Monthly Archives: March 2020

Be Like a Sunset!

“Big Island Sunset”
Waiakola, Hawai’i

I would like to pass on this message from Dewitt Jones, a photographer that I follow (dewittjones.com). How many times have we sat and watched the beauty of a sunset? Remember the warmth, peace, and happiness it has brought. Some evenings it will be bright and glorious. Some evenings it will be gentle and peaceful. But, it is always there.

There are so many good and wonderful things in this world to celebrate. In times like these, it is extremely important not to forget to celebrate what is right in this world. Dewitt asks why can’t we be like a sunset to the people and world around us. Why can’t we bring beauty, brightness, peace, and hope to the world … every day? Are we too busy? Will people care? Are are efforts good enough? Why can’t we be like a sunset, showing up every evening without any expectation of the result? The essence is being there, celebrating life, and bring forth happiness to whoever may be there.

For the eyes of the world …

Kennedy Space Center Entrance
Merritt Island, FL

“For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon, and to the planets beyond and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace.”

John F. Kennedy

Six years can make a tremendous difference. When I visited Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in 2014, the attitude of many of the KSC employees was very negative. President Obama had recently cut significant funding for NASA and the Space Program. The Administration was pushing for commercial ventures to move the Space Program forward. Severe cutbacks were being made across the Program. Many KSC employees did not see a future ahead for them.

This March during our visit to KSC, things seemed quite different. There was a a flurry of activity preparing for future launches. International commercial joint ventures had taken over the responsibility for commercial launches. Programs are being put in place to return to the Moon and to launch manned space flights to Mars. Global governmental and private entities are binding together to tackle this venture. Funding is being provided by private, commercial, and governmental sources.

Where have I been? I am embarrassed to say, but my eyes have been closed to news regarding the International Space Program for years. I was totally taken back to the level of activity going on. It made me want to put my childhood “Space Cadet Wings” back on. Kennedy’s vision is moving forward!

Just check NASA’s web site for what is going on!

A Path Leading Forward

A Path Leading Forward
Yakima Arboretum, Yakima WA

It was a beautiful spring day, and we needed to get out and wander a bit. The Yakima Arboretum was just starting to show its cherry blossoms, so we decided to take a little walk. It was a little early in the blossoming cycle. The trees were not in full bloom, so we will go back in a couple of days.

It was still nice to be outside for a peaceful walk in the Arboretum. We saw only 5 or 6 people wandering around like us. It was easy to keep our “social distance.” As we were leaving the arboretum, we walked along this meandering path to the exit. The path zig-zagged along the way. We couldn’t see the end, but we knew where it was. It reminded us of what is in front of us all. As with the Coronavirus, the path is not straight. We will need to take different directions to adapt how we will live with this difficult situation. We don’t know where the next step will be. But, we must keep our faith and move forward.

The Path

We’ve seen it before—the curving path.
The end is out of our reach,
but it has promise nevertheless.

We are left to wonder where it goes.

“Uncharted territory” has become a cliche,
and we want answers—the right ones.
The path must lead forward because

we want to know what the ending brings.

Yet the path itself has curves
from one side to the other.  Its shape
suggests an ebb and flow of life’s fortune.

We take the uncertain journey as that is the gift.

Mary Dahlin Graf

Progression

“The Lower 40”
Heatherwood Spring

This is an overview of the landscape changes we are making this spring. At the time I was growing up this area was an orchard It was changed over to a pasture as the Heather Heights area was being developed. The prior property owner landscaped the upper section. A couple of years ago I converted the pasture into a new large lawn. Now we are chewing the lawn up again to plant trees for our mini-arboretum.

A Star Harbinger

Star Magnolia
Heatherwood Spring

Looking up at me
bright and brilliant as a star
brings spring’s warm glory.

The Seattle Japanese Garden posts a daily photo accompanied with a haiku. The haiku form is a 3 line poem consisting of 17 phonetic syllables. The first line has 5 syllables, the second 7 and the third 5. I thought I would give it a try (at lease for one post).

The star magnolia is the second plant in our garden to bloom each year, following the forsythia. We do not have any spring bulbs planted … yet. This spring we are planting several shrubs and trees that will produce even earlier blossoms. Hopefully this fall we will get some spring flowering bulbs in the ground.

Bittersweet

Flowering Plum Blossom
Heatherwood

Our first flowering plum blossoms peaked out yesterday. Their blooms really say it is Spring. The rest of the trees start to come out soon after the Flowering Plum. Our driveway is lined with these plum trees. When they are in full bloom, it is a beautiful sight.

These plums are planted only about 8-inches from the edge of the driveway. Their branches encroach and rub any wide vehicle that enters. In addition, they drop their fall fruit all over the driveway creating quite a mess. I have made the hard decision to remove them after they bloom this year. It makes Mary and I very sad. They will be replaced with Green Vase Zelkova’s planted a save distance from the driveway.

I really wish that the plums would have been planted in a spot that considered their mature growth patterns. As we develop Heatherwood, we are planting trees spaced for their mature form even though it will take years for them to fill in.

Something To Look Forward To

Japanese Garden Waterfall
Heatherwood

Last week we cleaned the Japanese garden stream bed and turned on the water. Previously we added an Adirondack settee that I made over the winter to the top viewing area. It is a great place to sit, relax, contemplate, and just enjoy the wonderful world around us.

When I get up in the morning, I like to pause and think about little things that will “make my day”. Today, I thought about sharing my morning cup of coffee sitting in the Adirondack chair with Mary. It will be a wonderful way to start the day.

Immersed in Warmth

North Star Spruce
Heatherwood Spring

This image just gives me warmth. The warm spring sun was highlighting a Wintersomme Mugo Pine. It was radiating its bright yellow winter color. My assignment was to find something interesting to put in front of it. The tip of a young North Star Spruce called out “Here I Am.”

The Coronavirus and “Social Distancing” will be with us for quite some time I am afraid. To me, “Social Distancing” is the wrong term to use. “Physical Distancing” is really what we should be addressing. With all the means we have for remotely communicating including social media, there is no reason that we need to lock our minds and souls up and quarantine communication and connections with others. Physical distancing is important in today’s time, but nothing is stopping us for reaching out and saying, “Here I Am!”

It Has Started …

Viburnum Starting to Bloom
Heatherwood Spring

Like I mentioned in a previous post, I have been watching this viburnum waiting for it to bloom. A few of the bud pods are now opening up. Very soon, white blossoms will appear form each of the individual flower buds. Maybe tomorrow!

It is an exciting time of year in the garden. Little needles are starting to emerge from buds on the evergreens. Tiny cones are starting to form. Buds on our cherry, plum, crabapple, and pear trees are swelling. A few leaves are popping out on our October Glory maple. Needles are turning from their winter yellows and browns to their spring light green. Things are happening!

The First Day of Spring

Star Magnolia Bloom
Heatherwood Spring

Today is an absolutely beautiful spring day here in Eastern Washington. The sky is bright blue and the temperature is a warm 65 degrees. It couldn’t be a nicer day. I spent a good part of the morning going from plant to plant photographing emerging flower and leaf buds. I finished the morning off sitting with Mary overlooking our stream soaking in the rays from the sun. It felt so, so good!

The beauty of this simple star magnolia bloom brings me peace. Nature is not letting the Coronavirus gain the upper hand. We all need to do the same. Gradually things will get better like nature gradually transitioning from winter dormancy, through spring awakening, to the flourish of summer brightness. There are so many things to be thankful for. Take a walk and enjoy nature … spring is here!