Changes marking time

Some things here at the old house in on the island don’t change a lot … the live oak trees, the spanish moss, the way the sandy soil of the yard sinks underfoot.

Other things seem to be in perpetual flux.  The sounds of traffic on the road a few blocks away. The scents that whisper on the incoming breezes…right now, sweet with jasmine and wisteria…or sometimes earthy and salty with the scent of the marshlands.

The changes I mark most  are the ones whose change reminds me that, over the span of time, nothing changes so very much.  Constant changes.  Like the ocean tides. The great horned owls in the hollow of the live oak…mating, brooding, raising their young…and moving on until next time. The anole coming out with the warmth of spring…big dominant males puffing their throats to warn off the small, slender teenagers with their cocky attitudes, and the coy  females who in the end, really make all the decisions.

Image result for male anoles fighting

Frogs and toads are laying their eggs, and soon that too will signal change as they become tadpoles and tadpoles become frogs/toads and the damps areas of my yard come alive with song.

The pear tree has blossomed already.  There will be fruit before long.  I await the promise of the fig I have so carefully nurtured through all these winters and this spring’s random frosts far too late in the year…. without someone to cover and protect it, there would be no sweet fruit this year.  No promise of tiny baby fig trees to grow and continue into the future.

Image result for fig saplings

Changes that serve as reminders that it is my privilege and my duty to protect this fragile environment around me.  I don’t grow exotic plants.  I nurture the ones nature placed here…and the ones generations past left behind.  Like the ancient azaleas lining the yard and standing in odd circles about the yard where once… decades ago, they surrounded some long ago tree….now lost to the changes of time and the vagaries of weather.  Yet the azaleas remain, reminding us of time past…and changes yet to come.

Immutable change…as constant and unpredictable as my ocean.

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Finding Beauty

I am, by my very nature, someone who seeks ‘connection’ in the world around me. I revel in time spent swinging in the hammock swing under the ancient live oak in my backyard.  Staring at the leaves, noting how much the spanish moss has grown since I first ‘introduced’ it to the oak tree five years ago, listening to the vast array of bird songs.

I thrive on walks on the beach, the feel of warm sand under my bare feet, the scent of the ocean, unexpected treasures to be gathered, or moments of wonderment in the sea and coastal critters we share these beaches and tidal marshes with.

https://passyingbyphoto.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/531a9778.jpg?w=474&h=379  Endangered Wood storks have returned to the coast after a long absence.

And the easily missed, once common and now making a slow comeback, Sea-beach amaranth can be found if you know what you are looking for…and are open to the tiny humble details to be found in nature.

Today I didn’t go anywhere unusual. I puttered about the house and yard. As I was clearing small downed branches from the week’s storms I spotted this lovely hiding near the bushes.  An Island glass lizard, I see them every once in awhile about the yard and love seeing the tiny babies when they hatch in the summer.

Always something beautiful to see here.  The white azaleas are in bloom in the yard, saved by their later bloom time from the late season frost which decimated most of our early bloomers.  The camellias are still heavy in flowers and the wisteria has joined in.  By the time the magnolia blooms, it will be swathed in soft purple wisteria blossoms.

Everyday miracles.  Every day…wonder.

 

 

 

Daylight Savings…!

So thrilled Daylight Savings has returned.  It really should be the only time, because it makes the best use of daylight hours.  And I LOVE my daylight hours. More time to be in the yard, in the garden, enjoying my azaleas and camellias, more time for the kids and critters to play outdoors. Perfect.

Image result for red and white striped camellia

Except…sadly…this year’s change is accompanied by a very NOT usual for this time of year cold snap.  Chilly.  And I do not, as everyone who knows me even casually knows, like to be chilly.  Ever.  So here I am, eating my big ol’ yummy salad with spicy avocado-lime ranch dressing and enough peppers to warm me up, dogs curled up underfoot to keep my feet warm, and working diligently at my four zillionith attempt at a synopsis.  That will keep the brain cells firing.

 

MARCHing toward spring

And as we begin a new month, and look hopefully toward a new season, things here get more and more complicated.  Life is never dull.

Everything is in bloom now, it seems.  Azaleas in reds, pinks, corals, fuchsia, and white blaze across lawns.  Camellias are still in bloom and jasmine scents the air.  The dogwoods are in bloom, my pear tree’s abundance of tiny white flowers offers the promise of a bumper crop of fruit again this year.  The wisteria trail along fences, and wind through trees and shrubbery borders, spring bulbs have begun to open, and everywhere there is new green.

Beautiful yellow Sulphur butterflies were among the first arrivals and flit about the garden en mass now, along with small white butterflies and the first monarchs.

Lateral view of adult male cloudless sulphur, Phoebis sennae (Linnaeus), nectaring at smallfruit beggarticks, Bidens mitis.

Bumblebees are out on the warmer days, and I have seen some very small bees I haven’t identified yet that look like honeybees but perhaps half the size.  Anyone know what these new arrivals might be?

