Poetry Sunday: Kiss the Sky

Kiss the Sky

 

Undulating waves at the end of the day

Bid farewell to the sun’s last rays.

 

 

And shimmer against the gathering clouds

As they raise their voices on chords aloud.

 

 

With the moon’s rise illuminating their path

Their throngs kiss the sky as they roll on past.

 

 

I wish them well as they travel along

And hold in my heart the last strains of their song.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 


In late November, while walking at dusk with the moon rising, my husband and I witnessed thousands of geese migrating over us….we lost count at 30 groups, moving higher and higher as they sang their glorious song of farewell.  This poem was created on that walk.  I will be taking a hiatus from blogging for a few weeks to devote time to enjoying the season without the rush.  I’ll see you after the New Year.

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.


I leave you with a few additional words about the Kiss the Sky.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Spring’s Song

Spring’s Song

 

Light flickers at the edge of my sight

And rouses me from sleep and the dark of night.

 

 

Breaking before the warmth of a fine spring day

With fire in the sky riding the sun’s drowsy rays.

 

 

Only whispers of a cooling breeze tickling the dew

Finding open windows to gently waft through.

 

 

The birds lullaby adds to my tranquil repose

As I open my eyes and wake from this languid doze.

 

 

And sweet honey scents drift through my dreams

Waking the shadows with dancing, dappled sun beams.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 


I wrote this poem as I thought about those first true warm spring days where the light, and sounds and scents all change and add such an excitement.  And I am dreaming of those spring days now and that light, and the sounds and especially the scents.  All are gone in winter….replaced by a different canopy.

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.


I leave you with a few additional words about the Spring’s Song.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Flower Woman

 

Flower Woman

 

A flower woman

Keeper of the land,

Tilling fertile soil

With her gentle hands.

 

 

Architect with seeds,

Of meadows rich with dew

Preserving the territory,

Creating anew.

 

 

Student of pollywogs

And pollinators  galore,

Enlightening this steward

With tales pure as gold.

 

 

A comrade to nature

She celebrates the rebirth

When the sun rises nearer

Singing sweet songs to the earth.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

 

__________________________________________________________

The idea of this poem was originally written as a birthday tribute for a true flower woman who creates fields of flowers from seed.  I kept the idea, but changed it to reflect the birthday of another gardener/flower woman, me.  I am celebrating my birthday next week, and am pleased to have lived and loved for 61 years now.

The pictures are of native lupines.  They were seeded in my meadow by this flower woman’s hands.  They symbolize imagination.  So apt as I imagined creating this beautiful meadow, and have not been disappointed.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about the Flower Woman.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Expectant

 

Expectant

 

 

Under the dark new moon

Where diamond dust is sprinkled against the black, velvety sky

I plant new seed in fertile soil.

My breath slows becoming one with Mother Earth

Her energy flows through me

Joined with the Universal energy of the heavenly bodies.

Intentions are made, blessed and released

Watered, waiting, expectant.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

__________________________________________________________

This poem has a double meaning for me…the expectancy of spring and spring planting, and the expectancy of growth along my personal path as I read, learn, experience and share my life lessons.

As the full moon is upon us, I am reminded that spring planting by the phases of the moon is said to enhance harvests.  Some gardeners suggest sowing seeds for crops that yield an above ground harvest between the new moon and full moon.  Root crops are best planted when the moon is going from full moon to new moon.  While I have never tried this, I have gardener friends who swear by this planting method.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about Expectant.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: I Wonder…

 

I Wonder…..

 

 

I wonder what the bird sees when he sees the sun rise.

As he calls across the meadow and the forest far and wide.

Does he see what I see with my wizened hazel eyes?

Yes, I wonder what the bird sees when he sees the sun rise.

 

 

I wonder what the bird thinks as the sun burns bright in the sky.

As the colors shift to azure blue and clouds come rolling by.

Does he think what a beautiful day to go out for fun-filled fly?

Yes, I wonder what the bird thinks as the sun burns bright in the sky.

 

 

I wonder what the bird smells on a warm earth-scented day.

As the flowers open and leaves stretch out to bask in the breeze and play.

Does he smell the aromas of berries ripe and seeds on tall stalks as they sway?

