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Dream like no one is watching

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Fireflys Golden Morning Shot in May

The changes around here are happening too rapidly for me to keep up with them all.

Everywhere I look, buds and blossoms are bursting out on trees, shrubs, and grasses. Our crab apple tree, seemingly bare just a few days ago is now crowded with dark buds and tiny foliage bursts. The willow tree changes so rapidly it seems to evolve right before my eyes. Rhodadendrun Blossom EarlyWe are only a couple of weeks into warmish weather that even now changes back to quite chilly on an every-other-day basis. One day we have showers and chill air, the next sunshine, warmth, and growth. One of the more surprising discoveries I have made is the ugly duckling evolution of the rhododendron blossoms. The buds looked more like something fading away than something that was coming to life. The blossoms look very much like a tangle of shriveling autumn remains rather than the precursors of translucent pink, glorious petals. Fireflys Rhodadendrun from Last YearI have a photograph of one of the rhododendrons from last May, not long after we returned from our honeymoon. When I compare that photograph to a photograph of one of the blossoms now on the plant I am filled with wonder as to how the metamorphosis will occur. Across the road, in our field above the river, there is a large and abundant pink horse chestnut tree. Its large blossoms are a beautiful mixture of greens, cream, and shiny chestnut colors. As they open up to the world, they begin to take on a shape that looks somewhat like a bird to me. What will this fantastic creature become as it changes rapidly over the next several days; will I be there to capture those changes with my camera, or will some distraction of normal living prevent me from witnessing the swift, silent change. We'll see. Saturday morning I looked out our front windows just as a blue heron was lifting up from our front lawn, heading back toward the river. I have no idea what he would have found intersting in our lawn, but I was grateful I had a chance to see him so close at hand. Sunday afternoon my husband was out doing some work on the lawn when he caught sight of two magnificent bald eagles catching an updraft over the woods behind our cornfields. He had to roll our lawn this weekend, before the ground dried out too much. The frost of winter causes the ground to heave, leaving a bumpy surface behind that is quite uncomfortable to mow with the tractor if it isn't rolled with heavy water-filled drums in spring to flatten it out some. Pink Horse Chestnut in Early BloomMonday evening he went back over the lawn, mowing the thick tall grasses and making everything look neat and tidy again. When Blu and I went out this morning for the 6:00 a.m. "business" report, we happened to catch that most perfect, deepest moment of golden light as sun filtered through our various trees at a very low angle. The newly cut lawn was crisp and deep emerald green in contrast to the beautiful gold rays of light cutting across the yard just above the lawn. The river is coming to life as well, with green growth sprouting out everywhere along and above its curving lines. Soon a myriad of flowers will begin to grow, starting the parade of seasons for us to enjoy. Saturday we took the day off to enjoy a lazy trip along the Niagra Wine Trail. We visited at least half a dozen wineries during the course of the day's drive. We began our drive up along Highway 18 near Lake Ontario. The first winery we came to was Marjim Manor where we sampled a few of their delicate fruit wines while being told of the history of the place as well as of the ghosts that haunt it to this day. Pink Horse Chestnut in Later BloomOf all the wineries we saw, I liked the farm building at Marjim Manor best because it is a historic farm house, rather than a new build. They have retained the feel of the old place, which is something I have a particular appreciation for. Further along the trail, and further away from the shores of the lake we visited Warm Lakes Winery and found them to be 100% professionalism with a straight-forward presentation. Their no-frills metal building had a very industrial and completely non-romantic look and feel ... interesting, because they specialize in a very dry wine. Nonetheless, their vineyards were exceptionally pretty. I have a thing for vineyards, and seeing theirs got me all stirred up again thinking of the possibility of putting in vineyards here at our place someday. The manager of Warm Lakes told us she has an event in August where local artists are invited to come and work in the vineyard one weekend. I got so excited as I imagined myself in jeans and a light cotton shirt, in their wineyard, sweating in the hot August sun, wiping hair out of my face just before reaching for a grape vine to do, I don't know what, but it would be work and it would be good. Turns out, she meant working on their art in the vineyard. Painting, drawing, whatever. Oh. Silly me. Fireflys Crab Apple Tree Begins to BloomShe was nice enough to offer to take us on a tour of their facility, which we both enjoyed and learned a good deal from. One of the last wineries we visited was extremely special--Spring Lake Winery. It is owned and operated by three generations of an Italian family, beginning with grandparents who immigrated here from Italy. The grandfather is a winemaker, the grandmother is the sweetest little Italian lady you could ever hope to meet. They just opened in February of this year, and their plans for the future are enticing including an eight acre walking path encircling their beautiful lake for lazy strolls, free music by the lake the last Sunday of every month for families to come and enjoy, sandwiches and ice cream for sale, and a pretty little gift shop in a cabin down the path from the main building. The day was cold and rainy so the wine trail was not crowded, and we enjoyed the drive and the time together very much. Blu is Hard at WorkNow I dream again of vineyards here on our farm, the possibility of our own winery in the future? Who knows. For the past few days when I look out past our barn to the corn field beyond, I don't see rows of last year's corn any longer. Instead, I see a pretty vineyard in neat rows stretching out to the woods beyond. We speak in excited tones with each other about this dream when I phone him at work during the day, as we eat a light supper toward day's end, on the sofa between scenes in a show we are watching, at night as we are drifting off to sleep ... we weave it along together to see where the dream might lead us. I have a theory about dreams--perhaps I have shared it before, I don't recall. Here it is: a person should dream and dream big. I think it is rare any of us exceed our dreams in life, so we may as well dream as big, as bold, as lovely as possible. Aim high, and then higher, with your dreams. What do you have to lose? Dream like no one is watching and then dream a bit further still. After all, three years ago standing on a hot, dry road on a hillside in Southern California I dreamed of living on a farm. Now we dream of vineyards. ~firefly Copyright © 2007 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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