit lonely at the edge of the grassy beach. Lots of bright glaring sunlight around mid-morning.
I turned back around toward the right again, and saw clouds were beginning to roll in, almost giving the long view, out to the point, a foggy appearance.
As I walked away, I turned back to look through the woods where the sun was still shining….this view will remain etched on my brain. I will not be back to the lake for the rest of spring or summer, as it will be overrun with people soon….basking in the sun and splashing in the water.
I hope you enjoyed these trips to the lake. I am not sure what spot I will pick next to highlight, but I’ll let you know. But for today, I am out celebrating as I turn a young 59! With this post, I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottagewho hosts Mosaic Monday.
Special Note: Oneida Lake is the largest lake entirely within New York State. It has a surface area of 79.8 square miles, and is located northeast of Syracuse and near the Great Lakes. There are several parks, marinas and beaches along this lake that spans several counties.
“Who will free me from hurry, flurry, the feeling of a crowd pushing behind me, of being hustled and crushed? How can I regain even for a minute the feeling of ample leisure I had during my early, my creative years? Then I seldom felt fussed, or hurried. There was time for work, for play, for love, the confidence that if a task was not done at the appointed time, I easily could fit it into another hour. I used to take leisure for granted, as I did time itself.”
Many days I felt like this. Hurried, hustled and bounced about. Feeling time was running out, and I had accomplished little. And even after I ticked everything off my To Do list, more was added instantaneously. Never time for leisure, relaxation or rest.
I always dreamed of a safe haven away from the flurry of life….where I could go to get away even for 5 minutes to regain my sanity. And when I thought about this place I saw the ocean or a meadow….flowers or a beach. Each of these images are healing for me, and immediately ease my pain and renew my soul.
So when I designed the bones of my garden, I imagined flowers and water there in a special spot…and with it the sound of water. It was clear that a pond would be the perfect spot to have water and flowers. And that pond had to have a waterfall, so I could have the healing sound of water nearby, especially since I don’t live close to the ocean.
It was easy to decide where to place the pond….as close to the house as possible so we could have easy access, and hear the water flowing over the rocks. Where I could sit on a large rock at its edge and look out over the garden of my soul…my sanctuary!
And once created, this place took on a magic all its own. I discovered that my sanctuary was also a safe haven for others who wanted to share it with me. They didn’t talk, they just hung out with me in the moment….they were my quiet solitude companions that added their song to sing me to sweet solitude and peace.
I am of course referring to the frogs, toads, birds and insects who also call the pond their home, and their sanctuary. They bathe here, and give birth here. And some have made this place their home too. We commune and talk, but mostly we just sit in peaceful meditation marveling at how incredibly beautiful this place can be.
I look forward to every spring when we put the pump back in, and the pond stirs to life. To see the tadpoles and frogs awake. And the lily pads start forming on the surface, knowing the flowers will be along soon. To watch the reflections in the water. This is my heaven on earth….my special haven for healing.
Have you ever created a sanctuary for yourself?
Special Note:The pictures here are of my pond in its first year of bloom. While it is a bit overgrown these days, it is still my sanctuary, and beloved habitat for so many who share the garden with me.
I will be taking a week off, and will have another post next Thursday, the 26th! It is a special day for me….
I love to see these tiny little yellow lanterns spreading out across the, almost bare, meadow landscape. Their liver-spotted leaves give them away before you see their blooms. Look quickly though for they only flourish a short while. A flower delicacy fleeting with time, but like a fine wine, they will be forever burned into your senses….sending you looking for their bright yellow blossoms each spring, even if you can only glimpse them for but a moment.
One of the first native wildflowers to pop up, in early spring, are the Trout Lilies or Erythronium americanum. Called a spring ephemeral because they bloom for but a few days or so as the air warms. You can read more about this native flower in my garden post. I created the haiku in 2012, and completed the haibun this year. The pictures here are of Trout Lilies that bloomed in my meadow last April.
I will be skipping posting a Sunday poem next week, and will return on May 29th with another Sunday poem.
I am joining in with Poets Unitedfor their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, with Gillena@verses for her Monday WRites meme, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday. This week’s theme is “Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is Art.” Not sure if this hits the mark, but I adore native plants like this Trout Lily, and they seem to be nature’s work of art for me.
“Hope and fear come from feeling that we lack something; they come from a sense of poverty. We can’t simply relax with ourselves. We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment. We feel that someone else knows what is going on, but that there is something missing in us, and therefore something is lacking in our world.”
Reading this quote, I was bowled over by how much truth it contained. And yet I wasn’t sure I could wrap my brain completely around it…or if I even agreed wholeheartedly with the idea. So this was a tricky subject for me, but one I knew I needed to explore.
How could hope be from lack, and how could it rob me? After all I count on hope to lift me up. And then it hit me…..I am holding on to hope sometimes for dear life. Waiting for it to show up. Never quite satisfied with life as it is, or how I am in my own skin.
And once I started to warm to this idea, however strange it seemed, I received another Joyful Wisdom Letterfrom Sandra Pawula, atAlways Well Within. Her theme was also about this notion of hope and fear; specifically how both can be unhelpful to us.
As I read through her words, I was struck by this notion:
“hope for gain and fear of loss can turn into an endless search for the pot of gold”
And as I read these words, I thought there was such an immense truth in these words that churned deep in my belly.
