Tag Archives: wildflowers

Looking at Weeds: NPM20 Day 5

Today’s poetry invitation on SDAWPoetry was Wallace Steven’s Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. I realized I’ve been thinking a lot about weeds and wildflowers–especially after the comment from a colleague the other day. He started to direct us into “the weeds of our work,” and then corrected himself to direct us into the wildflowers.

I spent some time wandering around my backyard today. Taking photos of the blossoms that somehow managed to escape my husband’s mowing yesterday. I love the idea that they get down low and avoid the lawnmower–that they are wily and resilient along with their ability to brighten up an otherwise drab space.

So here is today’s poem:

Looking at Weeds

I. They sprout and bloom in

the unlikeliest of places

are they unwanted

simply because they

weren’t planted?

II. Get down low and look close

see the tiny blossom

shaded under the tall stem

of another unplanted sprout

III. Rain and sun

and a bit of neglect

are perfect conditions to bloosom

IV. Perhaps children, too, need a bit

of benign neglect

to blossom

space to grow at will

rather than in straight rows

and in perfectly tended gardens

V. Wind and bees

tend the wild, sending messages

on air current

and hairy legs

spreading, planting, seeding

VI. How do I seed ideas

critical thought

unbridled learning

so that it thrives like

the wildflowers

we so often call weeds?

®Douillard

SOLC Day 21: Spring Has Sprung

The sun rose early today, spreading its energy and light around like confetti, creating a party-like atmosphere, lightening the heaviness of this difficult time. And it’s the weekend! Even though there is work to do, today I’ve tried not to work. I’ve read, watched some mindless Saturday television, Facetimed with my grandsons (oh, to be 4!), walked on the beach, and even braved the grocery store.

I can feel that burst of energy coursing through my veins, running through my marrow, clearing my mind and unwinding that tight knot in my shoulder. There are so many people out today. The neighborhood is teeming with walkers (keeping their distance, of course), dogs, and bicyclers. I noticed someone up the street blowing bubbles for their children to chase in the front yard. The folks in the cul de sac near us had their patio furniture spread out into the street to allow for socializing with social distancing. I waved to the mail deliverer as I picked up the package on my front porch and my husband was profuse in his thanks to the grocery store employees who were doing their best to make shopping in the time of coronavirus as enjoyable as possible.

And the beach was glorious! We had another negative tide this afternoon, exposing a huge stretch of walking beach. While some white clouds hunched along the horizon, the expanse of blue dominated the sky. Wildflowers are blooming, adding their brilliant yellow to the usually monochromatic palette of endless shades of blue.

Rain is in the forecast for the next couple of days–and while we always seem to need rain–I am selfishly rooting for sun. Once spring has sprung, I don’t really want to push it back into the box! (Although I do admit, sunny days seem to be harder for people to maintain their social distancing!) Hope you’re also finding some ways to enjoy these first days of spring and a bit of downtime to recharge your batteries.

A Noticing Day: SOLC 2019 Day 30

With reports cards written and parent conferences ahead of me, today was low-key. Sandwiched between errands, lunch out, and a chiropractic appointment, we fit in a noticing walk on the beach.

Today is part of a warming trend in our parts, sunny and clear, breezy with temperatures in the low 70s.  Beach goers were out in full force, taking advantage of a beautiful spring weekend.  (This has definitely been an in like a lion, out like a lamb March!)

Some days at the beach I have no idea what I’ll take a photo of.  I have tons of beach photos from all seasons, so I’m always alert to something new or unusual in some way.  We walked a different beach today, one further north than my usual Moonlight Beach, just because it was on our way from one errand to another.  As I walked my eyes were drawn to the maze of stairways from multimillion dollar homes on the cliffs zigzagging their way down the steep bluffs.  I took several shots, trying to capture that effect in my photo. (There are more–I was wishing to get an even wider view through my lens!)

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As I pressed the shutter, my husband called out to me.  “Do you see that?  Right there on the ladder…see the osprey?”  I didn’t at first (even though I had just photographed that very ladder!), my husband had to direct my gaze to see the bird in the distance.  We carefully moved closer, picking our way across the stones in our bare feet.  We photographed and watched, mesmerized by this majestic bird of prey.  After a few minutes of close observation, we walked back closer to the water’s edge.  As we took a last look over our shoulder, we saw it flying away in the other direction.  I am so glad my husband saw what I hadn’t noticed!

