Thursday, June 1, 2023

Flag Day

  In honor of the U.S Commemoration of Flag Day on June 14th, here are some pictures of the U.S. flag taken in beautiful, mountainous Northern Arizona.  (Yes, Arizona).   
  Although the pictures were taken in the fall, they are excellent to ponder this Flag Day and any other patriotic day.


Monday, May 1, 2023


      These photos are from a hike into Zapata Falls in south central Colorado last year.  The waterfalls are in the Sangre de Cristo ("Blood of Christ") Range within the Rocky Mountains.  (For more on our trip there, see the post from October, 2020.)

      Some fresh translations from Psalm 42 add to the reflections.

7) Deep calls unto deep
At the noise of Your waterfalls; 
And all your waves and billows
Over me have passed.
8) In the daytime will Yahweh command His lovingkindness,
And in the night will his song be with me--
   a prayer to the God of my life...
11) Why, O my soul, are you cast down,
And why are you disquieted within me? 
Have hope in God,
For yet shall I praise Him,
The salvation of my expression [literally 'face']
And my God.    --Sons of Korah  

Notice how the falls spill from rocks high above.  Hikers are not allowed in that area.

    For fans of the Chronicles of Narnia, which are Christian allegories, waterfalls are in many stories.  C.S. Lewis' upbringing in parts of Ireland contributed to his depictions of Narnia.  I like occasionally mentioning Narnia in this blog because Lewis does such an amazing job describing the landscape.  It is part of the great joy of going to Narnia. The Hollywood productions (as Hollywood will do) focus so much on the great breathtaking near escapes that the amount of time just absorbing natural wonders is lost.
     Lewis does mentions a number of waterfalls throughout The Chronicles of Narnia. The most well-known is in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, where the Beavers take the Pevensie children along the ravine below a waterfall in order to avoid being caught by the White Witch.  She traveled by sled and couldn't follow them down the narrow space. 
    The Great Waterfall is at the furthest western limit of Narnia.  Falling over spectacular cliffs into Cauldron Pool, it becomes the source of the Great River. 
    In the last book. The Last Battle, the trickster ape, Shift, lives near these falls.  He finds a lion skin in Cauldron Pool and tricks his foolish donkey friend, Puzzle, into wearing it and pretending to be Aslan, the Great Lion (the metaphor for Jesus).  This great hoax brings down Narnia.  

    At the end of Narnia, as the move into ever greater, more beautiful eternal Narnias, Aslan's dearest go UP the great waterfall, in a way they never could have done in their previous lives.  (Imagine climbing those!)  I could not find any artist renditions of the beloved going up the Narnian falls, so I will leave you with these final Zapata Falls photos.  My husband took these.  If you look close, you can see me in blue shirt with the giant straw hat, which I refer to as my "ugly potato farmer's hat."  (This is not to imply that potato farmers are ugly, only that my hat is.)  It has warded off skin cancer, though!  And then he took one of me closer up, getting the photos you saw above.  What a day it would have been if we COULD have ascended the falls!

