Transitions

I don’t think most people find transitions easy.

Neither does nature. It’s particularly noticeable in Winter to Spring. We are tired of slipping and sliding on snow. We are tired of dark days. We are tired of cold. Spring teases us with sun, flowers and green grass and then another snow storm. Maybe that’s why April Fools Day starts off the first month of Spring?

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Spring Transitions – Lovely blues skies one day, gray and snow the next. We have to dig into our reservoir of hope and trust that the blue skies will be back again.

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The forsythia blooms, only for snow to come a day later.

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The daffodils are one of the first flowers in my garden to make a show, then are covered in a blanket of white.

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But there is still a beauty about this time. Waiting and hoping for change, noticing the good; building perseverance isn’t totally painful.

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Pretty soon all things will be new. That is the promise of Easter. That is the promise of Spring.

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Observing

One of the hardest things for me is to ground myself in the here and now. I have to work at being “present.” I easily go into my head to think and plan and dream. But the most peace I experience comes from observing and appreciating nature around me.

Nature photography is one way I use to “capture the moment.” One of the hardest things for a photographer is similar to women and makeup. Women believe they are more beautiful with makeup, and many times they are. But there is a beauty and freedom in being natural too. These pictures are “real” … like a woman without makeup … they are untouched, uncropped, and fresh out of the camera. And this is what I observed this week …

The leaves on the ground.

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Sassafras

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Maple

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Oak

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The winding road as a metaphor of life.

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The play of light in trees and on weeds.

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The sun in the east and the moon in the west sharing the same sky.

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The beautiful oranges of Bittersweet and a Painted Lady butterfly.

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Observing nature is a type of meditation. A time to unplug from the computer, take a break from my thoughts and simply breathe in the simple miracles around me. A feeling of awesomeness and gratitude seem to suffuse the air and that’s worth sharing.

August Flowers

White and yellow colors predominate our flowers in August around Michigan.

The glorious sunflower, a native American plant … besides it’s beauty, the sunflower has many practical uses: sunflower oil is used in salad dressings and for cooking, the fiber from the stem can be used in fabric and paper, a drink made from the sunflower head can be used for respiratory ailments, the stems can be used for fuel, and the seeds for eating. SOURCE

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In addition to the sunflower, there are many other wildflowers gracing our roadsides.

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Queen Anne’s Lace is a fragile looking flower – appearing like snowflakes in mid-summer.  They make a lovely Christmas Tree decoration when they are pressed between pages of a book and dried – simply hang them by a thread.

Queen Anne’s Lace is also known as Wild Carrot but has a white tap root. The seed oils have been used medicinally for intestinal issues. SOURCE And the Roman’s ate it as a vegetable and the leaves have been mixed with honey to help heal wounds.  SOURCE

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Sow thistle above are another edible wildflower. The leaves and flowers can be used in salads like the dandelion but sow thistle is less bitter. SOURCE

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Jewelweed (below) is often found growing near poison ivy and crushed jewelweed has been used as a salve to treat poison ivy rash and other skin ailments. SOURCE The seeds in the ripe seedpod can be eaten and have walnut like flavor. SOURCE

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The lone blue flower below is chicory. There’s nothing else around that looks like chicory. The leaves can be used for salad in the early spring and the root can be toasted dry and then ground to make coffee. Boiling the plant (roots, leaves, flower) creates a skin wash for athlete’s foot and other skin irritations. SOURCE

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I’m enjoying our summer flowers and I hope you are too!