Summer means turtles sunning along the millrace, whether on old logs or elsewhere. I was delighted to see the little guy below -- he's only about three inches long, and brings back memories of finding baby turtles around my childhood home, not far from the dam pond. Further along the millrace, the duckweed is apparently thick enough to support turtles this year. But what I really want to know is how that one turtle got to the top of the branch in the next photo.
Then there's the fun of finding frogs sunning themselves on the lilypads at the calendar garden -- and on a recent visit, a baby water snake, not much bigger than the nearby bullfrog. The water snake on the rock was bigger -- but that didn't seem to phase the frogs.
A dewy fall morning at equinox, and the garden is full of zinnia fireworks and bespangled kale and kohlrabi.
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.
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....
I can hear the wind blowing outside my window, and they tell us rain and possibly snow are on the way, with the temperatures dropping from a high of 70 today to expected highs in the 40's this week.
So a couple of us went down to the Calendar Garden this afternoon, seizing the chance to enjoy sunshine and warmth before winter arrives, and to see what we could see. We found familiar faces of other friends who had the same bright idea, and a not-so-familiar face in the corner of the greenhouse. I'm not sure I'd look so stoical if I had cactus growing in the top of my head.
Gulls floated silently overhead, hardly stirring their wings as the wind blew them on by. In the center pond, I saw a few minnows, a tiny goldfish, and a copper dragonfly, but the only frogs out soaking up the sun were as stoical as the cactus-haired damsel, with a stony look on their faces. Still, the sky was blue, with wispy white clouds and the afternoon sunlight streamed across the gardens, highlighting succulents, colorful leaves, and dried plants, and we sat and enjoyed it all.
It was a rainy weekend for the annual Assembly retreat at Camp Friedenswald, but a group of us were able to explore the woods with Carol Good-Elliott Saturday morning, before the showers started.
We ambled along, stopping to examine the diversity of shapes on sassafras trees (oval, Michigan shaped, and two thumbed), the rich purple of squashed pokeweed berries, the golden eyes of a tiny spring peeper. Carol had us using all our senses, tasting anise-y sweet cicely, listening for woodpeckers and warblers, rubbing our fingers over the raised ridges of papery beech leaves,.and sniffing spicebush and sassafras leaves (which, according to the grade school children who visit Merrylea where Carol works, smell like Lucky Charms. We went with "lemony, " or to at least one person, "Lemon Pledge"). And even with a gray damp day, and lots of brown leaves around, there were plenty of colorful leaves to admire.
It was a lovely afternoon for a trip to the Defries Calendar Garden just south of Goshen. Early September is apparently the time for purples, yellows, and greens, catching the light.
During second hour on Pentecost, we celebrated Heidi's years of pastoring at Assembly. Carmen Horst, one of our interim pastors, told of being invited, along with other friends, to send a bead as a way of accompanying Heidi as she gave birth to her first child. We were invited to present Heidi with a bead and a written blessing as part of this celebration. These were later strung together as a gift for Heidi and the family.
I posted about seeing tadpoles at the Calendar Garden in late April. Heidi told me later she immediately took the boys out to see.
The cycle of life -- empty chrysalis cases on the crumpled leaf and a bright monarch butterfly in flight.
A candle for those Heidi leaves behind. That's a hazelnut on the base, to remind me of the words Julian of Norwich heard Christ say:
All shall be well, and all shall be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well.
On our way home from the retreat last Sunday, Sandy and i stopped in at the Calendar Garden to check up on the spring flowers and frogs.
The Spring sector was in full bloom, with candy tuft in pink and white, iris, and drifts of pinks about to open. And some petite pale purple poppies, with stamen looking like miniscule polliwogs.
And then there were the real polliwogs. A lovely word for tadpole, in case you don't recognize it. I just discovered that it comes from Middle English for poll = head, plus wiglen = wiggle. And that's exactly what they do -- those little whiptails wiggle them through the water, though you can't see them in action in this photo of tadpoles and lilly pads.
There were several bullfrogs sunning themselves in the pond. At one point I thought I heard a dog barking in the distance, and then realized it was the frogs, sounding like they had laryngitis.
One apparently decided to incorporate the spring flower theme into his personal attire.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"