“Simple Garden Delights”

These are just a few of my simple garden delights.

This toadstool sprouted up one morning after quite a few days of rain and damp weather. I watched it grow from infancy to old age in a matter of four days. What a marvelous, yet simple thing to behold. Each day I eagerly waited to see what its next state of maturation would look like. All the time hoping no harm would befall it, and worrying that I might come out to find it crushed or destroyed.

"Toadstool"
“Toadstool”

On a late summer evening not long before sunset as I walked among the flowers, I made my way through the beds of roses and this lovely lady in pink gave me reason to stop enjoy her delicate scent and marvel at her wonders.

"Lady Pink"
“Lady Pink”

Early morning dew has a way of casting its magic across any landscape. In the grass, way down low, I lay quietly. I knew I would be covered with the wetness of the ground, but that didn’t matter. There was a whole world of dancing lights at my disposal. From near to far I watched as the sun rose higher until everything was golden and glistening! A tiny glorious moment in time, twinkling forever!

"Sparkling Morning Dew"
“Sparkling Morning Dew”

These small moments alone with nature are so important. They give us the much needed connection to something greater than ourselves. The time to simply watch and listen to the world around us. A few moments away from the rush of our lives, and the constant connection to technology that we are so immersed in.

What simple things delight you, make you curious? What do you enjoy in this wonderful natural world around us?

“The Road Quite Traveled”

As the fall season approaches I anxiously await its arrival. In looking though a few images from a couple of years ago, it reminded me of some good times and beautiful color.

The afternoon that day two years ago started out with a mix of clouds and sun. I decided to go out with my youngest son and head for the nearest area that I thought might have some good color.

By the time we arrived on a really scenic road that is quite well traveled, the wind had picked up and dark clouds were starting to roll in. I jumped out of the car at the best place to park along the side of the road, and caught this beautiful scene. The yellow gold of the fall foliage stood out pronounced against the deeper blues of the sky.

"The Country Mile" Actually many miles of beautiful winding roads. A place quite popular with cyclists.
“The Country Mile”
Actually many miles of beautiful winding roads. A place quite popular with cyclists.

 

After grabbing a few images of the road scenery, the clouds really started to move! My son and I made our way over to a lake near there just as the weather made another turn, but one that made a dramatic change to the fall foliage. The colors were brighter than ever as the afternoon sunlight shown on the trees, and the quickly racing clouds gave a dark and foreboding look to the scene. I took every chance to get in as many shots from all the angles I could while my youngest stayed near me trying to skip stones across the water. I of course had to take a bit of time out for some skipping myself! 😉

"Fall Storm of Reflections" The fall color reflected beautifully on the water as the sun and clouds did their battling!!
“Fall Storm of Reflections”
The fall color reflected beautifully on the water as the sun and clouds did their battling!!

We spent a good long while there enjoying the cool breeze, warm sun, and myriad of colors. On the way home I decided to try to find at least one more vibrant location. It was getting much closer to sundown by then, but I found another pretty place along a river, that seemed convenient to get to. We popped out of the car and wandered around pathways. The water there was totally calm and smooth making the reflections really lovely even though the light was fading.

 

"Smooth Reflections" As the day got late and the sun nearly gone. The water on the river was smooth as glass, giving perfect conditions for beautiful autumn reflections!
“Smooth Reflections”
As the day got late and the sun nearly gone. The water on the river was smooth as glass, giving perfect conditions for beautiful autumn reflections!

I remember that day with a lot of fondness and happiness. It was fun quality time spent with my son. It was during my favorite season (fall), and I was blessed that day to have amazing fall foliage and gorgeous skies!!

