Spring Reminds Us That Life Goes On

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Just living is not enough.
One must have sunshine, freedom,
and a little flower.
Hans Christian Andersen

This week’s six word Friday uses the word “flowers” and it perfectly describes my Friday at Colonial Williamsburg:

Flowers bloom ~ bees comes ~ life continues.

I took the day off from work to chase the light.  The weather showed overcast and / or rainy for the whole next week except last Friday.  I was eager to see the gardens, so off I went, leaving the office and all the tax audits behind.

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I love April – on the days the weather is nice.  So much of April seems to be rainy, windy, overcast, hot, cold or humid.  Each day is a guessing game – do we run the furnace or the air conditioning today?  And there are only a few days to leave the windows open.  Once the pollen comes, everything stays closed up.

The carpenter bees were having a good old time in this esplanade from a camellia tree.  They weren’t just rolling around in the pollen – they were head butting it, doing fast and furious circles in it, and greedily capturing as much as they.  Then they flew off, their rear legs looking like fat orange pantaloons.  I was surprised they could fly with as heavily laden as they’d become!

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The artist is the confidant of nature,
flowers carry on dialogues with him through
the graceful bending of their stems
and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms.
Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.
Auguste Rodin

I’m doing better at taking red flowers and it’s a good thing – there were red and pink tulips all over!  I don’t know if that’s normal or if that was this year’s color.  I didn’t visit Colonial Williamsburg last April and by the time I went in May, the tulips were done.  Here’s how the tulips and flowers looked at the botanical gardens last April.

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October is my favorite month, but each month brings its own beauty and April is no exception.  The days are finally warming up, everything is getting green and leafy, and the flowers have come back for another year.  Each month has different flowers, of course, and April’s seem to be rather delicate, showing for a few weeks and then dying back.

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I know it’s a bit of a jumbled mess, but I like these as well as the more formal and polished gardens.  It’s an apt metaphor for my own life.  I admire people whose lives are organized and orderly.  They know what they’re doing and when, things are planned out and thought out.

That is SO not me.  My life isn’t a total mess – we can find important receipts and instruction manuals.  Our vacation planning tends to be only a week or so in advance, although chasing the light influences that.  I have no intentions of planning a photo trip just to sit in a hotel room and wait for the rain to stop.  Likewise, I’d have been really unhappy to skip Williamsburg, then have crummy skies for photography on Saturday & Sunday.  This worked out much better to take a vacation day and have a great time.

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The Capital Building

Instead, our weekend (with the overcast skies) was spent in cleaning out the garden and planting it.  I’ve given up on vegetables so we’ve turned it over to flowers.  We’ll see if that grows better.  I already know I can attract bees, butterflies, and birds to it.  So with flowers, there should be more.  In fact, after I cleaned out and raked the garden, I was visited by a robin who enjoyed scratching around the dirt and finding some food.

Later this week, I’m leaving on a road trip.  I’ll be visiting my daughter the next two weekends, and off on a business trip in-between (a several hour drive from where she lives).  I’ll be visiting one of our manufacturing plants, seeing legislators, and in meetings with our tax counsel.  My favorite boy toy will stay home with da’ boyz.  I have no doubts he will enjoy having the house to himself and not having any regular meal times.

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Have a good week!  Pet a dog if you can, kiss a sweetie (two legged or four – but not on the mouth!), and enjoy the flowers.  It’s a good day every day, even if some days you have to look harder for it.

I believe in pink.
I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.
I believe in kissing, kissing a lot.
I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.
I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.
I believe that tomorrow is another day and
I believe in miracles.
Audrey Hepburn

Categories: bees, Virginia, Walking, Williamsburg | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Best 2012 Nature Photographs

Alex West, over at a Scientific American Magazine blog called Compound Eye, has invited photographers to share their favorite 2012 nature photographs (a big thank you to Chris Goforth who mentioned this in her blog, The Dragonfly Woman).

How could I resist the opportunity to go back through last year’s photos and pick my favorites?  Although there a few repeats, most of these are new.

Remember to roll over the photo for any identification that I might have put onto it.

Categories: Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Nature, Norfolk Botanical Gardens, spiders, Virginia, Williamsburg | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Counting Down to Christmas

It’s hard to believe Christmas is just a few short days away!  My year end responsibilities at work finished late yesterday and was turned over to the outside auditors today.  I got things done the rest of today, but not at a very fast speed.  I’m off on vacation now until January 2.  Yippee!!

As these next few days speed by – can you believe today was the shortest day of the year? – you might want to consider a devotion for those celebrating Christmas.  I’ve been using a reading plan on YouVersion called “Carols, A Christmas Devotional”.  It matches Bible verses to Christmas songs with a short devotion and a couple of questions for contemplation and prayer.

They also have several short devotions, perfect for these next few days. including the Sounds of Christmas (4 days long) and the Rhythms of Christmas (5 days).  What I like about YouVersion is that I can do it on the computer or my mobile device.  As I browse through their plans and find something I like, I add it to my list for later.  The next one I plan to use is “100 Descriptions of God”.  Surprisingly, it’s only a 31 day plan.

Remember to eat healthy and get enough exercise and sleep.  It makes a big difference in enjoying yourself and staying serene.

Here’s some more wreaths from Colonial Williamsburg – enjoy!  Go here to see more wreaths from Colonial Williamsburg.  If you go to my blog (instead of reading this via an e-mail), you can roll your mouse over each wreath to see some of the materials used in making them. Remember they are all native to the area.

