These pics are a photographic collage my daughter Elise took (and some by my husband) of her and my jaunt around the garden, across the meadow, past the pond, and up through the fields to the woods above our farm.~
Such an exquisitely beautiful spring day. Pristine perfection. Many colored tulips glow like jewels. Virginia bluebells cover the ground in the dappled shade of the enormous maple tree. The original plants were a gift from my late grandmother.
Lilacs and flowering crab apples scent the warm air. Some of the lilacs have been here for half a century. The jonquils smell wonderful. Even the earthy fragrance of cows and hay appeals to me, an essential part of my being. Find your center place and you will discover what both grounds and inspires you. For me, it’s the Shenandoah Valley and the mountains…our farm…the garden, the land. Cherish the earth and it will richly reward you…restore your spirit.
The green meadow spreads, rippling, in the sun. Elusive meadowlarks trill from the tall grass. We try, but cannot find the secretive birds. Their sweet trill beckons from here and then there, always further ahead, or then again from behind. We are determined to find the singer but finally give up.
I once spied a meadowlark perched on a fence post, though not when I was looking for it. That’s about as high as they fly. The yellow on its breast was unmistakable. What a thrill. They are my favorite song birds.
I love the water birds too. A type of sandpiper darts around the pond in the low muddy spots and then flies, sounding its funny cry. There are a number of them, and the purple martins are back. Iridescent in the sun. The swifts and swallows are yet to come, but the pond is glorious. A frog plops in and we see a string of eggs in the grass at the edge. Ducks and geese bob over the water glinting in the clear light.
Our farm is the headwaters of an unassuming little creek that flows on through other farms and past the neighboring town, and on, we suppose to the river. It’s not a grand waterway, but how many of you can claim to live near the headwaters of anything? So I mention it with some pride. 🙂
On we wander, back behind our farm, to the remains of an old homestead. The house burned down years ago but a derelict outbuilding remains with a gnarled fruit tree, wild cherry I think, growing alongside it. And an ancient barn. There’s a grassy sort of clearing where the house and yard used to be set in amid lofty, seemingly random, trees. A large red squirrel lives there now and a startled rabbit. Lord only knows what else. I suspect it’s eerie at night. Maybe even haunted…though during the day everything appears utterly charming.
Then Elise spots the hawk we’ve been on the lookout for. We are fortunate to photograph the majestic red-tailed bird soaring high overhead, and think he lives in the wooded hills up above the fields. While he’s on his scouting expedition, the other creatures grow silent. The wise ones, anyway. I heard some foolish chatter.
The rose flush of new leaves co-mingle with the many shades of green in the trees. So many birds call from their branches. We seek the songsters, sometimes with luck, sometimes not, but rarely in time to snap their picture. Red wing black birds call continuously and almost seem to accompany us from place to place. I’ve never seen so many of them at once. Must be a sort of bird festival. They are quite special to me. Song sparrows sing, a chatty mockingbird, cardinal, possibly horned larks…
“I do not think I have ever seen anything more beautiful
than the bluebell I have been looking at. I know the beauty of our Lord by it.”
~ Gerald Manley Hopkins
“When bright flowers bloom
Parchment crumbles, my words fade
The pen has dropped …” ~Morpheus
“It is at the edge of a petal that love waits.”
~William Carlos Williams
“In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich
with many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I
With every leaf a miracle – and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break.”
~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1865