DRAPSNAGONS

No! I mean Snapdragons. One of my sons, when he was a toddler, called them Drapsnagons, and I have adopted his version. Snapdragon is a fun word to play with, and much more interesting than the Latin name, Antirrhinum. Interestingly, that is a Greek word meaning “like a nose.”

The flowers are fun, too. “They’re made up of 5 lobes divided unequally into upper and lower jaws. By pinching the sides of the flower gently you can make the jaws snap open.” The lobes must have reminded some of our ancestors of a nose, but others evidently saw a dragon. I like the dragon idea.

The Sunset Western Garden Book, where the description comes from, reports that snapdragons originated in Spain and Italy, but an online source said it was in the Americas. It seems there’s mystery surrounding these flowers, and one I’m not interested in clearing up. I’d rather just enjoy them.

This is my first attempt at photographing “Drapsnagons”, and I found it challenging.Snapdragons (1 of 1) Snap Dragons 2 (1 of 1) Snap Dragons 3 (1 of 1)

PEACE PILGRIM

“This is the way of peace:  Overcome evil with good,
  and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.”

 ….Peace Pilgrim

peace3

 “From 1953 to 1981 a silver haired woman calling herself only “Peace Pilgrim” walked more than 25,000 miles on a personal pilgrimage for peace. She vowed to “remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food.” In the course of her 28 year pilgrimage she touched the hearts, minds, and lives of thousands of individuals all across North America. Her message was both simple and profound. It continues to inspire people all over the world.” (Reprinted from the website, www.peacepilgrim.org.}

She was an inspiration for many of us who walked across the United States in 1986 with The Great Peace March. Although the undertaking seemed daunting to us, Peace walked continuously in the continental U.S. plus Alaska and Hawaii for 28 years, traversing the country many times. She wore blue pants and a blue tunic with the words “25,000 Miles on Foot for Peace.

Peace Pilgrim died before our march began, but Cheryl Canfield, a fellow marcher who helped compile the book, mentioned below, knew her well. She had in her possession one of the tunics Peace had worn on her pilgrimage across the country. I felt honored that she let me try it on, and it fit!

As I learned more about this remarkable woman I realized she was a spiritually evolved individual who had much wisdom to pass on. After her death in a car accident on the way to a speaking engagement, friends gathered to compile her writing into a book that is still available as a PDF download or paperback book, Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Her Work in Her Own Words, at www.peacepilgrim.org.

Peace Pilgrim said many quotable things, one of which I have on my new Happiness Card with the blue hydrangea: “Life is like a mirror. Smile at it and it smiles back at you.”

www.happinesscards.net

HYDRANGEA CLOSE-UP

This is a close-up shot of a blue hydrangea, blue being an unusual color for a flower. It is created by growing the plant in acidic soil. Pink, purple and red and pink hydrangea blossoms come about when the soil is neutral or more alkaline. The photo and quote are on one of my new Happiness Cards

Life is like a mirror. Smile it and it smiles back at you. Peace Pilgrim
Life is like a mirror. Smile it and it smiles back at you.
Peace Pilgrim

New Images, New Quotes

It’s an exciting day when my new edition of Happiness Cards arrive. Although I’ve seen the photos on my computer screen,  I’m never sure how they will translate onto a 2″x3″ card. In the beginning I had several bombs that I threw out, but I’m getting better at knowing the kind of images that work best. Here’s a begonia that I shot on a light box:

Life will bring you pain all by itself. Your responsibility is to create joy. Milton Erickson
Life will bring you pain all by itself. Your responsibility is to create joy.
Milton Erickson, MD

BEACH WALK WITH CAMERA

I was just getting into my GorTex rain gear for my morning walk when my neighbor called to tell me her foot was hurting and she couldn’t accompany me. I don’t usually walk alone in the neighborhood because of some past encounters with dogs, but decided to be brave, as I’d missed too many days recently. So I headed out. As I got to the end of our dirt road I could hear the ocean two miles away and had a thought. Why don’t I grab my camera and get my exercise while doing two things I love to do – walk along the beach and take pictures?
So that’s what I did, and here are some of the results.

 

Ocean Scene 2 (1 of 1) Sand Patterns (1 of 1)

SIMPLE GESTURES

It must have been late January or early February a few years ago. I was on my way back from a morning walk on the Haul Road, a community walking path that skirts the ocean, when I ran into my good friends, Kate and Lars. We stopped for a moment to catch up, and I must have mentioned seeing a piece of driftwood along the trail that I wished I’d picked up.

A few days later I stopped by their house for a few minutes. Kate excused herself and returned with an oddly shaped gift, wrapped in red tissue paper.  “Happy Valentine’s Day,” she and Lars shouted. I recognized the driftwood before I tore off the wrapping. Lars had found the wood and dragged it back to their car. Kate wrapped it, but I never found out whose idea it had been to make it a gift. I was touched.

The driftwood now lives in my garden by my front door. I see it every time I come and go, and it always brings a smile to my face. When I went to collect my mail a few minutes ago, I noticed it, and it reminded me of a suggestion from an art teacher.

She promoted creating little works of art outside for others to find and enjoy. So on my way back from my mailbox I stopped to fashion a small heart out of rocks from the gravel that covers our dirt road. I laid it in a grassy spot that gets more paw traffic than foot traffic, but I know it’s there, and maybe someone will walk by, see it and smile.

WHO DOESN’T LOVE A SURPRISE GIFT?

Amaryllis

There are good surprises and sometimes bad surprises. I was lucky enough recently, to receive a good one, very good in fact. A few days ago FedEx pulled up to my door. I hadn’t ordered anything so I figured it was something for my neighbor, who shops online much more than I do and shares my driveway.

But no, it was for me. I had a friend visiting for a few days, and as I was busy in the kitchen suggested she open the box. As she pulled open the top flaps, three gorgeous silk Amaryllis popped out, announcing the contents within. Which was an amaryllis bulb, a white pot, concentrated potting soil and directions for planting and growing the bulb. Nice!

I’d received one other amaryllis as a Christmas gift and loved it. As I recall it was my only holiday decoration that year, and I took several photographs of the blossoms, one of which is above.

The recent one was sent by two women, Laura Quatrochi and Karla Kohler,  who have a business called Bloem Box in Anderson Valley. I’d received an email from Karla a while back asking for my address so they could send me a gift. Little did I realize what a nice gift it was going to be. You can find out more about their other bulb and seed kits at bloembox.com.