Feast of Being

“If the garden of Eden really exists it does so moment by moment, fragmented and tough, cropping up like a fan of buddleia high up in the gutter of a deserted warehouse, or in a heap of frozen cabbages becoming luminous in the reflected light of roadside snow.” —  Helen Dumore, The Raw Garden


Photos of some perhaps ordinary, obscure, small, oft-overlooked and even maligned elements of the paradise that’s earth, this feast of being. (All photos taken in the last month, in New England, except for the final collage.)


I’ve been a little fascinated by dandelions lately.

And other so-called weeds. Like ajuga in the lawn, in shadow and light:


And ferns, coltsfoot, tall rockcress, and violets along the roadside.

fern spiral, Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH
curled fern, Clark Pond Trails, New London, NH
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) and shadows, Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH
rockcress of some kind, Northern Rail Trail, Andover, NH
violet, Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH


And grass.

grasses on pond, Bedrock Garden, Lee, NH
carex grass, garden


‘Never forget that every mind is shaped by the most ordinary experiences. To say that something is ordinary is to say that it is of the kind that has made the biggest contribution to the formation of your most basic ideas.’ — Paul Valéry


There are beautiful pests.

wasp on pea trellis, garden
stink bug on lilac, garden
March fly on magnolia leaf, Cider Hill Garden, Windsor VT


Spring ephemerals, woodland plants, sometimes nodding or lowly, both showy and unshowy, like trilliums (Kezar Lake, Cider Hill Gardens):

And Jack in the Pulpits (Bedrock Gardens, Clark Pond Trails):

And lady slippers (Clark Pond Trails):

And others.

Uvularia sessilifolia (aka sessile bellwort, wild oats), Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH
white flower of Coptis trifolia (goldthread), Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH
Clintonia borealis (blue-bead lily) blooms, Clark Pond Trails, New London, NH
Lysimachia borealis (starflower) blooms, Clark Pond Trails, New London, NH


As well as flowers languishing.

magnolia flowers on ground, Bedrock Garden, Lee, NH
pink peony flower, Cider Hill Garden, Windsor, VT


And then there’s the infusion of sunlight, and raindrops, and both.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…

“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”

― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

tulip, garden
water drops in lupine leaves, garden
sunlight on boulder with ferns, moss, lichen, pine needles, Clark Pond Trails, New London, NH
nascent red oak leaves, Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH
Ginkgo leaves and sky, Bedrock Garden, Lee, NH
Light on Stewartia tree against tiles, Bedrock Garden, Lee, NH
white pine with rain, garden
frog on lily pad in sun, with leaf, Bedrock Garden, Lee, NH


Sometimes Eden is more drab than you might expect, and in that almost (never) monotone it sings its siren song, lures us closer:

bird nest that fell or blew from under a bridge, Northern Rail Trail, Andover, NH
disused railroad tracks and ties in grass, Northern Rail Trail, Andover, NH
A 3? A question mark? Infinity untwisted? Northern Rail Trail, Andover, NH


Ocean Eden:

dead jelly fish, Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum, Bristol, RI
iridescent shell fragment, The Narrows, Narragansett, RI
beach with surf and sky meeting wall, The Narrows, Narragansett, RI
purple and orange rocks, The Narrows, Narragansett, RI
whelk egg case in parking lot, Easton’s Beach, Newport, RI


Eden by way of juxtaposed colour and texture:

yellow white pine needles, Clark Pond Trails, New London, NH
stiff club moss — white and green striped, Clark Pond Trails, New London, NH
pink cherry blossoms, pink paint-peeling building, brick, blue, Newport, RI
euphorbia and muscari with crabapple blossoms, garden
shimmering water, Horseshoe Pond, Northern Rail Trail, Andover, NH
contrail in blue sky, Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH


“It’s an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: “nothing special,” as Buddhists say, meaning “everything.” Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral.
“All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.” ― Mary Rose O’Reilley, The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd

Yes, I used that quote before, in 31 Days of Kissing the Wounds – Day 31 – FEAST OF BEING.






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