I have begun to see in my writing how my passion for nature colors settings: description of waves crashing against the shore, the scent of a salt marsh, details of plants and forests and landscapes…and beyond that, the way these environments influence the people and the story itself. It seems a very ‘natural’ thing to me for that connection to be present on the page just as it is present in our lives.

Then I look around and find that same connection in my pottery.  I love to create pottery. The feel of the clay,  opening to reveal the shape within.  Pots with flowers dancing down their curves,  imprints of seashells or coral, playing with natural firing techniques, finding a glaze that is exactly the right color to make a piece sing a song of the ocean, or forest, or a lovely spring day like today.

That flower child who became an earth mother seems to be finding that connection in all the things I choose to fill my life.  That is a blessing beyond measure.

 

Missed a few days here…

…some because I was just swamped with life, and then some because… I couldn’t think of anything worth sharing.

Now I’m back to try again.

Today was gorgeous. Sunny, around 80F, a soft breeze.  Birds singing, squirrels courting, azaleas, camellias, and spring flowers in mad profusion.  Children calling and laughing.  Remy, my Staffordshire, went out early and just didn’t come in.  Found her stretched out in the backyard, sunbathing.  Life is good.

On the writing front, things are … bumpy.  I am thrilled I completed the edits on Khyr’s story.  It is tighter, cleaner.  Not perfect…they never are…but I am proud of it.

The harder part is ahead.  What next?  I have a story I love.  Characters I adore and want to send out to meet the world.  So far the suggestions from those I know and care about who are part of the publishing industry (authors, editors, etc) are very very disheartening.  I am not usually one to be thin-skinned at all.  I accept critiques with delight in what I can learn and possibly improve.  I am open to advice and criticism because I want so very much to be the best possible writer I can be…

But this time…it is like ripping my soul out.

A friend whose clarity and wisdom I much appreciate suggested it is not just ‘this’ … but that it is another layer of pain and stress on top of all the monumental stress and fear we are already coping with in our day to day lives.  Another layer of hopelessness.

I want to tell you….don’t give up.  Don’t give in. We are strong enough to overcome the fear and the sorrows.  Strong enough to keep trying, to hold onto the precious things…like flowers in the morning sun, and our children’s laughter… and remember that the fight is worth it.  The human race is worth it.  Our world is worth it.

And, hopefully, in the end…maybe even just this small writer’s dream will be worth holding onto … until it is time for it to bloom as well.

 

What now?

I wanted to begin back to blogging here the first of this New Year.

Frankly I was too depressed and worried to have anything encouraging to offer.  It wasn’t just the sudden terror of the new administration…although that certainly was more than enough.  There was a lot of turmoil on the home front too.  Culminating in a court decision we never ‘saw’ coming and broke our hearts but not our spirits.  We go on.  We fight on.

Some things… these kids… this country… are too important to yield to sorrow and despair

So here we are.  February.  January and February are, traditionally, ‘winter’ here in the Lowcountry.  Not so much this year.  The camellias are in bloom.  The azaleas are beginning to open. The sun shines and it has been low to mid 70s almost every day. Can’t really complain about a ‘winter’ where you can happily play at the beach without needing sweats.

Writing continues.

THIS was my Christmas gift from my amazing kids.  A printed hardcopy of my manuscript!

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I cried, LOL!

Edits on that one are almost completed and there are others in the works.  Always a story waiting to be told. And in these days… that is a bright star on a dark night indeed.

 

Welcome August

August has come.  I shall miss July.  It was a wonderful month, the heart of my favorite season…summer!  But I look forward to what August will bring with both joy and trepidation.  I love that August here in the Lowcountry is still summer…with a capital S!  

Hot… still in the triple digits and no sign of that changing this week.  Sunny….actually a little more rain would be helpful with this heat, but I do love my sunshine.  And, of course, the joy of long long days and clear nights with star-filled skies.

Downside?  Back to school.  Oh how I hate back to school down here.  This is one of my biggest disappointments with being home in South Carolina.  The school systems bite.  And the worst part is….they don’t even know how bad they are!  It is terrifying and disheartening and…sad.  Especially for my son who is bright, and talented, works hard, and such a wonderful kid to work with (all his teachers agree) and has dyslexia.  So the lovely schools will shove him to the side…off the main track… where he won’t make them actually teach in the way he learns and won’t mess up their illusory competence records.  He is disappointed.  I am disappointed for him.

This isn’t the end.  We have just begun to fight.

Meanwhile, there are school supplies to buy….both for him and for my Little A.  Even more for the Little A as kindergarten requires a lot more supplies than high school.  So this weekend we will begin the shopping.  Uniforms for the Little A… khaki pants and shorts, polo shirts, some play clothes for after school.  Fill a long list of supplies needed.  And clothes for my AJ…shorts, t shirts, cargo pants, sox, underwear, jeans and new tennis shoes.  He grew over the summer!  Nothing fits.

More writing.  More editing.  More days and nights of missing our A and wishing he was home once more with us where he belongs.  THIS is his home.  Nowhere else ever can be.

And more work.  More landscaping, and cleaning.  More gardens and flowers.

More blessings.  More life.   Welcome August.