Come As You Are – 3/13/15, 3/14/15, 3/15/15

3:15:15 reflections and koi 1 sig“Although my eyes, blinded by passions, do not see the brilliant light which embraces me,
the Great Compassion never tires, always casting its light upon me.”
~ Shinran Shonin

Our old cat Velvet on 3/13/14 (she crossed the Rainbow Bridge that autumn).  RIP Dear One!

Our old cat Velvet on 3/13/14 (she crossed the Rainbow Bridge that autumn of 2014). RIP Dear One!

Click here for the post of photos from March 13, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Friday, March 13, 2015 – Today is golden with sunlight and the forsythia in full bloom.
3:13:15 f sig 3:13:15 close sig 3:13:15 f 1 sig“That Buddha, in the causal stage, made the universal Vow:
When beings hear my Name and think on me, I will come to welcome each of them,
Not discriminating at all between the poor and the rich and wellborn,
Not discriminating between the inferior and the highly gifted,
Not choosing the learned and those upholding pure precepts,
Nor rejecting those who break precepts and whose evil karma is profound.
Solely making beings turn about and abundantly say the Nien-Fo,
I can make bits of rubble change into gold.”
~ Hymn by Tz’u-min, cited by Fa-chao in the Wu-hui fa-shih tsan (Shorter Pure Land Liturgy of Nien-Fo Chant in Five Stages)

3:13:15 f 4 sig 3:13:15 f 3 sig 3:13:15 close nice sig“each blossom is filled
pollen, nectar, and longing
to bee completed”
~ Raven Ariana Simons

Honeybee gathering blue pollen from Siberian squill on 3/14/15.

Honeybee gathering blue pollen from Siberian squill on 3/14/15.

Click here for the post of photos from March 14, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Saturday March 14, 2015 – Today I saw a tiny beetle that looked like a miniature lady bug with black and red spots.  I haven’t looked this one up to see if it is actually some type of ladybug.  My Oregon grape is coming into bloom and the mason bees (osmia) are out and about.  My neighbors’ violets smelled heavenly.
3:14:15 nice b sig 3:14:15 v fr sig 3:14:15 osmia cl sig“True entrusting means that you’re able to truly relate to another being. Not only human beings but with plants and animals. Even those things that cannot speak, you’re able to hear their feelings. Namu-amida-butsu.”
~ Ichitaro
3:14:15 side v n a sig 3:14:15 side o cl sig 3:14:15 v sp sig“buds swell to bursting
sweet smells and nectar laden
beckon insect friends”
~ Raven Ariana Simons

Christmas cactus re-blooming on 3/15/14.

Christmas cactus re-blooming on 3/15/14.

Click here for the post of photos from March 15, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 – Today was exceptionally warm and we actually had a record high of 73 degrees F. at 3:00 P.M. MDT.  This is a quote from a local newspaper, “The warm temperatures are nearly 20 degrees warmer than normal temperatures for mid-March.” This made it a lovely day for sangha in the park and listening to and sharing wise words about our mindfulness practice and compassion.  We also learned about and practiced walking meditation.  I want to express heartfelt gratitude to our wonderful Practice Leader, Mr. Christopher “Myoshin” Ross-Leibow, and his lovely wife, Linnea, for their work service and also to the rest of the members of the Sangha. where we are truly welcome to “come as we are”.
3:15:15 Amida Buddha sm sig 3:15:15 falling water sig 3:15:15 koi and reflections 1 sig 3:15:15 koi 1 sig“Among all living things
mountains and rivers,
grasses and trees,
even the sounds of blowing winds
and rising waves –
there is nothing
that is not the nembutsu”
~ Ippen
3:15:15 old tree sig 3:15:15 falling water 1 sig 3:15:15 koi 2 sig 3:15:15 Amida Buddha 1 sm sig“we walk heal to toe
massaging sweet mother earth
with our mindful feet”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
3:15:15 koi and reflections sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace of the Universe!
Bright Bee Blessings, Namaste, and Namu Amida Butsu ~ Raven


Garden Friends, Blossoms, and Variable Weather – 3/10/15, 3/11/15, 3/12/15

3:12:15 w big camera sig“This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.”
~ Terry Tempest Williams

One of the ladies out enjoying the urban oasis on 3/10/14.

One of the ladies out enjoying the urban oasis on 3/10/14.