Here’s to this coming autumn, wishing everyone beautiful days, amazing color, wonderful skies, a crisp breeze when you desire it, and calm when you need it!! 🙂

 

“Floral Summer”

This summer has been a floral summer for me. Instead of the traveling I usually do, I’ve ended up spending much more time with garden flowers, and trips to botanical gardens. Here are just a few of the images I’ve taken recently. A little summer color for you!! Enjoy 🙂

"Zinnia Orange King" A Stunning deep orange hued Zinnia!!
“Zinnia Orange King”
A Stunning deep orange hued Zinnia!!
"Summer Tiger Lily" Also known as Day Lily, Tawny Lily, and Ditch Lily.
“Summer Tiger Lily”
Also known as Day Lily, Tawny Lily, and Ditch Lily.
"Sangria" A Rose among many colorful flowers!!
“Sangria”
A Rose among many colorful flowers!!
An imperfect Marigold in lovely morning sunlight and dew!!
An imperfect Marigold in lovely morning sunlight and dew!!

“Timeless Rose”

Timeless Rose I remember thee,
Velvet soft petals,
In folds so gently.

Ever swirling inward bound,
Lightly touching,
Without a sound.

Wrapping curving in endless ways,
Ever soothing,
Through all my days.

Timeless Rose as last light goes,
Days are numbered,
Yet no one knows.

Stay a while for now you see,
Forever loving,
Through Eternity.

~ Rachel Cohen ~

"Timeless Rose"
“Timeless Rose”

“How Soon is Too Late?”

I love this quote!  —–>” You can never do a kindness to soon because you never know how soon it will be too late”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
This one is a personal favorite of mine.  None of us are ever assured of what will happen next in our lives. We don’t know when we might lose someone near and dear to us. We also don’t know when our time on this planet is finished.

There’s no better time than the present to let someone know how much you love them and care about them. There’s no better time than now to do a kind deed for someone or maybe offer them help.

Everyone will only pass this way once, and we have just this life to do the best that we can for ourselves,  for other people around us and if possible to help others less fortunate than ourselves around the world.

How sad it would be if we had years to make amends to someone, but didn’t , or even just mend a broken relationship, but never tried. Life is so short!

Let the people you love, know it, and do it now. Hug your children now, and do it often. Is there a friend you haven’t spoken to in years?  How about giving them a call?

Try to help someone in need. Do a kindness for a stranger. There are so many ways that we can connect to our fellow human beings.

We are all on this giant blue ball in space. We are all brothers and sisters to each other. No matter where we live, no matter our circumstances, we are all connected to each other in an inescapable way.

So take some time to spread some love and cheer. We are not guaranteed anything, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, so show some kindness and love, and do it now before you lose your chance.

In a way it is like these lovely pink peonies. They bloom in such gorgeous abundance, but only once a year. They can only flourish if they’ve been nurtured and cared for. If they don’t receive enough water, if there is too much sun, or maybe too little. If the winter is too harsh or the soil too poor, they may not come back again.

We must care for these flowers. We must care for the gardens that contain them. We must care for each other and make sure that we as a world, we as human beings are nourished from within our souls as well as our bodies, and try to do our best to help others to enjoy these same pleasures and ideals that we are so lucky to have.

 

"Feeling Pink"
“Feeling Pink”

Again….. “You can never do a kindness to soon because you never know how soon it will be too late”

“Robert Frost in Michigan”

One of my favorite poets of all times is Robert Frost. If you’ve been following me for a while, you might already know that! 😉

Frost wrote so many wonderful poems, my favorite is “The Road Not Taken”.

Most people associate Robert Frost with living in and being from New England only, but what you might not know is that he also spent a bit of time in Ann Arbor Michigan, and loved it!

In 1921 Frost accepted a 5,000 fellowship to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  He once said to a friend of his “I like Michigan people and I like Michigan”.  He stayed in Ann Arbor at the University lecturing, attending receptions and arranging poetry readings with other American poets of the time, and meeting with groups of students.

