This & That from My Dot on the Map

Last week I was sitting in my reading room by an open window doing some sudoku puzzles, wondering what deep-in-my-brain memory the sounds and feel of the day were eliciting. It was the experience of late summer when the kids were back in school and all was quiet except for some distant sounds, like maybe a rooster crowing and a tractor in a far away field. Maybe the memories are from long ago on the small urban farm where my grandparents lived. It really doesn’t matter where the associations are buried in my brain because they are of late summer and they are so very sweet.

We were having a period of perfect weather (except for some violent storms), more typical of September than the middle of August here at my dot on the map in Michigan. The days were pleasantly warm in the high 70s/low 80s F. with low humidity and a gentle, cool breeze. The nights were cool enough to sleep under a light quilt with windows open to the sounds of the night chirpers. Many times during the day I stopped to breath deeply and slip into the relaxed state of being that I experience at this time of season.

The bees know fall is coming!

I took refuge in this place where past and present weather-triggered experiences are intermingle, especially taking refuge from the horrors that are happening in Afghanistan, the frightening politics of the far right, and the rising threats of the Delta variant, and all the climate-related disasters. I am trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I can experience the joys of life while there is so much evil and suffering in the world. Does my breakthrough guilt make any sense? I wonder if there is a spiritual connection where I can shed some tears to lighten the burden of some mother and daughter who fears Taliban rules, rape and death?

I am having trouble finishing this post because I continue to be consumed with finding a better work-flow for getting my images from my new camera into Lightroom. In the meantime the dog-days of late summer have hit my dot on the map. It has been hot and humid for the past week and now early fall weather is just something to look forward to.

My flower garden has that late summer look where spring bloomers have either been trimmed back or need to be and summer bloomers are going to seed. Whereas spring has the exuberant energy of new growth and greening trees, and summer has the explosion of blooming flowers and lush dark-green trees, early fall has a tired look. My garden has mostly completed its yearly cycle of reproducing itself through seeds with only asters, sedums and mums yet to bloom (and maybe my morning glory). I enjoy this tired look because it reflects what I experience on good day, the tiredness of work well done. I look at my garden and smile because it is doing such a good job and now I will do my fall chores to keep it healthy.

I need to spend some time this fall thinning out buttercups and daisies that have gone beyond their allotted spaces. I also have to dig out where grasses are taking hold in the middle of clumps. Not easy work for me but I will be more relaxed when it is finished. Weeds tend to stress me out. There are some summer bloomers, like cone flowers and bee balm, that are here and there due to silly planting or self-seeding that I want to put together. Once I get into my fall routine in the garden, I find joy in cleaning up and making it all tidy for next spring. I am given encouragement to keep working by day lilies and irises who are sending up new shoots to get some of the remaining light before they go to sleep for the winter.

Even as this year’s garden is finishing up, I am looking toward future years. As soon as I get all this work done, I will take some photos of the bare bones of my garden to study and mark up as I’m thinking of shifting the ratio of my mixed garden. I think I will be going more towards small evergreens and flowering shrubs with my favorite flowers as fillers in between. If I don’t make these changes I don’t think our aging bodies will be able to maintain this home and we will be looking for a condo. That may mean giving up my purple porch swing.

Welcome, Spring Equinox

Spring comes late in the northern tier of states. In Michigan it sometimes feels like it will never come, and then the next day we have summer heat and humidity. There have been years when it has come early and then we worry because buds start coming out and winter returns for a curtain call to damage them.

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This year spring is probably going to come late for people in the north, but that is okay because then I will be able to see it unfold when I return to Michigan. These azalea buds were taking May 3 of 2013.

I am beginning to see new blooms here in southern Florida to mark the coming of spring, but it isn’t very dramatic. There isn’t much excitement when I have been surrounded by continual green and winter flowers. I remember, oh so well, the quickening of the heart and spirit as I watched green emerge after a very long monochromatic winter. Although I haven’t had to endure this winter of misery, the coming spring will spark my memory of previous springs. How exciting to see new life emerging from an earth that appeared to have died.

Summer is Over

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The swings are still

I stop to listen for what is no more

memories reaching back and forth

hanging on, letting go

moving into

a new season

of life.

 

To read more about the ebb and flow of life, visit the WordPress Daily Prompt:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/daily-prompt-life/

Late Summer Garden

Gee whiz, is it already late summer? I don’t feel it but there are signs that are saying so. I have seen a few trees with leaves turning bright red and orange – not like they are dying but like they are anticipating fall. It seems really early for lower Michigan.

As always at this time of year the Blackeyed Susans are stealing the show in the front garden. Their bright color and prolific blooming create waves of yellow so that the other lingering flowers of summer don’t have to work as hard.

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In the back, my Limelight Hydrangea is tall and strong with large blossoms. In the late evening shade they glow, and if I happen to be up during a moon-light night they look like they have been wired with electricity. The nights have been cool and I have been sleeping soundly so I have missed that sight – and because sleep is so important for my daytime well-being I won’t be setting my alarm for it.

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A part of me isn’t ready to let go of summer, but in the garden I have begun to feel like fall. I recognize my late-summer-gardening attitude kicking in. I don’t dead-head as much and I am not focused on new blooms about to unfold. Late summer seems to allow me to be more relaxed and I like that. Hubby and I finished up the spring weeding and got the last of the mulch spread this past week. Isn’t it funny how our aging bodies require that we not be as hung up on seasonal schedules. Being retired also helps because we know we have tomorrow if we are too tired or achy to complete it today. And if it doesn’t get done, well that will be okay too. So far the seasons have happened without my help.

Farmers Market Morning

 

I love September and this September morning I decided to go to the farmers’ market downtown. I feel September. There is a calm that I feel – maybe I sense that the trees are doing less work as they stop photosynthesis. They look tired, but in a good way, like the tired after a good day’s work. If I had young kids they would be back in school. There is a quietness of September, a settling down.

This morning was cool, still below 70, and the sky was very blue (low humidity), and the sun was very warm. Perfect. I stopped to pick up my daughter and couldn’t resist taking some snaps of her zinnias. This is the first year she planted them and only the pinks came up. I like the pinks best!

Zinnia in Sharon’s Garden

The next one posed in front of some ornamental grass that is going to seed. Nice interest without being too busy.

On to the farmers’ market. This is the first time this year that I walked around just for the joy of seeing what is there. Before I would just pop in for blueberries or peaches from the Blueberry Farm people, Ken & Janet. Their peaches are finished but I bought some wonderful pears and apples.

Blueberry Farm – Ken & Janet

I always buy from them because they handle their fruit with such gentleness – Janet hardly touches the peaches as she picks them up. I once received a lecture when I told her she could put two fruits in the same bag. Oops.

I wonder way they call this eggplant. They don’t look anything like an egg and they aren’t layed.

Eggplant

Swiss Chard & Kale

Sunflowers

As I was uploading photos for this post I realized I didn’t buy anything that I took a photo of except the apples and pears. But we are having sweetcorn and tomatoes with our supper, I am going to make some zucchini bread, and I just had a piece of toast with cone honey. Yummy. Did I say I love September?