Pressed Flower Beauty

My husband recently received a thank-you card decorated with pressed flower art. I liked it so much that I cut out the flower arrangement and pasted it to a piece of card stock to make a bookmark. Then I thought, ah ha! Everything is coming into bloom in the garden. What a perfect time to take up a new hobby! I can save my cherished blossoms to enjoy when spring has passed and make home-made note cards. So I ordered a flower press and bought a how-to book. Pressed Flower Art by W. Eugene Burkhart Jr. was extremely helpful. It was a little pricey, but well worth it. The book included an abundance of colored photos and detailed instructions on everything I needed to know to learn this charming art form.

Yesterday, I filled my new flower press with blossoms, leaves, and stems. Today, I am going to press some blossoms and herbs into an old phone book. Now, all I have to do is wait for them to dry.

That may be the hardest part.

April Contrasts

(The doves were too quick for the camera)

The leaves are coming out on the ash trees. A dove chases another from branch to branch. Soon, there will be a nest. Meanwhile, a wasp lays her eggs under the eaves.

One day is windy, the next is calm.

Today, I am twenty. Tomorrow, one hundred and one.

The Crown of Thorns

Thistles

On this Good Friday, I offer the following blank verse in remembrance of Our Lord’s Passion:

The Crown of Thorns
By Lynn Miyake, OCDS
The two were slaves who happened to be near.
The soldiers made them weave the crown of thorns,
And as they twisted prickling vines, the thorns
Tore open fingers, palms, and fumbling thumbs.

The soldiers nodded, pointed then at Him.
The slaves, they placed the crown upon His head,
And vicious thorns, they pierced His sacred brow --
The Blood ran down upon their bleeding hands.

The Precious Blood, it mingled with the blood
Of slaves. Then Jesus caught their gaze and looked
At them with love, WITH LOVE, as if to say,
We now, at last, are altogether one.

Watson Lane

The pecan trees haven’t come into leaf yet. A few stubborn nuts from last year’s crop still cling to the branches. Every spring, the pecan trees are the last to show life. Yet, they have their own stark beauty with the alfalfa and mountains in the background.

I come this way on my way to Mass, and I always enjoy the view as I turn into Watson Lane.

Why Did the Elk Cross the Road?

Spring comes late in the mountains where I spent the weekend. I took my camera wherever I went, but nothing was blooming. However, the Ponderosa Pines satisfied my desire for natural beauty, as they always do.

As I was leaving town, the local herd of elk were gathered along Hull Road. Very polite. They paused from time to time to let the cars go by. Many more were grazing along both sides of the road as I carefully continued on my way. There must have been 60 or 70 of them altogether.

Back home in the Rio Grande Valley, the violas and lobelia were in full bloom. Thank God for spring!

The Garden Chair

The view from my favorite garden chair

The garden is starting to wake up for spring. As I took this picture, it occurred to me that my chair is the most important feature in the garden. There is no point in having a garden if I don’t take time to sit in it.

As I enjoyed the intoxicating warm breeze, the birds provided a symphony of trills and chirps. I read some poetry from Dancing by the Light of the Moon by Gyles Brandreth. (Thank you thetinypotager for the recommendation several months ago.)

Fifteen minutes in the garden was all it took to completely reorient my day.

I am drunk with beauty.

Signs of Life

Lantana montevidensis (purple)

Green is appearing at the base of last summer’s dead Lantana branches. First buds are opening on the Flowering Plum tree. Soon the tree will be covered with a veil of pink and white blossoms.

I need these signs of life.

All Things Tall

The view above the trees and rooftops from my back door

I like looking at things that are tall. When I walk, I look at the treetops (which is sometimes hazardous to my feet), and I look at the mountains. Though I love them both, the mountains provide the best food for thought. There is mystery there. In spite of all the expert climbers who have ever climbed, I am convinced there are places that no human foot has touched. I imagine treasures there, known only to the birds — a rare blossom rising from a crag in the rocks, a hidden cave that glistens with veins of gold, a hidden spring, a strange creature never previously seen.

Beyond their physical mystery, mountains remind me that there is so much more to life than I am able to discover or grasp. There is so much more in this world that I will never know. This is a source of abiding joy for me. Life is inexhaustible. There is always more. There is always hope. There is always God.