Yes, I wonder what the bird smells on a warm earth-scented day.

 

 

I wonder what the bird feels while grasping the branch so tight.

As the rain pours down, and winds whip round, giving one a fright.

Does he feel the awe beneath him, is he enveloped with delight?

Yes, I wonder what the bird feels while grasping the branch so tight.

 

 

Is there color in his day, and sweet delectable bites?

Is he anxious to be winging and soaring to new unimaginable heights?

Does he feel the astonishment I do when he gazes at nature’s sights?

Yes, I wonder all this as he softly sings me to goodnight.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

__________________________________________________________

This poem’s opening line came to me one day when I was walking out on a bright lovely morning, hearing the birds singing.  And I wondered……

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about I Wonder.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Born of Water

 

 

Born of Water

 

I was born of water; body

Surrounded by and made of creator’s tears,

Unwilling to enter this landlocked life.

 

 

And whenever I can, I return home-

To a vast sea, breaking against rock and shore.

Spraying me with turquoise delight

Swirling, swimming around my limbs-

These disappearing as I am reacquainted.

 

 

I long for this reconnection again,

For a homecoming.

And I will venture far on a pilgrimage,

To reunite my soul with my lost aqua world.

 

 

Each visit will have to sustain me,

Until I can come again.

Perhaps for a longer visit.

Perhaps to live closer one day,

Perched on the water’s edge

For my daily communion.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

__________________________________________________________

I have long known that the ocean is my home.  I come home to the ocean and am reconnected to my creator…..my soul.  There is an exhilaration I cannot find anywhere else on this earth.  And I long to be in its environs whenever close.  So upon a recent visit to the ocean, I was reminded of this deep connection….to the creation of life in the soup of the sea.  And this poem poured forth.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about Born of Water.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: He Watches

 

He Watches

 

 

P e r c h e d

Ever alert

Ready to spring into action

Clever as he amuses himself

Youthful exuberance

all the way

          to the

                     tip of

                                        his long

                                                        tail.

 

 

This is who I met as he eyed me cautiously.

Sized me up with those pale green eyes, curious.

Not too affectionate, but willing to connect with a touch.

PERCY-of many breeds, with proud Latin name.

‘Effective Hunter’

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

__________________________________________________________

I wrote this poem after meeting this amazing animal.  He is a rescue cat that my nieces fell in love with.  He is thought to be part Persian and has an abnormally long tail.  A kitten when they brought him home, and 6 months old when I met him.  He made quite an impression on me, wrapping his long tail around my heart.  And this poem came leaping out of me on the trip home.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about Percy-He Watches.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Life’s Happiness

 

 

Life’s Happiness

 

 

For here the wonders of the world behold

All wrapped with a stately bow,

Forever in my heart will I hold

My life’s happiness to be told.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2016

 

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I have debated about publishing this little poem as it was so short, and I wondered if it was finished.  But I believe at this point it is perfect.  Of course I may change my mind eventually.

It was created as a mantra to go back to in times of need….it says it all for me.  The yellow roses here are from my garden and represent ‘Happiness‘.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up, Poetry Pantry, for poets who blog.

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about life’s happiness.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

in my heart

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Nature Speak

Nature Speak

 

Dewdrops of rain kissing leaf and flower,

Cool crisp breeze cleanses my soul.

The hum of bee and cicada fills the air,

Sun warms my skin, lulling me into a trance.

The leaves bend with the wind,

Keeping time with my heart.

The flow of life all around me,

As I stand in this one moment.

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

__________________________________________________________

I was reading a wonderful book, which inspired me to write a stream of consciousness poem in one minute this summer…staying in the moment.  So I went out after a rainstorm, sat on my step, breathed in and observed for one minute (OK 3 minutes) and wrote my thoughts and observations from the heart.

 

The pictures here are of bees going crazy for my native Summersweet bush flowers this summer…it has a dreamy scent.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up, Poetry Pantry, for poets who blog.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about nature speak.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

 

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Muddy Waters

 

Muddy Waters

 

 

Muddy waters take me in

Take me down to nourish my skin

Skin made tough

Skin made thin

Through life’s adventures

Through life’s sins.

 

 

So soak it up and banish all ills

Fill me deep, realign my will

A heart made true

A soul made joyful

A powerful voice

Now once again skillful.

