OVER? OR A FRESH START? Stark #writephoto – Marilyn Armstrong

Thursday photo prompt: Stark #writephoto


Often, through the endless winter, Maggie had been sure her garden would never bloom again. As the frozen ground showed no signs of softening in spring sunshine and clumps of dirty brown snow lay on the earth, she would look at the garden and think: “This year, it can’t bloom. Too cold for too long. Too much ice and snow. And I have not been able to work with it, either.”

The overgrown disorder of the last year’s growth was still thatched across the garden. It had rained so much last year they’d been unable to clear it, so it had stayed there, mulching its way through the winter as they mulched with it.

Despite this and her nearly terminal certainty of imminent doom and total destruction, the garden would suddenly return. Everything bloomed at once. Roses and rhododendrons and daylilies and even the daffodils and columbine.

Flowers suddenly bloomed. In some of the worst years when winter had lain on the ground through most of May, those awful, bitter winters? In those years, the garden would bloom all at once with a frantic and wild passion as if it making up for the lost weeks of normal growth, for the dead months when they had been unable to set a single bud.

One day, she would come downstairs and out the gate and gasp at the amazing colors, how the roses had covered the buses like blankets. That the holly was almost a full story tall and even the miniature lilac bushes and thrown a flower or two.

It gave her hope in a world where the sun rarely shined and she prayed only that the well would not be polluted from something poured into the ground, seeping slowly into that fragile layer of underground water.

Their source of life was down there. In her case more than 450 feet down there, one of the deepest wells in the area. Their water had always been clear and ice-cold after it rose from the underlying rocks.

Was this barrenness a forerunner to one more garden? One more summer when the heat didn’t burn the earth to cinders?

She could only watch and wait. Each year was different. One year, it never stopped raining and after a while, the ground felt like a giant sponge, soft and gooey. Then there would be years of drought, leaving all of them wondering if the underground miracle of water would survive.

It was the very early days of the first week in May. In normal years — sometimes called “the old days” — she’d have already seen her early flowers. The garden would have moved on from crocus to daffodil and would now be full of Columbine and the green shoots of daylilies. The old lilac outback would be about to bloom.

Wild garden

But maybe, one more year, the earth would catch its breath and everything would grow again. Maybe the rivers would fill up and somehow, as if they too were seeds waiting to be born, fish would be there and snapping turtle. The geese and the swans and the herons would fish and flocks of ducks would magically float down with the current.

All she could do was wait and never give up hope. the Earth would come back. After all, it always had.

WATERLILIES ON THE RIVER – Marilyn Armstrong

We may not have had much in the way of an autumn, but the water lilies have been blooming like crazy. Everywhere. All different kinds of lilies.

Water lilies along the Blackstone
Wide lily pads
In the bend of the river
At the pond in Whitinsville
Autumn lily pads
Flowering lily pads
Flowers in the water.

THE FLOWERS I’VE GROWN: CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Things People Grow


I grow flowers. I don’t do it in any organized way, but somehow, they grow. I grow things in pots — inside and outside. I have a wild rose and daylily garden that suddenly has become a huge rhododendron garden and we have the biggest holly bush I’ve seen.

I’ve got some very old lilacs, a few very young lilacs, astilbe and goat’s beard, a few random daffodils, and crocus. There used to be others, but they didn’t survive. At one point, I had an amazing display of hollyhocks, but one year, they withered and died and I don’t have any idea why.

Pink roses
Spiderwort
Daylilies
Columbine
Wild strawberries
Crocus
Red Roses
Geranium
Daffodils
Red Begonia
Christmas cactus
Orchids
Solomon’s seal
Lilac

WILD PINK SHRUB AND ANOTHER PHOTOGRAPHER – Marilyn Armstrong

A Wild Pink Shrub by the River and the Man Who Takes Her Picture


We went down to the river in Rhode Island today. We were looking for Autumn and thought it might be hiding along the river in Lewis Bleiweis Park.

The prettiest pink shrub
Photo: Garry Armstrong

It was or at least a bit of it was there. A few trees with red and yellow leaves and a giant pink shrub. The side streams were flowing very heavily and there were whirlpools in the river.

Together, we took more than 300 pictures. I took pictures of the pink bushes and Garry took pictures of me taking pictures of the bush. And we both took pictures of the river and the trees. More to come on those.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

For now, for this last night of September, it’s all about the pink shrub (no, I don’t know what it is but I’m sure someone will recognize it) and me and my camera.

SHARING MY WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World 9-24-18

Rules

I will post four or five different questions each week for you to answer.  There are two ways in which you can participate:

Create a SYW  post.  Then post the link to your blog in my comment box or leave your answers in the comments box of my blog.

To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Share Your World”  and link it to this post.

Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly reminders.

 Ping-backs are activated and are working well.  For instructions on how ping-backs work, in case you weren’t certain, please click here.

I usually will respond to your entry on your blog, rather than on my page.  


Questions:

Last week I asked a question about favorite beverages and the overwhelming favorite was coffee.   If you drink coffee, how do you like it best?  Hot, cold, iced, with cream, with sugar or black as black? 

Hot coffee almost always, although every once in a while, I get a yen for iced, but not the commercial stuff with all that whipped cream and sugar.

Always with cream or half-and-half and fake sugar (Splenda). I don’t use fake sugar for other things, but in hot drinks, I do because of the way my system works, sugar hits me hard and sometimes badly when in hot drinks.

Oddly, I drink tea with nothing in it at all, not milk or lemon or sugar. I also love green tea, especially with Asian food. Only real tea, not that new-age herbal stuff which isn’t tea. It’s something, just not TEA.

In your opinion, what’s the greatest invention of our age?   

Computers and all of the things that go with them. Modern cameras and sound machines. I could probably live without cell phones, but I’m very good working with everything else.

I just don’t like new cell phones. Oddly, I liked the less smart ones back in the 90s. When you could make actual phone calls and hear what the other guy was saying.

Global warming?  Reality or myth?

The other day, Garry and I were driving around looking for Manchaug and I pointed out that this is the end of September and there is no sign of fall.

Summer has gotten longer and so has winter. Spring was never a big contender around here, but now, there’s really none at all. I have the pictures to prove it. This date even two or three years ago, half the trees were changing color and the nights were chilly while the days were crisp.

I have a closet full of cool weather jackets and coats that I don’t wear because it is summer — three days of cool weather — then the snow begins. Spring is cold. Sometime in April it stops snowing (usually), but the flowers we always got in May don’t show up until late June or even July. This year, we’ve had a re-blooming of daylilies (NEVER seen that before) and the rhododendrons re-bloomed, too.

When it finally got warm enough for the flowers, everything went into a hyper-growth mode. It was like summer in Alaska. Everything grew twice as fast as before, I suppose to make up for the missed months.

It has chilled down a lot in the past few days. I got up in the middle of the night and put on a flannel nightgown. I get cold more easily now than I used to. I think this is an aging thing. Garry gets cold too.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

We used to get at least a month and on a good year six to eight weeks of Autumn in New England. Around the middle of September, a cold snap. The leaves would almost overnight change color. At least we HAD fall. Last year we had ONE week. Just one. Summer dragged on well into October and finally, we got one great week, then the leaves just fell down. Plunk.

Good thing I took pictures.

It’s not the same every year, mind you. But the seasons have absolutely changed. Everyone notices. It’s hotter where it was always warm, but now it is hotter and stays hot longer. The fires burn longer. The storms are more intense and, as good old Donzo says, “wetter.” Never have I been gladder we moved from the coastline a bit inland. Not enough inland, though. These devastating rains will get to us, too. It’s not an if, just a when.

I don’t know what I expected from climate change. I didn’t expect the explosions of rain and snow and storms and fires. The unevenness of it. There is no sequential flow to the seasons now. Stuff just happens and it happens big. There are no little storms. Everything is over the top. Superstorms with the kind of rain we’ve never seen in our lifetime.

Is that enough climate change for you? It works for me. There is no debate on this. We are in the midst of something scary and dangerous — and we are making it much worse.

But that’s because we have a moron running our country.

Are you an explorer or more a homebody?

Both. I like to explore. Then I want to go home.

What were you grateful for this week? 

We found Manchaug!

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BLOSSOM TIME, BUT NOT IN NEW ENGLAND – Marilyn Armstrong

Friday Foto Fun: Blossom


It’s coming into Autumn now, so most of the blossoms are gone and the bright leaves will (I hope) come soon.  So far, all I see are a few yellow leaves. Nothing in the red or orange category. But the fall is still young.

There is time yet.

PINK VASE AND RED ROSES – Marilyn Armstrong

Pink Vase With Red Anniversary Roses

Today was beautiful. Yesterday was friends, food, and too many desserts. And today is equally lovely. I’m glad because Florence very slowly coming up the Atlantic coast. By the end of the week, it’s going to be a mess. They aren’t expecting the kind of rain they are getting in the Carolinas, but it will be a lot.

With our rivers already full, four or more inches of rain will mean flooding all over the valley.

That’s the thing about living in a river valley. We are a dip in the geography waiting for rain. Born for water, there’s nowhere in the valley you can live where you are far enough from a river to not be in danger of flooding. Even when you can’t see the river, it’s there. Behind the trees, behind the ridge. On the other side of the railroad tracks.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided I don’t really need a gas stove.

My anniversary roses