More photos from Saturday's trip to the Calendar Garden -- seed pods, dried leaves, bare trees, and one surprise.
Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.
from Charlotte's Web, E.B. White
I took my Windwatchers group down to the calendar garden this past Saturday, to do some beholding.
The art of beholding is like this. "Behold" means to hold something in your gaze. To behold is not to stare or glance; it is not a quick scan or an expectant look. Beholding has a slow and spacious quality to it. . . . You release your expectations of what you think you will see and instead receive what is actually there. . . . Hold your camera in your hand and open yourself to grace and revelation hidden in each moment, just beneath the surface of what seems to be another ordinary moment.
from Eyes of the Heart, by Christine Valters Paintner
One can move into life with openness. It is as if one says to the world, and to life, and to one's self, and to God, "Surprise me!" This simple shift of attitude can make the difference between boredom and beauty. from Simply Sane, by Gerald May
And there were surprises and beauty -- the many shapes and patterns of flowers and seeds, fall-blooming iris and Lenten rose, the delight and energy of four young boys finding the perfect race track in the circular shape of the garden.
A few more photos from last weekend at Friedenswald, this time from the woods. So what is that wooly bear predicting about the length of the coming winter? (Presumably very little, since apparently the amount of brown is an indication of the caterpillar's age, so it says more about when the past winter ended then about the one coming up.)
And then there were the patterns of seeds and the glory of leaves in the sunlight, and the curlycues of leaf and vine, and the reflections of light cast by rippling water on a streambed near the fen.
More images from Camp Friedenswald. Later Saturday morning, I walked the Fen Frolic trail and found flowers and ferns, mushrooms and mosses.
Fens, for those of you wondering, are rare prairie wetlands. They occur in glaciated regions of the upper Midwest and are fed by groundwater from underground springs, rather than through precipitation.They are less acidic than bogs and richer in biological diversity.
This past weekend was the annual church retreat at Camp Friendenswald. We weren't able to be there the whole time, but went for the overnight Friday so that we could head out to the fen overlook at dawn. It was a beautiful morning to listen to the quiet chatter of ducks, bursts of loud calls from geese, the whir of wings as a small flock winged overhead, the calls of blackbirds gathering in one sunlit tree over a bed of burst cattails.
The sun slowly rose over the treetops to the east, and worked its way down the hill to our west, a tide of shadow ebbing away and leaving bright fall colors behind.
Later in the morning, Eric Kurtz led a hike, stopping in the meadow between the two fens to describe the efforts to create a passageway encouraging the endangered Mitchell's Satyr butterfly to spread from the one fen where they've found it to one closer to the lake. As we listened, I found a shiny black and tan chrysalis in the blanched grasses. The case was the right shape for a monarch, but the butterfly inside was not the proper orange and black. Either this was a species that makes a similar chrysalis, or, more likely, I've finally found a monarch chrysalis in the wild, but the butterfly did not survive. We haven't had a hard frost yet in Goshen, but they may well have had one here in Michigan.
Here's a medley of images, mostly from September, but that didn't find a place in posts last month -- patterns of light and shadow, and a couple insects that caught my fancy. I'm not sure what either of them are, though I'm guessing "katydid" for the green one. In any case, that one had the most amazing antennae. They look to be twice the length of the body. The one looks shorter, but that's only because it was moving -- "feelers" would clearly be another good name for them, as the insect very gently and rapidly checked out the area all around with them.
One misty, moisty morning,
when cloudy was the weather
I met a little old man
clothed all in leather.
He began to compliment,
and I began to grin,
How do you do, and how do you do,
And how do you do again?
Mother Goose rhyme
It was misty enough, but the sun came out and it soon cleared up, leaving plenty of dewdrops. Or would those be mist drops?
"Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"
I've taken on a prayer practice of looking for the moments of light in each day, whether actual or metaphorical, and then writing or posting photos of what I find.