Macro Monday: Snipped

I’ll snip one for you!

My friend and I were walking along the path behind our condo building last week. We had been deadheading some sad looking daffodils and stopped to admire a mass of iris. She and her husband had saved these bulbs from their previous home and stealthily planted them next to our building 3 years ago. As many of you know, iris spread…and spread. When you live in a condo, you sometimes have to get permission to plant anything. And when you’ve been a “house owner” for decades, it’s an unpopular concept. What could be wrong with sprucing up the place with some iris? Believe me, there are people who will count the ways. But don’t get me started.

Anyway, I am so grateful these purple iris spring from the ground each May. They are exactly like the iris I left behind at the house we sold almost 5 years ago. Iris that originated in my great grandmother’s garden decades and decades before. When you move in December, digging holes to plant iris bulbs is not an option.

So when my friend whipped out her scissors to cut off a small branch, I hesitated. It didn’t seem right somehow. They were so happy in the sun, swaying gently in the breeze. She was holding a stem with one flower and several buds all lined up together. Shouldn’t they be allowed to stay put? But before I knew it, she snipped.

I brought it inside, filled a bud vase with water and flower food and hoped for the best. After several days in its new home near a sunny window, the buds opened…one by one. Much to my relief and delight.

Cee’s Flower of the Day

Spring Snow

BeckyB’s BrightSquare Challenge
Cee’s Flower of the Day

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I woke up this morning to gloom and doom weather. By the time I was enjoying my coffee, snow had begun to fall in big fat clumps. What the heck? The simple answer: It is April 16th in New Hampshire where…besides live free or die…the state motto could very well be…wait a minute and the weather will change…. And so it does. My first thought: The poor daffodils!

These tulips arrived at my door yesterday afternoon – hand delivered by a friend and neighbor who lives downstairs in my condo building. I could “see” a big smile behind her mask.

What are these for? I asked.
To wish you good luck tonight and thank you for all you are doing on the board!

You see, my small world is now a study in contrasts. Last night the NH Art Association hosted a virtual “opening” of a special juried exhibition and two of my photographs were among those chosen to hang in the show. She and her husband were among my friends and family who were “attending.” She was hoping I would win a prize (I didn’t, but never expected to…the honor of inclusion was more than enough). I was so touched by her thoughtfulness. It was just the bright spot I needed.

The other side of my life? Being on the board of directors of my condo association since December. It’s my new practically full time “job.” The experience has not been as entirely positive or rewarding as peering through the lens of my camera and writing blog posts. In fact, sometimes it feels like I am back in middle school – and I was never a fan of middle school. That’s probably all I should say on the subject, but those of you who have ever been on a condo board likely understand. So, if you notice I have been absent from oneletterup, now you know why. I would much rather be here, but it is what it is. However, I am taking flight (almost literally) from home next week for a long weekend to visit my kids for the first time since our covidcation last August.

I’ll bring my camera, but try to leave the craziness behind.

Warming up to take the stage

I happened upon a gathering of daffodils a few days ago…basking in the spotlight of the afternoon sun. One was gazing into the distance as if surveying the crowd. Which, at that point, was just me and the tall arborvitaes off to the side. The trio to its right? Ready and waiting.

It was a glorious warm afternoon and the entertainment was enjoyed by all…well, just me and the arborvitaes. But well worth it as the finale ensued…

…and the spotlight moved on as the afternoon came to a close.

Six Word Saturday
BeckyB’s BrightSquare
Cee’s Flower of the Day

Sun Soaked

What a desolate place would be a world without a flower.

Clara Lucas Balfour

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Very much inspired by Dutch goes the Photo’s Tuesday Photo Challenge: Renewal

…please share what brings renewal to you

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While scrolling through my plethora (I love that word) of photographs looking to complete a project, I happened upon this one image (amongst many) of a sunflower. Frank’s prompt for this week immediately came to mind. I stopped scrolling…Renewal!

I remember that beautiful day last fall (last fall? seems like years) wandering through a local apple orchard, but being much more interested in the rows of sunflowers nearby. Many had already been cut away and sold, but a few remained. A singular flower with its face to the sun in particular caught my eye and made me smile.

It still does.

Cee’s Flower of the Day

Watch and Wait and Water…But Not Too Much

Do you think I killed it?