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.
To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy,
is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
Calvin Coolidge

Categories: Holidays, Virginia, Williamsburg | Tags: , , , , ,

Wordless Wednesday: Fall’s Crepe Myrtle

Today’s Wordless Wednesday comes from Colonial Williamsburg a few weeks ago, during the few moments that the sun came out.  To see how it looked when the garden was in flower, click here.

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Categories: Seasons, Virginia, Williamsburg | Tags: , ,

Wreaths at Colonial Williamsburg

Although I’ve visited Colonial Williamsburg many times, I’ve not gone in December to see the Christmas decorations.  There’s no particular reason for that, but this year I decided that I really wanted to see them.  When Ailsa over at Where’s My Backpack announced this week’s travel theme to be circles, I thought it was a perfect way to show some photos from last weekend.

I found the wreaths fascinating, which is why I’m sharing them here.  They aren’t pictures I’d blow up to put over the fireplace, but they’re definitely worth looking at.  If you received this in an e-mail, I suggest clicking on the title and going to the actual blog to see the gallery.  When you roll your mouse over the photo, you’ll see a pop-up that describes some of the materials used.

The wreaths contain only materials local to Williamsburg, Virginia.  This is why the one wreath uses dried flower centers and moss to create a pineapple shape – pineapples are not local to Virginia.  It was a symbol of hospitality and status, which is why it is seen so frequently in decorations and motifs.

One of the cast members was talking about the wreaths to a bunch of us and made the observation that the south-facing side of the Duke of Gloucester Street used mostly dried materials because it faced the sun all day.  The north-facing side used a lot of fresh materials.  I paid much closer attention to the differences of the sides of the street after that!

Christmas decorations were simple in Colonial America.  Times were hard and food was not usually used in as something frivolous as a decoration nor was there was much celebration, such as you might see today.  My fellow blogger at Belle Grove Plantation wrote up a great post on Christmas in Colonial America and I invite you to look over her excellent summary.  The website for Colonial Williamsburg also discusses Christmas in Williamsburg, here and here.

I do have a lot more pictures of my visit and over the next few weeks, will share more decorations with you!

Categories: Holidays, Virginia, Williamsburg | Tags: , , , , , ,

Special Photo Challenge: Inspiration

WordPress has a special photo challenge this week, in which they pose the question:

What inspires you to blog?

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post here in which I explored the reasons why I blog.  But what is it that inspires me to keep blogging and photographing?

Self-portrait in sepia tones

Capturing Beauty

I find beauty everywhere I look, whether downtown during my lunchtime walks or when I take a field trip to seek out photographs.  Not only am I enthused about recording the beauty that I see, but my readers have been enthused about it as well.

Because of the comments I’ve gotten about how pretty my pictures are, the joy they’ve brought for a few minutes, and how much ya’all love them, I’ve been switching my blog over to more photos.  I’m still writing commentary, but keeping it shorter.

Hummingbird moth taken at Colonial Williamsburg

Bringing Laughter

Along with capturing beauty, I also find laughter worth sharing.  Much of it involves the dogs and my favorite boy toy, but then again, that’s where my life is lived outside the workplace.

The great thing about laughter is that it relaxes me to edit my photos for sharing and my readers get a smile for starting their day.  Finding something we can all laugh at inspires my blogging.

To understand this picture better, click here to see the sequence of playing ball that leads to the beagle howling at the other dog.

No no no! That was MY ball!

Staying In Touch

My photographs and blog are a place where I can stay in touch with family and friends.  My Mother enjoys seeing my posts and what’s happening in my life, particularly since she lives so far away and neither of us travel by air anymore.

Photo of my Mother taken last Christmas by my sister (used with permission)

My blog also helps me stay in touch with old friends and make new ones.  It’s like a penpal letter, but written more frequently.  Like my Mother, my friends enjoy seeing my news and hearing what’s going on in my life.  It’s a way for me to maintain that connection with important people whom I no longer see due to distance.

My friend’s youngest daughter – she especially loves seeing the dogs and photos that have movement in them. The photo was taken by her mother and is used with permission

Recording My Life

A year ago in August, I was lamenting how fast the year was going.  In it, I wrote:

My diaries and photos give me some control over time passing so swifly.  I reread the events that happened, look at the photos, and savor it again.  Being able to remember helps slow the time down for me.  My diaries also help me prioritize my time, solve problems, and make lists of what needs to be done, remembered, or appreciated.  They help me focus on living in the present of what happened today or happened this week.

My blog has replaced much of my personal journals and I use it for the same things mentioned above.  It’s not particularly sexy to write about decluttering the house, but recording it up helps me remember that yes, I am accomplishing things that need to be done.

It’s much more fun though to go read on the deck and watch a dog chasing bees

Outlet for My Creativity

Editing and processing my photographs and writing up a blog post are all outlets for my creativity.  They take my mind off work, relax me (most days!), get me outside, and encourage me to notice more than the latest tax law changes that I need for my job.

I’ve enjoyed my day trips to take photos and then sharing it with everyone.  It gives me satisfaction and encourages me to keep on blogging.

The greenhouse at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens;
I love visiting here and it’s only minutes from my house

What reasons are important change from day to day, but at the end of it, I have plenty of inspiration to blog and share my life.  Thanks to all of you who have subscribed, left comments, and created friendships through our blogs.  I appreciate you all!

Categories: Blogging, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Virginia, Weekly Photo Challenge, Williamsburg | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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