May 30, 2016

Lessons in Awe and Wonder

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On a royal-blue-sky day in late May, a House Wren trills its energetic song of joy. Cottonwood seeds float their fluff on the afternoon breeze, sparkling as they capture the dappled sun/shade filtering through the Oak canopy.

A familiar Black-Capped Chickadee lands on a branch above the pond--an arm's length from where I sit. A blonde Eastern Gray Squirrel scolds me from a crook of the Redbud tree, while a young child's voice in the distance calls happily for "Daddy!"

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In the front garden, three healthy American Robin chicks have just left their nest, the same day a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird now sits atop a new nest of avian wonder.

All these tiny "miracles" and many more prompt my quiet prayer of thanksgiving for the beautiful gifts I'm witnessing. And then a butterfly--an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail--flutters across the field of vision, as if on cue from the director of a feature film, at the perfect timing for full effect.

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This spring has been a season of yo-yo weather and a whirlwind of personal and professional challenge and accomplishment. It was a busy gardening season, ushering in great promise for the months ahead. But these brief moments of garden reflection are the big payoff. They can't be learned in a textbook, nor earned through heavy labor. They're free and available for all of us, if we only take a little time to notice.

These are my moments of awe and wonder. They leave me breathless and filled with great joy.

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How about you? Did you learn new lessons or experience moments of wonder this season? Welcome to the "Garden Lessons Learned" meme. To join in, simply write a post or share one you've already written about lessons you've learned during the past season. Then share your links or simple observations in the comments. I'll keep this post up for a few days, and it will be available always under the Lessons Learned tab at the top of this blog.

I'll share your "lessons" posts on the PlantPostings Facebook Page closer to the solstice.

Happy summer to friends in the Northern Hemisphere, and happy winter to those in the Southern Hemisphere!

52 comments:

  1. I think our dark cold winters prepare us to appreciate the wonders of the garden. It is so uplifting to see a butterfly float across the garden or to come upon a moth tucked up under a leaf. Of course there are many more wonders in the garden. The garden is an awesome place.

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    1. I think you're right, Lisa. And we tend to rush-rush-rush to plant and tidy up in May (I know I do), so I need to remind myself to slow down occasionally and observe, to fully appreciate the miracles around me.

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  2. Beautiful, Beth! This is what gardening is all about, but too often we (especially I) forget in the bustle of getting all the plants in the ground and the garden weeded and mulched. I started gardening for me, but along the way I discovered that a garden is also for all the wildlife who enjoy it. And they are just as beautiful as any bloom.

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    1. Thank you, Rose. Yes, it's a busy time of year for the northern gardener! We have to play catch-up after the last frost date. Observation and moments of grace are such sweet rewards!

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  3. Very well said, Beth. There is so much wonder all around us. All we have to do is stop & take a few moments to appreciate it...sometimes easier said than done. Thanks for the reminder :)

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    1. Thank you, Margaret. Yes, sometimes easier said than done. I have to keep reminding myself to pause and take it all in ... and to truly experience all the little miracles. :)

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  4. Beautiful Beth . . .
    Summer here all if a sudden, very warm. . . like hot!
    "Jacks" are "tucked in" . . . Iris in full bloom . . .
    I'll send pictures . . .

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    1. Thank you, Lynne. Yes, it's been warm/hot here, too, and I like it! Glad to hear the Jacks are settling into your garden. Those Irises are lovely! :)

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  5. Here, here Beth! Moments in the garden are a wonder some days. Taking time out to enjoy all the goings on round and about is one of the benefits of getting outdoors.

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    1. Yes, they are, Angie. Those of us who spend large amounts of time in the garden are lucky. It's good therapy and a joyful experience for anyone, really. :)

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  6. As you wrote in reply to another comment - Moments of Grace.

    Thank you for sharing with us :)

    Beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Aaron. One late afternoon I was watching the Cottonwood fluff float gracefully through the air and catching the waning sunlight just so. And then all these other things happened. I knew these were not camera moments, and barely word moments. But I gave it a go. ;-)

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  7. The garden is a place of wonder. Even during projects and garden maintenance, we should remember to observe and appreciate the natural world as a gift. Lovely post.

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    1. Thanks, Tina. I agree: I need to keep reminding myself, even during the busy times, to stop a moment and take it all in. :)

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  8. Lovely butterfly photos. There are indeed many magical moments in the garden at this time of the year.

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    1. Thanks, Chloris. Those magical moments truly seem like gifts. Some days simply amaze me with their beauty!

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  9. Lovely post, Beth. I’m always lifted up by the singing birds in the early morning. They seem to find joy in every day, and hearing them always puts a smile on my face.

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    1. Thanks, Diana. I've been waking up with birdsong lately, too. Such a joyful blessing. :)

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  10. You paint an inspiring picture with your words, plus the Swallowtail photos are great. I haven't seen any Swallowtails just yet.

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    1. Thanks, Jason. These photos were from previous years, although I've seen many Swallowtails already this year. A couple of Monarchs, too, but none in my garden yet. Butterflies are such a gift to see!