He used to love to wander the streets of Ann Arbor at night when he couldn’t sleep, which was often because he suffered quite badly from insomnia. On one of those walks he found a Greek Revival House that he thought was “charming”. This house which used to be in Ann Arbor on Pontiac Trail became his residence while here. The house was later moved to preserve it’s history and is now located at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan.

This is the house as it looks today at Greenfield Village:

"Robert Frost House"
“Robert Frost House”

 

Frost wrote two poems during his stay in Ann Arbor.  The first one is:

SPRING POOLS

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods—
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.

“Spring Pools”  captures the natural rhythm of seasons in transition with flowing water and reflections as well as the transformation of  flowering tree buds to the deep dark green foliage of the summer woods.

"Time to Reflect"
“Time to Reflect”

 

This poem was written around the time he had a bout with the flu. He took to writing at that time for three full days. He stayed in this house  by a roaring fireplace on the couch and wrote, quite enjoyably to his hearts content!

In a conversation with Edward Latham a number of years later, Frost recalled the circumstances of that writing: “I lived out on Pontiac Trail then. One night I sat alone by my open fireplace and wrote Spring Pools. It was a very pleasant experience, and I remember it clearly, although I don’t remember the writing of many of my other poems.”

In the 1920s Frost became quite a well known figure in Southeast Michigan. He lived in this house from about 1924 through 1926.

I mentioned before, that he wrote two poems while in Ann Arbor. The other poem is called “Acquainted with the Night”, which I won’t insert into this post right now. I might bring that at another time with an image that reflects his words.

Robert Frost did also mention that He felt as though he did some of his best and most creative writing while in Ann Arbor!

I personally think that is really awesome!! 🙂

 

“Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Bloom”

The Matthaei Botanical Gardens are part of the University of Michigan system located in Ann Arbor Michigan. They contain beautiful botanical gardens, lovely wooded and open natural areas with loads of trails, wetlands and also several habitat areas for research. There is also a conservatory which is open all year round. Which we certainly need here in Michigan!

During the summer months though, everything comes to life in vibrant color!

I originally planned to talk about the many varieties of plants and flowers in this post, some wild, others cultivated. Instead I decided do that in another post, especially with the large amount of images I made.

When I began processing some of the many images from the gardens, I felt compelled to work on these that you see here, first.

Let’s start with the physical entrance to the main flower garden. A beautiful metal gate. I have photographed it previously, but this time I decided to take only a part of it. Instead of the focus being on the gardens behind it, the focus shifts to the gate itself with only a reference to what lies beyond.

Also while processing just a few of the images, they seemed more abstract in nature. Very colorful, lots of bokeh. Some peaceful, some even a bit chaotic.

I tried to get an ID on the maroon colored flower, and wasn’t able to. There were no markings there as to what it was, and after many Google searches I finally gave up. If anyone has an idea I’d be happy to hear it!

So for now enter here at the metal gate, and take a different look at this main garden which is brimming with summertime color. We’ll start with just a few images today.

Enjoy!

"Through the Garden Gate"
“Through the Garden Gate”

-Purple Coneflower Dream-  800x600
“Purple Coneflower Dream”

"Illumination in Yellow"
“Illumination in Yellow”
"Sunlight on Maroon"
“Sunlight on Maroon”

“IDS and Foshay Towers Minneapolis”

On my last visit to Minneapolis MN. I spent a day in this beautiful city just wondering around the streets essentially with my eye to the sky.

My original destination was The Foshay Tower, which I went to first. I toured the inside, then went to the observation deck for the spectacular view from the top. I love the historical aspect of the architecture there! You’ll see the Foshay Tower in the last image.

The IDS Tower was the building that called for my attention next! It’s such a lovely building with it’s glass facade, angles, and height. Two of the images below are from one frame and processed differently. The third image is from a slightly different angle of the same building that reveals some of the reflections of other structures in the area.

I really like the sharp edges and deep contrast of the architecture of the IDS Tower itself. When processing I also used high contrast in these two images, whether color or monochrome. Only the last image is done in a softer tone.

