Flowers and Berries in My Backyard

No better way is there to learn to love Nature than to understand Art. It dignifies every flower of the field. And, the boy who sees the thing of beauty which a bird on the wing becomes when transferred to wood or canvas will probably not throw the customary stone.

Oscar Wilde

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.

Georgia O’Keeffe

To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.

William Blake

The Amen of nature is always a flower.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Flowers in the Ditch, Clouds in the Sky

This summer I’m relaxed and happy, and there’s beauty all around. Sure, there’s some clutter in my mind and a few things weighing me down, but all in all, I’m lighter and freer than I’ve been for years. I’ll take it!

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Sweet Peas and Optimism

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Last year’s vibrant sweet peas.

Hello! Yesterday was our first really warm day with the temperature sneaking up close to 20° Celsius. That’s all the encouragement the leaves on the trees needed. They were reluctant in the howling wind and 4° temperatures to pop out, but today in the warm wind, they all decided to take a chance and come on out. When I walked today, the first thing I noticed were those light green leaves, the colour of optimism.

If hope has a feel to it, that feeling was definitely in the air this morning. Last night, I soaked two kinds of sweet pea seeds. One type was what I planted last year and whose seeds I harvested last fall. These will produce very brightly-coloured smaller flowers. The other variety will produce large lightly-coloured blooms in softer pastel shades. These seeds I purchased late in the winter from T&T Seeds. If you’re a gardener and haven’t yet seen their catalogue, it’s fun to explore!

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A sweet pea bloom after the rain.

This afternoon, I’ll work up the soil one more time and plant those sweet peas now that the earth is warm. I’m very fortunate to have a gardening companion these days. He was with me last gardening season, too. Dear readers, I’m pleased to introduce George. No, he’s not my cat, but he would happily call our house home. He has nothing against his current owners. Having two homes would mean twice as much attention and twice as much food. George knows this and I can tell this is his plan. It’s not going to happen, George.

 

I wish you a very happy spring day and some of the optimism that goes along with it. Have a great weekend and a happy Mother’s Day!

~ Lori

 

Why Thinking About Death is Worthwhile

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Potted petunias in my backyard.

Whenever I see a dead bird in my backyard, I feel sad. I consider this backyard with its flowers and shrubs and birdfeeder and birdbath to be a sanctuary for birds, bees, and butterflies. Those little creatures are welcome here.

This morning I was out mowing the lawn in the already oppressive heat. As I pushed the manual reel mower up alongside the house, I spotted a still, headless blue jay.

For the last week or so, there had been a young blue jay spending a lot of time at the feeder. I liked this bird because he didn’t yet know enough to fly away when I stood close by to watch him eat. This lack of fear probably contributed to his lack of life.

Listen to me read this post:

The dead blue jay made me think, “I’ve been walking the earth for fifty-one years. This little guy only lived for maybe fifty-one days.”

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A very-much-alive blue jay in my backyard a couple winters ago.

Life is Short and Death is Long

Our time is limited and mostly we don’t control how long we get to live. Death always makes me think of life. I feel sad and, at the same time, I feel profoundly grateful. The reality of inevitable death makes me cherish life and makes my own days that much sweeter.

It’s not that death is pleasant to think about or that I savour finding a young blue jay with its head torn off. It’s that death is the most effective, most present reminder of life. It’s more difficult to deeply appreciate life without seriously acknowledging death.

A Lucrative Industry

Our western culture is not big on death, and there’s a number of thriving industries that sell ways to prolong life and ways to avoid death. What a lucrative business and what a futile pursuit.

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I planted wildflowers this season to attract bees, birds, and butterflies.

I Keep Death Close

Death is a companion that I keep close. Some have said, “Don’t dwell on death! It’s so depressing.” What’s depressing to me is that by ignoring death I might take life for granted and thereby squander my time here on earth. Now that would be really sad.

I’m not gothic character. I don’t dress in black, I don’t wear heavy dark makeup around my eyes, and I don’t drink whisky from the bottle in late-at-night cemeteries. I don’t really dwell on death either; I just don’t let it far out of my sight.

Somehow, Sometime

Death reminds me that my fate is the same as the young blue jay’s. Well, maybe not the getting my head ripped off by a bird of prey part, but you never know. Like the blue jay, I will die somehow and sometime, and looking this fact straight in the eye helps me live more fully. Realizing my own death makes me realize my own aliveness. And to me, that makes thinking about death worth it.

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A variety of wildflowers in my backyard. (You’ll notice I didn’t post a photo of the headless blue jay. You’re welcome.)

Did you like what you read here? Consider following my blog either right here on WordPress or through email. See the right sidebar to follow me. It’s easy and it’s free. This way, you won’t miss any of my posts. Thanks for reading! ~ Lori

Summer Gardens – A Photo Blogpost

What a glorious time of year! Over time I’ve gathered some flower and garden pictures from my travels and from right here at home. Even the simplest prairie gardens are enchanted plots teeming with life in this northern place where the growing season is so short.

These first three photos were taken in northern Alberta near where I grew up and during a sunny July day. My friend is a fabulous gardener, and her farm is an excellent place to take photos.

My auntie is also a fantastic gardener, and I often bring my camera out to her place in the summertime.

Some gardens attract my attention when I’m traveling.

Lots of times and if I have my camera with me, I’ll take photos of local flowerbeds and vegetable gardens.

But mostly my photo inspiration comes from my own backyard. There are still lots of memories of Grandma here in her garden, and I hope she’d like what I’ve done with the place.