Tag Archive | flowers

Above the Ground

Wren enjoys the cauliflower harvest… one for her, and one for me! (double click the image to start video)
…as though I’m about to steal it from her!

In a meditation group yesterday, the introductory inquiry was to share one thing about our bodies that we appreciate or are grateful for (this inquiry was followed by an ‘affectionate body scan’ meditation). Responses included among others the ability to see, hear, move around; to taste, breathe, stretch, and heal. I’m grateful for all those aspects of this living, breathing, largely functional body that I both am and inhabit: In short, I’m grateful my body is above the ground.

We all know there are infinite and unfathomable threats to the health and well-being of our precious physical bodies out there in the world, and also hiding quietly within our very selves. I am frequently astonished to learn of a new way some unanticipated internal event can potentially kill me. I remember to this day the first time I heard of an aneurysm when I was an early teen. I heard of a new way our bodies can betray us just the other day, but fortunately cannot remember what it was. So I’ve been thinking about health the past couple of days more than usual, and want to share two links that came to my inbox that made an impression.

I wanted to capture the last of the flowers and fruits before the deep freeze expected this weekend… Note the last of the prolific yellow pear tomatoes on the vine.

The first is an interview by Eric Topol, cardiologist and professor of molecular medicine, speaking with Chris Van Tulleken, an infectious disease physician-scientist in the UK’s National Health Service, about his staggering research into ultra-processed food (that isn’t food), its global health ramifications, and the political machinations that keep increasing its pernicious influence. It’s well worth the 47 minute listen.

Note the absence of yellow pear tomatoes after I gathered them all, pitching a few for Wren in the process.

The second is an article reporting compelling research that having Covid-19 increases CV risk, which is the risk of having heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular disease. The virus “directly infects atherosclerotic plaques in the coronary arteries, producing a persistent inflammatory response.” This is big news, and another excellent reason to take this virus seriously and make a concerted effort to not get it.

Speaking of heart attacks, I really should take a break from the cheese sandwiches. Today I had to make an emergency veggie Philly cheesesteak. It’s my first ever and I didn’t have time to do it right, so I melted the cheese on the bottom half of the bun while I finished up sautéing onion, pepper, and mushrooms, and slathered the top bun with ranch dressing. It was delicious!

And we were blessed with another mild day and just enough sunshine to eat another lunch outside. I’m taking advantage of every opportunity. The sun shone on us as clouds rolled in to the south and darkened to the north. While I mourn the loss of lives in all the tragedies large and small across the globe today, I remain grateful for the thoughts, feelings, and sensations of another day above the ground for this body.


Pea flowers with bumblebee

I woke this morning and thought, I’m so grateful I live here and not somewhere else, and I’m grateful I’m alive and not dead. I could have woken up anywhere besides here if any of the conditions of my life to this point had been different. I’m grateful for the work, the home, the community, family, and friends in this moment in my life. I’m grateful for the beautiful flowers that continue to carpet the forest floor in mid-June this odd, wet year. The wild onions and the sego lilies are blooming in profusion like I’ve never seen them before in thirty years.

I’m grateful to my neighbor who texted me there were some weird clouds over Mendicant Ridge this evening. I’d been outside for awhile until twenty minutes before that, and from my perch inside I couldn’t see what was happening. I jumped up and Wren followed me out to enjoy the Cloud and Light Show til sunset. Stratocumulus with virga would be my guess, but I’m going to submit it to the Cloud Appreciation Society and see if they’ll name it for us. I’m grateful for a fleeting moment of insight that everything in life is as ephemeral as clouds.

Dinner Out

I’m grateful that the snow peas are climbing their trellis beautifully. It delights me to check on them each day, and gently turn their little tendrils in toward the net, hooking their curls onto support. They’ve started to bloom this week. Fruit isn’t far away!

My ratty looking notch-eared doe visited for the first time in at least a month. She brought her skinny yearling, and is clearly fat with unborn fawn. With all the fields full of grasses and alfalfa, I haven’t had deer in the yard since snowmelt down here. I’m grateful for the bounty around to nourish them, happy to share the yarden, and glad they’re not devouring everything that isn’t fenced. I’m also grateful that there is still plenty of snow in the high country, roughly 200% of normal for this time of year in our mountain ‘reservoir.’

Wren and I are grateful that I mustered the courage to go out to dinner last night at her favorite babysitter’s house. We enjoyed meaningful conversation and delicious pasta on the patio, along with a spectacular view and gorgeous flowers.


It’s a bird week. Today I’m grateful for the so-called Lesser Goldfinch pair I heard tweeting in the trees a couple of days ago, and caught on camera today eating seeds from the catmint. Honey Badger has had them in her catmint next door for a few years, but this is the first I’ve been privileged to see them here. Above, I capture her through the window cracking a seed; below, he looks alertly at me trying to sneak up on him outside. What’s lesser about them, I’d like to know.

