I went out to the DeFries Calendar Garden on one of the warmer-than-usual days last week, wondering what was happening out there these days. At first glance, not much. It was a typical bleached out, frozen February landscape, with a few evergreens to remind us of color. But don't despair. Spring is coming -- my snowdrops are blooming!
More July flowers from the DeFries calendar garden. Enjoy the colors and patterns.
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.
This was a good week for a trip down to the calendar garden, where the summer flowers provided bright splashes of color -- and so did the insects. One image that didn't make it into the camera is the many blue dragonflies helicoptering over the pond. And another is the golden eyelid on the frog sunning himself on a lily pad. There was plenty of other color, though, and the intricate lace of a golden dragonfly's wings.
We visited the Defries Calendar Garden in the bright sunlight of a June midday. Here's a glowing desert flower, and an echo in two glowing pond flowers. And the golden eye of a tiny amphibian half hidden by a water lily leaf, sitting in a puddle and reflecting sparks of light. (It looks as big as the water lilies in these photos, but was about half the size of one of the petals). Then there's the sunlight glow of arched clematis leaves and the peculiar squiggles of an allium head.
It's November. The wind is cold. This week when I went walking, I had no desire to linger and my camera stayed in my coat pocket, even as I enjoyed the shifting light and shadow on the clouds overhead.
So here is a rather random collection of things that caught my eye the week before. Above, a plant candidate for the Red Hat Society who apparently misheard the poem Warning by Jenny Joseph ("When I am an old woman I shall wear purple/ With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.").
A Bonbon Buttercup squash, pretending to be an acorn squash.
At the Calendar Garden, I was admiring the pink and green lacy-ness of the decorative kale, when I realized that some of the lacy-ness, and some of the green-ness, was the result of bright green cabbage caterpillars, chomping away for all they were worth.
And if I hadn't slowed down and discovered the cabbage caterpillars, I wouldn't have noticed the flower beside the kale, with its spotted confetti clown suit, since it was much smaller, and blended in. I'm not sure what it is -- perhaps some of you can tell me.
Saturday began as one of those golden fall days, full of sunlight and wind, with gold leaves on the maple trees along 8th Street, twirling through the air, scuttling across the roads, and resting in drifts by my door.
When I drove down to the Calendar Garden in the afternoon, I discovered that out in the open countryside the trees were pretty well bare already. It was quieter in the garden, but as I strolled through the spring quarter, I kept spotting the shimmer of milkweed seeds, like tiny white fireworks, scattered amidst the other plants. They had blown a ways, but I finally found their origin -- a candelabra of tall, narrow milkweed pods.
The pond at the Calendar Gardens is once again full of tadpoles and lilypads. I love the mix of sizes and shades of color on the lilypads -- and the challenge of frog spotting. If you look closely (especially if you're looking via a mobile device), you might be able to spot the frog in the photo above. The photo below is a close-up -- though he's still a bit tricky to spot.
And the water iris are in all stages of blooms....
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"