Click here for post for photos for March 10, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 – Today it was mostly sunny and I was able to get some photos of a few of the garden natives out and about.  We have a young garden spider (probably a wolf spider), a tiny native bee, and a wee jumping spider.
3:10:15 garden spider sig 3:10:15 nb 1 sig 3:10:15 js 3 sig“sitting in the sun
baby jumping spider waits
please don’t be afraid”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
3:10:15 js 4 sig “My voice is born repeatedly in the fields of uncertainty.”
~ Terry Tempest Williams

3:10:15 nb 2 sig 3:10:15 js 2 sig“here comes tiny bee
seeking pollen and nectar …
dandelion friend”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
3:10:15 nb sig“The middle path makes me wary. . . . But in the middle of my life, I am coming to see the middle path as a walk with wisdom where conversations of complexity can be found, that the middle path is the path of movement. . . . In the right and left worlds, the stories are largely set. . . . We become missionaries for a position . . . practitioners of the missionary position. Variety is lost. Diversity is lost. Creativity is lost in our inability to make love with the world.”
~ Terry Tempest Williams

Aspen catkins on 3/11/14.

Aspen catkins on 3/11/14.

Click here for post for photos for March 11, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 – Today was totally overcast but I saw the very first opening hyacinths on the block, tiny chickweed blossoms, daffodil, as well as a few plum blossoms on a neighbor’s ornamental plum tree.  The blossoms open were right next to the trunk while the rest wait to unfold.
3:11:15 pink h 1 sig 3:11:15 daff sig“Buddha says there are two kinds of suffering: the kind that leads to more suffering and the kind that brings an end to suffering.”
~ Terry Tempest Williams
3:11:15 p h sig 3:11:15 bl sig“blossoms opening
flowers springing from the ground
light up a grey day”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
3:11:15 c 1 sig“The Eyes of the Future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.”
~ Terry Tempest Williams

Daffodils on 3/12/14.

Daffodils on 3/12/14.

Click here for post for photos for March 12, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Thursday, March 12, 2015 – Some rain today allowed me to get a few portraits of drops on flowers and the leaves of flowers.  Here are periwinkle leaf and blossom, daffodils and tulip leaves.  The photo at the top of  today’s post is looking east close to sunset at the Wasatch range.  I also wish “Happy Birthday” to my mother who crossed the Rainbow Years quite a few years ago now.
3:12:15 peri leaf sig 3:12:15 daffs sig 3:12:15 peri a sig“though the rain is light
thirsty ground soaks up what is
beautiful raindrops”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
3:12:15 tulip sig 3:12:15 daffs 1 a sig“The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves.”
~ Terry Tempest Williams
3:12:15 tulip 1 sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Bright Bee Blessings and Namaste ~ Raven

Rain (3/2/15) and Snow (3/3/15)

3:3:15 b f opening 1 sig
“A day of spring —
wherever any water is,
in darkness lingering.”
~ Kobayashi Issa

Honeybees collecting crocus pollen on 3/2/14.

Honeybees collecting crocus pollen on 3/2/14.

Click here for photos for March 2, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Mourning dove on 3/3/14.

Mourning dove on 3/3/14.

Click here for photos for March 3, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Monday, March 2, 2015 – We had a little bit of lovely rain today and it is supposed to snow tomorrow, so I think I’ll put these two days together with a song covered by several famous bands and based on an old Celtic traditional song that migrated to the mountain places of the US where immigrants settled from the British Isles.  I really like the way The Lonesome Sisters interpret it and you can find a link to a youtube recording at the end of the post with lyrics.  Pentangle also did a lovely version. The Celts are a passionate people.  In some traditions water is connected to emotion. If allowed emotions can flow like water and if dammed can build up and overflow.  Many of the old songs from these areas are washed with what we think of (in the western culture) as the “darker” emotions.
3:2:15 b street sig 3:2:15 b drops j sig 3:2:15 b f sig
“Early spring –
stream flows
toward my door

~ Kobayashi Issa3:2:15 b drops j 1 sig 3:2:15 b reflection sig“precious raindrops fall
bringing life to thirsty land
much needed water”
~ Raven Ariana Simons3:2:15 b forsythia sigTuesday, March 3, 2015 – Today it snowed and we are on track with our song theme.  I have also added some haiku from a Japanese master, Kobayashi Issa. I learned a little about him today at a book club meeting that I am new to.  Here’s a link where I found some of his poetry 🙂3:3:15 b street sig 3:3:15 b f opening 1 sig 3:3:15 b calendula sig“Seeming as though
this would be the last of it…
so much spring snow”
~ Kobayashi Issa