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

__________________________________________________________

I had not written much since last August due to a shoulder injury and due to a need to travel inward….a self-imposed time away. But on a sunny day in early April when I began my new journal habit, this poem flowed forth trying to break the ice damn that had built up.  It was how I was feeling sitting in my garden waiting for it to wake up….and hoping my creative juices would do the same.

 

The pictures above is of my early spring pond a bit muddy, and below my later spring pond full of life and water lilies.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up, Poetry Pantry, for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about muddy waters.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Taking Back A Life

 

 

Taking Back A Life

 

 

There is a change coming

Riding high on this mighty wind.

A soulful stirring

A door opens

I stand upon a threshold

Pausing now-

Eager to cross yet fear holds me tight in place.

 

 

The scent upon the breeze stirs my every cell

Filling me with a joyful excitement

Brushing my skin-tingling-

I am awakened.

 

 

Toes stirring, ready for this chance

Taking back a life full of promise.

Not knowing where we are headed

Is the best part of this journey

Coming alive.

 

 

So here we go!

Taking – that – first – step

Toward my destiny…. no looking back!

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2017

 

 

__________________________________________________________

This poem came streaming out of me after I finally let go of my fears and attended a writer’s conference.  I knew this was going to be a big step towards fulfilling my destiny, and that once I entered, and crossed the threshold, there was no turning back!

 

The pictures here are hummers visiting the garden this year…they represent pure bliss and joy!

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up, Poetry Pantry, for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about taking back a life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: A Most Extra-Ordinary Life

 

 

A Most Extra-Ordinary Life

 

 

Though your smile fades from this place

it shines deep inside of me and all

who have known you, loved you.

 

 

Your life’s breath, extinguished here on Earth,

now a forever light that burns brighter through me,

around me and into the ethos.

 

 

I quiet to hear the faint whispers of your voice

telling of a passion for life;

your legacy I now embrace.

 

 

And I will sing your song to capture it forever;

to share it in these words, in a smile,

or a hug or a deed most kind.

 

 

As tears splash this page, they are joyful

celebrating the ordinary life of a most extra-ordinary woman~

whose greatest gift is enduring love.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2017

__________________________________________________________

This poem is a remembrance for my Aunt Mary who passed away July 3rd.  A dear friend said to me that dwelling on missing her would only bring sadness and depression….but celebrating her light would bring me solace and peace.  I liked that idea and this poem came to me the next day.  You can read my tribute post to my aunt here.

 

I am joining  Poets United for their Poetry Pantry linkup.  July 12th was my 3rd blog anniversary….what an amazing 3 years of creativity it has been.

 

The picture at the top is of my Aunt Mary with a few sweet peas, snapdragons and lavender.  The vase below is more of these same sweet flowers.

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a another image about an extra-ordinary life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: This is for us…..

 

 

This is for us……

 

 

I scratch the earth

to plant a seed,

and watch it grow and bloom and green.

 

 

And I scribble these words

across a page,

to capture my heart as I wrinkle with age.

 

 

You splash fine colors

on a canvas blue,

with red and orange and all manner of hue.

 

 

And you scramble an egg

whipped together with ease,

adding onions and herbs to create a feast.

 

 

We dance upon life’s stage

whirling round,

playing on our heartstrings melodious sounds.

 

 

Oh this beauty of creation

we bring to life every day,

brightens our world in moments we give love away.

 

©Donna Donabella 2017

__________________________________________________________

It has been almost a year since I have written here on this blog….since I injured my shoulder and had to listen to my body and really rest which meant no writing or gardening (I am right handed and the injury was to my right shoulder).  I learned to be more left- handed….and it has been a good rest.  I have discovered much about myself and my journey while away.