It was dusk, and I couldn’t get close; he took off a second after spotting me. So they’re fuzzy images, but serve to document the delight, and signify the promise of more happy finches to come.

Lilac Blossom Scones

A trick I learned for flakier pastry is to grate cold butter and then freeze it while you mix the rest of the ingredients…
… or harvest them as the case may be…

The lilacs are winding down. It’s been a bountiful year for them, and I’m sad that I didn’t get to bake with them until just now. But I’m grateful that they were so prolific, and fed the pollinators for the past few weeks, and had plenty of flowers to share with me, too.

And when everything else is ready, add the grated butter to the whisked mixture of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, tossing until each sliver of butter is coated and then kneading together just a little bit.

Then I added the wet ingredients and mixed just a little, before tipping the mess onto the cutting board and kneading by hand until it just formed into a dough. There was so much I split it in half to knead each half into a log I could cut in pieces.

I pressed each portion into a segment of the sprayed ceramic scone pan…
…baked to perfection…

After cooling in the pan for ten minutes, I tipped them out and they fell apart at the seams, a desirable outcome in this case. Then I flipped them over to further cool, and promptly ate one with my last cup of coffee. I’m grateful that I had the time and the lilacs and the pan and everything else I needed to bake these delicious lilac-almond scones this morning, and then got to share them with my Personal Shopper, who delivered supplies to replenish the pantry.


I’m grateful for the pollen packed on this bumblebee’s legs. It signifies a vibrant, healthy ecosystem somewhere in the midst of climate chaos; it represents resilience and survival of pollinators. I’m grateful for the bees of all ilks, and for these perennial onions just now opening their papery shells to feed so many native insects.

Pink Flowers

I’m grateful that everyone in my household woke up alive this morning, and we got to enjoy coffee in the garden before getting to work. Topaz doesn’t often consent to a lap, so it was special to have her relax on mine for awhile as I sat among the raised beds where I planted onions and some leeks last night.

After coffee we walked the Breakfast Loop, feeling gratitude for abundant May wildflowers, and especially the wild pink phlox. It’s a good year for the wildflowers, even though it’s also a good year for the weeds.

The little yellow flowers are weeds, but the pink ones are natives, astragalus in the foreground and phlox in the middle.

And I’m making sure to spend some time each day with the crabapple tree, bursting with gorgeous pink flowers attended by bees. I’m grateful for pink flowers.


Lilacs and forsythia in full bloom at the same time… a silver lining to the long cold spring. A few bees partake of their flowers now. May that number increase. Like many others, I hold lilacs especially dear among flowering shrubs. I’m grateful for their fleeting season.

Spring Flowers

I’m grateful for spring flowers, in the garden and in the forest. Like clockwork, I heard the first hummingbird yesterday, only a day later than usual, and this afternoon saw the first paintbrush bloom which must have opened yesterday: the two events invariably synchronize.

I’m grateful for all the green resulting from the banner winter water… but only in the fields. This lush green carpet is entirely made of two noxious weeds: bur buttercup, the lighter green; and weedy alyssum. The alyssum is annoying when it goes to seed, while the bur buttercup is downright hostile. Soon Wren won’t be able to stand on it, when those precious tiny blossoms turn to hard round stickers.

In the meantime, we rested on a bench under the Ancient One, and then strolled home. I’m grateful for her happy ignorance; we both enjoyed the balm for the eyes when I could shelve my awareness of what this forest floor will become in the hot dry summer. At least some native grasses will have a good year.

And in the yard? Oh my. Again, it’s pretty now, but in a week or so I’ll be mowing daily until I get these weeds under control. So though I’m grateful for many things today, green is not one of them, not really. In fact, looking at these weeds makes a little sense out of the nightmare I woke from this morning, where I had spent hours crawling through one obstacle after another trying to find clear sky.

Topaz doesn’t give a damn. She’s just happy, and so am I, that we can go sit down by the pond again at last, and listen to the frogs.

I’m grateful for another day alive, and grateful I was patient with a handful of quotidian frustrations; grateful for a wonderful MIR meeting despite skippy internet and thankful for the warm support and acceptance of the group. And I was glad to wrap up the day with a delicious spontaneous ginger-ice cream sandwich to take the edge off the melancholy that has dogged me since that disconcerting dream, and hit hard this evening when I came across some photos of Stellar in his last spring.

Gratitude Practice

I’m grateful today for sunshine, the proximity of cat and dog, flowers in winter, potted herbs, bonsai, and the resilience to just hang on sometimes. I’m grateful for the opportunity to give away bread to some friends who needed its comfort and cheer more than I did today. I’m grateful for living inside the kaleidoscope with the coming of spring. Gratitude is a conscious choice that is sometimes more difficult than others, but is always available and always takes the edge off. I’m grateful for gratitude practice.