Yanking some of the Golden Alexander in my garden (which is technically not invasive, but does spread and needs some aggressive yanking to control it), I happened upon this little critter enjoying one of the leaves. I was happy for the help in keeping the plant under control.
At 3:00 p.m. yesterday, with school back in session, the Lake St. Clair Metro Park had few people but lots of wildlife, including these Canada geese, a crane and heron. I always feel fortunate to see a crane or heron, but to see both in one day was a joy.
One vendor at the Saugatuck Farmer’s Market offered dahlia tubers, and I bought two. One bloomed this week.
Belgium’s greatest gift to the world,
I used to think,
rich and sweet,
an explosion of flavor
melting on my tongue.
And then I met Sadie,
a Belgian Malinois,
as sweet as chocolate and so much more.
She was bred to herd sheep,
but with no sheep in sight,
she now shepherds me,
walking by my side,
in case I think to wander,
keeping me line and in sight,
making sure I am safe.
Smart, strong, fearless, loyal,
lots of energy and anxious to play,
risking everything for a mid-air catch,
heedless of any danger,
running as fast as the wind.
So much fun to watch,
as I pop another
Belgium chocolate into my mouth.
Our community college offers enrichment programs for retirees at very reasonable prices. I signed up for a summer series of five events (a lecture and tour of the Zoo’s Penguinarium, a talk on hiking in Southeast Michigan, two hikes and a canoe trip on a voyageur canoe).
The hiking talk was at the Community College on Monday, and I learned loads of useful information that would have helped when I was hiking in the Cotswolds (without a cell phone or map) or in the Lake District in northern England in November (when it got dark much earlier than in July) or in Sedona last January (where it was so cold when we left it did not occur to us to bring water). I came away from that talk thinking that I could be the poster child for what not to do when hiking. Note to self–always bring cell phone, printed map (in case my cell battery dies), compass, water, snack, flashlight.
The first hike was this morning at Stony Creek Metro Park, one of a network of thirteen parks in Southeast Michigan.
Stony Creek encompases more than 4,000 acres and has trails and paths for walking, running and bike riding. We walked along a trail through prairies and woods for a little more than two miles. Here are some pics I took along the way.
In the process of simplifying/purging, I came across photos from a Sepember 2009 trip to the shores of the Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada, to see polar bears. The hunting lodge where we stayed is on the migratory path of the polar bears and between hunting seasons, the camp owners decideed to offer opportunities to see polars bears.
We flew in on a four-seater plane, landing on a clearing along the Bay. The accommodations were austere (cabins only had heat at night and the bathrooms were in the main lodge) but the food was fantastic.
The camp was enclosed by a high fence and we only left the camp with armed escorts. Every day, we ventured out on makeshift touring vehicles (think ATVs pulling, small flat-bed trailers with old car seats bolted to them). Our guides were two man who had grown up in this remote area of Manitoba, 150 miles from the nearest city.
The opportunity to see polar bears every day, in their natural habitat, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We were fortunate to have an aspiring photographer on the trip (my camera batteries died the first day), and these are his photographs.
I remember how blessed I felt to be one of eleven people on this trip, standing on the shores of the Hudson Bay, with beautiful flowers and fall colors all around–and polar bears in abundance.
My late-blooming Black-eyed Susans (Rudbekia), which grow along my front porch, have bloomed. I will be dividing these next spring as they need more room to grow.
Black-eyed Susans (Rudbekia) were a friend’s favorite and I imagine he would love this early-blooming variety.
My enclosed sunporch had to come down, which required moving one of my perenniel beds. The daisies got spread out along a side fence and seem quite content.
The purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) that got moved are late in blooming, but this one took up residence among the black-eyed Susans a few years ago (and I forgot to move it–next year).
This phlox had been dwarfed by the daisies when it was next to the sunporch. I hope it will thrive in this new spot with room to grow.
Swamp milkweed (Asclepias Incarnata) is one of the butterfly attractors in my yard.
One of the requirements of the Internship in Ignatian Spirituality is a silent retreat (at least five days). I have gone on silent retreats for more than thirty years, but several of the people in the program had not. Last year, one of them, Amy, happened to sign up for retreat the same time as I was going to be there, so I offered to meet her before we entered the silence and give her an orientation to the retreat house, the grounds and the neighborhood (for walks). Amy returned to Manresa Retreat House for retreat this year and sent me this poem she composed while on retreat, which she dedicated to me. I am so touched and honored.
Summer Solstice Psalm
For Madeline who introduced me to Quarton Lake
All creatures of our God and King,
Lift up your voice and with us sing.
(William Henry Draper with inspiration from St Francis)
May you open your self to the light like the lily that blooms in muddy water.
(a gem from my yogi friend, Sharon)
Wood ducks lift
with wide wings
oh so low.
Cottonwood fibers sail past on the breeze.
Metallic blue fireflies mate in midair.
A painted turtle soaks up the sun.
Walkers chat on a gravel path and side step the geese.
In the surrounding neighborhood,
and earth movers dig.
Huge houses emerge.
Down at the water’s edge, a pilgrim rests.
She spies a tiny black insect on a white petal.
Consider this lily
that bobs on the water
with the deep joy
that nudges our hips to sway
when we hum spirituals.
Amy Fryar Kennedy
June 21, 2022