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.

LIME AND LIGHT GREEN: CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Lime or Light Green


That sounds like spring to me because that’s when the leaves are a light green, almost gold.

New leaves on our Japanese maple tree 
New leaves in the woods 
Trailing philodendron 
The long green in the backyard in June

BLACKSTONE RIVER AND CANAL IN MAY – Marilyn Armstrong

Bridge and canal in May

We had just enough sunshine to get out of the house and down to the canal. About an hour in total.

Reflections in the water. You can see the fallen pollen from the oak trees floating on the water

A quiet day with the river shining like glass. May telling me that summer really is here … or nearly so.

Peaceful

GOOD MORNING – MEMORIAL DAY IN THE U.S. – Marilyn Armstrong

Unlike most other American holidays, we retain a bit of respect for a day that honors veterans of our many wars. The cemeteries will be full of flags and visitors.

Otherwise, this is “grill your meat” day. It is the official opening of summer. Everything closed all winter opens on Memorial Day.

Macro Begonia

I have a problem with grilling insofar as we don’t own a grill. Well, we do, sort of. A tiny hibachi which uses charcoal. The amount of labor required to cook two hamburgers on a hibachi exceeds any joy we might get from eating them, so I think I’ll cook normally. Finally, I understand why gas grills have become so popular.

Flick, it’s on. No lighting the charcoal and waiting until it finally gets to the right color … and then waiting for it all to chill down so you can figure out what to do with the ashes. (Answer? Put them in the garden; they make a pretty good fertilizer.)

Tomorrow isn’t supposed to be a nice day. Grey and chilly like today, though we might get a little bit of sunshine. Hard to know. By Wednesday, summer will make another appearance.

We used to give barbecues in the summer. When we were younger. When I could still get from the deck to the lawn without a chair lift. For that matter, when Garry could get from the lawn to the deck on those long, steep stairs.

If the sun comes out, maybe I’ll take some pictures. Otherwise … it’s will be another Monday. Holidays don’t pack the same oomph they had when we were working.

When every day is a “day off,” a three-day holiday is another day off, but with a lot more traffic.

AS DOES THE GARDEN GROW – Marilyn Armstrong

The columbine are starting to bloom and I got pictures, but they aren’t fully open yet. After yesterday’s rain, everything is covered with drops of rain. And it’s pretty muddy.

Bunches more wild strawberries popping up everywhere and the rhododendrons look happy and healthy.

After cutting back the roses, the rhododendrons are looking very happy. It’s amazing how fast everything is growing right now.

Dryopteris filix – Common fern
Lilacs and there are more, but … it’s raining
Flowering cherry near the dam in town

And a few not fully opened Columbine (just a few more days and they will be amazing).

And of course, the deck …

Geranium
Begonia

Flowers of my week

WHICH WAY IN THE MONTH OF MAY – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge

Take a walk along the river. It’s a lovely day!
The steps lead all the way down to the ground alongside the river and under the bridge.

The weather has been really lovely for the past few days and I managed to get out of the house with a camera. Not for any kind of long shoot, but for a few minutes here and there.

Come on outside!
Just walk on down the drive!

Today I went to the dentist and when I got there, realized I’d forgotten to take my antibiotics. You have to take them to have your teeth done if you have an artificial heart valve — and I have two of them.

My path into the woods. I built it years ago and it has grown over, but you can see the path.
A walk in the park on a lovely day!

But we were parked next to the dam and the trees were blooming. And, as it happened, I had a camera.

SPRING HAS SPRUNG, FINALLY – BY ELLIN CURLEY

It’s finally spring in New England. We can safely move the snow blower out of the garage and back into the shed for storage.

It’s warm enough to put plants out on the patio and not have to worry about a rogue frost killing them all. It’s also just the right temperature to sit on the deck, It’s not too cold and not too hot. And the bugs are not in full attack mode yet.

I can still hear the water rushing in the nearby stream. The heat of summer will dry up the water and silence the stream. The birds are also adding their voices to the outdoor symphony of spring. So it sounds as glorious out there as it looks.

The dogs love to join me outside. They lie down near me or wander around sniffing all the wonderful smells of nature in bloom.

We just built our patio about five years ago. Ironically, as beautiful and bucolic as it is, we have found that we are rarely out there. Except for Tom, who grills there almost every night we’re at home. The problem is that once boating season starts, we spend most nice days on the boat. We also do most of our entertaining at the marina as well.

So there are two small windows for me to enjoy this lovely setting. Early spring and late fall, when we are not always on the boat.

I think maybe this summer I’ll make sure to spend some more time out in my little oasis in the woods. The marina is relaxing and beautiful, but so is my own backyard. After all, there’s no place like home!