Cee’s Flower of the Day: Clematis

Sometimes I just can’t resist being a little naughty. Here’s the story:

It is 10:00 at night and I was going through my e-mail notices of blog posts of people I follow, picking and choosing because I really want to go to bed but don’t feel like getting up from my comfy chair and doing my nightly routine. I, by chance, decided to click on Cee’s FOTD for January 23 which was titled “Clematis.” A lovely purple one.

Today we had snow all day, a heavy snow. The type of snow that most people who live in Michigan get excited about, including me. This afternoon had a date with a neighbor who lives down the street who makes cards and I have been helping her because I love to do it but not enough to buy a few thousand dollar’s worth of supplies. Besides we love talking together and she bakes me a great treat – today it was brownies with a covering of peanut butter and chocolate. It was such a beautiful snow fall that I decided to walk to her house and take my camera along. As I was leaving my home I snapped some photos of my front garden, including a new clematis that I am training up a wall and over a railing.

Sorry, Cee, I couldn’t resist posting it in response but I know you will appreciate the humor of it all.

Find beauty in nature wherever you are and if you are in the north-eastern quarter of the U.S., please stay off the roads and stay warm.

Trees of Winter

On this beautiful summer evening when the temperature is 80 degrees F, the humidity is low, and I’m surrounded by lush green leaves on trees and flowers blooming in my garden, it seems really strange – almost surreal, to be posting photos of winter trees. I have posted the trees of summer and fall for Becky’s July TreeSquares, now I am ready to post winter’s trees.

I love trees in winter, how snow collects on branches creating a stark contrast of white and black and the long shadows cast by the de-robed skeleton of trunk and branches by the low winter sun. I have emotional memories from childhood of being fascinated by the flicker of tree shadows through the car window as we drove down winter roads, like a 16 mm film. I am still intrigued by this magic of sun and shadow.

I don’t have much time to enjoy the trees of winter now that we spend most of it in Florida where there aren’t many deciduous trees. One of those trees is the bald cypress that I enjoy when we drive down the few dirt roads in the Everglades.

Looking Up

Last week-end we had a heavy snow – not very deep but wet and heavy with some ice under it. As I was walking up a long lane I made sure to look up every time I stopped to take some photos. Every few minutes I would hear a loud crack, somewhat like a gun shot, in the woods. When I looked in that direction, I would sometimes see a big limb falling and hitting the ground – sending up a big cloud of snow. I didn’t want to be under one of those limbs when the weight of the snow and ice caused them to crack and fall.

Thanks, Becky, for January Squares with the theme of “up”. Just think of a photograph depicting something relating very broadly to “up” and square it “up” before linking it to Becky’s post.

Now and Then

One month ago the tree in our side yard looked like this. A few leaves had fallen but there were still some leaves that were fading their green. This morning when I got up a little after 7:00 for our weekly run to the grocery I found…

And the tree in our side yard looks like this…

Between “then & now” seems like such a short time but so much has changed, at least outside of our home. Inside we continue to hunker down in place, not seeing other people and only going out for essential reasons.

I know I have the right to go out and do as I please – I have a right to be maskless, but I also know I can make choices. Because I have a choice I have control over so much more of what happens in my life than relying just on fate. Making choices involves thinking about the options, reading and listening to experts so I know what the potential consequences are of each option, and thinking about the consequences for the people I love most and for society at large. I also know that situations change and I can reconsider my choices as I receive new information.

I haven’t been listening to much of the political commentary on TV because of political and Covid fatigue but I did happen to click on Rachael Maddow the other night to hear this segment on Rachael’s lockdown because of coming in contact with someone who was positive and her experience of caring for her infected wife who she is living apart from because of their exposure; and her experience of their fear that Susan was going to die. I love Jim and my children more than I can communicate. Thank you, Rachael, for putting my choices in those terms. Please listen to her honest and difficult description of her life right now and her plea to all of us.

The Lens-Artist Challenge for this week is “Now and Then.” It inspired me to spend a few minutes outside taking some photographs this morning, but also has me thinking about how life has changed between then and now. It also gives me hope that now won’t be forever – now will move into something different. I no longer think about Mondays or Thursdays or Sundays. Most important, wedged between all the yesterdays and next-days, are my todays. Today I am going to live my life with contentment and satisfaction. I will focus on picking up my yesterday socks from my reading room floor, make the bed, have another cup of coffee and a small dish of apple crisp, dry the clothes in the washing machine, work on sewn Christmas presents for friends and family, and make some stir fry for supper.

How will you choose to spend your today?

Snow Birds

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It snowed during the night and lightly through the morning hours. Jim, after telling anyone who would listen during the past year about how he loves being a snowbird because he hates clearing the snow from the driveway, was out midmorning clearing the one inch of snow from the drive with his snowblower. He came in with a great big smile on his face, having clearly enjoyed being out in the snow. But I understand how clearing snow grows tedious come late February and March.

I spent a lot of time sitting at the dining room table watching the light snow falling, the snow blowing off the neighbor’s roof, and the birds at the feeders that Jim filled yesterday. I am feeling very relaxed as the Christmas decorations are down and I’m just tidying up as we prepare to fly south in a couple of days. My tidying up includes deleting and tagging 2019 photos, starting with my November ones from Naples Botanical Garden. I haven’t gotten far because I keep returning to the dining room and the birds.

I really enjoyed reading and viewing Susan Rushton‘s post this week where she published many of the photos that she loves from her 2019 garden photography but never found their way into a blog. I think I will be doing the same for the next few weeks, starting with some orchids. Orchids are somewhat difficult to photograph so most of my attempts get deleted. Here are some photos that seem to capture the exotic beauty that I see when I view them growing in the garden.