No you didn’t kill it.

Are you sure? Maybe I overwatered it.

No you didn’t.

I feel so bad. It only lasted a few weeks.

You didn’t kill it. Flowers die.

Right.

But of course I know that…

My husband and I received an early Christmas gift at the end of November: a pot holding an amaryllis bulb. I think the last one we ever had was in 1980. Needless to say, the memory of it and its life span has faded.

Directions were thankfully simple – just water when the soil feels dry. Of course then I had to remember to CHECK the soil & make that determination, but in my overwhelmed mind I managed to call up enough neurons to handle the task.

I have had flowering plants before – with varying degrees of success, but never paid such close attention before.

Not to sound melodramatic…but when faced with a pot of dirt and a bulb…meh?…one can forget the potential. As in…what happens next.

No big deal, nothing special, except…it is.

As I felt myself closing in and closing up during these past 8 months, I was drawn to that pot of potential (should I call it magical? maybe so). Glanced its way when I walked through the living room. Curiosity got the better of me – as it often does.

And then nature began to do what nature does. Up close on a shelf under our picture window…safe from the cold wintery scene a glass width away.

And…because it’s what I do…I documented. Cheered it on. Rotated it in the sun. Fashioned a coat hanger as a stake. Moved it back and forth from its spot by the window to keep me company where I sat at my desk in the next room. As the sunlight moved from window to window, so did the pot. I didn’t name this Amaryllis as I did my Coleus plant in college (Calvin Coleus), but I should have. I felt an unusual affinity for Ms. A (as I will now call it/her – after all it gave forth life)….

My own Breaking Happy News.

Watch and wait. A theme for 2020. Through the loneliness of holidays in isolation. Swirling uncertainty about the direction my country was headed. The uneasy realization that I took way too much for granted for too many years.

The over-riding questions were my last thoughts before sleep and my first thoughts upon waking…Would goodness prevail? Would those in charge do the right thing?

Meanwhile goodness was happening in front of my eyes…

The unimaginable kept happening in 2020. And then again six days into 2021. This time it wasn’t stacks of bodies in refrigerated trucks or lines of cars with desperate people needing food. It wasn’t only the virus anymore. The shock of January 6th played out repeatedly on every news cycle for days.

Meanwhile goodness continued in front of my eyes…


Grandma, why do you watch the news?
Because I want to know what is happening.
But why?
Because it’s important.

What I didn’t say was that the news has been scary and upsetting, but that’s what happens sometimes and even more so now. But better to know…than not to know. Except when you’re 4 1/2.

Goodness kept happening in front of my eyes.

Eventually breaking news seemed less…broken. I’d like to think goodness prevailed – as order was restored. Maybe, just maybe, a return to kindness and empathy and hope?

The virus rages on but perhaps with a tiny vaccine light brightening our way to a return to whatever used to be “normal.”

Watch and wait.

Nature did what nature does…in front of my eyes.

From beginning to end.

No reason to be sad, but I was. I did, however, read up on how – maybe – I can somehow take care of it so it will bloom again.

Life goes on, until it doesn’t. No startling realization there. Often we have no choice in when and where and how. But remembering how so much beauty and joy can happen along the way?

That’s the choice we do have. Lately it’s been hard to recognize. Thank you Ms. A.

I’m happy to report…I got my first vaccine shot on Wednesday. There’s something to be said for being a “senior” (notice I put that in quotes) and getting to be next in line. ✔︎

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I am happy to slip back into my blogging world after these weeks offline and check out what everyone has been up to. I have missed your stories (adventures! exploits!), your photographs, your poems. Here’s to a better 2021!

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SoCS: Stream of Consciousness Saturday – This week’s prompt is “the beginning, the end.” Write about the beginning of something and the end of something. 

Cee’s Flower of the Day

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: White or Cream Colors

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: White or cream colors
Cee’s Flower of the Day

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It isn’t often that white flowers get their deserved attention, so I am taking advantage of this challenge opportunity.

I am also grateful to focus on white (tinged with pink…) flowers rather than life and world events. Just not up to that at the moment.

Thank you Cee!

White tulips took center stage a few years ago in a Mother’s Day bouquet.

They also outlasted their yellow counterparts!