 

I had no clue when and how I would return to this blog and writing poetry.  But the day my beloved Aunt Mary passed (July 3rd) I wrote a blog post on my other blog and 3 poems.  This poem is one of them.  It seems the floodgates are open again.  This poem is based on my interpretation of a quote I used on my tribute post to my aunt.  It captures my essence and my purpose these days and how much Aunt Mary has influenced my life.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

… so this is for us.
This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love
and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know
because the beauty is in the act of doing it.
Not what it can lead to…
~Charlotte Eriksson

 

I am joining  Poets United for their Poetry Pantry linkup.  The roses here have been blooming in my garden for weeks in honor of my Aunt Mary Rose.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a another image about creating.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Creative Quest

DSCN5708

“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”
~Steve Jobs

 

 

 

Recently, I took part in a week-long Photo Quest (#celebrateARTlife ), put together by Whitney Freya.  I find when I take part in photo challenges, I really reach deep inside and touch my creative soul.  So I was excited to participate.

Each day we were given prompts, and then asked to look at the symbolism of our subject.  I liked the idea of the symbolism, as it revealed much about me, and where I am on my journey.  

Initially, I posted these photos and narratives on my Facebook Page, but I wanted to combine them and post them here too, where I like to showcase what I am creating.  I hope you enjoy the Photo Quest as much as I did…..

 

 

day1 garden maiden

On Day 1, we had to post a picture of a favorite piece in our house that has special meaning for us.  I chose my Garden Water Maiden statue.  Here is what I wrote about this photo:

 

As a long time gardener, she has special meaning for me. I feel she symbolizes gardeners like myself who cherish the land and the critters who live there. She has made her home in my house for a number of years.

And the water jug she carries symbolizes healing water.

Water also symbolizes friendship and love connecting us to the world. It is vital for life, and is a feminine element. Water is also the element of emotion, purification, intuition, mysteries of the self, compassion and family. Water seems to be the perfect symbol for me now as I work on healing and connecting. And we could all use a bit more healing with cleansing water in the world!

 

 

day2 pink

On Day 2, I had to take a picture of my favorite color at the moment.  I was surprised with my choice:

 

Right now pink is catching my eye. I don’t have much pink in the house, but I have a few key pieces like this lovely rose quartz box that belonged to my mother-in-law. It is special and means a lot to me.

Pink has special significance for me right now too. It has very special meanings that are an important part of my healing journey. Pink represents unconditional love, hope, compassion and nurturing. Pink is intuitive, and shows kindness. And pink can signify good health. What a luscious color in my world right now.

 

 

day3 star

Day 3 we had to take a photo of a shape or pattern that was catching my eye.  I thought it would take a while to zero in on one, but I noticed my shape right away:

 

It seems stars are shining for me at the moment. This one is of particular significance; a gift from a dear friend in NM.

Stars have wonderful symbolism and shine the light on our self-reliance. They also symbolize navigation; for me it is navigating a new path with retirement and writing. Stars seem to be guiding my way to my passion and dream, and suggesting I take some bold steps. And this particular star has the Native American lizard symbol on it, also significant for me right now as it represents healing and survival.

 

 

day4 echinacea

Day 4’s prompt was perfect for me, as we had to take a photo of a flower that was most attractive at the moment.  I wasn’t sure what flower I would choose until I went into the garden:

  

Echinacea purpurea, also know as coneflower, is a native wildflower growing throughout my garden smiling on me every day. 

It is a special flower as it represents Strength and Health.  And it is said that Echinacea helps remove whatever is holding you back allowing you to let go of stagnate energy.  It also supports transitions to new ways of doing things.  You should use Echinacea when your self-image is beginning to change, but you haven’t completely become your “new” self.

It is interesting that this flower is capturing my attention as I continue on my journey of retirement, change and healing.  A good flower to keep around me!

 

 

Day5 mandala

On Day 5, we had to create a mandala with materials found inside or out.  I had so many ideas, but when I happened on these materials:

 

I thought about flower petals and stones outside.  But it was hot and humid, so instead I noticed some California poppy petals curled and dried on my little bench indoors.  I gathered some little stones and some live petals from a hydrangea flower in a vase, to add to the mandala.

I am combining materials from the indoors with outdoors for my mandala.  And if you look closely you will see both live and dead materials.  The live or current ringing the past.  And there is much pollen left in those long dead petals, which seem to represent my past life.  These seem to say to me that I have learned so much from my past, and it has propelled me to my current place now.

I also found working with such small materials to represent the minimalism and mindfulness that I am adopting these days.  All in all, this seems to be a pretty significant mandala that I created today.

