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One Day in Spring

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Not just on one day, but on one trip into the yard with the camera this past week, these different flowers all smiled at me, asking to have their picture taken.

P1000957Purple mat is a small flower which, this year, is here, there and everywhere in my yard, after some years of scarcity.

P1000954The iris came with the house.  That is, a few flat leaves showed up in unexpected places.  I’ve transplanted and fed them.  They seem to like being against the wall.  They take much more work than native flowers, and don’t last as long, but they were an accidental gift, so I keep caring for them.

P1000955No, these are not the same poppies I’ve shown before.  It’s a good year for them, they keep appearing in new spots.

With so little to smile at on the news these days, it’s a good thing we still have flowers.

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Happy Equinox

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A few photos to celebrate the arrival of spring.

P1000949I tried to plant something else for the winter in this pot.  It didn’t make it.  These violas don’t care whether it is winter or spring.

 

 

 

The iris came through very well this year:

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They have a cozy corner which gives them a good head start on the season.

This volunteer jumped into bloom when I wasn’t looking.  Another case of the comfort of a wall.  P951 volunteer

And then the poppies.  They turn up wherever they please.

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It’s a new year, astrologically.  A more sensible time for new beginnings, I think, than January 1.   In this spring quarter of the year I hope to have more than photos to put on this blog.  I also hope  these photos make you smile.

The Year Keeps Turning

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Just two weeks ago we had a storm which left the mountains looking like an ice sculpture.  I don’t think we’ll be seeing any more of that this year.p1000941

Now we are half way from the solstice to the spring equinox.  For my favorite cross-quarter day I lit a new white candle in honor of Brigid, goddess of poetry and smithcraft (and all things fiery, I suppose).

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The Pennsylvania groundhog may see six more weeks of winter, but here in southern New Mexico the trees are beginning to bud.  We’re in a stretch of fine weather for walking and hiking, and I’ve just seen my first poppy.  It was in a protected spot along a wall and only half open, but there it was.

What can be said about poppies?

Gluttons for sun,
they shine it back,
closing at night.

They pop up,
not in the same spot,
new every spring.

Poppies.  Spring.
Nothing more
to be said.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

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. . . it’s time to start taking down the ornaments.  We had a unique ornament for the top of our tree this year.

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Is it a star?  Is it an angel?  Maybe it’s both.

This year we also decided, after many years of having no lights outside, to join local tradition and put out luminarias.

p1000936Thanks to son Jack for getting them properly staked among the rocks.  It was quite a job to get them in, and today, on the twelfth and last day of Christmas, it was another job to get them out.

Today begins the season of Epiphany – the light coming into the world – and we are watching for light coming sooner in the mornings.

More from Bali

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A broken hip and rehab are part of the reason it has been so long between posts.  I still have a good number of thoughts about and pictures of my visit to Bali which I hope to share.

Rather than eat breakfast at the restaurant at my hotel, I read about several coffee shop type places a few blocks away.  This gave me a chance to learn something about the neighborhood as I walked out and back each morning.  I found that religion, mostly Hinduism, is omnipresent.

There are temples in the middle of town, enclosed and not open to foreigners.

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More intimately, households often have shrines and put out offerings in small paper “dishes.” In one case these offerings were made to a statue of Buddha.

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Some households or shops have Hindu shrines where offerings are set out.

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Sometimes offerings like these are placed on the sidewalk in front of a door.  One must pay attention to where one walks – however the unevenness of sidewalks already made this necessary.  Construction sites and debris also made the route I took less than elegant. I learned that “Ati Ati” means danger, as in “danger: construction zone”.  The Balinese script is found in some museums, but has elsewhere been replaced by the western alphabet.

In a shop at another site, the offering was placed on top of fruit for sale, making it safe from missteps by passers-by.

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These offerings must fade quickly but I rarely saw one that looked bedraggled.  They are clearly important to their makers.

 

 

First Report of First Trip to Bali

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I have been back from Bali for over a month and am still sorting photos and impressions.

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It is a place of lush growth and smooth beaches and lots of people.  There are many impressions for which I have no photos.  One is the traffic.  Streets always crowded, more motor bikes than cars, but not a lot of horns. Drivers take turns at intersections.  People are generally considerate.  (This trait makes them good at hospitality, and tourism seems to be the main industry.)

One common activity for both locals and tourists is visiting temples at sunset.  We went to Tanah Lot, which stands on a promontory a short distance from the shore.

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We were fortunate to arrive there at low tide.  Beyond this entrance one walks down over water-worn rocks to see the temple rising above.  (Temples, being active worship sites, are not open to foreigners.)

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Afterward, we tourists go back and up the hill to buy drinks and watch the tide come in and the sun go down.

tl-tideThere were few tourists and a long row of shops with tables and chairs offering a good view.

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This describes one late afternoon in a seven day visit.  A very short time, and there was much we did not see, but watch for more installments of what we did see.  As I said, I am still sorting my impressions.

Winter Walk

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After the big snow there seemed to be more gray days than usual for our area.  But some days the sun shone, and such bright winter days are the best days for walks in nature.  These photos come from a recent walk on the Sierra Vista Trail. ocotillo

The desert has a rather muted palette in winter, and there are plenty of dry branches.  I’d like to learn more about photographing, close up, their complex intercrossings.twigs697

Some of the plants are looking very healthy, thanks to the extra moisture this year.prickly pear

The prickly pear above is in better shape than average.  Most look more like the ones below.PP and house701

The house in the background is one of several scattered between the trail and the mountains, a reminder of the ever encroaching presence of humans in the area.  This is one reason there has been a (successful) campaign to designate several parts of the area as the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks National Monument.

The last picture is of a less common kind of cactus along this trail, a pincushion (I think).pincushion702

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