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Showing posts from August, 2013

Today's Flowers: Unfolding

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Skywatch Friday: Liquid Light

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I took this photo with my phone while I was kayaking with my daughter on the Intracoastal Waterway last month.  This was one of those photos that didn't look anything like what I saw.  It's silly, but I have to remember that the camera is not my eye is not the moment's r in the kayak.  The elliptical shape of the sun is nothing like the drifting orb I saw.  Still, the light in this image illuminated clouds I know I didn't notice at the time.  It's all good, and my little HTC is fun.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Carnival in Waiting

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Our World Tuesday: Edgerton Park, Hamden/New Haven

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Last week a friend from work and I had lunch at Edgerton Park.  This 25-acre park sits on the edge of New Haven (and Hamden) on land that was once the property of Eli Whitney.  The land was once the property of an industrialist named Frederick Brewster.  He built the place as a getaway from urban life.
The grounds were landscaped in the style of an 18th-century English landscape garden.  The day we were there was very wet, so the various shades of green that painted the landscape glistened magically.  




The fountain there is very beautiful.
Brewster's will stipulated that the house he built for his wife be demolished after her death, but the carriage house and other structures still stand--including the conservatory where this orchid bloomed.


There are community gardens near the conservatory and folks strolling all over the grounds.  It's an oasis, to be sure.
Our World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Orchid

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Last week, a friend and colleague took me to Edgerton Park on the New Haven/Hamden line.  It's only minutes from our school, and it's a lovely place with a beautiful conservatory.  There I came across this orchid.

Today's Flowers

Skywatch Friday: Fluffy, Puffy Clouds

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Big, puff clouds were the order of the day as Adella, the pups, and I left Topsail.  The  clouds broke with the cold spell that had us reading our summer novels under fleece blankets.  No lie.  In North Carolina in August.  Here are some of Adella's puffy-cloud drive-bys:



And here is one of mine as we left the park on North Topsail Beach on the day before our last.  As Adella waited to safely cross the road, Clyde was eyeing a rat he would like to have made a little snack of.  He's a sweet dog if you're not a rat.

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: What You Need to Know About Life, You Learn on Vacation

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Our World Tuesday: Not Mayberry

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Last week I read a book that compared Topsail Island to Mayberry.

Mayberry is the fictional North Carolina town that is the setting of the Andy Griffith Show, which ran from 1960 to1968.  It is a bucolic, rural Neverland in which the wisdom born of compassion rights all wrongs, and everyone goes to the same church picnic.


The point of the author of the book I was reading was to prove that Topsail is a place outside of our time, where old-fashioned values, time for your neighbor, and civility rule the day.  The corollary to this must be, of course, that we are living in a dark time.
This is ridiculous not only because Mayberry is a fiction but also because it does a disservice to the genuine goodness people make manifest in real time.  Romanticizing the past throws a wet blanket on the present by suggesting a moral superiority of a bygone era.  This approach is pessimistic, at best.  To say life was morally, socially, culturally better in the past is to say that we are inexorably head…

Today's Flowers: In the Soft Light of Mid-summer

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Della and I came across this pink climbing beauty at the park a few weeks ago.  The warm morning light illuminated the diaphanous petals so beautifully, I couldn't take my eyes off of it. Such wonders of ordinary days breathe magic into life. 
Today's Flowers

Skywatch Friday: An Ordinary Day

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Just an ordinary night around.  Dell, the pups, and I were cycling back from the park when I saw this and just had to stop.  
Speaking of ordinary, the episode below captures an ordinary experience I had at Wal-Mart recently.  I was going to post it separately, and that got me to thinking about why I would do that.  These Wal-Mart moments happen on days framed by the most incredible of sunrises and sunsets, so why not put them there?  To say this weird moment does not belong with this brilliant one is to miss the point of living through the day, I think.  It is all, after all, good.
“Mama, she’s getting a flat screen TV,” a girl of 11 or 12 years points to the TV lying on the bottom of my shopping cart in the checkout line at Wal-Mart.  She is waiting with her family in line behind us.
Her mother mutters something about seeing it, too.
I empty the stuff in my cart onto the counter.  
“You pay for that TV?” the girl asks me, perhaps curious about why I haven’t loaded it onto the count…

Wordless Wednesday: I Was Close Enough to Hear Him Breathe

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Our World Tuesday: The Roses in the Garden Bow and Ask Her Pardon...