 

 

Day6 altar

Day 6 had us displaying our sacred space.  I have one inside and one outside, so:

 

I thought I would show a peek at the altar in my sacred space indoors.  It holds many cherished memories and mementos.  It is where I go to relax, to meditate, to read and reflect.

The picture is one of water lilies to remind me of my pond and cleansing water.  The bowl is from a friend filled with last year’s rose petals….the parts of me I am letting go.  The cloisonné bell was a present from my parents that was given to me in my former life as a teacher.  In the right hand corner you can see a bit of the Georgia O’Keeffe comparative stamps given to me by a dear friend and a picture of my dad.  And the vase of fresh white flowers represents my outdoor sacred space, my garden.  White is significant as it symbolizes light, goodness and safety. 

I painted this sacred space a bright vibrant green, a very significant color as green is the color of life, renewal, nature, and energy.  It also represents growth, fertility and environment. All the feelings important to cultivate in my sacred space.  When I enter there, I have the feeling that I am home.

 

 

day7selfie

Finally on Day 7, we had to take a selfie of ourselves doing something we love.  What a way to end the quest, with the most challenging prompt:

 

Those who know me well, know I do not take selfies, but I certainly am up to the challenge.  I decided to take a picture of myself doing something I have loved to do since I was very young….reading.  I spend hours a day reading for pleasure.  And my favorite spot is in my sacred place in my rocker next to the window.

This summer I have been reading more self-help, motivational books that have helped me connect to my inner source.  And this personal growth is coming out in my creative self especially through my writing and poetry….and now in my photography with this challenge.

This is our last day of the photo challenge, and I am feeling a sense that I will miss this creative time as it has energized me.  But I am sure I will stay connected through my creative endeavors in some way.  I want to thank Whitney Freya for a most marvelous adventure!

 

 

echinacea

What creative quests have you been on lately?

 

 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  

The echinacea in the mosaic and at the top of the post were the rest of the photos I took for Day 4.  it was hard to choose from all these fabulous shots of an amazing native plant that grows all throughout my garden.  You can learn more about echinacea in my garden post.

 

The photo below is another perspective of the mandala I created.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about creativity and my inner fire.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

inner fire

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Wildlife Lessons-The Magic of Toads

DSCN4569

“I believed then – in a deep, easy way that is impossible for me as an adult – that there was more to this world than meets the eye. Trees had spirits; the wind spoke. If you followed a toad or a raven deep into the heart of the forest, they were sure to lead you to something magical.”

~Jennifer McMahon

 

 

 

When we had the pond built, almost 20 years ago, we had high hopes that lots of critters would visit or make a home there.  And we have seen our fair share of critters come to the pond….frogs, insects, turtles, snakes, birds….and the list goes on.  The most consistent visitors making a home, in the pond, has been the frogs laying many eggs every year (see picture above).

 

 

But my favorite, yet elusive, visitor to the pond has to be the toads.  Although we hear the toads, we only see them from time to time as toads are generally nocturnal.  The American toad (Anaxyrus americanus, formerly Bufo americanus) is the species of toad found here.  They love areas with moisture and plenty of insects…..which is exactly what you will find in our garden.

 

 

We heard the toads again in early April, and they seemed quite close each night calling with that amazing long, trilling sound.  So imagine my surprise when we saw them not soon afterward…..

 

 

DSCN3454

I was so surprised because we had never seen two at once, and certainly not in this amorous embrace.  Of course in this position it was quite evident that the large rust colored toad was the female and the smaller the male.  The female makes her home just outside the fence in a small garden we have, and we see her burrowing herself in for the winter, or uncovering herself as spring warms the ground.

 

 

 

DSCN3466

We see the smaller male toads here and there, in the garden and pond and even some tiny young toads.  But we have never seen the making of those little toads.  Not wanting to intrude on these two, I took pictures and quickly left them alone.

 

 

 

DSCN3463

It is interesting to note how the mating ritual takes place.  Males go to shallow ponds, and call to females.  When the female arrives, the male actually grabs or hugs her (the lady must be willing if the smaller male can grab the female twice his size) until she discharges her eggs.   As the eggs come out, the male fertilizes them by discharging fluid with sperm onto the eggs.  I actually witnessed her continuing to push out two long strings of eggs looking like a necklace of black pearls.  See them draped all along the vegetation above.

