Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Colorful April

“April this year, not otherwise
Than April of a year ago
Is full of whispers, full of sighs,
Dazzling mud and dingy snow;
Hepaticas that pleased you so
Are here again, and butterflies.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay

This morning in April, here in Oregon, there is frost on the ground, but the sun is shining brightly. I’ve spotted daffodils and tulips and crocuses and forsythia and trillium and trout lily and Western blue flag iris in bloom already this month. The predominant color around here, though, is Spring Green. Fescue fields cover vast expanses of farmland nearby, where Icelandic sheep, domestic sheep, horses, goats, and donkeys graze.

On the first day of April, the trails around the marsh at Finley Wildlife Refuge open for the season. They are closed during the winter to protect the migrating birds who are resting and nesting. The skies are full of long skeins of flocks from November through March. When I ventured over there a few days ago, I noticed a small population of ducks and geese, and one heron. I had only my Samsung Galaxy phone with me, but I took a few photos nevertheless.

“Spring is made of solid, fourteen-karat gratitude, the reward for the long wait. Every religious tradition from the northern hemisphere honors some form of April hallelujah, for this is the season of exquisite redemption, a slam-bang return to joy after a season of cold second thoughts.” ― Barbara Kingsolver

I have to add my gratitude for the gifts of flowers that I have received this month as well, displayed on my dining room table. (again, taken with my phone) They certainly illustrate a return to joy in my life!

Thank you to Amy at The World Is A Book for inviting us to share the theme of her beautifully colorful post. May we all experience that April “hallelujah” and new joy in our lives!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: A Change of Scenery

Spring Beauty

“The snow has not yet left the earth, but spring is already asking to enter your heart. If you have ever recovered from a serious illness, you will be familiar with the blessed state when you are in a delicious state of anticipation, and are liable to smile without any obvious reason. Evidently that is what nature is experiencing just now.” ― Anton Chekhov

The Vernal Equinox is here, announcing the first day of Spring! A change of scenery is about to unfold all around you, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. What have you seen so far? Crocuses? Daffodils? Forsythia?  

Have you sighted returning migratory birds like red-winged blackbirds, cranes, geese, robins? Have you witnessed any courtship rituals?

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Have you started any Spring projects yet? Cleaning, planting, or otherwise loving a change of scenery into being? 

“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.”
― John Muir

It won’t be long now before the Earth shows on parade the joyful resilience of Life that we have come to know in the depths of our souls as HOPE. 

“The earth laughs in flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

It has certainly been a long, strange, and anxious year. I welcome a change of scenery from the dreary outlook of fear, manifest in so many ways on so many levels. There is much to be learned from the long, dark time that we’ve been through, much to be brought into the sunlight and witnessed with new eyes and a new resolve. May we all do the work of Spring in our lives and enjoy the change of scenery that New Life brings!

 

Many thanks to Beth of Wandering Dawgs for hosting this Lens-Artists challenge and welcoming a Change of Scenery into our week!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Spring

The weekly Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is taking a tour of the seasons. Last week, it was Summer; today, it’s Spring.

Last week, I featured a song by John Denver. I became a huge fan of his at the age of 12, just two years after seeing a mountain for the first time. A few years later, I got into the Jazz Choir in High School and became a huge Ella Fitzgerald fan. I found a very fitting song for Spring 2020 in her repertoire. It’s called “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most”, by Tommy Wolf and Fran Landesman. 

“…Spring, this year has got me feeling
Like a horse t
hat never left the post.
I lie in my room staring up at the ceiling.
Spring can really hang you up the most…

Morning’s kiss wakes trees and flowers,
And to them I’d like to drink a toast.
I walk in the park j
ust to kill those lonely hours.
Spring can really hang you up the most…

All afternoon
Those birds twitter twit.
I know their tune –

This is love, this is it.
Heard it before,
And I know the score,
And I’ve decided that Spring is a bore.

Love seem sure around the New Year.
Now it’s April; Love is just a ghost.
Spring arrived on time,
But what became of you, dear?
Spring can really hang you up the most…”

This Spring was really tough for me for several reasons, only one of which was the Covid 19 pandemic. However, I am continually reminded in Nature that life goes on, changes become new horizons, and beauty and joy are renewed each day.