The fear of loss is easy to understand. It happens to each of us as loved ones leave us, and we worry or even fear their loss. And it can transcend to losing jobs, or other things that we think are so important in our lives. And this fear paralyzed me many times as a child….so much so that I could not leave my mother’s side.
While I thought about the fear of loss, it began to dawn on me that I had an equally tight grip on hope. It was what I had pinned my dreams to; that elusive hope. Yes, I hoped for a dream job with good pay….I hoped to find a relationship that would be ‘the one’, my true love. I could go on and on here with my hopes. But in the back of my mind, there was that other shoe waiting to drop with hope. The fear that once I got what I wanted, it would all be taken away.
I thought that I had let go of these notions of hope and fear years ago, but realized that many have stuck with me, especially those around hope. There were still many hopes I was attached to….I could hear them in my everyday language. Even small ones like, ‘I hope the weather warms up soon so I can get started in my garden’.
So what to do? Well it all became abundantly clear I had to do something, when not too long ago I was deeply down. I woke on a Monday morning to a gray sky that was becoming white with snow. Snow in April-ugh! Snow that was not supposed to still be coming down. And while I started becoming depressed thinking about the snow, and all my flowers being buried, a plumbing problem reared its ugly head to heap upon the gloom.
I just wanted to dig a hole and bury myself. My hopes for spring were dashed with the forecast for more cold and snow, and what did I have to look forward to? A big plumber’s bill! As I realized I was in this downward spiral, I allowed these feelings to wash over me…to feel them as they came up. But I didn’t perseverate on them. Instead once they presented themselves, and I recognized them, I let them go. I focused on more important issues (living with no water for the day), and after a while I felt a load being lifted off me.
Eventually the day brightened…the snow still remained for several days, but I was no longer attached to spring coming NOW. I knew it would get here. And with this I also began to remember other times I let go of my attachment to hope. Meeting the right person…that happened when I let go and moved on no longer worried I might never marry. Even that dream next job came to me when I let go of pursuing it.
So is it wrong to hope? I found that there is a distinction between what I call hope and dreams. Hoping may not ever get me to my dreams. Hoping to get there doesn’t move me there. But moving on, letting go have helped me in pursuing a dream that is within reach….. as long as I don’t hold on to it too tight!
This is a new notion I am exploring….what has been your experience with hope and fear? What new lessons are you learning?
Special Note:The pictures here are of my dwarf willow trees blooming, showing me spring is here no matter the weather.
I am continuing my spring poems with another wonderful native plant, Wild Blue Indigo or Baptisia australis. Their spikes of purple flowers rise tall each spring, drawing in dozens of pollinators for weeks on end. You can read more about this plant here, in my garden post.
The pictures here are of the Baptisia that grows in my garden each spring.
I am joining in with Poets Unitedfor their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and with Gillena@verses for her Monday WRites meme, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday. This week’s theme is “Nothing is more memorable than Scent”!
As spring (March 21st) dawned in the purply-pink sky, there was a perceptible shift in the air, urged on by the warmer spring weather. As we walked around the area and observed our surrounds, we were greeted by crowds in the trees, in the sky and on the ground; crowds of migratory birds who had returned here early to nest and raise their young.
Of course it was different when the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) came around in mid-February. The birds scattered to find warmth as it fell on the coldest weekend of the year with -20F temps and -40F wind chills. It was lonely and the trees were pretty bare. Now weeks later, the birds are showing up to usher in spring right on schedule….March 21st.
When we returned in early March from our trip out west, the weather had warmed a bit and the peepers were singing us to sleep. And when I walked around our pond, the first week of spring, I saw tadpoles swimming. The frogs are usually not long off. The first are usually the Northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens).
Prior to the new birds arriving, I noticed the Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) were pairing off and looking around for nesting sites.
And American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos), along with various hawks, were seen gathering nesting materials. This crow was ripping bark from an old vine growing in the meadow.
Canada geese (Branta canadensis) were also returning, in droves, in mid-March, littering the skies on their way to the lake across the street.
And many blackbirds descended upon us as spring started….Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater), andCommon Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula). A few Red-winged Blackbirds were back in February, but the raucous noise of the males returning to their nesting sites was a glad spring chorus in late March.
But I knew spring was here, when we heard the familiar banging on our front windows. Our female ‘crazy-toes’ American robin (Turdus migratorius) was back to claim her nesting site, our garden, for her third year. The banging meant she was back to fight the imaginary robins in our windows. You can read more about our journey with her here.
As I report on the events of the start of spring in March, April receded to winter with snow and cold. The robins were especially struggling, and you can read about their struggle here. They seem to have made it through and are now building their nest next door at the abandoned house.
So there you have some of our first spring visitors. I will update you on more spring critters next month….April warmed, and the critter activity has been busy! What signs of spring are you seeing in your area?
In honor of National Wildflower Week, I am highlighting one native plant, that grows in my garden, each week for the next 5 weeks.
Wildflowers are amazing to see in the woods in spring. These lilies of the wood, as I call them, are also known as Trillium grandiflorum. Upon seeing their carpet of white blooms, across the floor of the forest, I was inspired to write this poem. You can read more about this beautiful wildflower in my garden post.
The Trillium pictured here are those that I grow in my garden, in hopes they will make a mass of stunning blooms one day.
I am joining in with Poets Unitedfor their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.