grif -

grif -
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
September 17
One of my favorite places to go is about 12 miles out in the Atlantic my little 20 ft. skiff. The clear water is a deep emerald color and the sunlight bounces around and shimmers randomly. I meet survivor sea turtles, bow-riding dolphin, silent sharks, giant rays rocketing out of the sea and backflipping, schools of porgies, sea robins, slashing blues and Spanish mackerel, the occasional whale, and stray birds. I love the quiet and solitude and vastness. I am a way too veteran educator - special education teacher, high school principal, college professor and some other fun waystops. A political junkie, a cowboy in a previous life, a lover of synchronicity in daily life...meditation and prayer, and a believer that the best days are still ahead. My plan is to finish strong. ************************************ I love following politics and current events, but they all take second place to watching a hockey game. I write occasional Op-Ed pieces - usually on educational issues. My two kids are the true loves of my life. ************************************

Grif -'s Links

APRIL 23, 2009 9:13PM

Grateful To Be Alive, Awake, and Aware: Pictures

Rate: 29 Flag

I was sitting on the truck tailgate while grilling some chicken. It was late afternoon and the sunlight was doing its selective highlighting .  I had a good day at work and was now in my jeans (it really doesn't get any better than the jeans after a day of work attire), and I noticed the neighbor's cat stalking something.  

My eye caught  two bluebirds pecking in some fresh sawdust.  A giant red-headed woodpecker soared in from stage right and found a tree trunk. A few obese carpenter bees hovered in front. I was aware of the intense beauty and action of nature.  I looked up high in the trees as a squirrel lept along the branch highway.

A sudden feeling of gratitude; a wave really, enveloped me. All was peaceful  and everything was right.  God, I love those moments. Alive, awake, and aware.

I captured a few of these Carolina moments with my cell phone camera.  C'mon along.  It won't take long.

 The first is the view from my garage while sitting on my truck tailgate.


This is my Japanese Maple in the evening sun.  Contrast this picture with the one from last winter of the same tree.
japanese maple 2 
Japanese Maple 
Here are some azaleas - always a Carolina treat in the spring!
azaleas in woods 
azalea and iris 
A very healthy spring garden - lettuce, mixed greens, spinach, and onions.
My gazing ball.  If you look carefully you can see me and my house in the ball!

gazing ball  

The walkway to the hot tub. Decking constructed by moi. 

Hot Tub Walkway 


And finally, the evening sun high up in the backyard oaks.



Thanks for joining me for this evening walk about the yard.

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All are lovely but that white azalea is breathtaking. Of course, you lured me right in with the walkway to the hot tub. Ah, yes!
Grif -- Thanks for the tour.
A place to sit a spell. Certainly.
There is nothing more beautiful than North Carolina in the Spring.
So lovely! Makes me want to move somewhere outside of a major metropolitan area...and very few things do that.
Gorgeous!!! I loved every reminded me of a show that used to come on in the late 60s or early 70s.......I can't remember the name only that it showed a girl looking outside a car window as her mother was driving down a long highway. The theme song was playing "North Carolina! Is the place you oughta be......... North Carolina! Is the place you want to see......... I think those were the lyrics...... I dunno....that scene never left me for some reason.
I love spring, before we start taking all of the beautiful green and growing things for granted and are surprised by their arrival. Hopefully I will live in my current home long enough for my garden to look as beautiful as yours.
Thanks for the invite. When can I move in? I have visited South Carolina and that is some beautiful country.
BTW, my daughter is studying about the original colonies and the Southern Colonies and they mentioned North and South Carolina. Talk about serendipity!
oh, this is so lovely, grif. everything is gorgeous but i'm particularly moved by the japanese maple. used to have one back in Boston. and by that tree in winter. reminds of that poem Birches by Robert Frost, even though it's a maple and not a birch.

there is nothing like jeans after a hard day and there is nothing like expressing gratitude while living absolutely in the present moment. thank you so much for sharing this. i had one of those moments during the pup walk. love love love and gratitude
I needed a calming walk. Good stuff.
life – always room for one more in the hot tub.

JK – thanks for stopping by. Snow? I would slit my wrists ( a figure of speech)!!

OE – thanks for coming along.

jane – nothing prettier than flowering cherries. It is beautiful here but the pollen season is in full swing too.

BBE – you make me laugh (sometimes). That fence actually does the trick. Primary invaders are deer – they’re everywhere around here!

l&p – I confess that I did download these into pucasa3 and “touch them up” a little. It’s free.

scupper – good to see you. Thanks for “setting a spell.”

voicegal – when are you coming home to Chapel Hill?