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  11. Especially in spring I´m suprised, amazed, astonished about the wonders in the garden. I wonder how I should live without a garden.
    Thank you for your nice words and photos of the butterflies.

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    1. Oh, yes, I agree. How would I live without a garden. The world would be a very sad place. You are welcome, and thank you for your visit.

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  12. Beautiful, thoughtful post Beth. At times the garden seems like a lot of work but, in spring particularly, there are moments when its beauty bowls you over.

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    1. Thank you, Alain. Oh my goodness--yes, so much work! It has been a crazy spring with work-work and garden-work. At times, it seemed almost overwhelming. But there was something about the light and the floating fluff and all the other things happening that made me pause and sigh and count the blessings. :)

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  13. Wow, I love this. You are so right. The joys of gardening come in so many ways. Nature is one of the many joys I receive from gardening. I love working outside and taking in all the beauty.
    Your photos are amazing today.
    Carla

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    1. Thank you, Carla. I need to keep reminding myself to slow down sometimes and simply experience the gifts of the day. I know that's easier said than done, because often I forget to do it myself. But sometimes the beauty of it all really takes my breath away.

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  14. Lovely thoughts for another lovely day. I am amazed at the great butterfly and bird photos you take.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. Sometimes it amazes me how the light plays on subjects so beautifully. If I'm lucky I can begin to capture that with the camera.

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  15. What beautiful photographs to double your beautiful thought. The spring has been flighty here, but no end delightful.

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    1. Thank you. Strange weather for sure here, too. We seem to be settling into a calmer, summer pattern, and I like it.

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  16. Wildlife brings daily awe and wonder here too Beth...a few butterflies but they are not staying around long enough for pictures...but lots of other critters. I know I am blessed! Here's my link on my other blog!

    http://www.livingfromhappiness.com/wildlife-lesson-as-spring-unfolds/

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    1. Thanks for joining in, Donna. Oh gosh, I loved your post about all your critters! Happy summer!

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  17. It was nice to read about the start of your summer days as we head into winter here in Australia. Lovely photos too.

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    1. Thank you! I enjoyed visiting your blog today, too. I have a feeling I would like your winters better than ours. But our summers are pretty nice. Enjoy the season ahead, and thanks for stopping by!

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  18. Beautifully expressed and photographed! I felt like I was right there with you enjoying all the sights and sounds in your garden. Such blessings do indeed prompt awe and wonder and prayerful thanksgiving to the one who provides it all.

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    1. Thank you, Tracy! Yes, blessings. Sometimes the miracle of it all really hits me, although much too often I am numb or too busy or not observant enough. When I pause and am open to the grace, well, no other experience matches it.

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  19. Beautiful observations and photos on the wonders that take place each day. In my warmer climate, it's a bit different but still important to take time to observe.

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    1. Thanks, Shirley. Yes, your climate is more comfortable year-round. I'm jealous of your winters. But summer here is perfect for me. Spring and fall aren't bad, either. I have more trouble appreciating the "miracles" of winter, because it's uncomfortable to be outside here. ;-)

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  20. Such a lovely Butterfly and a joy to see, Butterfly numbers are very low in my garden, none stopping long enough to record, bees, moths and most insects low as well.
    Amanda xx

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    1. I've only seen one Monarch butterfly, but many Swallowtails so far. And many bees and other insects. I agree: Seeing a butterfly in the garden is a special joy!

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  21. Gotta love moments like that. I was approaching the Grady Tract entrance last week when I heard a noise behind me. I looked up and around and that's when I saw the hawk regally perched at the top of a dead tree. That was followed ere long by the sighting of two deer and several lady's-slippers. It was definitely a good night for a walk!

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    1. Yes, indeed. What a great experience to see so many wild things on your hike at the Grady Tract!

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  22. Such wonderful photos of the butterfly! I am constantly filled up by the beauty of nature and the lessons it teaches to those who are willing to pause long enough to see and hear.

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    1. Thanks, Deb. This time of year I don't want to miss a thing. Sometimes life gets too busy, though, and I have to remind myself to slow down and really take it all in.

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  23. Lovely. Your descriptions seem similar to what we're enjoying currently. Have spotted hummingbirds for several weeks but should see more now the Monarda is blooming.

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    1. I seem to be seeing more HBs lately, too. Perhaps some were still on the journey north until recently and now they're settling in for the summer. :)

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  24. A beautiful word picture of one of those perfect moments we experience in our gardens.

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    1. Thanks, Peter. Simple garden pleasures are the best. :)

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  25. My wonder was today - walking on the beach - hot berg wind - and the sea like a turquoise lagoon. Winter in Cape Town ;~))

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    1. That sounds beautiful, Diana. I think I would enjoy your winter in S. Africa, too.

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  26. Wonderful post! I am guilty of only seeing what needs to be done instead of what is already beautiful without any help from me. I have much to be grateful for, thank you for the reminder. :-)

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    1. I have to remind myself about this, as well. Especially after the rush, rush of the spring plantings. Now it's time to capture memories of those magical nature moments during the warm seasons to carry us through the winter. ;-)

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