Looking out over our front yard, I reflect on memories of bygone childhood years. Outside our farmhouse door, in the foreground I see the snow covered apple trees with a few remaining apples hanging on the wild branches that need to be pruned. A little farther out I see our neighbor’s newly planted apple orchard. Behind the new apple orchard, I reminisce running through the old cherry orchard looking for low hanging delicious treats. And above the cherry orchard, I dream of the hours I would spend roaming around the sagebrush hills behind our orchard.
I enjoy looking over our Heatherwood landscape as I appreciate the borrowed views from our neighbors’ properties.
One of my favorite places to sit, relax, and read is in our family room by the window. I frequently look up and gaze over the our garden and the ridges in the distance. Most times I see something that catches my attention and causes me to pause and contemplatively think about what I am seeing. The more that my mind is open, the more that I see. The more that I see, the more I appreciate the wonderful world we live in.
“Japanese Maple in Snow” Heatherwood Japanese Garden
This Japanese Maple is persistent. It just will not drop its leaves. Most of our Japanese Maples have a similar habit. They add to contrasting colors in the winter landscape as well as provide interesting “nesting spots” for winter snow. If the snow gets too heavy, we do have to gently dust it off the fragile branches to protect them from breaking. Later in the early spring we also need to gently run our hands through the branches to remove the leaves on some of the trees to prepare for the fresh new growth.
Yesterday I awoke to the ground covered with about 6 inches of snow. A light fog covered the surrounding hills. Snow covered objects blended into the background. From the top of Heatherwood, I saw our neighbor’s trees mysteriously transparent on the hillside. It’s nice to live in the country.
Hana Matoi Late Fall Growth Heatherwood Japanese Garden
A few red and green leaves of late autumn growth contrast against the dried brown leaves of the spent leaves. Ice plants in their red and yellow winter color on the hillside frame the new leaves.
Below, the fragile disectum leaves of the Hana Matoi shade the spreading blue purplish green thyme below.
This concludes my Hana Matoi mini-project. Or does it? These six images in the last 3 posts were all taken on an overcast day. Early morning light and late afternoon light provide many additional perspectives. Different seasons display different colors. Snow, ice, rain, and dew create magical views. And there are always an abundance of opportunities for abstracts. An infinite number of images are yet to be discovered.
Hana Matoi Looking Down Heatherwood Japanese Garden
This post continues my Hana Matoi mini project. Looking for a different perspective, I walked up and leaned into the tree. I stood on my tip toes, held my camera above my head and took this image looking down through the top leaves to highlight the structure of the trunk and branches. It looks like a good spot for a bird to nest.
The image below is from a perspective of walking on a semi-hidden path adjacent to the main Japanese garden path. The Hokkeji pulls a visitor’s eyes to the Hana Matoi and the garden hillside.
Hokkeji and Hana Matoi Heatherwood Japanese Garden
Hana Matoi Japanese Maple Heatherwood Japanese Garden
I love my morning walks through the garden with my camera. Many times I stop and take a photograph of something I have taken several times before. A couple of days ago I decided to give myself a little challenge to take purposeful photographs of some of our Japanese maples from a different perspective than I have before.
I walked around the little Hana Matoi from different directions and distances. I took close-up and distance images. I climbed above and got down on my hands and knees to just check things out. I used the tree as my primary subject and as a background. I used my feet as my zoom lens. After about an hour, I had around fifty images of different perspectives. I decided to make a small mini project of six images to attempt to characterize our little Hana Matoi Japanese maple.
The above image portrays the Hana Matoi near the entrance of Heatherwood’s Japanese Garden looking east. The maple welcomes visitors to the garden and introduces them to what is to come.
In the image below, the Hana Matoi bids the visitors goodbye as they round a bend and start to exit the garden.
Come on it! The curved path and rock border leads the way. The Hokkoji lantern provides a greeting. Branches of deciduous trees frame a vision of what may be. Conifers hint what may lie beyond as the fog creates a little mystery and maybe hides a surprise.
These are some of the thoughts and ideas that have gone into the design of Heatherwood.
I constantly am trying to improve my photographic skills. Early this morning I was re-reviewing an on-line class from David duChemin titled “The Decisive Moment.” It was dark outside when I started the session. After I finished, I looked outside and saw that our garden was encased in fog. The decisive moment was at hand. I quickly slipped on my shoes and grabbed my camera. It was mysterical and magical outside. I enjoyed this moment and many more.
I see the light and hope of a New Year rising above the shadows of the past difficult year. It may be a little blurry around the edges, but hope clearly shines through.
We have many difficult challenges to face: health, political, economic, cultural, social, and many that we cannot predict. But with every challenge, there is hope and opportunity. It is the responsibility of each of us to make the most of every moment and make the world we live in a better place.
Many things are moving in a positive direction. Vaccines are becoming available to cure the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Political change is on the horizon; hopefully it will bring our nation together instead of pulling us apart. Cultural and social awareness were brought to the forefront this past year. Positive change will be on all our minds. Economic issues will impact all of us differently, but financial resources are available to provide more, new, and different means to pull us forward.
Life has changed. This year will be a transition to bring us back to a new equilibrium. Things may first continue to get worse before they stabilize and get better. Patience, faith, hard work, and persistence will be required by all of us to move forward. Light and hope are ahead. It is up to all of us to pull together and proactively make it happen.