George S – life is funny. I’m always fantasizing about going to a major metropolitan area…

onecorgi – I sorta’ recall the tune. Was it Carolina or California? I should know that one.

mamoore – glad you could come by.

Trudge – I think we were 13th. Come on over anytime.
Theo – good to see you. Sounds like you’re having some good things happen.

jim – nothing like a little walk after working all day. Thanks for stopping by.
you're right, grig, it doesn't get any better than that!
The photos are a nice slice of spring in your spot of the world. The Japanese Maple is a lovely tree, a time travel with both of those photos, a makeover tree style.

My favorite shot is the magical pathway to your hot tub. Beautiful deck work and the hanging lantern is enchanting. Gives me ideas of naked tiptoeing down this path.
Oh wow . . .this is beautiful. I would LOVE to have a backyard like that. Awesome!

Pawed for those wonderful moments!
Cap’n – Agreed.. This IS as good as it gets.

Ablonde – I like the way you think.

LadyM – thanks for coming by. Always good to see you.

Great piece, great pics! Rated for ... well, everything!

Your piece reminds me of something I wrote a few years back. With apologies, I'll post it here:

The tops of the trees
Are alive with song.
The coffee tastes bitterly fine.
My wife sits beside me,
Still fresh from her bath.
I can smell the soap on her skin.
It is Saturday morning.
There are weeds in the beds
That need pulling.
There are fish in the pond
That need catching.
There are books in the stack
That need reading.
There are family and friends
That need loving.

What am I to do today?
I think I'll do it all.

A cardinal screams down from the top of an oak,
And alights on the foot of a feeder.
Takes a sunflower seed from the trough in his beak
And returns to his previous perch.
Soon, his voice rings out in song.
He's singing his thanks to me.

I look at my wife,
At the dogs
And the birds.
It is Saturday morning.
The sun's moving high
Through the leaves in the trees.
The birds move in small silhouettes.
The day's growing warmer
With each passing minute.
The coffee is kicking in.
I get up from my chair
And survey my kingdom,
"Yes! I'll do it all!"
Jess - you said it all, and very well too. Thanks for leaving that here for others too.
Wow. How blessed are you? Thank you.
Kathy – thanks for the wish.

Notes – good to see you. I am indeed blessed.
AMAZING what you can do with a cell camera. Thanks, so.
Thanks for sharing these quiet moments in your yard.

"It was late afternoon and the sunlight was doing its selective highlighting . " Perfection.
Life is good when we take the time to appreciate it.
I love the joy and appreciation in this post. Beautiful pics grif, and very impressed with your deck!
Beeee-auty. Spring is finally coming to our little region of SouWestO (southeast of Detroit). Tulips are out and the trees are in bud. Your pix show what we have to look forward to.

(And JK, bite your tongue. Hard.)

These are gorgeous pictures of a well tended yard and garden. Mine tends to be a little wilder looking! Love your walkway.
Back for seconds.
Finally getting a little OS time this weekend.

Lea – thanks for the camera comment from a real pro. I love all your travel pics and posts.

sandra – I appreciate the comment, and I want a ride in that yellow Miata.

Tom – life IS good!! Good to see you.

Annette – thanks for the comment and noticing the deck. Of course I did claim credit for building it.

B1 – Spring is on the way to the “Sun Parlor” of Canada. Low 90’s this weekend.

Buffy – thanks for he comments!

scupper – you are welcome to stay anytime!!
griff, you have an amazingly beautiful place. It's good to know too that you know how to cherish it. I'm happy for you. Gorgeous photos.
Hey bbd – I’m live on OS at the moment and saw your comment. You are very kind – they’re just cell phone photos and I gotta’ tell you that everytime I post a photo I think of you and your work, and I get a little nervous. This is a compliment to you and your work.
alive and awake, i do so love those moments. You live in a beautiful area
Hi julie - thanks for stopping by tonight. It really is gorgeous in NC.
Beautiful. Savor the moment. This reminds me of a wonderful poem by Mary Oliver:

Snow Geese
Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
What a task
to ask
of anything, or anyone,
yet it is ours,
and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.
One fall day I heard
above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound
I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was
a flock of snow geese, winging it
faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun
so they were, in part at least, golden. I
held my breath
as we do
to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us
as with a match,
which is lit, and bright,
but does not hurt
in the common way,
but delightfully,
as if delight
were the most serious thing
you ever felt.
The geese
flew on,
I have never seen them again.
Maybe I will, someday, somewhere.
Maybe I won't.
It doesn't matter.
What matters
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them
as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.
Penrose, Julie T, and Faith – thanks for stopping by and commenting. And Faith, I loved Snow Geese.
Your post gives me hope for my son who is an alcoholic. I hope he will be as successful and happy as you seem to be!