Category: Photography


What’s your mission?

The Greening Spirit

E Sept 10

Nature is very clear in how she assigns work to her beloved creatures. Beavers build dams, creating natural waterways in environments that sustain the life around its banks, wolves group themselves in dedicated family communities whose job is to cull weak and incapacitated herd animals insuring a healthy population that the land can sustain, squirrels busily bury acorns in late fall for future food but also to be the movers of oak trees further out into the environment insuring their continued survival.  What a glorious inter-connected web.

Bees have their assigned task as well, besides feeding and caring for the Queen and her baby bees. Daily they leave the nest commuting to work in beautiful fields of flowers, quite mobile and enjoying the change of scene full of color and fragrance within their workday, gathering golden nuggets of pollen to be transformed into the sweetness of honey. Yes, they work hard but they know what they are supposed…

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Garden June Sacred

Being a Taurus Sun Earthkeeper person, I have always had gardens where I live. The cycle of the seasons in a 4-climate region has captivated me since childhood…each turn full of magic, myth and mystery.

Growing up in an inner city in the northeast USA, I was not exposed to posh gardens in the concrete environment even though I lived in an apartment building on Ash Grove Place which still had a genteel air leftover from earlier times when the neighborhood was lined with ash trees before cars. The plants that came through the cracks and between the buildings in ally-ways were the wild things…dandelions, poke, yellow dock, plantains and the flowers of grasses. Of course back then, I didn’t know their names but I was called to them because they were green growing living things tucked in and around the hardness and grey of city asphalt.

There were two “garden” situations however that served our city spirits. One was the chain-link fence bordering the back parking lot behind our apartment building. In spring and summer, the tall fence was covered by the climbing vines of morning glories. The blue flowers were a never-ending delight…the tight spirals of the buds before opening, which we would pick, blowing at their now- tiny opening at the base .. and out they would flare into full flower by the power of our own mini-godlike breath. Picking the full flower itself , we would also suck at the small opening at the base of it, pulled from the vine, to taste a delightful delicate sweetness,  coming to understand what the bees were collecting while visiting its center!

The second garden was for viewing only through the openings in the chain link fence to the back lot of the next-door neighbor. A German immigrant with a thick accent, he was a crabby terrible tempered territorial old man who yelled loudly and threatened any and all kids who might attempt to climb over the fence to receive a ball gone astray in the air, landing in his green sanctuary. But he was an amazing gardener and it was like peering into the Garden of Eden or a guarded oasis in the middle of the hood between buildings. As an adult, I now understand his fierce and protective personality preserving the peace and order of his sacred garden from a pack of potentially disruptive and invasive neighborhood kids….

My own gardens from marriage, parenthood, divorce, partnership and singledom on have varied. My first planting was of Lamb’s Ears (stachys officinalis) which first captivated me in a re-created colonial apothecaries’ garden at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT when I was age 21. The gardens that  followed throughout my life started with herbs and their charming and healing mystique, and later, flowers and vegetables. Always always green around me.  

Veggie Garden

( One of my earlier gardens )

Several years ago, serious vision problems with early cataracts began to develop and it became impossible for me to see in sunlight and also to just see clearly at all. For the past three years, that, plus a couple of stressful, attention-stealing life situations blocked the ability to garden. I thought that was okay. But there was a flatness in my spirit as a result…unrecognizable to others…but known to my own self. A loss of some sort of energy and meaning. A loss of “veriditas”.

Now, with much excitement and gratitude, my eyesight has been restored through surgeries,  and with the renewal of vision, I could not let another year go by without tending the “Green”.  Three years of not taking care of the yarden turned it into wildness except for the front. This year, I invested in Grow Boxes, not having the time or energy to tame field and woodland and in planting them and situating them in my yard,  I realized that in not gardening the last three years, I had lost some part of SOUL….my own “Greening Spirit/Veriditas”… by not participating in the cycle of the seasons in person and not tending the plants. But now! My Soul has come back home to both the inner and outer gardens!

