garden in the woods

6.3.20 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum, New London, Connecticut

This walk was from June 3rd. Still catching up!

I have the impression that Emily Dickinson enjoyed the companionship of her large dog, Carlo, while she tended her garden. I used to discuss things with Larisa’s tabby cat, Mary, while I was planting and weeding my little plot. She was always interested in what I was up to and what I thought about this or that. Emily’s poetic musings…

buttercup

Within my Garden, rides a Bird
Opon a single Wheel —
Whose spokes a dizzy music make
As ’twere a travelling Mill —

?

He never stops, but slackens
Above the Ripest Rose —
Partakes without alighting
And praises as he goes,

peaceful paths

Till every spice is tasted —
And then his Fairy Gig
Reels in remoter atmospheres —
And I rejoin my Dog,

burl

And He and I, perplex us
If positive, ’twere we —
Or bore the Garden in the Brain
This Curiosity —

rhododendron

But He, the best Logician,
Refers my clumsy eye —
To just vibrating Blossoms!
An exquisite Reply!

~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #370)

arboretum pond
flower and fern carpeting
sassafras sapling

So everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow cycles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.
~ May Sarton
(Journal of a Solitude)

cinnamon fern
rhododendron
andromeda aka lily-of-the-valley bush

My mother’s favorite flower was lily of the valley. She also had an andromeda shrub planted in the front yard, right near the dining room window.

wild geranium
rhododendron
shady spot
celandine poppy

A garden isn’t meant to be useful. It’s for joy.
~ Rumer Godden
(China Court: A Novel)

the spent sun shines from its zenith

“Solstice of the Sunflower” by Paul Nash

The spent Sun shines from its zenith encouraging the Sunflower in the dual role of sun and firewheel to perform its mythological purpose. The Sun appears to be whipping the Sunflower like a top. The Sunflower Wheel tears over the hill cutting a path through the standing corn and bounding into the air as it gains momentum. This is the blessing of the Midsummer Fire.
~ Paul Nash
(WikiArt website)

rolling meadows

4.28.20 ~ Preston Nature Preserve, Preston, Connecticut

A little change of pace, out of the woods and out to cross a few meadows on gently rolling hills. The sky was beautiful, the scenery divine. As we’re learning, the uneven terrain made for easier walking with less pain for Tim. The fresh air and sunshine was restorative for this quarantine-weary couple. We eagerly kept wanting to see what was over the next hillock or down the next inviting path. There were many interlocking trails. I lost count of how many grassy fields we crossed.

Two trails featuring varied land features and vegetation, including two hills, a valley, hardwood and cedar forest, brushland, meadows, pastures, swamps and ponds. Well-established 0.5 mile trail system with bridges.
~ Avalonia Land Conservancy website

I have to say, there were more than two trails, even on the map, and we certainly walked more than half a mile! But we didn’t walk all the trails and perhaps we will return some day.

4.28.20 ~ up a hill
4.28.20 ~ in the middle of a lovely meadow
4.28.20 ~ another meadow beyond

As with our other walks, the songs of birds filled the air. And we had a few bumble bees follow us a time or two.

4.28.20 ~ so inviting
4.28.20 ~ another hill to climb
4.28.20 ~ another trail to follow
4.28.20 ~ what is it???
4.28.20 ~ the inside of it???
4.28.20 ~ we passed by a swamp with skunk cabbage
4.28.20 ~ bluets!
4.28.20 ~ yet another trail to follow
4.28.20 ~ another meadow
4.28.20 ~ a female bluebird ~ thanks to Nancy for the identification
4.28.20 ~ the birdhouse the bluebird flew out of

Before you thought of Spring
Except as a Surmise
You see — God bless his suddenness —
A Fellow in the Skies
Of independent Hues
A little weather worn
Inspiriting habiliments
Of Indigo and Brown —
With Specimens of Song
As if for you to choose —
Discretion in the interval
With gay delays he goes
To some superior Tree
Without a single Leaf
And shouts for joy to Nobody
But his seraphic self —

~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #1484)

4.28.20 ~ down one more valley and up one more hill to reach our car

our bubble

4.14.20 ~ morning moon

As we continue to carve out a new life for ourselves in quarantine, we have started referring to “our bubble.” Stay safe, stay home. We are wary of popping our bubble by some careless slip of protocol. We care for our safe zone (our bubble) and speak of it fondly sometimes, as we tend to it like one would a houseplant or a pet.

4.14.20 ~ Elm Grove Cemetery, Mystic, Connecticut

Yesterday we went for an early morning walk at Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic. It’s a large scenic resting place along the Mystic River, just north of Mystic Seaport. The seaport is closed for the pandemic and many (most?) of its employees have been laid off. We parked at the south end of the graveyard where we could see the dockyard across the water and also explore the fascinating carvings on the gravestones of past sailors.

4.14.20 ~ Mystic Seaport from a distance
4.14.20 ~ sailing poetry on a headstone
4.14.20 ~ Mystic Seaport buildings

We’re going to renew our membership to Mystic Seaport anyway. Even though we have no idea when it will be safe to visit again.

4.14.20 ~ looking across the Mystic River

I’m pretty sure that cliff and house (above) are part of the Peace Sanctuary, where Janet, her mom and I took a lady slippers nature walk back in 2013. See lady slippers.

4.14.20 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre, still covered for winter

Will the Viking ship have any adventures this year? I have my doubts there will be a Viking Days festival this June…

4.14.20 ~ a soggy stuffed bunny hiding
4.14.20 ~ New London Ledge Lighthouse
4.14.20 ~ one of the cemetery’s peaceful ponds
4.14.20 ~ a lighthouse for a monument
4.14.20 ~ a small decorative well that Tim loved
4.14.20 ~ another peaceful pond

And we finally came around back to our car. Can’t believe it’s six years old! In some places folks aren’t permitted to drive somewhere to take a walk but we are, thankfully. Tim says it isn’t good for cars to sit without running for long periods of time. Our car is an important part of our bubble!