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Backyard Flowers

     Once again, our backyard is awash with blooms before the insane heat of summers here takes off.  We were blessed with far more rain than is typical, plus some cooler weather, this winter and spring.
     Towards the end, you'll see the lemon blossoms.  You may catch sight of parts of the lemon fruits in these pictures.  You'll also see some of the lemon bushes near the bachelor's buttons [see below]. I say bushes because this is how citrus naturally grows.  To have 'trees', you have to repeatedly prune lower branches and paint the trunks white to prevent various types of damage.  We let ours go as shrubs, and we get a LOT of lemons.  This also allowed a second bush to grow up as a root shoot, filling a spot where we had cut out a thorny bougainvillea bush.  (We have one of those in the front yard, not pictured here.  It has hot pink, papery 'rays' around a cluster of small white flowers.  It's surprising this bougainvillea blooms anymore, considering its age and how many times it has been trimmed back.) 
     This year, there are a lot of Icelandic-type poppies in various colors.  (Our California poppies show foliage but no blooms yet.  You can check out some of the previous posts that show backyard blooms in past years.  You'll see the orange California poppies there.  Use the menu item with my name.)  Poppies are in the "mallow family", along with hibiscus and other flowers.
     There are also the 'cornflower blue' bachelor's buttons, or chicory.  Yes, the roots of these are used to make the ground chicory southerners use in coffee sometimes.  A couple of our bachelor's buttons, in close proximity, are about 3-1/2 feet (slightly over one meter) tall. These flowering plants are closely related to dandelions.  All of these are in the "composite family", which includes sunflowers and daisies.  (Discussions of composite flowers are in my older posts on backyard blooms.)
    Speaking of daisies in the composite family, there's a spot of orange in some of these pictures. This is an African daisy.  We actually had bigger swaths of both yellow and orange African daisies in other sections of the yard.  They've mostly bloomed out and gone to seed.
    Return readers may recall that my favorite flower is the black-eyed Susan.  Though it is rather hot for them by the time we get enough hours of sun to suit them here, we've had some success off and on the past few years getting some to bloom.  (It took years and lots of over-seeding for any success.)  I believe I saw the foliage of one 'Susan' tucked away.)
     Yet one other bloom on the scrawny looking shrub is one form of plant we call 'bird of paradise' here.  It comes in a blue and purple blooming variety and a yellow and orange blooming variety.  There is a completely different type of flower, striking in fiery shades, which blooms here also called bird of paradise. The bloom is somewhat bird shaped.  We do not have those.
    Please enjoy what we do have.  For those of you still "shivering" in colder climes, maybe this will perk you up.  Spare us some sympathy when we're broiling by the end of May!

Wednesday, March 1, 2023


The lilies of the field whose bloom is brief:--
We are as they;
Like them we fade away,
As doth a leaf.

The sparrows of the air of small account:
Our God doth view
Whether they fall or mount**--
He guards us, too.

The lilies that do neither toil nor spin,
Yet are most fair:--
What profits all this care
And all this coil***?

The birds that have no barns nor harvest-weeks;
God gives them food:--
Much more our Father seeks
To do us good.   --Christina Rossetti, 1866  

*"consider the lilies and the birds [ravens]"; Luke 12:22-31, Matthew 6:25-33
**mount the wing, take flight
***mortal coil: this fleshly, physical life

Bird in Lilies Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Winter in All Our Lives

[winter 2022-23 has been very wet and snowy or rainy throughout much of the US]

There is a winter in all of our lives,

a chill and darkness that makes us yearn
for days that have gone
or put our hope in days yet to be.
Father God, you created seasons for a purpose.

Spring is full of expectation
frosts abating and an awakening
of creation before the first days of summer.
Now the
sun gives warmth
and comfort to our lives
reviving aching joints
bringing colour, new life
and crops to fruiting.

Autumn gives nature space
to lean back, relax and enjoy the fruits of its labour
mellow colours in sky and landscape
as the earth prepares to rest.
Then winter, cold and bare as nature takes stock
rests, unwinds, sleeps until the time is right.

An endless cycle
and yet a perfect model.
We need a
winter in our lives
a time of rest, a time to stand still
a time to reacquaint ourselves
with the faith in which we live.
It is only then that we can draw strength
from the one in whom we are rooted
take time to grow and rise through the
into the warm glow of your springtime
to blossom and flourish
bring colour and vitality into this world
your garden.
Thank you Father
for the seasons of our lives.

- Author Unknown

Saturday, January 14, 2023

A Compendium of This Blogger's Poetry

 (so far)

     Pardon my vanity, but there are people who actually seek out my own original work, as opposed to existing work by others.  I realized the menu item with my name currently pulls up several long photo exposes.  So, with your indulgence, I'm going to post links to some of my own poetry throughout this blog.  
     [I am not including my original translations of Biblical poetry. There's a "Biblical poetry" link for that in the side bar (on desktop or web versions).]
     The first one listed, on "joy", has gotten the most feedback for touching others over the years.  Other than that, they are mostly listed from newest posted to earliest posted.  (That's not the same as reverse order of when they were written.)  Thanks for reading.  In a world of being pushed & shoved by everyone and anyone grabbing a platform, I appreciate you spending some time in my less traveled corner of the world.