Garden rainy

A week or so ago, as I walked through the front border to the road, I stubbed my toe on an exposed corner of a flat rock buried under moss and matted grass. I bent over to scrape away dirt and plant matter to find a garden plaque that my partner David had placed in my new herb garden almost 20 years ago when we moved in. I had at that time also been teaching a nine-month internship in folkloric herbalism, natural foods and earth spirituality, called “The Sacred Garden”.

Garden June Sacred

How synchronistic was its surprise emergence from “under” to welcome my SOUL back home as I became a “gardener” once again.

They are BACK! My garden, My Soul !

Veriditas! from  Christine, the Greening Spirit

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Please visit my other blogs!

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During the past several years, I became hard-pressed to make some very difficult choices in my very familiar and somewhat predictable life: choices like letting go of a house/home of many years, leaving behind a plot of land that was the garden canvas upon which a colorful array of flowers, herbs and vegetables nourished me physically, spiritually and mentally, choices that challenged the way I earned my living as a humble means of security and choices that initially did not allow me to see a clear path into a grounded and stable future.

My life had been filled with color, music, dance and creativity. It was juicy and plump with knowing that I was fulfilling my destiny and blooming in rightness for me.

But then there were gradually some serious challenges in going it alone in a very changing and unstable environment around me and  those circumstances pressing in on me, pressed me as well, sucking a lot of the juice and energy out of my calmness and..well…flattening me and the fullness of familiarity for a while.

I am happily back now in a new and stable phase..gloriously so I think…. but I have learned something important having survived pressing circumstances and being “flattened” for a while myself.

So let me talk about Rose Geranium first as an example. For the year between my “old life” and my “new life” I lived with dear friends, who also had large and bountiful gardens which were a comfort to my loss in the interim. Outside of their front door was a lovely rose geranium plant in bloom all summer and fall, its rounded and scalloped leaves when stroked, exuded a sweet and musky perfume that evoked a sense of sensuality, earthiness, and LOVE. This plant beckoned to me every time I came and went about my tasks such as I was trying to live them out.

 

In the ensuing fall…last October…and before I knew I would be moving finally to a delightful new apartment in totally new circumstances I asked the plant permission and started to harvest some of her finest leaves pressing them between the pages of my books about Hildegard of Bingen which were references for a course I was going to be teaching at the local University.

When in time, I arrived in my new and delightful sanctuary,  my now apartment, and settled in beginng to prepare for the course, I opened the books and again met those leaves…. those now pressed and flattened leaves and I was stunned by their beauty…a NEW kind of beauty… as they emerged from having been nestled and pressed safely between those pages and  lying surrounded by all those beautiful words of wisdom front and back.

In their now pressed and flattened state, their strength and structure and divine and exquisite order…their master plan and destiny… was clearly revealed altho the physicality of their leaves are now seemingly…some might say “thin-skinned”.  But no, I would say instead “delicate, vulnerable and refined” and  with the color and beginning translucence of maturity. There is dance and frivolity and movement in the frilly-ness and happiness of their edges and I see that being pressed has not taken that away…in fact, it has made it the happiness more pronounced and visible as the essence of who and what it really is,  is clearly seen.

Rose Geranium 1

It has gloriously survived being pressed and has evolved into a new phase of being.

What I have learned from being pressed is like all that I see in this rose geranium leaf and  which has been revealed in the still- beauty, sensuality and love that is available when surviving pressing situations that seem to flatten us. If we can be surrounded by good words and the friendly, caring protection of friends/family and community, the “stuff” of which we are made is never lost..just perhaps transformed into what is truly important. Our essence.

And most importantly, is the awesome revelation and knowing of the Divine Order and Guidance of our lives and in that leaf, never fully appreciated until we are squeezed, challenged, or pressed to claim and reveal our deepest selves.

I have been promised a cutting of that plant to bring here in my new apartment. Rose Geranium (Pelargonium Capitatum) A special flowerpot is all ready and waiting! I believe this plant has more to teach me…..

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Please check my foodie blog too : http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

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Herbs violet japanese maple (3) Picasa signed Green

The lovely poet Mary Oliver writes: “My work is loving the world………… Let me keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished“.

