If you would be interested in being in one of the spiritual direction groups I lead and you live in the Goshen area, be sure and check out the offerings under the Groups tab on my home page. New groups will be starting next month and there are still some openings. Wayfarers focuses on group spiritual direction, Inklings is a faith and writing group, and Windwatchers is a new offering that will be looking at practices that nurture our awareness and receptivity.
On warm, sunny afternoons, the bees have been busy buzzing around the flowers in my garden. Even sometimes on wet, cloudy days -- I see one out my study window right now, checking out the salvia.
I'm intrigued by the variety I see -- honey bees, bumble bees, carpenter bees, sweat bees, and the occasional wasp. I prefer not to get close, since I'd rather not get stung, so some of the detail only shows up when I crop and create a close up thanks to the computer. Look for tattered wings, light reflected in wings, the shadow of wings, and yellow jodhpurs full of pollen, And all the variations in color and pattern.
Lavender's blue, dilly, dilly,
Or so the song goes. To me, lavender looks, well, lavender -- a light purple, on gray green stems. A very soothing combination of colors, and one that is thriving in my garden at the moment. Several bouquets are drying on my porch as well, filling the air with soothing scents.
Sunflowers and daylilies cast bright golden notes, and play with sunshine and shadow. I'm taken with the mix of blooms and buds on my spikey purple plants, and with their fragrance -- lavender, sage, and mint in these photos. Mint and lavender are cool and elegant, but the sage is more fuzzy and amusing.
What we notice and what we don't notice. This hemlock is in our backyard, pretty much straight out from my study window. A couple days ago I was standing in my study, talking on the phone, and idly looking out at the backyard. All at once my attention was caught by something in the tree, near the top on the left. At first I thought a plastic grocery bag had gotten stuck in the branches. But it didn't move with the breeze.
It reminded me of a nature walk I'd been on with a naturalist once. He was showing us the fruits on a large bush, and as we looked, my attention moved from the surface layer to much deeper within the bush, and I suddenly noticed more fully a gray shape that I'd only been vaguely aware of while looking at the fruit. It was a paper wasps' nest, an elegant structure with an entrance at the bottom and eaves at the top. The naturalist enthusiastically explained how the wasps gathered near those top openings in hot weather, fanning their wings to cool off the nest.
And as I looked at this object, I realized that I was looking at another paper wasp nest. It's full of bald-faced hornets, a type of wasp. In the right light, they have blue, iridescent wings. The nest is far enough from the house that we'll probably leave it till winter -- the hornets die off with the first hard frost.
We're wondering how quickly it grew. From our perspective, it appeared overnight. But more likely it has been there for awhile, and we just never noticed. And at this particular moment, the light was at the right angle, making it more visible, rather than it blending into the shadows as I've discovered it does most of the day.
I wonder what else is out in my backyard, that I just haven't noticed yet?
To round out the record of our time in the Northwest, a few city sights. One sight we saw numerous times, thanks to the clear July weather, but which proved elusive for the camera, was a snow covered Mt Ranier.
On our visit to Deception Pass State Park in Washington, we hiked from Bowman Bay over to Rosario Beach, where we found more tide pools. The occupants had some similarities with those of the Oregon tide pools and some differences. The hermit crabs were particularly lively -- the second picture below is a video of what I saw, not speeded up! (If you receive this blog by email, you may need to go to the website itself in order to see it. John's mobile device just has a blank between the two still shots of tide pool inhabitants.)
There is also a large wooden sculpture, portraying the Samish Indian story of Kwkwallwt, a young Samish maiden who is courted by a mysterious man from the sea. At first her family does not want to let her go to him, and as a result the sea withholds its fruits. Finally they allow her to join him, asking that she come back once a year to visit. The carving shows one of her visits, as she gradually becomes more and more attuned to the sea, covered with barnacles and small fish. In the end, she stays in the sea all year round, and the Samish people receive an abundance of gifts from the sea.
Flowers from the Oregon coast. I enjoyed the fiery orange, sky blue and pink bud/ white bloom. The blue came from an exuberant hydrangea bush, the pink and white from moonflower twining up an outside stair bannister. I'm not familiar with the orange one, but it glowed in the sunshine.
The same location for tide pools as in my last post, but these come from a morning low tide, with a fog bank above us. I picked up the shell below to see if it was another snail, and found a hermit crab ready to protect his (or her) home. I love the tiny barnacle trim -- makes me think of the book A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"