Sunday, November 22, 2009

Exploring--Our North Florida Back Yard, Part II--Flowers and Rain

I continue to marvel lately at the degree to which I am a happy homebody even though I love to explore, both in our own area and to lands far away. You have seen this love of local and travel exploration in previous posts. Today, I offer another homebody post, exploring right in our back yard, now made into a delightful refuge by my husband Mark's hard work. As I mentioned before, we have a cozy fenced-in area and a wilder tree and fern-filled space beyond that with a small creek at the back of our property.
The flowers inside the fence are mostly in pink and purple tones, set against plants with a range of green and variegated leaves. I took these plant and flower photos (and many more!) for painting reference, planning to do a series of small pieces picturing Florida natives both from our yard and growing wild. You see a purple flowering passion vine, bright pink penta, and caladium foliage. The penta blooms at the foot of the brilliant mandevilla vine climbing a wrought iron obelisk, which you saw in my last post.
One particularly pretty rainy day in October, I took a few photos in the yard. It was one of those rains that made everything look clear and sharp. If you click to enlarge the photos, you will see raindrops pattering onto the patio and streaming down against the house. Perhaps I'll get brave enough to try to paint these scenes. Painting a rainy scene realistically is difficult, but I know I would learn from the effort no matter what the results.
Now that I am semi-retired, I have extended my reflection and meditation times and feel a better, calmer person for it. In addition to starting my day reading and meditating in an easy chair with a view out to this lovely back yard--feeling thankful as the day slowly brightens, I also take more moments throughout the day to step outside and breathe deeply. Whatever I have been busy with or stressed about melds into the whole in its proper proportion, achy old joints seem a bit less problematic, and I give thanks.
Question of the day: Are you primarily a "no place like home" person, a happy wanderer, or someone who savors both home and wider exploration?


  1. I confess that I much like you, Mary. I am an extreme homebody myself. At the same time, I cannot tell you how much I love going for jaunts, both near and far. I've lived quite a few places (including Ankara, Turkey) and have loved each of them for their own special gifts. And truly, gifts they were. I love the image of you sitting with your reading in the mornings...Since my daughter moved in with her two daughters, I'm rather missing the peace that comes without chaos! LOL Not that I'd want them elsewhere either. But there is something to be said for having some calm and peaceful times to oneself. That aside, I am struck by the beauty of that plant with the dark green and magenta leaves. What is it? At any rate, I hope you have plans for a wonderful family Thanksgiving!

  2. I love these 2 last posts on your back yard! I think there is always beauty around us, we simply need open our eyes to it. What a wonderful oasis you have there!! I love home, and I love to travel. Both fuel the fires of creativity in a different way.

  3. Beautiful colors! Your natives are so much more vibrant than mine in the Pacific NW.

  4. How nice to hear from all of you this busy week! I hope you all have a joy-filled Thanksgiving celebration.

    Autumn, I can't believe you have lived in Turkey--we LOVE it there! The plant you asked about is one variety of caladium--they come in lots of different varigated leaf colors.

    Jean, thank you for your compliments on these two posts. I think I will do one more post on the yard this weekend. I agree with you (and Autumn) on the benefits of both travel and home.

    Thank you, Beverly--we do have amazing flower here. However, I know your area is gorgeous in its own way and is on my list of places to see.