Quickie Post:  What’s Blooming Now

Spring’s in full swing and there are beautiful blossoms all over the New River Valley.  I’ve snapped shots of a few while out and about over the past week.  For your identification edification and floral pleasure:

A pink flowered dogwood tree. In the wild, dogwood trees all have white flowers, but I’ve got a soft spot for the pink ones.

Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus)

My neighbors have both a white dogwood and a pink dogwood. Both are Cornus Florida and I am more that a little jealous!

Viburnum

Buttercup (Ranunculus spp.)

Violet (Viola cucullata)

Showy Orchid (Galearis spectabilis)

Wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata)

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Happy Earth Day!

So many things seem to divide humankind – political affiliation, religious ideology, age, gender, the false societal construct of “race” – it is easy to see why we often feel so separated from one another.

There is, however, one thing that unites us:  Earth.

We are all Earthlings.

We are all wholly made from and dependent upon this tiny bubble of life that is hurtling through the frozen, black void of space.

Without Earth, we would not exist, would never have existed.  The miraculous combination of temperature that we need to live, atmospheric oxygen to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat has been found on no other planet.

Yet not only does this planet sustain us, it gives us cause to wonder, to laugh, to rejoice.  It gives us birdsong and bear growls, the smell of fresh-cut grass and the gentle shushing of salty waves on warm sand, the sweet nectar of honeysuckle and the inestimable softness of a rabbit’s fur.

The complexity of the web of life is staggering and our place within it precarious as we pull ever harder on its thin strands, stretching them to near-breaking with climate pollution, natural resource depletion, and willful waste.

Let’s take this Earth Day to allow ourselves to feel our connection to Earth deep within ourselves, to let the awe-inspiring feats of nature overwhelm us with a sense of wonder.

Here are a few of my favorite Earth-related quotes to get the wonder-ball rolling:

“And forget not that the Earth delights to feel of your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”  – Kahlil Gibran

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”  – Anne Frank

“Nature abhors a vacuum, and if I can only walk with sufficient carelessness I am sure to be filled.” – Henry David Thoreau

“One individual cannot possibly make a difference, alone. It is individual efforts, collectively, that makes a noticeable difference—all the difference in the world!” – Dr. Jane Goodall

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you . . . while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”  – John Muir

“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”  – Rabindranath Tagore

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”  – Martin Luther

“What a country chooses to save is what a country chooses to say about itself.”  – Mollie Beattie (Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1993-1996)

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of a least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”  – Rachel Carson

“In the end, we conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”  – Baba Dioum

“Education, if it means anything, should not take people away from the land, but instill in them even more respect for it, because educated people are in a position to understand what is being lost. The future of the planet concerns all of us, and all of us should do what we can to protect it. As I told the foresters, and the women, you don’t need a diploma to plant a tree.” – Wangari Maathai

“Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second.”  – Mattie Stepanek

Let’s love and study and try to understand this amazing Earth on which we live.  Let’s protect our planet together, Earthlings.

An Unusual Request

You’re about to read a request that I never thought I’d type:

Please go get in your car and start driving.

Even as I type the words, the thought of burning extra fossil fuels makes me feel guilty. . . but this is worth it.

If you live anywhere near the New River Valley, find an excuse to go for a drive on Interstate 81 this weekend!

All along I-81, the native redbud trees (Cercis canadensis) are in full bloom, lining both sides of the road with that bright pink that is almost purple (or that purple that’s not quite pink, depending on your point of view.)

It is absolutely spectacular.

I would have taken a hundred pictures to share with you, but I saw them while I was driving, of course.

So, please, for the sake of a happy soul, go see them yourself.  Go.

Go now.

Stop reading and go already!