The IDS Tower is 57 stories tall, it became the tallest skyscraper in Minneapolis when it surpassed the height of the Foshay Tower, which is 32 stories tall. This happened in 1972, which then ended the Foshay Tower’s 43-year reign over the Minneapolis skyline. In addition to being a lot taller, The IDS Tower occupies much more real estate than the Foshay does. The Foshay Tower was desighed to look more like the Washington Monument so it has an obelisk-like look to it.

Enjoy these images from a small part of Minneapolis as you look to the sky. Be careful don’t strain your neck! 😉

"IDS Tower Framed" mono
“IDS Tower Framed” mono

“IDS Tower Framed” mono

"IDS Tower Framed"
“IDS Tower Framed”

“IDS Tower Framed”

"IDS Tower Reflections" mono
“IDS Tower Reflections” mono

“IDS Tower Reflections” mono

"Foshay Tower" monochrome
“Foshay Tower” monochrome

“Foshay Tower” monochrome

“Cucumber Falls”

We’re going back again to Ohiopyle State Park in this image, to Cucumber Falls. Located in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania, this spot is a popular place to visit. So popular that it is sometimes hard not to find people in the water below the falls in the hot summer months.

It took quite a bit of time to not only have the waterfall seemingly to myself, but to also have a relatively even lighting situation.

I have photographed these falls on several occasions. The dappled and sometimes harsh lighting conditions can be difficult during most of the day.

I was able to take advantage of the morning light this particular visit, and was really happy that I did.

It really is a feast for the senses. You can hear the roar of the water as it comes over the rocky ledge to the pool below.  Next you feel the coolness of the air from the spray of the falls and the darkness of the deep woods. Lastly you can smell the heavy scent of earthiness from the damp dirt to the abundant moss and lichen that cover the rocks below.

There’s just nothing like being able to get out into nature. Whether it is a short walk in a small garden to smell the flowers, a strenuous hike in a mountainous area, or something in-between like the enjoyment of a beautiful waterfall.

For me I feel the need to get out every day, to see and feel the beauty that is all around. We can all do that, no matter where we are. It is a must for my soul, and you may feel the same way too.

Tell me about the way you enjoy the simple things in nature, what feeds your soul!

"Dreamy Cucumber Falls"
“Dreamy Cucumber Falls”

“Sunset on Ice Fields”

Recently on a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I was taken by surprise at all of the ice still remaining on Lake Superior.

The weather on my second day there turned unseasonably warm, which happened to be the case the day I took this sunset.

On certain areas of Lake Superior you can only see ice in the far distance, in other places you are actually able to still stand on thick chunks that are floating around closer to the shore.

The day before I took this image the whole bay was a mass of floating icebergs, ranging in size from many feet wide to a few inches in width. The depth could also be 1-3 feet for those that I could see. I’m sure much larger for those in the middle of each of the Great Lakes.

I was really hoping to get some sunset images through the icebergs with loads of golden color. Well, that didn’t happen because on the next evening I arrived to find much of the ice that had been close to the shore previously, no longer there. The warm southern winds had blown it further out in the water. Only a few chunks remained close to where I was standing.

The temperatures that day had reached the upper 80’s with plenty of haze and humidity, as well as a ton of black flies and mosquitoes. Consequently the sunset was not quite what I had hoped for yet it was really colorful and quite long lasting.

This frame is one of the later ones from that night, towards the end of sunset. The colors were still strong at the time, and the ice fields visible in the distance. You can also notice a few smaller pieces of ice closer to the shore.

The funny thing to me was knowing that here in late May, there were still many remnants of this winters extremely cold weather all around me.

I’m sure that there will be ice somewhere on Lake Superior for another month or two!

Enjoy this extremely simple image, and view of color and ice in a time that you wouldn’t normally expect it!

"Sunset on Ice Fields"
“Sunset on Ice Fields”