Thursday, April 24, 2008



"Sitting still, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself" is a Zen saying on the 2008 calendar that I finally hung on my kitchen wall this morning, a third of the way through the year. A good way to spend spring -- and life, for that matter. Our efforts count for nothing. "Can any of you," asked Jesus, "however much you worry, add a single day to your span of life?" (Luke 12:25)
I hope this picture doesn't go the way of the disappearing tree. I took this picture yesterday. These violets are growing wild in a field. I don't like calling them violets since the purple ones are my favorite and come close to the color violet. But since there are white and yellow "violets" I guess it's ok. Three warm sunny days have given many plants the courage to bloom.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Afire with God


For some reason the picture that accompanied this entry yesterday disappeared overnight. Leprachauns no doubt.
It's a picture of a tree in front of my neighbor's house. I don't remember it having these tiny red buds on it before. I wonder it that's what makes many of our wooded hills look pink/rust this time of our year.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, "Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Being Still


I've been off the mountain fourteen times in as many days. I am glad I went to do all these various things, but it has kept me from being the half-hermit that I came here to be. Today has been my first full day here since April 1. And it has been a gift. Started out 31 and sunny when I went for morning walk. Stayed sunny. Sitting in the sun reading was hot. Sitting in the shade praying was cool, mid-sixties. Lake was very still most of the day, reflecting opposite shores and the sky. A couple fishing boats. It was peaceful and quiet and invited me to be still again.
The butterflies are not here yet. This one was at a butterfly farm where I stopped two springs ago on a trip through the south. They are anything but still, hard to capture with a camera.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Finally Flowers


These groundsels are the first flowers I see blooming in the spring here in the mountains. This is about the third day that I have seen them. This morning was bright and sunny and warm. I took my camera with me on my walk and got a couple of pictures of them.
The county puts a kind of gravel on the roads for traction in the snow. At this time of year most of it is gradually moved to the sides of the road by the cars. Groundsels grow right up through this gravel alongside the roads. They grow close to the ground. We are not frost free until mid-May.
I was surprised to see that bees had already come out from wherever bees go in the winter and found these tiny flowers. They help me appreciate the truth of the saying that a weed is just a flower out of place.
The temperature reached 70 and I ate breakfast on the deck, enjoying the calm lake and the chattering tree swallows.
I feel so blessed.
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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Life


This woodpecker was flirting with his reflection in the sliding door. He stayed at it so long that I had time to go back to the house and get my camera and return. He was so wrapped up in his "new friend" that I was able to get onto the deck within about six feet of him. I don't know how long he stayed at it. I got tired and left.
The birds are our first signs of spring here in the mountains. Those that are coming to stay for the summer and those water birds that stop off for a while on their way north. My favorite of those passing through is the common loon who arrived on March 22 and was still here March 31 when I left for Baltimore. Early that morning I heard his call for the first time this year, not the wild maniacal laugh but the mournful yodel. He is a beautiful black and white and swims low in the water. I haven't seen him today. Maybe that yodel was his farewell.
Just before I left that morning I saw five tree swallows, who had just arrived, fighting over the bluebird house in the front yard. They have used it every year but one when the bluebirds drove them out. They are much prettier than their relatives the barn swallows. Their breasts are whiter and their backs are a deep metallic blue.
And then there are the grackles who arrived in a large flock (four and fifty blackbirds!)about a week ago. They live in the short pine trees that surround my yard and are all over the yard in the early morning eating whatever tiny insects they find in the grass. They look black, but when the sun hits them they are iridescent: blue, purple, green, bronze. Their beady yellow eyes and their noisy sound take away from their striking color. After another week or so they will go away and leave the yard to other birds.
I see God in this beauty and especially in the wild variety and am lifted up by this new life.
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