Spring Spectacular!

“And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”
–  Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Sensitive Plant 

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Every year it’s the same thing.  Winter slowly dies, sometimes more slowly than others, splashes of color peak from here and there, buzzing bees emerge, birds get more chatty, a lone butterfly dances by, frogs croak,  bunnies hop….then one day you awaken, and BOOM, there it is, in all it’s dazzling glory…..SPRING!!!

<And just like every year, it never ceases to amaze me>

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“That God once loved a garden we learn in Holy writ.
And seeing gardens in the Spring I well can credit it.”
–  Winifred Mary Letts

 

∼ Jen

The Bold and Beautiful

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Last week my husband and I were sitting on the couch in the ‘nature room’….yes, that’s what I call our family room, but that’s another story…and, as usual, I was drinking coffee and staring out the window taking it all in.  Suddenly, something white caught my eye sitting on one of the larger logs on the other side of the creek. It was low tide, so the fallen logs in the creek were quite visible, and evidently, perch-worthy.

There is a large, white cat that stalks our pond for fish, entertaining our indoor cat, and terrorizing our outside cat – who, I have to say, I really thought was tougher than that.  I started wondering how on earth she was able get across the creek and onto that log. I’ve yet to see her take a dip in our pond, so I was sure, like any cat, she wasn’t about to cross that creek, though sometimes I kinda wish she would.  DSC_0086

My curiosity was piqued! I quickly grabbed my camera to zoom in on this white thing, and as soon as I did, began snapping as quickly as my finger would allow!

 

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Yes, very blurry indeed:(  But, no problem, I would just go out quietly on the back porch, walk down a little closer to the creek, zoom in, and have an incredible picture!!  I couldn’t believe he was just perched right there for the snapping!  I had seen bald eagles fly up and down the creek on occasion, especially during the spring, but never have I had a photographic opportunity present itself like this, with the bold beauty himself!

I was wrong…on both counts. The better picture was not to be, and the eagle was anything but bold!! The second I very quietly opened the porch door and dared put one foot outside, this fierce, “bold” beauty darted for the skies! Are you kidding me??!!?? I just knew my presence that far away would go totally unnoticed. What threat did this big guy think I could possibly pose?  Oh well, back to the couch, and my coffee, muttering my utter disbelief as I went.

Weeks later, spring is in full bloom, and I discover who the really bold and beautiful ones are:)

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Black Swallowtail Butterfly
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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

These delicate, winged beauties happily floated from flower to flower, seemingly oblivious to my hovering intrusion.  Now that’s bold, and oh so beautiful!

Happy spring!

∼Jen

Oh, not to despair, I soon got another chance at that big, bold rascal!

Meet Harold!

Do any of you have one of those neighbors, you know, the silent, grouchy, unkempt-looking, loner-type? We do. Our first meeting of him was quite unnerving to say the least, especially to my unsuspecting husband.

Our first introduction took place the week we moved into our new neighborhood.  It was a beautiful, August day and the tide was just right for a kayak ride.  My husband and I pushed off quietly from the shore, excited to discover our new backyard. I was paddling in the rear, enjoying the beauty and solitude, when all of a sudden I heard a shrill scream from the banks.  I happened to be facing this extremely, unhappy-to-be -discovered stalker, but my husband, unfortunately, was not! He jumped, really as anyone would, if only hearing the pterodactyl-like scream without having any visual of the culprit!

As for me, after I got over laughing at my husband, it was love at first sight!!

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Great Blue Heron

And now, you have been properly introduced to our neighbor, whom I have affectionately called Harold for close to four years!

♥ Jen

http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/great-blue-heron

 

 

Words of Beauty…

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Proverbs 16:24 “Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

As the day winds to a close, I am thinking back on all the sweet moments and also the reminder I had today of a something I take for granted.

It was a beautiful day weather-wise, sunny, mild temperatures as we headed out to church.  I had my entire family with me, which is a joy I don’t take for granted.  My older son used to call it “all together time” when he was young….and now that they are older and more independent, I really treasure our “all together time” even more. Indeed, it is one of the things I don’t take for granted or forget to give thanks for.

The music was beautiful, as always . We sang the song “Because He Lives,” which brings back special memories of my grandmother.  The sermon was meaningful, as always….but what I have gone back to in my mind all day was not the sermon, or the music, but something said off-stage.  

