A Good Home, Clematis, Courage, Friendship

Life Changes

Blog Photo - Blue-Pink clems

I’m praying for two women I’ve never met in person.

They are in my blogging community. One in Southern Africa, one in the United States. Each was bereaved recently.  

I’m also praying for a blogger and his beloved wife in England. She has been undergoing cancer treatments.

Some people may be surprised that we care so much when another blogger hurts. But we do, especially when someone has a health scare or experiences a loss. 

 

Blog Photo - Garden rain cu of lavender blue clematis

Through blogging, we get to know each other’s stories. We read about each other’s lives, families, dreams, disappointments, and triumphs.

We rejoice over the good times: a daughter passes her exams; a parent’s health improves; a husband gets a better job.

So why wouldn’t we also hope and/or pray that a blogger – or a spouse – will triumph over a serious illness? 

Blog Photo - BLue clems and Salvia

Why wouldn’t we feel a terrible sadness when the husband of a blogger-friend dies suddenly?

Bloggers know that life changes when we least expect it. That the challenge is to learn, accept, adapt. Which is so easy to say, and so hard to do. 

Blog Photo - Blue clematis2

 

There is such pain in the world.

But also, such hope. Such kindness.

And such courage.

We see that every day in each other’s blog posts.

And we know that, sometimes, just taking the next step is an act of courage.

Dedicated to the persons mentioned in this post, and to all who currently feel buffeted by life’s strong winds. All these flowers are for you.

Blog Photo - Pink Clematis

Photos by Hamlin Grange

A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Clematis, Flowers, Gardening

Clematis a-bloomin’

I promised a blogger-friend that I’d post pictures of clematis in bloom.

But the gosh-darn rabbits ate almost every clematis right down to the ground last winter and spring, so I didn’t know what would come back and what was a goner. Blog Photo - Clems doubles Blog Photo - Blue clematis2 We had a few casualties, indeed. We lost the gorgeous white clematis. Blog Photo - Clematis white And the beautiful pink one that graces the arbour on the cover of my book, A Good Home.  Blog Photo - Pink Clematis But there’s much to be thankful for. Blog Photo - Blue-Pink clems Blog Photo - Garden rain pink and lavender clems Blog Photo - Blue Clematis single Blog Photo - Garden rain Clematis dark blue Now, it’s not all smooth sailing. A few are really struggling, and insects have also attacked them.Blog Photo - Clems Light pink Blog Photo - Clem Pink and white But the point is that they returned. And others came back in full force. Blog Photo - Clems - Burgundy Blog Photo - Blue clems atop Pinks This shy little red clematis decided to spread its wings — er, vines. Blog Photo - Red clems on Trellis This one below escaped the rabbits and is full of blooms now. Blog Photo - Clem Purple Now, don’t go asking me all their names.  Some days, I don’t even remember my own….. But I hope you are suitably impressed – I know I am! Several of these vines were bought for a few bucks at end of gardening seasons in years past, and planted by my Better Half.

I’m especially impressed with this bloom below- usually the first to flower, this clematis missed its moment because the rabbits ate the whole vine and it had to start up again from its roots underground.

But now it’s sent out a single bloom! Blog Photo - clem single pink

**

Dedicated to late bloomers and other survivors.

A Good Home, Canada, Canadians, Clematis, Daisy buds, Flowers, Gardening, Gardens, Hosta, Lady's Matnle, Life in canada, Lifestyle, Rain, Red currants, Spruce tree, Sun

Rain, Shine and the Spaces Between

The skies turn dark, more grey than black.

The air becomes perfectly still.

And then comes the rain, in sheets and showers.

Pouring down on dry grass, garden beds…

Blog Photo - Garden rain lady's mantle drenched

… and our verandah roof.

The water streams down in front of and beside the verandah.

Blog Photo - Garden rain lavender blue clematis

I sit on a chair, enjoying this moment from a safe perch of my own.

Blog Photo - Garden rain blue-lavender clems

“I should grab my camera”, I tell myself. But I sit still, unwilling to interrupt the moment.

Blog Photo - Garden rain cu of lavender blue clematis

Overhead, small branches of pale-green maple leaves sway in the air.

Red weigela flowers move amid green leaves, showered by water, ruffled by wind.

Blog Photo - Garden rain - red weigela branch

Below them both, large hosta leaves are weighed down with raindrops.

Blog Photo - Garden rain large hosta

Dip, dip. Fall back.

Blog Photo - Garden rain hosta bloom

Unless you’re laden with red currants… in which case: Dip, dip. Fall forward.

Blog Photo - Garden rain red currants branch

The tall blue spruce tree stands majestic, appearing unmoved by the wind and showers.

Blog Photo - Garden rain blue spruce

But there’s light movement in its outermost branches.  The tree has taken on a soft look, its face gentled by the rain.

All birds have taken cover, tucking themselves into dry spaces between thick branches.

One small bird sees opportunity.  It darts into the rain, tail feathers wet and glistening, and aims straight for its target. It stays there, pecking, content to be alone with what it usually has to compete for: a space at the feeder.

Blog Photo - Garden in Rain wet birdfeeder

From the verandah’s eaves trough, powerful streams torrent into the garden bed below. The Annabelle hydrangea is taking a beating, it seems.  Branches, gracefully upright a few minutes ago, part with the wisdom of growing things faced with the unstoppable power of water.

It’s merely minutes later now.

Blog Photo - Garden rain Rhodo leaves

The water from the eaves trough narrows.  Long thin streams of vertical water form a transparent drape in the space between verandah posts.

Five streams falling steadily on the earth. Then four.  Then, three. Then two, then one.

A trickle, now.

Then a quiet drip.

The rush of water, the soft thud of raindrops, the splash on leaves and flowers — all come to a stop. As if a mighty switch was turned on, then off, the rain has come and gone.

Blog Photo - Garden rain pink and lavender clems

Flowers glisten.

Blog Photo - Garden rain Red Bee Balm about to bloom

Birds chirp and fly towards a single spot: the feeder.

And I think, as I watch them:

How smart that first bird was.

The one that went before, wet tail-feathers and all.

Blog Photo - Garden rain - two birds at feeder

And how remarkable water is.

Liquid, fluid, transparent.  Forceful and life giving.

And as I sit on my verandah, giving thanks for it all – the rain, the trees and shrubs and flowers, and the birds and a place in which to sit, protected — the sun comes out.

Blog Photo - Garden rain Clematis dark blue

As quickly as the rain began, except there was no warning this time. Almost no space between.

Rain and Sun. Doing their part to keep us alive.

We depend on them so much, that ironically we take them for granted.

We give them names that begin with lower case letters.

But Rain and Sun are Capital Gifts. Sacred Gifts.