Finding Flanders’ Fields

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I’ve missed a couple of weeks of posting and I’ve got a good reason why that happened. I’ve been in the south of France, staying in small villages and fully enjoying the sights. I had wanted to go to Provence, France to see the lavender in bloom but the timing was a bit off so I had to settle for the red poppies as they were still blooming about everywhere we went.

I am happy to be home, but have had an incredible vacation with family and friends. It is a wonderful way to travel and a great way to get to know each other better while in a relaxed environment. These poppies were planted in remembrance of the lives that were lost to war. It seems like we are always at war some place in the world. Sad really. The poppies are beautiful but what they symbolize is war and it’s casualties. It makes you stop and think about the sacrifices people have made to keep us from harms way.

As we traveled about, it was hard to miss the metal doors with peep-holes, the stone buildings with metal shutters, and the lack of children playing in the streets. When I was a child we had many freedoms, so many that we didn’t realize how very wonderful freedom was. Today is different from then. There are often days when I miss those yesterdays.  

 

 

 

 

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Cooling Down

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It seems that when the valley gets to temperatures in the hundreds, my mind drifts off into thoughts of favorite water shots that I’ve taken in the past.  There’s something almost cooling about them.  With pictures being worth a thousand words, I tend to conjure up old memories of my favorite places too. 

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Westlake Park

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Montage Walkway

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Reflection at Whitehawk Ranch

Even though the temperatures are high, these photos make me think about how cool it would be to dip my toes into any of these waters.  Westlake Park sits on the west side of Santa Cruz and I spent countless hours playing there as a child.  The Montage at Laguna Beach hosts magnificent views of the Pacific.  Whitehawk Ranch holds a serenity that is very hard to find in many places these days.  What are some of your coolest memories and do you have a favorite place you like to go to when things get a bit hot?

Hitchhikers

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While we were in Maine, we happened upon an area that sparked our interest.  We needed a place to walk after several days of being on vacation.  We stopped at The Rachael Carson Wildlife Refuge outside of Kennebunkport.  It was a beautiful walk and it was easy to see the effects the tides have on the area as the walk is elevated.

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The Tidal Effects

It reminded me, at times, of being back in my childhood home of Santa Cruz, California.  It was quite wooded and there were the occasional hitchhiker’s.  In this one area, by the Pink Lady Slippers, was were the hitchhiker’s landed on my hat and took a ride into town.  I thought I was feeling raindrops, as it was a bit drizzly, but once we got back to Kennebunkport a gentleman in the store started commenting on the inchworm travelers that had attached themselves to my hat.  He thought I might be upset that they were there.  I like inchworm’s, and I had been watching them on a sign while we were taking our walk, so it didn’t trouble me at all.  Well, it did a bit because I wanted to make sure that they were happy in their new plant homes.  

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Wild Pink Lady Slippers

I think they probably liked hanging from the trees much better than the plants we found for them.  We didn’t have time to drive them back to the Wildlife Refuge.  Now that I’ve returned home, I can only hope that they are living lovely lives in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Sierra Snow

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Last weekend we had planned a trip to the mountains with our grandchildren.  We figured that the snowfall was done in the Sierra’s and were thankful that the lakes were nearly full after the drought.  We were driving up Hwy 80 and saw a sign that said the Hwy was closed so we diverted and went a different way.  I was happy that we were getting even more water.  The grandkids were happy because it was snowing and they could see it.  Not only could they see it, but they could touch it too.  They were delightful to watch as they had a snowball fight.  It was cold but they had their hands out the windows so they could feel the snowflakes.  They insisted on making a snow angel so we stopped again.  

Do you remember the last time you had a snowball fight and giggled with delight at the sight of something new and amazing?  Children seem so at ease with finding the simplest things exciting.  Look for something that brings you delight this week and take a little extra time to cherish it.

Iris’

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It doesn’t get much better than finding the scent of a favorite childhood treat in your own backyard.  I can’t tell you how this Iris was acquired, and I am sure I did not pick it for its scent.  It popped open last year for the first time and the scent was just like grape soda.  I couldn’t wait for it to return again this year.

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Grape Soda Bearded Iris

This next Iris reminds me of a walk along the cliffs near the Pacific Ocean and the little beauties that we found there one day.  Iris’ come and go so rapidly that, if you don’t happen upon them, you might miss them altogether.  This one grows in my front yard.

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Pacific Coast Iris

Thank goodness that I failed to post this blog last week beacause we went to Bodega Bay last weekend and walked along the cliffs.  We saw Gray Whales and lovely wild flowers and very near the end of our walk we came upon this little Iris, growing out amongst the weeds.  There were very few of them left.

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Wild Iris at Bodega Bay Headlands

At long last, I finally came upon some Water Iris’.  We came around the corner in Vina, CA a couple of weekends ago and there was, what looked like, a sea of yellow.  I jumped out of the car to snap a few photos.  I asked the girl at New Clairveax Winery how long they would last that way.  She said that she had never noticed them, in the last four years that she worked there, until someone brought them to her attention.  I don’t know how one could miss them.  They were amazing!

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Water Iris

So there you have it.  Seasons come and go.  Even the season of the Iris’.  Hope you didn’t miss them because you’ll have to wait almost a year to see them again.

Corals and Crimson

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With the recent large waves that have been crashing into the California Coast and Hawaii, I’ve been reflecting on the stillness that can also be found on the coast.  One of my favorite places is Half Moon Bay during very low tide and sunset.  There is a magical presence that I find there.  It revives my soul and calms my spirit.

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Copper Colored Bluffs at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

I’ve also been thinking about the old saying, “home is where the heart is.”  I always thought that saying was referring to a structure but I think I was wrong.  Anywhere can be home as long as you find peace in that place.  Even fond memories can be home if they lighten your spirit, like the childhood memory of warm sand moving in-between your toes.  I find that I need to keep these pleasant thoughts close to me in this chaotic world that we find ourselves living in.

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Tidepools at Sunset

I want to share one other sunset that wants to linger in my mind.  It was beautiful and the company devine.  The whole trip was such a wonderful time.

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Etretat France

Waves are everywhere, pounding and changing the landscape but in my mind it will always look like this until I return again.  It was almost a bronze color and then in an instant it returned to grayish white.  This is one of the places my heart finds it’s home.  I never want to let go of those lovely memories.  I hope this stirs up some lovely memories that you want to hold on to also.

Clouds Over US

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Sometimes I find it difficult to come up with new ideas to write about on my weekly blog.  I was already two days late on this weeks blog, so…..

Clouds Over Italy

Clouds Over Italy

I decided to take a walk and see what might pop into my head.  I was nearly halfway done, Dave Matthews playing on the iPod, when I noticed how very blue the sky was, so I looked up.  (I’ve shared some fabulous clouds from my travels so you’d understand the type of clouds that I saw today.) 

Hawaiian Rain Clouds

Hawaiian Rain Clouds

I found that there was an amazing large cloud above.  It was the kind of cloud that makes you wish that you were lying in the grass on your old school yard sharing the shapes that you were finding in the clouds with your closest friends.

Reflective Clouds In Alaska

Reflective Clouds In Alaska

The shape of the cloud was the Continental United States.  It had the land masses of Texas, Florida, and Maine included in it.  Hawaii and Alaska were not included; nor was Mexico or Canada.  It was just this perfect, puffy, white cloud of the U.S.

Clouds Over Scotland Locks

Clouds Over Scotland Locks

I didn’t have my camera or my phone on me, but maybe it’s better that way.   I’ll just have to keep that beautiful memory tucked away in my mind.