There are days when there are hours wandering about with my camera seeking, finding and capturing mysteries, and then writing about them. It is for me a meditative time, akin to prayer, I have come to realize, for in this practice I am always in a state of astonishment. It seems it is my way at these times to “gaze” instead of “look”, and to “see” rather than “glance” for I am a Taurus and we prefer to move more slowly, and linger in order to savor the experiences wherever we are.

Which brings me to the art of Deep-Seeing nature around me which when involving astonishment triggered by Beauty makes me fall deeply in love with the world.

But in our ordinary busy-got-to-get- somewhere times, we rush by life and our environment moving so fast, merely glancing at the surface and brushing by the most astonishing things hidden in plain sight on our way to be elsewhere.

Coming in and out of the house on my way to “out there”,  hopping in the car and taking off to tasks and responsibilities, I am in my head making lists, prioritizing things to do, appointments to get to on time and all that. In so doing, I pass this beautiful red Japanese Maple right outside the door, glancing quickly as I am fiddling and looking for my car keys in the depths of my purse and am astonished when I find them amidst the pocketbook’s inner complexities and clutter!

Deep Seeing TWO COPY

A day or two later, when not so rushed but going out to do a task, the slant of light on this tree caught my attention as I passed, suddenly revealing the patterns of several layers of branches and feathery leaves. The greenery was multi-colored as well, green, red, purple and PINK! I was astonished, immediately stopping to dig into my purse for my camera which is always with me (forget the car keys!). This sudden switch of vision to deep-seeing mode captured a Mystery that captivated me, took my breath away and surrounded me with a feeling of the holy, the Whole-y, the Sacred, The Magical.

Deep Seeing Three

But it’s not over, this Astonishment. There is never any end to how deep we can go with the art of Deep-Seeing in the world around us, in the people we meet or live with, or in the desire and seeking for Truth. How powerful is your curiosity? How hungry are you for depth and meaning,  for the seeking of Soul in the world,  and for the deeper mysteries of beauty hidden everywhere when we stop to linger, gaze and be present?

Standing there, lingering with this tree, looking down at it’s flattened crown from above, I noticed a small opening in its branches. Bending closer, I was charmed and astonished as I looked deeper through the opening and down to the ground under its trailing limbs … there..brightly colored, lush, textured and shiny..a whole luxurious community of greenlings…broad  shimmering violet leaves and delicate sweet woodruff (an ingredient in May Wine)…a combined vibrant palette of pink, purple, green and pale yellow.

Herbs violet japanese maple (3) Picasa signed Green

It is true that some of us, when astonished, are inspired to make art, sometimes writing poetry, sometimes creating a painting, sometimes a story written or told, sometimes a photo composed and edited for making magic trying to capture and make what we have seen immortal…all irresistible components of falling in love.

I come to know that while teaching piano and  spiritual well-being to earn a living, that my real work is, and ever will be, loving the world and daily being astonished, sharing that Good News wherever I can.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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also:

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http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

Heather and Snow Two (2) PICASA

Yesterday, March 20, was the Vernal (Spring) Equinox in North America. Pictures of tulips, lambs, bunnies and bouquets of flowers were cheerfully posted all over social media, bringing color, a sense of beginnings, warmth and new visions after the cold and silence of winter.

Meanwhile on the eastern coast, we awaited a snow event promising to  once again cover the slowly emergent green from the past week of warmer rains.

The sun is now bright after the snowfall, melting this morning’s  blanket of white, but we have not yet made the transition really from Winter into Spring. This is an in-between time… snow and heather trying to co-exist if only momentarily.

Transitions times are a real thing…neither this, nor that…but both and neither. Nature is a startling metaphor for situations in our lives that are neither one thing or another. I know this to be true because that is exactly what I am experiencing at this time: an in-between time from what my life was, and what will be.

I have let go of my life and home and beloved gardens and routines of the past 18 years of rhythm and familiarity, partly by choice and partly by fate. … much if not all of my worldly possessions in storage while I am granted a blessed “time-out” living with friends in order to heal in spirit and recalibrate where to go from here. I am leaving a winter experience of life with residues of frozen challenges while emerging into color, creativity and new experiences that are part of an eldering, but also newly- blossoming me.

