May 2012


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When the muse whispers in your ear, you must answer. I was going to do my nails, but I knew that if I delayed writing this for too long, I would forget. “I better go craft my words,” I thought to myself.

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I walked outside yesterday evening to do some errands. For whatever reason, I am too often locked away at home, inside, in my own world. Miracles have been in short supply, hereabouts.

When I stepped outside, I was nearly bowled over by a wave of the most delicious smell. It was sweet and intoxicating.

The rain had just begun to sprinkle down. As it hit the asphalt, the residual warmth of the day released a pent up sigh of scent. I love that smell! It brings back so many memories; whispers of  possibilities – the open road;  new vistas; the country; fresh, clean air. There’s an enchantment, a nostalgia; like a long-lost  friend or lover.

The grass, the leaves heavy on the trees and the many rhododendron blossoms joined in the sigh. The rhodies are coming into their fullest bloom – they’re all blooming together.

As I went on my way, the sweet smell was everywhere.

As I went down one of the roads in my neighborhood, there came the familiar annual cloud of cottonwood seed balls, drifting in that heavy, perfumed air. It’s a sight that fills the senses, heralding the arrival of summer. I remember with pleasure the cottonwoods of my youth; another time and place, so far away. What a blessing; what fulfillment.

I thought about that wonderful, sweet air. It is as if all the green things had been holding their breath, praying for just a littttle more rain – even the asphalt and concrete. In gratitude they all breathed a deep sigh of relief; one collective exhalation that filled the air, my thankful lungs and very soul.

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I really got a good response to my previous posting of rhododendrons. It was my most-viewed-day ever. So here by popular demand are more photos, this time featuring a few other fans of flowers – bees.

The bees – especially, the big bumbly ones – like the sunshine. It makes it easier to get around. It’s pretty cool here, so there’s not a lot of them and they’re not aggressive; kind of shy, in fact. I saw one giant old ‘king bee’ that I tried to get a picture of. It was making quite a buzz! Their buzz is how they warm up their flight muscles so they can get airborne. I think it saw me and floated off away, across the street.

I have white, pink, red and lavender rhododendrons in my yard – and a few purple ones struggling for space. (I’m going to try to give them more space next year.) I have the privacy, so it’s allowed me to photograph them repeatedly under different conditions.

Seattle is renowned for its rhododendrons. In fact, there is a world-class botanical garden of rhododendrons here in Federal Way. If you like my photos, you can find photos of many more species at their website here, and even purchase plants & seeds.

I was visiting with my friend Dodie last Sunday, griping a bit about the rainy spring we’ve been having. She gently rebuffed me, pointing out how wonderfully green it makes everything.

Rightfully so. Through new eyes, I noticed how beautifully lush all the leaves on the trees were; and the luminescence of the many rhododendrons glowing through the dusky grey mist.

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To see  photos in full screen mode, click on photo. If they have not already been enlarged, you can then click on full screen image to zoom in.

bumblebee hovering near blossoms

close-up of bumblebee hovering

another bumblebee hovering, wrapping itself around pistils

A bumblebee nestled in flower, resting or gathering pollen. Flies like blooms, too.

I took a 13 second video of a bee on the blossoms. It’s nothing spectacular, but you can see it here  If you can’t see the bee very well, try replaying it once or twice

Pink blossoms in the morning. The blossoms have gotten huge and heavy and are starting to droop from the weight.

off its bloom

pink blossom close-up in sun & shade

pink blossom by branch

red blossom

Red bud, blossom and husk. You’re supposed to cut off the husks after the blooms drop. This one is from last year – I’m a lazy gardener.

red blossoms and buds

lavender bud opening

lavender bud opening 2

lavender bud and blossom

lavender blossom

close-up of white blossom

purple bud opening

purple blossoms, cloudy day

purple blossoms in sun and shade

Kurt Vonnegut:

“[What my uncle Alex] found objectionable about human beings was they never noticed it, when they were really happy.

“So, whenever he was really happy – you know, he could be sitting around in the shade, in the summertime, in the shade of an apple tree, and drinking lemonade and talking. Just sort of this back-and-forth buzzing like honey bees. And Uncle Alex would all of a sudden say, ‘If this isn’t nice, what is?’ and then we’d realize how happy we were; and we might have missed it.”

Kurt Vonnegut on David Brancaccio

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Since seagulls (and birds) hold a special place for me –  a magnificent photo of a seagull!

endeavor

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pink blossom at night w flash

pink blossoms at night w flash

pink blossoms at night in rain, no flash

pink blossoms in rain

pink blossoms in rain

pink blossom by mossy branch

white blossoms in rain

ferns

white blossoms

white buds and blossoms

white and pink blossoms

pink blossoms in morning

pink blossoms in morning

“The seagull – now there’s a bird that loves a good joke!”

with squalls pealing in from the distance, bell-like,

carried in and blowed about on the wind

welcoming sailors home from the sea, everywhere

to land, sweet land

though sometimes you’d rather just keep going –

not stop and be bothered by

all that worldly busy-ness

– except perhaps, for that cacophonous welcome!