“World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial” New York City
Now, on this Memorial Day more than ever, we all need to step back and remember what our Nation has gone through to establish and maintain our Democracy. We need to honor all who have given their lives to maintain our freedom. We need to thank those who have rebuilt our country and our sense of democratic freedom after attacks have been made.
Right now, the world is under attack by an autocrat in Russia who has ruthlessly invaded the Ukraine and who threatens to use nuclear weapons if anyone tries to stop him. Here at home, we are threatened by an autocrat who has denied the legitimacy of our election process (without any proof) and who has instigated an attack on our Capitol. On a personal basis, we are being held up by a gun lobby who will not back off supporting selling military grade weapons designed for the mass killing of people.
It is the time for us to stand up and bring back sanity and compassion to our Nation and World.
After the shadow of record-setting freezing temperatures, our first crocuses start to emerge. They provide hope that spring is just around the corner. In a similar fashion, I contemplate and pray that our world’s humanity will overcome the shadow that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing.
Today is the sunrise for a new year! It is a time to look forward to the new challenges and opportunities the new year will bring. There are wonderful times ahead to spend with family and friends. There are new adventures around the corner with new things to learn. There are times for work and for enjoying the results. There are times for quiet contemplation on what is most important in life. It will be our challenge to act on the most important things and make the best of each and every day.
“Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi Mural by Eduardo Korbra” New York City
I was walking along the Highline in New York on a quiet drizzly morning admiring the wonderful landscape design on the old railroad tracks. I looked up and was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw this huge mural painted on the side of a nearby building. I stood frozen for minutes, just gazing, admiring the art, and contemplating how much these two people have given to the world. In our troubled world today, why can’t we all take a lesson from these two and make it a better place to live.
“Looking North Through Japanese Garden” Heatherwood Winter
Work is about to start on our 2021 spring project at Heatherwood. Our garden will continuously change over time. Additions and modifications are designed to highlight key plants, frame views, and hide distractions. From the perspective of the above image, we want to focus the attention to the plants in the Japanese garden then draw the view to the 1890’s irrigation flume in the background. This year we plan to add medium sized Japanese holly evergreens to hide the road leading up the hill and mid-sized conifers to hide the bare hillside at the right of the image. These additions will provide a background layer for the Japanese garden as well as frame the irrigation flume in the distant background.
As we walk through our garden, we are content enjoying the current state of our existing plants. Concurrently we visualize how the plants will mature as well as look for new opportunities to enhance the garden. Change is an ever-present part of Heatherwood.
Today started with a bright sunrise as a harbinger of the start of a new chapter. Biden’s Inaugural speech on “Unity” was a bright way to start the path for the new Administration. Patience, persistence, honesty, compassion, compromise, and a lot of hard work will be required by all of us.
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.
After 3 weeks of smoke-filled skies and hazardous air quality warnings, blue skies finally emerged. The local and other western state wild fires had filled our little place of peace with a heavy layer of smoke. It was hard to spend much time outside without a burning sensation in my lungs. Finally a strong breeze pushed the smoke out of †he valley. It felt so good to walk around our garden and breath fresh clean air.
The point where this image is taken is the future site of a small outdoor room/sitting area from which we can hide and enjoy a peaceful view of our garden, house, and ridge above. The lawn area will be closed in with shrubs and small trees providing a private shady area for a cozy bench. It will be a peaceful area to take an afternoon break in the shade and enjoy the scene above. Planning for the future keeps my imagination going.