I know I am not alone in these times of transition…the in-between times when we are compelled to make changes that incorporate both plusses and minuses. Letting go of parts of what we love, stages of grief, recognition of blessings in the in-between times that aid us and help us move along, hints and glimmers of what can be that we only now can envision as new possibilities.

Spring IS coming, and one thing about Spring that is different from winter-into-spring is the uncompromising energy of Spring RUSHING without confusion into SUMMER…the time of bursting through the cold hard ground into stems, blossoms, fruits and vegetable, color and LIFE.

But today…heather and snow..is the In-Between Time of patience and promise.. a time that is neither this nor that. But both.

I think I can work with that……

 

Moi 2From Christine, The Greening Spirit

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussouopsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

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I have been “away” from the Greening Spirit site for a while since the challenging life change of moving from my little home of 18 years. I am blessed at this time to be sharing a home with dear friends, as housemates for a while in a setting and loving sanctuary that is a true gift and a place for healing and re-orientation.

My mind and spirit had been totally consumed with an intense focus on the necessary tasks and responsibilities that are inherent in the process of breaking down and releasing all that was familiar and letting go of a “home”. The concentration on organizing, sorting, tossing, discerning what to keep and what to leave behind, and packing closed the door to inner vision and “deep-seeing” the natural world around me that is so vital to this blog.

A transition has happened now, and it seems that yesterday’s blizzard opened once again the inner eye of “soul” as its beauty settled all around us here in the woods on all sides. For those of us NOT stuck in traffic or having to get somewhere through the storm, which can be fearsome if not horrendous, watching the storm through windows was magical.

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All throughout the day, I floated from window to window…each view more magical than the next as the snow drifted straight down, sideways or in all directions at the same time. The woods which on an ordinary clear and cold day look like just one thing, became the realm of fairy tales with its beckoning depth defined by black and grey tree trunks edged in white. The snow settling on branches gave new definition to shape and stature, straight, tilted or fallen.

 

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I  know I was not alone in this enchantment of “looking through” into the wild and whiteness if at home. Facebook is lit up today with pictures of gardens, woods, backyards, decks, city streets and statehouse as if we all suddenly woke up to a new and magical world seen in a starling new way.

bliz jan branch picasa

Since I was indoors and warmed by the friendly fires of our woodstove, looking out to the forest beyond the doors, walls and windows of this house was my enchantment for the whole day. IMG_1330

When there is snow at twilight the light shifts and the world shifts from black, white and grey to blue… time for the end of the day snow party! Shrimp and dips, champagne and wine..good company and the warmth of woodstove and companionship.

snowfeasr

Now until the next post…happy shoveling!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

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Evolution 1

As I go through old photos, deciding what to keep and what to toss  preparing for an eventual  move from my present sanctuary of over twenty years, I am surprised over and over again at the way I have gardened for many a season.

I found this series of photos of the small vegetable/herb and flower garden I created quite a while back at the side of my house. That was “then”.  Now, many years later, this space is totally hidden by a hedge of brambles and wild rose… a “Secret Garden” perhaps to be re-discovered someday by the next owner.

These photos are memories of the evolution and organized planning of a beautiful “life” and garden within neat and safe boundaries. I am pleased that I have had the opportunity of creating such a planned and organized sanctuary for the sake of art, beauty, healing and refreshment. However, this is a different time of life for me at present…at least for now… and my garden and my life are more un-planned, un-contained, alternative, sometimes un-kempt in areas and certainly wilder in soul/spirit…

So here it its. Memories of the evolution of an orderly garden:

#1. The Beginning Idea

Evolution 1

#2. Boundaries Three

Boundaries Three

Boundaries Three

#3. Deciding where to put the rosebush

Deciding where to put a rosebush

Deciding where to put a rosebush

Evolution 4

Evolution 3

#4. Rosebush planted! Now on to the flowers/veggies and herbs

evolution planted copy

#5.  Chives and herbs along the sides

Evolution Success

The borders and familiar sanctuary of my life are breaking down at present and so the my garden/my soul of “today” looks quite different than it did up there when life was a little more stable and predictable.