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We continued our walk, and I found my eyes alternating between watching the brilliant cobalt blue sky where sea birds soared and searching the sand and rocks for sea glass. Looking up, I saw a variety of gulls and terns, ravens, and even an egret in flight.  And always a favorite, pelican squadrons made their runs up and down the coast.

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As we headed back the car I couldn’t resist a close look at the wildflowers growing along the beach path.  I noticed the bees busily buried in the centers of these native yellow beauties.

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While I ended up spending the majority of my day out and about, it was a day for relaxing and noticing rather than hurrying and worrying.  I watched and wondered, taking time to breathe deeply and enjoy time out with my love on this perfect spring day.  I can feel my energy levels charging–just what I’ll need for the week of parent conferences that are just around the corner!

In My Hiking Boots: Day 11

Footwear in my daily life usually involves flip flops, tennis shoes, and whatever “fashionable” shoes I decide to wear to work.  Footwear on this trip to the Pacific Northwest has taught me the importance and value of my hiking boots.  I brought them thinking I would need them on days when we decided to do some “real” hiking–but I have worn them everyday…walking on the beach, on the mountain, in the forest, and around town.  Here’s a little ode to my hiking boots:

In My Hiking Boots

 

In my hiking boots

I explore wild and windy coastlines

briny breezes upending my hair

spectacular vistas soothing my eyes

 

In my hiking boots

I climb snowy mountains

strapped to red snowshoes

breathing in unspoiled air with my head in the clouds

 

In my hiking boots

I tromp through forests

of a million shades of green

gazing up at waterfalls

that drop torrents of water

feeding ferns, moss, and a wonderland of wildflowers

 

In my hiking boots

my feet are dry and warm

my heart is full

and life is good.

 

Douillard 2018

This is a gallery of some of the wildflowers I found along my watery hikes today as we went out in search of waterfalls and witches’ houses!

I got another student poem via email today.  Here’s her vision of the night sky…another ode of sorts!

Stars

When the sun melts down into the bleeding horizon,
my twinkling friends appear.
First one, then another, then they all come,
like raindrops falling from the clouds.
They dance as if they are swimming,
making ripples in a watercolored sky.
Their silver images are like a million rockets,
dazzling nocturnal eyes.
Sadie

And here’s another student poem, inspired by Williams’ The Red Wheelbarrow:

The Voice

So much depends upon

People’s voices

Sharp or dull in the day or night

Inside a friend’s heart.

By Kai

What are you appreciating today?  Maybe it will find its way into a poem!

Quiet Forces of Nature

When we think of a force of nature, our thoughts often turn to those terrifying and often devastating earthquakes, tornados, avalanches, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, and wildfires.  But sometimes in nature, forces whisper and almost go unnoticed.

In the solitude of the hiking trail, the rhythm of our boots joined the whoosh of the wind as it races through the tree tops.  When I look closely I can see how the wind shapes those tall sentinels, bending and curving them with its quiet force.

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Could have been wind or water (or the lack of water) or something else that worked this tree trunk loose from the ground.  Now it continues to contribute to life in the forest as it decays, providing a home to insects and fungi, enriching the soil…and providing a natural frame for this photo!

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Tiny flowers spring up, planted by the wind and passing wildlife, watered by the increasingly rare raindrops, and nibbled by the local inhabitants.  In the meadows they create a carpet of color, a delight for the eyes.

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Look closer and you can see the individual blossoms as they sway in the breezes, their beauty fleeting…it won’t be long before the blooms dry up and fall off and this colorful carpet will turn to dry brush.

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The barbed wire hints at the cattle that graze these spaces.  As I see the fences I remember a photo recently posted by a friend…and it becomes a mentor for one of my own.

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I hear birds and look up.  On this hike I have seen birds of prey floating on the wind currents and what I think are local woodpeckers, with bright red heads, chatting with one another in the tall oaks high above me.  I see other evidence of their presence, the creation of granary trees where they store their acorns.

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There are so many forces of nature at work in this magnificent place in our local mountains.  Nature’s forces weren’t roaring, but they whispered their power, begging me to take notice and appreciate the intricacies of her systems at work.  I’m part of this system too, and when I care I can make a positive difference, remembering that my needs and desires need to stay in balance with those of the trees and the birds and the wildflowers.

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