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.
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 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.
In the mountains, the wildflowers are sprinkled sparingly here and there. On my morning walks over the past few days, the ones I have spotted have been mostly yellow. They remind me to pay attention and appreciate the little gifts in life that are easily overlooked.
A notable exception to the yellow was the blue beauty pictured below.
When our yard was landscaped over a decade ago, the new plants were so small that you could barely see them in the stark expanse of garden rock. Now the plants have matured to the point that the yard almost looks like a desert jungle. But there is still enough space between the plants to present a pleasing appearance.
If you have driven through the Oak Grasslands of California, you have seen my idea of perfect natural spacing. Here and there, the oak trees dot the rolling hills. Somehow they know not to crowd each other. One could easily imagine the Lord strolling through his creation and scattering the acorns that grow into trees. I am reminded of a stanza from “The Spiritual Canticle” by St. John of the Cross:
A thousand graces scattering,
He passed through these groves with haste,
And in gazing at them
With his image alone,
Left them clothed in beauty.
A couple of decades ago while on a family visit to Wisconsin, I stumbled upon a lovely crucifix in an antique store. The entire piece is hand-carved from a single piece of olive wood, and it’s only six inches tall. I couldn’t believe my luck when I bought it for a song! Over the years I have owned several crucifixes, but this one has always been my favorite. I marvel at the skill of the unknown artist, but even more at the artist’s obvious love for the Crucified Lord, as demonstrated in the detail and beauty of the carving. I have no idea how old it is. Perhaps the artist is already in heaven, smiling down every time I take it off the wall and hold it in my hands while I say my prayers.
After we retired, my husband and I discovered that we loved art. Each piece that we added to our walls added a new dimension of beauty to our lives.
I am attracted to beauty – the beauty of Carmelite spirituality, the inner beauty of the people I love, the beauty of nature and the garden, and last but not least, the beauty of art. Everything beautiful reminds me of God. Pictured above are a few of my favorites: “Blue Tutus” by Eric Wallis, “After the Mass” by Chuck Mardosz, “Embudo Bounty” by James Trigg, and “Texas Tapestry” by Eric Michaels.