Now my garden is in moveable grow boxes and the back and side yards are left to nature’s plans…un-mowed and seemingly un-kempt…  my Soul and future a personal field and meadow defying predictability, certainty and stability for a while.

Garen Lush July 5, 2015

Yarden mow (2)     Yarden mow   back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wherever it is that I go you can be sure that it will have to be somewhere that, when I step out of an open door, I am in green space ready for the next garden. My Life, My Soul, My Gardens…we evolve together….

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Boots on the Ground

 

 

 

 

Please visit my other blogs that have evolved over the years with me..life is never boring.

 

 

 

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Piano Teachhttp://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

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Bean Baby
When I was a youngster, I received many a microscope kit for Christmas (by request) as well as girly things like dolls, and teeny bopper things like a transistor radio in pale blue.

I asked for microscope kits because from an early age, I was drawn to the wonders of nature and seeing the mysterious patterns and shapes in the tiniest unfoldings of plants, stones, and insects. I wanted to see them up close and personal, so my “natural science” tools were microscopes and slides, and magnifying glasses of various strengths.

Oh what amazing wonders I have seen up close and personal! Intimacy and deep-seeing have always enchanted and nourished me.

I, in this time of my life, sometimes still have a magnifying glass in the garden, but it is the camera that is my “microscope” today along with the photo editing programs that allow me to zero close into some captivating thing in the middle of a bigger territory, by cropping.

In the past week and up until yesterday, the bean plants in my garden were decorated with little white flowers. And then  *POP!*…. just this morning, there they all-of- a-sudden were…..silently (to my ears) bursting and pushing the flowers outwards…little beanie babies being born from somewhere in the center of that fading bloom.

Bean borning (3)

It’s not that I have nothing else to do in my life except to watch a baby bean be born. I teach piano, cook, prepare a variety of interesting courses on dreams or positive manifestation or inner peace at the University, lead groups, visit with friends and go dancing…naming just a few things. But…over and over again, I am called back out to the garden throughout the day and in my comings and goings, to stop and pay attention to some incredibly important,  awesome and powerful event….like a bean being born, a miniature eggplant crowning out of the green womb, or a calendula bud silently exploding open and orange into the sunlight. It’s very mysterious and very organic, this sprouting something new almost every minute. Ongoing change and transformation out there… something amazing is happening all day and all night long!

I think about my life and some significant challenges I am facing at the moment. Challenges of having to let go of my home and the garden of this series, challenges to maintaining the stability of familiar work and service, yet  transformational opportunities for teaching in new ways, and living inter-dependently rather than independently. Like a beanie baby, pushing out from the flower of familiarity and comfort and becoming something new-ish in the world and my way of moving through it.

The pfesity and prophetic priest, Matthew Fox once wrote somewhere in his book “Original Blessing” (and paraphrased here) that if all “holy books” were put on a shelf for a number of years and we went out to read nature instead, we would learn everything we need to know about living a wise and good life. A “Whole-y” life, I call it.

Beanie Babies Borning is my message and lesson for today. Got it!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Selfie  Some of the other things I spend my time on when not watching baby beans grow.  Please visit!

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Kale with water droplet-look!

Kale with water droplet-look!

Yesterday morning when I went out to the garden very early, the whole front yard and plants were awash in brilliant blinding light. Everything shimmered with moisture and dew that was rapidly evaporating in the heat.

The morning light was behind the plants as the sun was coming up and everything was back-lit with halos and transparencies, not the best conditions for taking a picture.

Blinding Light

However, close up to each plant, there was light behind them and a radiance around their edges that revealed things not readily seen in other more mundane situations. Once again, I was grateful for this time in my life that allows a mindful presence before my day starts, grounding me in mystery with the opportunity for deep-seeing and new in-sights.

We live in a culture of speed touted as a virtue, and distraction, a tool for programmed consumerism…both of which are Soul-thiefs. We miss so much that is grounding and heavenly combined as we run (or are chased) through our lives pursuing a dream of what is supposedly important.. imposed by popular culture, not revealed by Presence to the miracles and messages all around us and within us.

Stepping out into the world, early morning, shocked into stillness by radiance..(it is said that to look upon the face of God or Angels is a blinding experience). Even squinting, Illumination can come out of awe and prayer. All of which can change our lives.

