Almost Heaven

The other day, a friend sent me the following Emily Dickinson poem.

A Service of Song
Some keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.

Some keep the Sabbath in surplice;
I just wear my wings,
And instead of tolling the bell for church,
Our little sexton sings.

God preaches,—a noted clergyman,—
And the sermon is never long;
So instead of getting to heaven at last,
I’m going all along!

Emily Dickinson

b-cathedral 1

Today, being Sunday, I decided to visit a cathedral in the woods, where branches arched over the path and sunspots flitted along the center aisle.

b-Christmas and NY ferns

All were welcome here, where youth and elders embraced visitors. (Christmas ferns and New York fern)

b-Equisetum 1

Ancient stories were offered up by those who long ago learned to adapt to change. (Equisetum)

b-Sweet Pepperbush

Any who sought fulfillment found it. (Sweet pepperbush)

b-Wild Sarsapirilla 1

Family members . . . (Wild sarsaparilla)

b-bristly sarsaparilla

demonstrated their differences. (Bristly sarsaparilla)

b-Marginal 1a

New life was offered . . .

b-Marginal Wood fern1

even to those waiting along the margins. (Marginal wood fern)

b-St. John's wort

And the saints watched over all present. (St. Johnswort)

b-Bald Pate summit 2 (1)

At last, I reached the altar.

b-Hancock 1

One transept offered views to the left.

b-Foster Pond Lookout (1)

And the other to the right.

b-Emerald 3

But it was the light on the stained glass windows that provided the most wonder. (American Emerald dragonfly)

b-Calico 2

b-Calico 5

b-Calico 6

b-Calico 7

b-Calico 4

On this daily journey in heaven, I’m thankful for graces offered each moment I worship creation. (Calico pennant)

Never Call It Just A Dandelion

I lent out my copy of a book by a similar title: Never Say It’s Just A Dandelion by Hilary Hopkins so I don’t have it in front of me to check her notes.

IMG_1966

field

This field of dandelions that I saw at Viles Arboretum in Augusta during a Maine Master Naturalist field trip yesterday inspired me to take a closer look at the species that brightens our backyard.

1

While some green bracts turn downward to keep insects at bay, others protect the developing flower.

2

One ray at a time

3

it begins to open.

4

Notice how every ray is notched.

teeth

I brought one in to take a closer look at the notches. Each has five “teeth” representing a petal and forms a single floret.

5

Fully open, the bloom is a composite of numerous florets.

6

Each stigma splits in two and curls.

6a6b

Bees and other insects seek the nectar.

seed

A seed grows at the base and fine hairs form a parachute.

7

In time, the bloom closes up and then turns into a fluffy ball of seeds waiting for you or the wind to disperse them.

8

Though you may not be able to see it here, each seed is covered with tiny spikes that probably help it stick to the soil when it lands.

9

The yellow carpet will continue to change in our backyard

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one seed at a time.

Who knew a Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinal) could be something to wonder about? Emily Dickinson did:

The Dandelion’s pallid tube

Astonishes the Grass,
And Winter instantly becomes
An infinite Alas-

The tube uplifts a signal Bud
And then a shouting Flower,-
The Proclamation of the Suns
That sepulture is o’er.

Emily Dickinson