natural scenery inspires…

6.30.09 ~ Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

“Shenandoah Valley” by Barbara Rodgers

In the interest which natural scenery inspires there is the strongest contrast to this. It is for itself and at the moment it is enjoyed. The attention is aroused and the mind occupied without purpose, without a continuation of the common process of relating the present action, thought or perception to some future end. There is little else that has this quality so purely. There are few enjoyments with which regard for something outside and beyond the enjoyment of the moment can ordinarily be so little mixed. The pleasures of the table are irresistibly associated with the care of hunger and the repair of the bodily waste. In all social pleasures and all the pleasures which are usually enjoyed in association with the social pleasure, the care for the opinion of others, or the good of others largely mingles. In the pleasures of literature, the laying up of ideas and self-improvement are purposes which cannot be kept out of view.

This, however, is in very slight degree, if at all, the case with the enjoyment of the emotions caused by natural scenery. It therefore results that the enjoyment of scenery employs the mind without fatigue and yet exercises it, tranquilizes it, and yet enlivens it, and thus, through the influence of the mind over the body, gives the effect of refreshing rest and reinvigoration to the whole system.

~ Frederick Law Olmsted
(America’s National Park System: The Critical Documents)

Kentford Farm in May

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Wednesday afternoon Janet and I found a new woodland garden to explore, Kentford Farm in Stonington, Connecticut. We seemed to have the place to ourselves, but for a very charming tortoiseshell cat who acted as our hostess. When we left we spotted a sign saying the garden was open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – unknowingly we had been trespassing! But the gate had been open so perhaps our confusion was understandable.

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

The last time we had a cat as our guide was four years ago in May at the the Edgerton & Stengel Memorial Wildflower Garden in the Connecticut College Arboretum.

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

We introduce ourselves
To Planets and to Flowers
But with ourselves
Have etiquettes
Embarrassments
And awes
~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #1184)

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

We will have to return as the seasons progress – it’s a perennial garden and there will be different things blooming every time we go. Please enjoy some of my favorite photographs. The plan was to travel light, with just the camera and not its bag, but it backfired on me when the camera battery died only about a third of the way through. Next time I will carry the whole kit and caboodle with me!

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

The wall is silence, the grass is sleep,
Tall trees of peace their vigil keep,
And the Fairy of Dreams, with moth-wings furled,
Sings soft her secrets to the drowsy world.
~ Ida Rentoul Outhwaite
(Tibetan Buddhism Deck: Buddhas, Deities, and Bodhisattvas 30 Meditation Cards)

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Way over yonder is a place I have seen
In a garden of wisdom from some long ago dream
~ Carole King
♫ (Way Over Yonder) ♫

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Frequently the woods are pink -
Frequently, are brown.
Frequently the hills undress
Behind my native town -
Oft a head is crested
I was wont to see -
And as oft a cranny
Where it used to be -
And the Earth – they tell me
On it’s axis turned!
Wonderful rotation -
By but twelve performed!
~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #24)

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Nature)

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

The good Will of a Flower
The Man who would possess
Must first present Certificate
Of minted Holiness.
~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #954)

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

immensity of light-years…

nasa.hubble.horsehead768

Horsehead Nebula by NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or of acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.
~ Carl Sagan
(Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)

all the great questions…

"Portrait of a Girl" by Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) Finnish Realist Painter

“Portrait of a Girl” by Helene Schjerfbeck

Childhood is a mystery: the soul is timeless, the body new, and the world complex. What a conjunction: the great unfolding in the small.

Childhood asks us what reality really is, what the world is, and where it came from. Childhood asks where life came from, and where it goes. Does the soul exist? Where was the soul before birth? How many realms are there? Are fairies real? Do ghosts and spirits exist? Why are some people lucky and others unlucky, why is there suffering? Why are we here? Are there more things in the innocent-seeming world than we can see? These are some of the questions that the state of childhood asks, and which perplex us all our days.

Childhood is an enigma, a labyrinth, an existential question, a conundrum. It is the home of all the great questions about life and death, reality and dream, meaning and purpose, freedom and society, the spiritual and the secular, nature and culture, education and self-discovery.

~ Ben Okri
(A Time for New Dreams)

far enough out…

“Earth at Night” image by NASA

If you go far enough out
you can see the Universe itself,
all the billion light years summed up time
only as a flash, just as lonely, as distant
as a star on a June night
if you go far enough out.

And still, my friend, if you go far enough out
you are only at the beginning

- of yourself.

~ Rolf Jacobsen
(Night Open: Selected Poems of Rolf Jacobsen)