This was it. Were there Angels in my garden?

And…. can you find the water droplet in the kale leaf (?) not noticed until magnification and deep seeing.

There is ALWAYS more than initially meets the eye…….

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Light  My other blogs are full of illumination for body and spirit too!

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http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

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Brambles (2)

Well, in Part 3  (Order and Chaos) of this series, I revealed  to all the wild un-mowed backyard which has now been christened “The Meadow”.  All of my attention this year has been out front growing vegetables in boxes in full view of anyone passing by and the picture of that mower in the tall grass is it only on its way back to the shed after the front lawn has been spruced up.

Yarden mow (2)

The back has been untended for three years for several good reasons and for sure I have felt a bit guilty about it each year. But just a bit, because in fact, each time I go out there, I am captivated by the spirit of the wild, the untamed, the unplanned. There are TREASURES in that meadow…. varieties of ferns under which faeries hide, teasing waving grasses that keep the black kitty who wanders through the green in hunting mode early morning and at dusk, and for sure, herbs for healing that appear on their own without any assist from me.

Ferns

Treasures for sure!  My herbalist colleagues know these to be just that although  those who are into perfect presentations of turf and balanced landscsaping ie immaculate carpets of green untainted by…argghhh! A WEED! …. would be “tsk tsking” at my supposed irresponsibility.

Not so.

Burdock! – burrs and healing seeds in the making. The root, if I were to dig it up, which I am not planning to do, is powerful cleansing and nutritive medicine.

Burdock closeup

Mugwort- The herb of dreamers, visionaries, opening the third-eye of deep-see-ers and wise-women. A smudging herb and the herb used as moxa in acupuncture. It is also an herb for regulating the menstrual cycles of young women.

Mugwort

Lemon Balm- According to Hildegard of Bingen ( ) “it maketh one merry” and indeed its delicate lemon scent and flavor tempers sadness and stress in the moment,  especially sweetened with a little honey. A delightful happy herb, it is nonetheless considered one of the premier nervine herbs to calm distressed spirits. My large patch of meadow lemon balm grows amidst a stand of ferns whose interesting shapes amuse the eye.

Lemon Balm

The Brambles: where the blackberries grow all tangled up with milkweed, mugwort, and in some places, treasured nettles. Invasive but colorful bittersweet grows in there too, and thank goodness for some friends who are compulsively compelled to rip it out on sight while passing through the yard. At the moment, the berries are still red, but I watch them turn darker each day in the competetive game of one-upmanship with the birds who will try to get to them first before I do.

Brambles (2)

ELDER- Oh what a precious and magical shrub… every part of the plant having a use, especially the flower (used in gypsy cold care tea) and the berry (used in elderberry syrup as medicine for the flu).  The elder was the magical herb that played a prominent role in the movie, ” Sorceress”  about a medieval herbalist, her craft and the danger it put her in. 

Elder

When I was a little girl, I was enchanted by fairy tales and faeries and I always knew that the best place to find them would be in the meadow, hedgerows or fields. I am in love with the vegetables and flowers and the magic of their unfolding  in my orderly garden but where the wildness Nature has the upper hand is the best magic of all.

I will add a less poetic paragraph here that is a reality where I live, needing precautions for safe foraging and gathering in the meadow here and in the real wilds. Ticks and their four or five tick-borne diseases are endemic where I live in New England, so although lovely dream-like pictures of young women in white flowy gossamer dresses dancing through the fields are on-line,that is NOT what I look like when out there. Covered up with socks, boots, and layers of long-sleeved denim…all sprayed with permethrin has become an un-fun and certainly un-glamorous necessary costume for avoiding the ticks and the very serious diseases they carry. Clinging to tall grasses, or nesting under dried leaves and shrubbery, they love hitching a ride on YOU, to bury underneath your skin and transfer their nastiness.

Yarden mow   back

But still, go forth in the proper way, to discover the Treasures of the Meadow forgotten or unknown in today’s techno society. The real magic is out there.

(all pictures credit: Christine Phoenix-Green)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise

My other blogs have magic as well!

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

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