July’s last days have brought some soothing, beautiful sunrises and sunsets to my area. Tuesday’s sunset was exceptionally spectacular with the ripples of the clouds reflecting the sun’s light for miles around. Even my dogs seemed to notice the colors in the sky, stopping as we walked through the yard to look up with me at the changing sea of colors.
July’s Late Blooms
On my runs and bike rides this week, I spied the emerging blooms of sweet Joe-pye-weed, thistle, goldenrod, and tall phlox. Joe-pye weed is a personal favorite of mine since childhood. The way the blooms stand out with their purple shades amid summer’s green sea gives them a majestic or royal countenance. Tonight I saw bumble bees busily feeding off the tiny flowers.
Though I don’t particularly care for the thorns of the thistle or the fact it can be difficult to eradicate from flower beds and vegetable gardens, I have to admit its delicate, hair-like flowers add beauty to the landscape with a grace only nature could create.
Until tonight, I did not realize there are different types of thistle, including bull thistle, Canada thistle, and nodding thistle. Though the leaf bases are very similar on each type, the flowers are rather distinct with the bull thistle having a large bulb-like base, the Canada thistle having a smaller bulb-like base with a larger flower, and the nodding thistle not having a bulb-like base, but rather spiny bracts that look like a knotted acorn hull.
Like the thistle, goldenrod often gets a negative reaction due to its pollen and ability to cause sneezing and allergic reactions. Though I could do without the yellow pollen spreading itself on every flat surface in the area, I do appreciate the bright yellow splash of color it provides mixed in with the grasses of the fields around my house.
Tall phlox are typically done blooming this time of year, so my finding such a large patch on my bike ride tonight was a rare treat. While examining the patch, I stumbled upon a small patch of milkweed that had already bloomed. Despite the lack of blooms, I quickly identified the milkweed from its leaf structure and seedpods. Seeing the milkweed was encouraging, for it has been in somewhat of a declined population in my area the past two years.
Blooms of Hope
A recent streak of dry days with intense sun has left most of the landscape around my house parched brown and very dry. Seeing the splashes of color from the Joe-pye-weed, thistle, goldenrod, and tall phlox brightened both the landscape and my mood. A very gentle mist of rain fell on me as I rode my bike tonight, almost as if God was washing away the dust of life’s problems to renew my soul.
Like the landscape, I was feeling rather drained from life circumstances, so I was thankful for the rain and the sights I saw as I pedaled along my route. The experience made me think about nature’s ability to heal itself and others. Given the events of the world, I think we may need to stop, look, listen, and take a few notes from nature in order to overcome the difficulties, disagreements, and disheartening experiences that seem to plague humanity.
Reflecting on the sights and events of July’s last days led me to write the following poem:
Soothing to the Soul
Soothing to the soul
In colors swooping from crimson to gold,
Tangerine, melon, and cantaloupe,
Peach, lemon, and other shades with names unknown
Across the vast see
Painted by God as the sun leaves
The day behind
In the rays of light
Dancing with the shadows
Above the deer prancing in the fields below
As July comes to pass
And time reveals blessings to be had.
Soothing to the soul
As the clouds group and then unfold
In the passing moments
Above the grass at day’s end
To greet the night
And leave behind
The trials and tribulations of the day
In the powerful revelations of the sun’s rays
That come to be
A part of God’s love amid life’s tapestry
Woven so fine
Amid nature’s growth and life.
Soothing to the soul,
Welcome to the heart trying to hold
On through the river of time
With the colors delivered in the sky
By God’s grace and love
As the days come
And go within life’s sea
Moving us to and fro as we
Come to find
The power of nature’s light.
-Lisa A. Wisniewski