The interplay of light and shadow -- fascinating! I like that little round drop in the shadow of the big drop above, and the subtle play of light and shadow that allows us to see it. And then there's the pattern of light and shadow cast by the dewdrops below. And the patterns of light and shadow on flowers, and through flowers.
In the dim light of this foggy, foggy morning the morning glories glowed and the spider webs were outlined with dewdrops.
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?
A dewy fall morning at equinox, and the garden is full of zinnia fireworks and bespangled kale and kohlrabi.
Some sights from my vegetable garden this week. The tomatoes are finally starting to ripen, though I'm not sure whether this week's blossoms will make it to ripened-fruit stage. The tall, feathery dill are volunteers, but no surprise -- they self-sow and I always leave some to provide fresh dill weed for potato or cucumber salads. And the swallowtail caterpillars seem to like it too. There are a few other volunteers -- one tall sunflower, a red potato plant, and a vine full of what is probably cantalope. Too bad I can't photograph the tastes of all these goodies. And if anyone needs a few zuchinnis, just ask!
I went for a walk on the millrace path one bright morning earlier this week and found dewy jewels everywhere I looked. The beginning lines from the refrain of one of the songs we sing at church kept running through my head, "Fresh as the morning, sure as the sunrise..."
One of my friends dislikes the way the refrain continues -- God always faithful, you do not change, He feels that it plays in to some people's perceptions that God is impervious, impassive, and incapable of being affected, avoiding change.
The refrain keeps singing in my head though. For me, "you do not change" connects with "always faithful" and with the sunrise -- returning every morning, yet different every time, As I look around the created world, it looks to me like God takes great delight in diversity and change. So I will go ahead and take delight in this moment and in this dew that will be gone before midday, knowing that tomorrow morning will have its own sparks of light.
From Rabindranath Tagore, an esteemed Bengali poet and musician:
For many years, at great cost, I traveled through many countries, saw the high mountains, the oceans. The only things I did not see were the sparkling dewdrops in the grass just outside my door.
I don't think he would have missed them this morning. Though it is true that l would have missed most of these if I hadn't headed out the door and had the time to notice what was around me as I walked.
Reading in Steven Chase's Nature as Spiritual Practice, in a chapter touching on the mystery, wonder and praise to be discovered in nature's face, I came across a paragraph that made me wish it were summer, so that I could find a stand of Queen Anne's lace and take a closer look. Then I remembered that I had other ways of doing that, even in midwinter. I looked back through my photo archives, and found several images from last summer.
In open dry fields, prairies, and along roadways -- often growing in friendly gatherings from mid-July through early September -- is a wildflower that I invite you to bend down and look at carefully. It has very small cream-white, lacy petals that are collectively formed in the shape of an inverted umbrella (called an umbel). The umbel is rounded at the bottom and nearly flat at the top with a slightly bluish-green stem; the green leaves are very finely cut, almost fern-like, and they smell of carrot when crushed. Beneath the umbel of petals is a parachute pattern of stems that together support hundreds of these tiny floweret-petals, each one no more than one-eighth of an inch across.
This wildflower is commonly called Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota), named for the lace-like patterns formed by the formal, intricate arrangement of these hundreds of small flowerets. But besides the beauty of the lacy patterns, Queen Anne's lace is a flower with a secret. Within the shared umbel, in the very center of the hundreds and hundreds of flowerets, is one -- and only one -- reddish to wine-purple floweret, also one-eighth inch across. Just one -- no sisters. Facing Queen Anne's lace -- letting it be as attentive to and astonished by you as you are by it -- you share with its wine-colored eye something only the flower and the prairie
know. . . .(p 48-49)
Chase writes that creation teaches us to pray -- to find a balance between being what we are created to be and doing what we are created to do, and within that balance, to abide in God's delight. "Know whenever you face nature with attention and wonder that you are praising God, just as creation does the same." (p.50)
Chase suggests a practice of taking a moment to closely observe something in nature, whether the grandeur of the ocean or the wine-purple floweret in the midst of the white Queen Anne's lace, and to join in that praise.
From the opening lines of Dewdrops on Spiderwebs, by Susan Classen:
I am the breeze that nurtures all things green.
I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits.
I am the rain coming from the dew
that causes the grasses to laugh
with the joy of life.
God speaks to Hildegard of Bingen, 11th century
The other day my eye was caught by the sunlight streaming through the leaves of one of my geraniums. These shots fit well with one of the meditations in Classen's book that tells of a child just back from a school class field trip in the fall.
"Look!" she exclaimed. "This leaf is orange. This one is orange and green. And look at this one," she added excitedly, "It's all green!" When a green leaf calls forth awe and wonder, then all life is budding with reasons to celebrate! p. 38
We'll soon be seeing orange and red leaves again, but in the meantime, let's celebrate all things green.
And things blue -- though if your downloaded image of this dragonfly is big enough, you'll see the green as well.
The combination of morning light, a heavy dew, and fall flowers makes for some glory-filled moments, thanks be to God.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"