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Adella and I stopped at one of our favorite places on Saturday:  the New Hanover County Arboretum in Wilmington, North Carolina.


We always see beautiful flowers, delightful landscaping, and informative displays about plant life in this region.


 The Zen garden and the tea house are among my favorite stops.



The flowers are always the best things about the place--especially as a tonic after a few hours in the mall.

There is beautiful that, by its very existence, asks you, Is there any place to be but here?  No need to wait for the obvious answer.  Just come in.  And stay.
Our World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: An Early Breakfast

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This moth was out for breakfast the other day when I was on my way back from the beach.   The sun was behind me, so the glare on my phone made knowing whether or not I had the shot impossible until later.  I was lucky this time!

Today's Flowers

Skywatch Friday: Cotton Candy is Just Dandy

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Turtles: Affirming Life on Topsail

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The image above captures the tracks of the many turtles who climbed from their nest on North Topsail Beach tonight and made their way into the Atlantic--which was in a slow-moving, welcoming mood tonight even if she kept herself at a distance. 
Adella and I came to the nest for a third time to be just in time to help these little reptiles stay on the ramp that led them to the water. We were among about 25 people who were there for the same reason, and we followed the directions of the Turtle Project people to stay still and be helpful as necessary and to refrain from flash photography.
The first time Adella and I shared in this amazing affirmation of life, we were giddy with delight.  Tonight was different.  Kneeling under those stars, guiding turtles without actually touching them, sharing space with complete strangers who, like us, just wanted to be there and to do a good thing if we could, we realized just how small we are.  The world is as beautiful as it is big.  For all that, t…

Wordless Wednesday: Gracious Host

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Our World Tuesday: Sacred Dunes

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These dunes are a triumph.
They are the result of the hard work and perseverance of people who care that the dunes are healthy, that the plant life holding them together are indigenous and can the therefore stand the test of time and weather.
This year, North Topsail Beach has gone to considerable effort to plant indigenous grasses in the dunes to bolster the places that are most vulnerable during hurricane season. These places are the same ones that cradle the eggs of sea turtles.  This is a special, magical, place that nurtures the mystery of ancient life and affirms it at the same time it tolerates fools who can't hold their beer as they hang all over their over-loud girlfriends. Silence, magic, and mystery prevail.  It's cool. The other day when I saw a boy climb through the dunes rather than use the cross-over just on the other side of his mother, I told him he needed to use the steps to protect the dunes, which are cherished habitat. His shortcut took him right along…

A Turtle Release

Here's a story about the release of a cold-stunned turtle on Topsail.  Go ahead:  believe in miracles.


Today's Flowers: Coneflower

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These flowers were blooming in abundance outside a medical building near the Biltmore in Providence when I was there last month.  They were surrounded by black-eyed Susans and phlox, and it was very beautiful.  One of the great advantages of being an early riser is seeing such things at rest and beautiful, before the day gets busy with people rushing about and all the tension and energy that go with that.  Bunches of flowers are like treetops in that they seem to create their own worlds, and once you get in, you don't want to get out.  Too pretty.
Today's Flowers

Skywatch Friday: Some Cloud Cover

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There's nothing like some good old cloud cover to make a summer walk that bit easier.  When the clouds bring rain, they keep the beach quiet, and I like that, too. This morning brought some nice rain, and it cleared the beach of fair-weather friends so that the die-hards had it to themselves.  I found sliced pineapples and heads of broccoli out there today.  Very odd.

Skywatch Friday