Thank you to Tina of Travels and Trifles, who hosted this week’s challenge by sharing some beautiful shots of her home island.

May the spirit of Spring bring us all hope in new life to come!

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Delicate Colors

Ann-Christine, our challenge host this week, is inspired by “the soft glory of spring nature in my part of the world”. She lives in Sweden, a country I’ve never visited but with which I feel a kind of kindred knowledge as a resident of a northern state – Wisconsin. After a long winter, there is nothing more repeatedly astonishing as the bursting forth of delicate spring color. The leaves here are growing larger each day but have that yellow brilliance that will soon mellow into a sturdier green. Now, they accent a blue sky with a light-filled tenderness that is truly inspiring.

Here in my front yard, the apple trees and crabapple trees have finally burst into blossom. Their colors are so delicate that the midday sun gives them a rather harsh brilliance.

They are much more ethereal in the mist of a spring rain.

In my photographs, I often get a thrill from a good pop of color. I get a much deeper sense of awe from the soft color that I sometimes catch without really knowing how.

I guess the trick to this kind of soft color outside is indirect sunlight and moist air. One of the shots in the gallery above was actually taken indoors. The fern was in a conservatory greenhouse exhibit.

It’s finally Spring, though, and what I really want to do is just get outdoors into the sun and put my feet up!

Wishing you all health, safety, and ease this weekend. 🙂 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Awakening to Spring

The photo challenge for this week is about life’s waking after a long winter. Well, someone must have hit the SNOOZE button for Wisconsin because it’s still FREEZING up here!

I was able to see some blooms indoors at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago at the end of last month. Here’s another fern to echo Jen’s post:

I am really looking forward to the proposition of warmer days and greener landscapes. Any time. Soon. The sooner the better, really. Like…now would be good. Yeah. Until then, Northerners, this bud’s for you. 

Awakening

 

For My Own Sake

It’s still cold and snowy here in Wisconsin, and I have to do my taxes. I’m looking for a bright spot. I found a lot of them last weekend when I was in Chicago for my son’s wedding. The brightest were about family and love, but there was this other bit that was also bright and colorful — a visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory.

There are goldfinches at my feeder. I see their feathers brightening a bit each day from their winter brown to that radiant, sunny yellow I love so much. It’s only a matter of time. I will try to “possess my soul in patience”. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise!

“Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!” – Wallace Stevens

Thank you, Jen, for quoting Stevens, one of the best at intuitive word play and surprise.

Thank you, Spring, for injecting life into the world just when we thought everything might be dead forever. 

Surprise

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh and Refresh

“Fresh and refresh were sitting in a boat…” (anyone remember that old joke about Pete and Repeat?) Would you believe I’ve been waiting for 20 minutes now for my computer to wake up and let me access my photo files?  How many times have I hit ‘refresh’? 

I have also been waiting (rather impatiently, again) for signs of spring.  Finally, the temperatures got warmer last week, and I saw the first scilla siberica pop up in the garden.  Can you believe something as tender as this little flower can crack through the crusty earth?  What is the force behind its penetrating power? 

scilla sibericaIt must be the power of Life, of change and renewal.  (To see a photo essay I did recently entitled: Renewed Like An Eagle – A Spiritual Lesson from Nature, click here.) I am winter weary and ready for fresh growth.  I can’t wait for more of Life bursting from the soil!

Happy Spring!  May you be refreshed by the change!

Fresh

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring!

I brought my camera out today on a trip to Horicon Marsh Wildlife Refuge, but I didn’t take a single picture.  Spring here in Wisconsin meant barely 50 degrees, windy and overcast.  Although the sight and sounds of sandhill cranes and Canada geese and red-winged blackbirds were quite satisfying, I missed the sun and wildflowers that I’ve seen by this time in previous years.  *sigh*  I remembered that 5 years ago on this date, Steve & I were taking a wildflower class through the McHenry County Conservation District.  We learned to identify all kinds of woodland spring flowers like anemones and violets and jack-in-the-pulpit and May apples.  Haven’t seen but one little anemone this year.  Here she is:first wildflower

Brave little Buttercup!  Do tell your friends that it’s almost safe to come out.  I will wait for them.  🙂