A dear widow sits in front of us and we have gotten to know her over the past two years just because of sitting near her.  Like most church-goers, we all like our ‘assigned seats’ and get to know those in close proximity.  She is usually chatty, and today was no exception, but in her greetings she paused and said “my son came over today, and he told me I looked pretty.”  The way she said it,  I could tell this small compliment meant more to her than her words portrayed.  I affirmed that she did indeed look pretty, and I realized being a widow, living alone, compliments were not something she heard often.  It was so obvious those words of beauty brought her immeasurable joy and reminded me of just how important words of beauty are, to all of us.

How often I take compliments or encouraging words for granted from the ones I love.  I am surrounded by an affectionate family and words of love on a daily basis.  It has reminded me to treasure even the smallest words of affirmation, realizing that some hear it much, much less than their hearts desire or need. Hopefully, because of today, I’ll be more mindful of those around, who, for whatever reason, desperately need to hear beautiful words spoken into their lives.  God Bless.

∼Jen

The Aloe Plant

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13
† HAVE YOU HEARD the tale of the aloe plant,

Away in the sunny clime?

By humble growth of a hundred years

It reaches its blooming time;

And then a wondrous bud at its crown

Breaks into a thousand flowers;

This floral queen in its blooming seen

Is the pride of the tropical bowers;

But the plant to the flower is a sacrifice,

For it blooms but once, and in blooming dies.

† Have you heard the tale of the pelican,

The Arab’s Gomel el Bahr,

That dwells in the African solitudes

Where the birds that live lonely are?

Have you heard how it loves its tender young,

And cares and toils for their good?

It brings them water from fountains afar

And fishes the seas for their food.

In famine it feeds them what love can devise —

The blood of its bosom — and, feeding them, dies.

           †Have you heard the tale they tell of the swan,

The snow-white bird of the lake?

It noiselessly floats on the silvery wave,

It silently sits in the brake;

For it saves its song till the end of life,

And then, in the soft, still even,

‘Mid the golden light of the setting sun

It sings as it soars into heaven,

And the blessed notes fall back from the skies —

‘Tis its only song, for in singing it dies.

† You have heard the tales. Shall I tell you one,

A greater and better than all?

Have you heard of Him whom the Heavens adore,

Before whom the hosts of them fall?

How He left the choirs and anthems above

For earth in its wailings and woes,

And suffered the shame and pain of the cross

To die for the life of His foes.

His death is our life, His loss is our gain —

The joy for the tear — the peace for the pain.

 Dr. Henry Harbaugh

Ode to a Dead Tree…

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While sitting on my porch last week – drinking coffee of course – I noticed a chickadee perching on this dead tree that I previously had paid very little, if any attention to.

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 It’s early spring, so I thought maybe it was looking for holes in which to nest, but it wasn’t long before I saw another bird, the hairy woodpecker, pecking away looking for insects on this same tree. Needless to say, that chased away the chickadee, who perched on a small branch to the side of the dead tree, waiting for the bigger guy to get his fill and move along.

He was in for a wait, however, because in moments hairy was replaced by the even larger red-bellied woodpecker….who doesn’t just peck, but hammers away!

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 A closer look at the beak in the below picture of “red” reveals his hammering produced a tasty treat.

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In my mind, this little dead tree was going to provide many photographic delights in the future, and I was more than up to the task.

Fast forward several days….my husband had contacted people to come and clear away some of the brush and fallen branches, and yeah, you can guess where this is leading…. right up to the ode. I had never mentioned my newfound delight in this little, dead tree to my husband, so my dear, dead tree was part of the doomed.

I’m not going to wax poetic or resemble anything like an ode should be, but suffice it to say, I sure am going to miss that little, dead tree and all the moments that could have been.

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∼Jen

Birds, Blooms and all things Beautiful

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 Welcome! I am so excited to finally be the “owner” of a blog dedicated to the beauty of nature God so wondrously and artistically crafted. After moving into our present home, which I call a nature-lovers paradise, my husband and I quickly realized it would be negligent, maybe even criminal, not to upgrade to a camera that does not also make phone calls.  Since purchasing the camera, I have loaded down my computer with literally thousands of photos, (not all postworthy!) so a blog seemed the perfect place to share these pictures and write about my love of nature.

I hope you’ll join me and together we can leave the business of life behind for a while and just enjoy the wonders and beauty that daily surrounds us!

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♥Jen