 

 

 

DSCN3456

If you look closely, you can see the eggs are covered with a jelly like substance in long tubes. The toads found the perfect spot for the eggs; shallow water with vegetation near the irises that had not bloomed yet.

 

 

 

developing toad eggs

Like frogs, once the toads lay the eggs they leave them to develop on their own.  Eggs begin to hatch in a few days.  The process can take up to 10-12 days before the eggs become tadpoles, and then they fully develop into toads in about 2 months time.  American toads usually survive only a year or two in the wild although we have seen the large female here for a few years. Most tadpoles don’t survive very long becoming food for snakes, and frogs.

 

You can see the development of the eggs above over a 10 day period.  We have not seen the toads yet, but they should be emerging sometime this month we hope.

 

 

 

DSCN3455

Here are some additional facts about the American Toad:
  • Toads don’t cause warts, but the American toad produces a toxin that can be harmful if swallowed, or if it gets in your eyes.  So be careful if you handle toads.  We leave them alone.
  • When the tadpoles are ready to leave the pond they emerge usually in groups.
  • Tadpoles have several ways to keep predators at bay. They swim close together in schools, and stay in very shallow water that is thick with vegetation.  We have lots of that especially around the cattails so perhaps we will have several surviving toads emerging soon.

 

 

Special Note:  I wrote a poem about our toads and you can find it here….Ode to A Toad.  The picture at the end of the post is of our House Wren feeding its babies recently.  The wrens have fledged, but we still hear the Wren’s song in the garden.

 

 

 

What wildlife lessons are you learning as summer begins?

 

 

 

With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.  I am also linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every week.  Please check out all these great blogs.

 

 

 

I leave you with another thought about studying nature.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

 study nature

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Do You Talk To The Bees?

DSCN1892

 

 

Do You Talk To The Bees?

 

 

Do you talk to the bees?  Well I do.  I wish them a good morning, with the sun’s first rays.  And as I do,  I give a wide berth to these buzzing teenagers, slow to wake.  They can be ornery, you see.  And if aroused, you might feel the sting of their wrath if they are still trying to sleep on their flowery beds.  They require a soft voice, and gentle touch.  Needing time to stretch their wings and get their bearings, they drink in the moment.  They linger over their first sip of nectar or sniff of silky pollen passion.  But once tasted, they move from plant to plant leaving their mark.  Letting all know, “I have been here”.

 

 

Catching the first light

Dancing through the morning scents

Waking to my day

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

__________________________________________________________

I love to go into my garden and start the day by watching the bees sleeping on flowers.  And I talk with them as they are just beginning to wake.  Thanking them for being part of my garden sanctuary, and pollinating the flowers bringing us abundance.  They remind me to savor the beginning of the day, and live in the moment.

 

The pictures here are of those spring bees that wake early in the garden season, and do their spring dance bringing me indescribable joy.  This haibun poem is in honor of these precious bees, who are under assault from chemical warfare.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

bee collage

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about talking to the bees.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

talk to bees

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Conversations In The Garden: On Creating a Sanctuary

IMG_0261

“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.”

~Bernard Berenson

 

 

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.

 

 

 

IMG_6584

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.

 

 

 

IMG_5627So 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.

 

 

 

IMG_2173

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!

 

 

 

IMG_1257

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.

 

 

 

IMG_2218

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.

 

 

 

IMG_6177

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 leave you with a few additional words on creating a sanctuary.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

sanctuary

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-April Spring

DSCN2395

 

April Spring

 

 

The soul stirs under bright April skies,

Raw and cold, with warm sun, clouds rolling by.

 

 

Rain pours down and pools throughout,

Replenishing the soil; pushing worms out.

 

 

Everywhere in the garden is the rush to grow,

Fresh green foliage wrapped with bright colorful bows.

 

 

More voices join daily in the garden’s song,

First robin’s, then peepers all the day long.

 

 

And my heart quickens its beat on this glorious stage,

As April moves to May and writes a new page.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2016

__________________________________________________________

April springs are unique and special.  The weather shifts from cold and rainy to warm and sunny, even within the same day….trying to settle.  This year it has been very unsettled.  The blooms continue to pop up more and more throughout the garden decorating garden beds throughout….much like presents with bows.

