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A SUMMER MORNING

Morning woods in summer

Morning. Although I want to sleep late, I almost never do. On summer mornings, I drink my coffee and watch the early sun filter through my woods. Each day, the world is made anew.

Morning sun in summer

Cat Stevens’ rendition of this traditional Christian hymn is beautiful, as is the presentation. I ask that you please leave your prejudices behind. It is a beautiful song of praise.

It’s the bonus you get if you arise early. Late sleepers, make an occasional exception and see the world in a different light.

Summer early morning woodland

Blackstone Valley Roads – Marilyn Armstrong

These are places I pass as I go to and from the various routine errands and activities of life.  They aren’t special places … or rather, they aren’t places that I have to seek out because they are along the roads I use every day.

Built in 1779, this originally housed a forge and was the shop of a blacksmith. In the 1800s, it became a shoemaker’s shop and now stands empty on the corner of Chestnut Street, a road that runs from North Street to Route 140 in Upton.

Door to the Forge House.

It’s easy to stop noticing what’s right in front of you. It’s always there, so you don’t realize that it’s special. Then, because I’ve taken my camera, my vision changes. I notice things that are more usually background to the world in which I live.

In front of the drive in restaurant where you can get the best clam puffs … if you don’t mind a bit of accompanying heartburn … they grow sunflowers. There were honeybees on the flowers, a good sign since honeybees have come a bit scarce.

They are called sunflowers and deservedly so. Like the sunshine itself, the shine brightly and turn to the sky.

And I realize that they are indeed special or would be to others and ought to be for me, too. That’s one of the greatest boons I get from photography, that it makes me notice the things around me that otherwise just pass by along the roads I travel.

Along the road, many bushes and flowers, wild and cultivated bloom.

The pods of some wildflower about to spread itself by the wind.

These are all local roads, on the way to the doctor, on the way to the grocery, coming back from the place I sometimes purchase a scratch ticket.

The general store is on Route 16 just after you leave Mendon and enter Uxbridge. They also make great sandwiches.

These old mill buildings now house business and condos. Despite efforts to preserve them, many have disappeared, mostly due to fires. The last mill that burned lasted a full three weeks … with every firefighter in the valley working to put it out. Most firefighters are volunteers since the towns in the valley can’t afford to maintain full crews. These people come when called, work for no pay and in fact, lose money while missing their normal employment. Without them, we’d be in serious trouble.

These are the ordinary roads of the Blackstone Valley in the summer.

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PASSAGE INTO SPRING

It is not the most snow we’ve ever had in a winter, at least not here in the Blackstone Valley. Nor was it the coldest winter we’ve had. Not even the coldest in memory. I remember a couple of January-s, when Kaity was only 6 or 7. We would wait for the school bus at the top of the drive. It was below zero at 7 in the morning. I’d warm up the car so we wouldn’t freeze solid before the bus arrived.

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Philosophical question: Why are school buses early when you are late, but always late when the weather is terrible? Just asking.

This may be the iciest winter I can remember. Or anyone can remember. We’ve had tons (literally) of sleet and ice layered over the snow to create the heaviest, most immovable mix on surfaces. This is the first time ever we’ve been completely trapped by the weather. Although the winter of 2011 when we had to shovel the roof to keep it from collapsing under the weight of snow came pretty close. This has been a good winter to be retired.

So it’s March now. This is the time of year where my yearning for spring goes into high gear. I believe that there are crocuses buried under that icy mess we humorously call a garden. By the time the ice melts, they’ll be long gone. We probably won’t see flowers until daffodils … April if we are lucky.

Mallard amid reflections of spring - Garry Armstrong

We all want a bit of warm sun. Spring is brief in this region and sometimes, it’s all torrential rain. Rising rivers. Flooded basements. Sodden ground.

Mud season. Muddy paws, muddy floors, sucking mud everywhere.

Our driveway used to be a seasonal stream, but the imbecile who built this house just paved it over. The stream doesn’t care whether it’s paved or not and when the spring rains and snow melt come, it returns to its original form and flows merrily down the driveway. It forms a little lake at the base of the driveway and a swamp in the backyard.

It used to turn the lower part of the house into a wading pool, but since Owen put in a sump and pump, we’ve managed to dodge the bullet. But we haven’t had the combination of heavy rain and snow melt in several years. With a little luck, we’ll skip it this year too.

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Spring will come. No matter how disgusting winter has been or how delayed, spring arrives and suddenly everything blooms. Literally between breakfast and supper, the trees come into leaf and the flowers open.

Two days later, the mercury rises into the 80s. Voila! Summer.

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THE SKY TAKES IT

Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition

Garry at the buzzmill

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DON’T FENCE ME IN

Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition

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  13. Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition | MixerUpper.com
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  15. The Windmills of Consuegra | East of Málaga
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DAILY PROMPT: PLAYTIME!

Jump!

Three kids, a hot summer day, and a pool. They are going to make quite a splash! It’s playtime! Hey kids … Any room for grandma?

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LAZY DAISY

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As the chilly winds of winter are beginning to blow, my toes go into frozen mode. The rest of me isn’t cold, but until the sun comes back, my feet will never be warm. So … what could be more soothing than flowers? From this past summer, my favorite late summer blossom – Black-eyed Susans.

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: SATURATED – GARDENS

Nothing says color like flowers. From wild to cultivated to hothouse, every color of the rainbow and many the rainbow never thought of are captured in flowers. Rich in scent, evocative, alive.