Fall Snapshots: Decline or Dormancy?

As the days of autumn slip and slither along a rainy path, my hope for vivid fall colours continues to wane. There is undeniable beauty in the woods and gardens but it doesn’t leap out and capture my attention as it did last year. The Vine Maples are a good example. The photo in my blog header was taken last fall. The one below is the same shrub, but photographed today.

Vine Maple 2014

We have a number of Hydrangeas around the property. One is a Climbing Hydrangea that clambers up and over the arbour that leads to our marsh trail. In the late spring and summer it sports large white ‘lacecap’ blossoms. Once the blossoms are done, it’s just a nice green cover for the trellis… until fall.

HydrangeaClimber1

In the fall it turns a bright yellow. Today, although the leaves are dropping, it’s still a vivid gold that, even in the rain, adds a sunny glow amid the evergreens in that corner of the yard.

HydrangeaClimbing3

We have other Hydrangeas in the gardens, too… the bush type with ‘mophead’ blooms. Most are pink, but as the season transitions, so does their colour. The individual petals are curling and they’ll be brown by winter, I’ll leave them in place. The birds seem to enjoy them.

Hydrangea1

Hydrangea3

Fall Blossoms

Just as I mentioned on Monday, it would be easy to moan about what was instead of celebrating what is. In the garden, however, the steady deterioration has a purpose. It’s part of the cycle of life — going to seed, resting, waiting for the new season of re-energizing and production.

Today’s blog post was delayed because I spent time at a NaNoWriMo write-in. Some of the other participants were comparing their word counts and feeling embarrassed that they were so low. But everyone admitted to having written something, and I was able to remind them that those words were more than they’d had when they arrived. Those words were motivation for what could come next. Tomorrow will be a fresh start… a time to move on and begin building again on what was achieved in the past.

Sometimes we celebrate the present achievement; sometimes it’s necessary to resign ourselves to some dormancy. Use the time to look ahead and maybe plan the next landscape. There are NaNo-ing days when I wonder why I’m bothering to participate in this literary marathon if my output isn’t going to be more significant. Then I remember that these waning times, even dormant times, are often necessary for future creativity. There is a cyclic nature to all of life… even to our writing. Tomorrow will be a better day!

How’s your writing going this week… or whatever other project you might have ‘on the go’? 

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Being Influenced

Silly hydrangeas! When I bought and planted these two bushes ten years ago, they both bloomed a lovely soft shade of pink. Granted, our property is surrounded by towering evergreens and the soil is decidedly acidic. To keep hydrangeas pink requires more alkaline soil.  Where there are lower pH levels (4.2-5.5), hydrangeas take up aluminum from the soil with ease, encouraging their blueness.

If I wanted mine to remain pink I’m told I should have added dolomitic lime to the soil several times a year and used a fertilizer with high levels of phosphorus. Since I’ve never added anything to the soil, I suppose I should be thankful the shrubs are blooming at all.

Who knew they were so temperamental about which colour to display… or so easily influenced by their location?

Then again, if people are influenced by the company they keep, why do I expect anything different from my shrubs? I remember telling my children that everyone needs friends, so I wouldn’t interfere in the friendships they made. But if they became associated with people whose judgment wasn’t very good, they’d better beware of following them down undesirable paths.

There‘s another application for all this… from the opposite side. I absorb a lot from the knowledge, experience, and good advice of cyber writing friends whose tweets, posts and comments reflect their faith, wisdom and success. I love attending conferences where I can interact with them and immerse myself in an environment of valuable writing information from which I hope to benefit via the magic of osmosis.

I hope the exposure to such good influences will keep my writing career “in the pink” and chase away any discouraging “blues” as my ability improves and I get closer to seeing my publishing goals blossom.

And now I should probably stop stretching this analogy before it gets thin enough to snap. 😉

Excluding hydrangea bushes, what have been the greatest influences on your writing? What brought you to your current genre?

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