 

The flowers here are pretty spring bulbs known as, Chionodoxa, or Glory of the Snow.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

glory of snow collage

I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

 

I leave you with a few additional words about April spring.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

april spring

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Nature’s Healing Balm

IMG_0286

“What a joy it is to feel the soft, springy earth under my feet once more,
to follow grassy roads that lead to ferny brooks
where I can bathe my fingers in a cataract of rippling notes,
or to clamber over a stone wall into green fields that
tumble and roll and climb in riotous gladness!”

~Helen Keller

 

 

When spring gets into full swing….where the flowers are coloring the landscape, and the warm breezes drift around me carrying intoxicating scents….I am calmed, I am rejuvenated, I am healed.

 

 

And it isn’t just in spring….it is anytime I am in nature really.  I have a strong need to be here where I can observe a special world that moves to its own slow rhythm and pace.  Being surrounded by the constant noise of machines and voices, the smell of exhaust from engines, the bright light of screens, and the endless push, push, push to get things done, I need a place to go where I can feel a healing balm descend on me body and soul.  Where I am reminded to breath slowly….to look and listen…to take in the world around me with every sense I can muster.

 

 

glory of snow (1)

But there are rules when I enter nature’s world….and these rules must be observed if we are to get any healing effect from it.  You must surrender to this world in silence….open up your eyes and ears.  Breath deep, and drink in every smell.  Feel the temperature, the air and light on your skin.  Be there in the moments that present themselves.  And for heaven’s sake, bring no electronics with you…well maybe a camera from time to time to capture a bit of it.  We cannot notice this special world when we are engaged in looking at a screen or talking to another person.  This is a world to enter alone.  To give ourselves to fully.

 

 

Recently, I have been keeping a digital journal of Moments of Fulfillment in my garden.  Moments I am beginning to write down in a journal and on my other blog, monthly.  The moments that bring light and lightness to my heart.  Where I feel at home, and at peace.  Let me show you a few of these moments that have been a healing balm for me this spring.

 

 

DSCN2854

When a sky, this color, presents itself, you must capture the moment in your mind as you sit and gaze on it….just by looking at its magnificence I am instantly calmed.  And the tears that well up in my eyes, at its miracle, match the raindrops still on the branches of the tree.

 

 

 

DSCN3005

Sitting on the Wall Garden, I can watch the first pollinators roll around in the crocus pollen…they are drunk and high with their first drink of spring.  And the high is catching.

 

 

 

DSCN3010

The tiniest of bulbs are now popping up all over the garden.  And because the landscape is so bare, you can’t help but notice them…..in blues…..

 

 

 

DSCN3048

And pale pinks….nestled in and among the new growth and spent debris of last year’s garden.  Hardly noticeable sometimes unless you stop and look closely.  Even getting down on hands and knees.  Sometimes I will even lay upon the earth and stare at their beauty.

 

 

 

DSCN3042

There are surprises around every corner.  A clump of dried grass is so much more upon closer inspection.  The thought of new life, or life that never came to be.  Pondering the mystery brings me solace.

 

 

 

DSCN3063

And visiting nature after a refreshing rain can bring its own special beauty.

 

 

 

DSCN2975

One of the most incredible sounds is the sweet song of the spring birds.  Calling to each other.   Whistling a tune.  They just seem so happy, that each time I hear their songs, I break into a smile that lights my heart.  For me there is no better healing balm than nature…whether in my own garden, or in a park across the street, or a nature center across town.

 

 

Where do you find solace and healing?

 

 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  The pictures here are of the recent early spring in my garden.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words the healing power of nature.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

touch of nature

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Crocus

DSCN1514

 

 

 

Crocus

 

 

Petals unfurl,

with shouts of joy!

A youthful gladness-

finally enjoyed.

 

 © Donna Donabella 2012

 

__________________________________________________________

One of the first bulbs to bloom, early in my garden, are the snow crocus pictured here.  They shout spring with splashes of color all over the garden.   Wishing everyone a joyous Easter!

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog. Please visit to read some more wonderful verse.

crocus collage

I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles 2016.

 

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about first spring crocus.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

crocus

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

3/5/12