Autumn is a Second Spring

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.  — Albert Camus

After temperatures in the 80s until a few days ago, the weather finally turned cooler.  Not crisp yet, but at least cooler.  The leaves on all of my big old trees are still green, with a hint of brown.  Wherefore art thou, chlorophyll breakdown?

Check out the status of autumn foliage in your area on this interactive site:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/503887/start-planning-fall-now-interactive-foliage-map

Aspen
Aspen in Colorado, photo taken by EK OConnor

Time to get out my favorite sweatshirts and worn jeans.  Time to make the donuts:  cake donuts dusted with cinnamon and sugar to join a cuppa hot cider with cinnamon.  Time to start scouting for butternut and acorn squash risottos, soups and roasted goodness.

Clean up the windfall branches and light yourself a crackling fire.  Sip on Guinness or cider.  The show of colorful leaves whirling and gusting to the ground is about to begin.

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#autumn, #aspen, #golden, #colorado, #camus

Autumn Evening

“The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop away from you
like the leaves of Autumn.” — John Muir

Over the last few days, it has rained steadily. Windfall branches and kindling fell from the old trees onto the grass. One of my neighbors gathered the twigs and branches that fell into his rented yard from his surrounding neighbors and threw them over my fence. I decided that it was a good night for a fire.

Tonight, early autumn winds are blowing strong and steadily under a cloud covered full moon. Crickets are singing away, unaware that summer has passed.

But in a few weeks, the grass will stop growing. Impatients and petunias will be replaced by chrysanthemums. Humid air will be replaced by crisp breezes aflutter with colorful leaves.

The promise of apple-scented air and starry nights stirring up crackling, fire lit breezes dissolves the cares of the day.

#autumn, #johnmuir, #firelight, #fullmoon, #relaxing

Homage to the Honeybee

This quilt was inspired by a couple of events with wasps this summer.  I remembered how Sherlock Holmes’s young neighbor discovered that wasps had attacked Holmes’s hives and thought, why not alchemize the wasp events into an homage to the honeybee.  You know, those lovely honeybees that pollinate our gardens into liquid gold.

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, —
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.

Excerpt from Part Two: Nature, by Emily Dickinson¹

The local quilt shop imported a cheery line of batiks.  I couldn’t resist the hexagon design or the pink fabric with spattered squares seeming to glimmer over the fabric.  I decided to make a modern honeycomb quilt² with the new batiks.

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Nestling and Pinning Seam by Seam
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Ready for Sewing the Rows

I completed the piecing and sewing the rows a few weeks ago.  The last step is the shop owner quilting a meandering flower and honeybee pattern, then I’ll be binding it.

 

#quilt, #honeybee, #honeycomb, #hexagon, #batiks, #emilydickinson, #sciencefair, #julieherman, #jaybirdquilts, #ohiostarquilts

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¹ 97. “To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee.” Part Two: Nature. Dickinson, Emily. 1924. Complete Poems. Retrieved from https://www.bartleby.com/113/2097.html

² Herman, J. (2012). Science Fair, [Quilt pattern]. Jaybird Quilts.

 

Monarchs in the Garden

Bonus du jour: Monarchs on my tall, blue salvia.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine;
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.

Excerpt from Auguries of Innocence, by William Blake¹

Last Fall, I planted salvia along one side of my deck. The plants were small last year, but this summer, they grew to nearly 6′ tall. They’re abuzz with honey and bumble bees, hummingbird moths, yellow swallowtail butterflies, and Monarchs.

Watching my dogs enraptured with chasing a ball, tending to a bone, deliriously happy stretching out in the grass with the warm sunshine on their faces, I was reminded that we too can fully engage in present joyful moments amidst daily strife.

I hadn’t seen Monarch butterflies since I lived in southern Colorado when they’d stop for a cool drink from a thin meltwater waterfall and rest under the shade of a leafy tree on the dry side of the mountains.

What was your bonus du jour?

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Monarch in the Garden

#monarchs, #butterflies, #garden, #salvia, #photography, #williamblake, #joy

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¹ Blake, W. (1917). Auguries of Innocence by William Blake. Nicholson & Lee, eds. 1917. The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. Retrieved from https://www.bartleby.com/236/60.html

² OConnor, E. K. (2018). Monarch in the Garden [Photograph].

Welcome!

This blog was created as a way to share moments of creativity and joy with each other. Despite how difficult our days might be, we can find a way to extract a little nectar from them – or create some where none was to be found.

I’ve long referred to the day’s joyful moments as bonuses du jour.  This blog is a refuge, sanctuary, and respite from the hardness of the world.  This blog is a collection of bonuses du jour.

During an unconscionably painful time, I moved to Southern Colorado.  I set up a folding table and chair against a window that looked out to the high plains and mountain foothills.  Western bluebirds, falcons, and antelope were frequent visitors to the plains beyond my window.  I remember watching, fascinated, as antelope frolicked and leapt on the high plains – dancing antelope are forever imprinted on my mind.

The antelope weren’t worrying about hunters and mountain lions.  In the late afternoon’s golden sunshine melting through the tall grasses, the antelope danced.  Could we be as present and joyful in precious moments?  I say, yes.

I hope that you’ll enjoy this blog and share your own bonuses du jour.