Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just A Flutter In Time A Shutter Opens and Closes the Years

 I spy with my little eye tiny eggs of Monarch butterfly.
Miniscule shiny black heads emerge from teensy translucent crystal domes.
      After the first snack of its egg casing, a caterpillar inches and molts through several instars.
The lovely tiger cater finds a comfy safe place to just let go!
Then reveals it's creation of itself!
At first a bit of it's old form is seen, though yellow and milkweed green with template of wings.
 An hour or so passes and it appears as if a magic inhalation completes it's metamorphosis into pupa.
Two weeks later it is nearly done!
Then plop . . .  abdomen first . . .  right into the petals holding on for it's life!
Here you see it pushing open the door!
All new body parts to explore!
A large abdomen pumps up it's bright new wings then time to hang out and dry.
Quite the dandy out in the garden soaking up the sun and community.
The boys make a visit and show of gratitude to their faithful host!
A couple of gals checking out the complementary flowers.
Fluttering in the fields amongst New England asters.
Sipping and Sunning!
Most Stunning Creatures!
Adding magic to the landscape!
This is a glimpse into my adventures with the Monarch Butterfly. I have raised them for over twenty years . . . having released hundreds into the gardens. Countless stories of enchanting sharings. Time is fleeting and I find this magical metamorphosis such a beautiful metaphor for a creative life. I have spent hours and hours researching . . . though I am no scientist. There is much to wonder and delight! I hope you enjoy!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Wish Surprise Blooming Friday!

Christmas morning began as the sun rose through the thick river of fog, completely covering the Mount Holyoke Range, Mount Tom and the Pioneer Valley below. I wonder if my friends in Northampton, Hadley, Holyoke and Amherst are able to see any rays of light this first day of Christmas. I walk by a pedestal I walk past every day, only this day I noticed much to my surprise and delight, a Christmas flower fully blooming. The 'Star' Magnolia or Magnolia stellata ... a gift from Japan as a token for Peace oh so many years ago now. What a Christmas gift! I had no idea I was trying to force this flower. It was a 'left over' from a November bridal show . . . I had just thrown out all the wilted flowers and left this small branch with a cutting of Rosemary . . . added some water and forgot about it. I might have added water once when noticing it was nearly out, but like so many things in our lives I rarely noticed what was right there in front of me. It must have been blooming yesterday for it is so fully blown open, but I did not notice it until just after the sunrise you see above. 

Complete with petals making a Peace symbol this beautiful flower is truly a seemingly magical gift.

This scene is from a Northampton shop window. Surely it expresses one aspect of the magic of Christmas. May all your Christmas wishes come true. If I may . . . it is my Christmas wish that you might offer a prayer for my nephew Jeremiah, who has been truly fighting for his life and well being over these last two months or so. It was sudden, virulent and tragic that a strong healthy young man was suddenly paralyzed unable to move or speak. He was taken from his loving wife and baby son, from his mother and father and hooked up to life supporting apparatuses. My little sister Mimi has mostly been living in his hospital room, and she along with Jeremiah's wife Ashley and some family members are with him this Christmas day. He is greatly improved and relearning how to walk and talk. There are still so many unknowns . . . a mysterious case . . . perhaps a flu shot was the culprit?  I believe in the magical healing power of prayer and kind thoughts. I thank you if you are able to add Jeremiah and his family to your thoughts and prayers. Peace and Blessings upon you and all the world on this the 'First Day of Christmas'. It is also Blooming Friday . . . to see other offerings from around the world visit Katarina' Roses and Stuff. I leave you with this magical capture of a Cardinal . . . to continue acknowledging the Christmas Bird Count going on now. 

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Oh Sycamore! Oh Sycamore! 'You Fill My Heart With Music!'

Tis the season to celebrate the Christmas tree . . .  but wait you are wondering . . . where is the evergreen? Look to the verdant moss and though this wondrous Sycamore is not wearing leaves or candles shining brightly, it does 'fill my heart with music!'  I can imagine men and women dancing around this majestic tree in celebration of it's seeming immortality. 

'Your branches green delight us.' Such a spread into the sky . . . a castle for birds to fly and perch . . .  imagine hundreds there each limb a tree in its own girth.

A tree well known and honored the world over.

'Much pleasure dost thou bring me!'

'Your boughs so green in summertime. Stay bravely green in wintertime.'

I stand dwarfed before you 
My spirit expands and reaches out around your prodigious girth
Up Up towards the tips of your branches I perch
Oh Sycamore Tree, Oh Sycamore Tree
'But even in winter is thy prime.'
'Brings to us all both joy and glee.'
'To think of you and then be gay.'
Oh Sycamore Tree, Oh Sycamore Tree
'You fill my heart with music.'

I hope you will allow my play on the many interpretations of our beloved song -
'O Tannenbaum o Tannenbaum'
'Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree'
At a time we celebrate a tree I want to share this Majesty.
Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Peace on Earth Good Will Towards All Beings . . .
I promised you birds during this Christmas Bird Count season
I love to have birds upon my Christmas tree . . . here are a few Blue Birds from the spring and summer.

A moment of reflection or is he examining his toes?

His partner in flight a dazzling sight!

"Give it here!" says she "Refine Refine My Dear! They might choke I Fear!"

The first fledgling out!

Sibling rivalry!

May you have abundance in your feasting and for those left out in the cold a place to go, where the Christmas Spirit of Caring shines bright all though the seasons light. 
Merry Merry Christmas! And to All a Good Day and Night!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Midwinter's Darkest Day Towards Rebirth of Light

It only lasts a second . . . the tilt of the earth's axis being the furthest away from the sun. Thus we live through the shortest day of the year and wake to a bit more sunlight each day thereafter. The light will grow longer throwing her warm golden rays across fields, mountains and distant shores . . .  minutes more added day by day, as we spin towards spring. According to a government site, the Winter Solstice 2009 begins today at 12:47 PM EST. 

Cultures around the world celebrate the return of light through traditional rituals, but not all on the same date. Some in Japan celebrate the reemergence of their Shinto Sun goddess Amaterasu, from her dark cave. In Sweden, Finland and Norway there are those that honor Beiwe (meaning day) the sun goddess of sanity and fertility. In Wiltshire, England there are celebrations at Stonehenge. Here in United States Native Americans had built great numbers of stone structures to determine the solstices and equinoxes. Sacrifices and feasts were held the world over to mark the renewal of light. However you might celebrate . . . I wish you a Happy Winter Solstice!! 

My offering of images are from last year about this time. The 110th Christmas Bird Count is under way. I will be featuring, over the next several posts, seasons of bird portraits from Flower Hill Farm, in honor of this great feat across the country. Today we have Wild Turkeys and a Robin enjoying the crabapples just outside the barn studio. The tiny apples help many birds make it through the winter months.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Have You Time for Reflection?

I am stepping back a few weeks . . . back into the lovely fall landscape near the Smith College Botanical Gardens. You might enjoy a moment in this magical Japanese Garden. I will take a deep breath with you and relax into the awareness of time flowing by . . . most likely rushing at this busy holiday time. The water mirrors a peace within us that radiates out into the world. I hope you enjoy this quiet place and find a comfortable space of emptiness. I imagine your smile. When stepping to and from this simple hut, you may note the careful placement and choice of each stone step, the marriage of building to tree that fits so naturally. May the tranquility embrace your heart and offer a sense of lightness to your day. . . as you hurry away.

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