December 31 was a beautiful winter day and a great way to end the year in the garden. The temperature was in the mid-40’s and the sky was bright blue. Mary and I took a walk around the neighborhood and then settled into our Adirondack rockers or our lower patio. We closed our eyes and cherished the warm sun as it beamed down on our cheeks. It was a time for quiet and a little reflection on things that we were thankful for during the past year.
Peacefully sitting in our garden enjoying the warmth and beauty of nature, it just doesn’t get any better.
The last day of 2020 was a beautiful sunny winter day. Mary and I decided to take a little walk around the neighborhood and say goodbye to 2020. The walk felt very good … we should do it every day!
The above image will record the progress of Heatherwood as of the end of 2020. The property has changed considerably since I moved in at the beginning of 2016. For reference, below is an image that I took in March 2016.
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.
It has been a long and difficult year. But, that is not a reason to let my head hang down. With the Covid-19 pandemic and all the political discord our lives have changed. They will never be the same. We have learned to cope with uncertainty and adjust. New ways of doing things have entered our life styles. That is not all bad.
Being newly-weds, the “stay-at-home” initiative has given Mary and me a lot of quality time to really get to know each other’s habits and interests. We have had a lot of time to discuss our feelings and opinions. We have had time to plan for many things we would like to do in the future. We miss not spending time with our families and friends but look even more forward to what the future will bring.
We are thankful for the challenge and joy that our new garden brings us. We excitedly have watched the garden form during the last two years. We enjoy our frequent strolls through the garden and appreciate those special moments as we sip our morning coffee or afternoon wine.
It has been a long and hard year! But, I can look up with a smile to the challenges and opportunities that a New Year will bring.
This is a winter telephoto perspective of Heatherwood looking up from our southern corner to the northern property line. The grasses of the meadow and those of the north planting area frame in the Japanese garden hillside and the Alpine rock garden. The various garden areas blend together while providing different types of interest.
Welcome to our winter garden. Fresh snow and no footprints, Heatherwood welcomes me with a fresh entrance into the Japanese garden. I started my walk with a wide angle perspective. I slowly walked forward and stopped every few steps to look around for scenes that caught my eye. I was careful not to get ahead of myself and create footprints that may distract from the view I wanted to create. Four hours later, I finished my walk with a camera filled with winter images.
Our two groves of white birches are brilliant against the winter snow. Every time I go out to photograph, I seem to gravitate to these beautiful trees. They attract my eye through every season, through the day as it passes from dawn to dusk, and through various types of weather from mist to bright sunlight. Maybe, I should create a focused photo project just on these trees.
Every Christmas since I was a little kid, I would wish and dream for a “White Christmas.” This year it came true! On Christmas Day, it started to lightly snow at about 1:00P. By evening, we had a nice white blanket of snow gracing Heatherwood. The next morning, I got up and spent an enjoyable several hours wandering in a “Winter Wonderland” with my camera. The time just flew by, I started getting a little tired and hungry and looked down at my watch. Four hours had slipped by since I first stepped outside. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning!
P.S. Mary and I watched Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” last night to end a wonderful day!
Merry Christmas to all our families and friends! This little Chief Joseph Pine is a star of brightness in our winter garden. It radiates the Christmas spirit not needing any lights or ornaments.
I have so many fond memories of Christmas pasts. I remember my childhood Christmases when Santa brought the Christmas tree along with the presents after we went to bed on Christmas Eve. How excited I was when I would walk out of the bedroom to see a beautiful fully decorated tree surrounded by wrapped gifts in the living room. I remember one Christmas when Mom would not let us come out of the bedroom because Santa was running a little late. It seemed like it took forever when I heard a whistle. We rushed out of the bedroom to see a marvelous train running around the Christmas tree. And there was Pop, with his eyes half shut but with a big smile on his face.
Christmas has always been a family affair. When we were kids, Christmas Day was held up at Grandma and Grandpa’s house with all our Aunts and Uncles. For several years my twin brother and sister and I were the only kids. We were the center of everyone’s attention. As our families got larger, we opened our gifts in the morning at our own houses, then got together as a whole family for Christmas dinner first at Grandma and Grandpa’s old house, then at our house, then back at Grandma and Grandpa’s new house.
After Grandma and Grandpa had passed, we moved Christmas Dinner back to our house. As all the families expanded and my generation had children of their own, Christmas became a three event day. First, my generation had breakfast and opened gifts with their children in the early morning. In the late morning, our respective immediate families gathered at Mom and Pops for gift unwrapping and Christmas Dinner. Then finally, the whole family with our Aunts, Uncles, and cousins gathered at Mom and Dad’s for Christmas desert. What a wonderful Day!
Over the years, the family has gotten larger and larger. Now there are three generations in the family. Some of us have moved in and out of the area. We also spread our time between our respective in-law families. But we still try to get together as best as we can on Christmas Day. This year will be the first, and hopefully the last, Christmas that we will not be physically together.
Mary and I wish all of you a wonderful and healthy Christmas. Our thoughts and love are with all of you.
We are dreaming for a White Christmas. Thankfully, the predictions are for a snowfall on Christmas Day. The light snow we received two weeks ago helps set the stage and prepare us for some winter beauty.
Tonight is Christmas Eve. For Mary and I, it will be a quiet and peaceful evening, a time to reflect and celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We will be thinking of our families and friends, who many like us will be spending Christmas physically separated from our loved ones. Our spirits will be with all of you and those who have passed into our Lord’s arms before us.