This was our first walk where we did not encounter a single person! Not sure if it was the location or the time of day that did the trick. I suspect there will be more cooler early morning walks as the warmer summer days come along. As long as we can manage to stay safe in our bubble.

We now have 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our town.

our children

Dennisport, Massachusetts
1880 Capt. Martin E. Thompson House ~ Dennisport, Massachusetts ~ photo by Larisa Rodgers

Once we meet our children, even for moments, in a place of “I don’t know,” of relinquished authority, we return to the realms of mystery and magic, where real connection becomes alive again.
~ Arjuna Ardagh
(The Translucent Revolution)

Well, it’s official, February was the coldest month on record in Connecticut. And it was the third snowiest, but I suspect it may have set a record for the amount of snow that didn’t melt between storms. I have not seen my garden since January 27. And March came in like a lion, with six inches of snow Sunday overnight into Monday. Incredibly we have more snow due this afternoon and another batch due Thursday… So much talk about the weather these days…

Deep Sea Blue

deepseablueimpreza

We seem to keep our cars forever, driving them into the ground before we finally give up and buy a new one. In thirty-eight years of marriage we have only bought five new cars, a 1977 Datsun B210, a 1988 Dodge Grand Caravan (great for transporting 3 kids and all their friends!), a 1997 Toyota Tercel, a 2000 Toyota Echo (so we could let Larisa use it the Tercel for college – she almost drove it into the ground before giving it back to us!), and the new 2014 Subaru Impreza pictured above. Somehow between all the snowstorms we manged to get this one out for a test drive, purchased and finally brought home. I LOVE that the manufacturer describes her color as “deep sea blue.”

As age increases, older drivers generally become more conservative on the road. Many mature drivers modify their driving habits (for instance to avoid busy highways or night-time driving) to match their declining capabilities. However, statistics show that older drivers are more likely than younger ones to be involved in multi-vehicle crashes, particularly at intersections.
~ SmartMotorist.com

image credit: Kelsey Pike
image credit: Kelsey Pike

Tim keeps saying this is our last car! As we are getting older, with slower reaction times, and seem more easily confused and distracted – Tim actually took a LEFT on a red light a few weeks ago – the safety features seemed most important. I’ve already been avoiding interstates and night-time driving. My depth perception is gone forever, I fear.

When my grandparents were in their sixties they were involved in a car crash at an intersection. They had been visiting us and were on their way home. They drove half a mile down our road and stopped at a stop sign before taking a left onto the highway. But a car they didn’t see was coming up the hill on the highway from the left and crashed into the front of their car, a VW Bus. Someone in a nearby house called the police, but before the sirens started blaring, my mother’s intuition told her something was wrong and led her out to her car and down to the intersection. She got there just before the police and ambulance did, and then followed the ambulance to the hospital.

Fortunately my grandparents were all right. They had multiple lacerations on their faces and broke the same knees – I forget if it was both left or both right knees. 🙂 The nurses at the hospital thought they were such an adorable couple that they bent the rules and put them in the same room. Because they were at a local hospital we got to visit them. I remember how protective of them my mother was, and how she somehow knew the moment they were in danger.

Memories…  Let’s hope Tim & I get through our sixties without incident! I am really enjoying the heated seats!! And there are roof racks for the occasional trip to IKEA or trips down south to visit the kids. Georgia & North Carolina, here we come!!!

groundhogs and antique cars

groundhog
image credit: Groundhog Greetings

We recently discovered there is a festive parade in the town of Essex, Connecticut, on Groundhog Day! (February 2) It was fun to see people from near and far celebrating the occasion (also known as Candlemas and Imbolc) by wearing groundhog hats, watching the parade, and then following the procession while banging on pots and pans brought from home. It’s nice to have a holiday to brighten up the season between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox!

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.
~ Scottish Proverb

We brought our groundhog, Basil, and his new son, Basil, Jr., along with us. The day was not bright and clear in Essex so perhaps there will be only “one” winter this year.  Enjoy the parade!

2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut
Tim waiting with the Basils ~ 2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut

2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut
all the way from Long Island, New York ~ 2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut

2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut
2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut

2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut
a well prepared spectator ~ 2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut

2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut
a little too cold for surfing, if you ask me ~ 2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut

2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut
2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut

2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut
2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut

2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut
all the way from Michigan! ~ 2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut

2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut
2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut

2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut
2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut

2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut
2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut

2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut
the shadow knows ~ 2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut

2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut
2.2.14 ~ Essex, Connecticut

Next year I will try to get a few pictures of all the folks clanging on their pots and pans!

an unspoken law

"Backwoods" by Ivan Shishkin (1832-1898) Russian Landscape Painter
“Backwoods” by Ivan Shishkin

A lady, with whom I was riding in the forest, said to me, that the woods always seemed to her to wait, as if the genii who inhabit them suspended their deeds until the wayfarer has passed onward: a thought which poetry has celebrated in the dance of the fairies, which breaks off on the approach of human feet.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
(History)

I have learned through walking with my dogs here that there is an unspoken law. Always send a warning. Never surprise the animal life in the forest. So walking along without the noise of the jeep, it is wise to whistle a little tune and give the creatures some kind of an idea that you are approaching their area. This gives them a chance to adjust and find a place to hide, so they can watch you from their position out of your view. It is wise to follow the rule of the forest.
~ Neil Young
(Waging Heavy Peace)