3:3:15 s fennel sig 3:3:15 b hazel leaf sig “cold snow is falling
water in another form
some love, some avoid”
~ Raven Ariana Simons

3:3:15 b two f 1 sig
Here you can listen to the beautiful rendition of “Rain and Snow” by The Lonesome Sisters

Rain & Snow
Traditional, arrangement & last verse by Debra Clifford

Well I married me a wife, gave me trouble all my life
Run me out in the cold rain and snow,
rain and snow, run me out in the cold rain and snow

She came on down the stairs throwin’ back her yellow hair
and her cheeks were as red as a rose,
as a rose, her cheeks were as red as a rose

she came into the room where she met her fatal doom
and I aint gonna be treated this old way,
this old way, and I ain’t gonna be treated this old way

I shot through the head and I laid her on the bed
and I ain’t gonna be treated this old way
this old way, and I ain’t gonna be treated this old way

Her baby cried all night I know that what I done ain’t right
the wind howls her name oh so low,
oh so low, the wind howls her name oh so low

Debra Clifford © 2004

The Lonesome Sisters Lyrics
Sarah Hawker & Debra Clifford

Our hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Namaste  and Nama Amida Butsu ~ Raven

Birds, Blooms, and Bees 2/24/15 & 2/25/15

First viola of the season on 2/25/15.

First viola of the season on 2/25/15.

“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ”
~ Geoffrey B. Charlesworth
Click here for the post with February 24, 2012, 2013, and 2014 past pics.

Hazel catkins on 2/24/14.

Hazel catkins on 2/24/14.

Click here for the post with February 25, 2012, 2013, and 2014 past pics.

Calendula seeds on 2/25/14.

Calendula seeds on 2/25/14.

Tuesday, February 24, 2014 – Today was a lovely day for birds and we had many visitors at the urban oasis and for sunflower seed offerings.  The forsythia is just coming into bloom and makes a lovely place for birds to perch.  Today we have goldfinch, sparrow, and house finch.
2:24:15 goldfinch sig 2:24:15 nice female sparrow sig“lively visitors
they love when the sun comes out
in February”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
2:24:15 bud eater sig 2:24:15 forsythia sig“Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”
~ Robin Williams

2:24:15 goldfinch 2 sig 2:24:15 f sparrow sigWednesday, February 25, 2015 – Some of my Christmas cactus have a few blooms here and there.  My first volunteer viola is blooming, too.  Today was nice enough for the ladies to come out and drink.  I hope they also found some fine pollen!
2:25:15 hb 1 sig 2:25:15 back 1 sig 2:25:15 hb 2 sig“blossoms, birds, and bees
celebrate feelings of spring
as daylight lengthens”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
2:25:15 hb 3 sig 2:25:15 bloom 1 sigEvery spring is the only spring — a perpetual astonishment. ”
~ Ellis Peters

2:25:15 hb sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Bright Bee Blessings and Namaste ~ Raven

To You With Love 2/14/15

2:14:15 bonsai pink a sig“But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise on your lips.”   ~ Kahlil Gibran
Flashback – Tuesday, February 14, 2012 – The green orchid is still hanging in there with the magenta/pink orchids. The lovely white and fushia orchids have wilted to a lovely paper like look. I call this arrangement “The Orchid Arch”.
February 14, 2012 sigFlashback – Thursday, February 14, 2013 – Today we had lovely blue skies and a little less air pollution just in time for Valentine’s Day!  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone 🙂
February 14, 2013 sigFlashback – Friday, February 14, 2014 – A pair of mallards in love 🙂
February 14, 2014Saturday, February 14, 2015 – Today I visited a beloved plant store, Cactus and Tropicals, to take photos to share lovingly with you.
2:14:15 lav sig 2:14:15 succulent blossom sig 2:14:15 white blossom sig“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things, does the heart find its morning and is refreshed.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
2:14:15 succulent blossom 1 sig 2:14:15 blue sig 2:14:15 lady's slipper sig“beautiful flower
are you waiting for a bee
to help you make love”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
2:14:15 pretty pink sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Namaste ~ Raven

First Native Bee of the New Year 2/13/15

2:13:15 native bee a sig“Love the earth and sun and the animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labor to others,
Hate tyrants, argue not concerning God,
Have patience and indulgence toward the people,
Take off your hat to nothing known or unknown,
or to any man or number of men,
Go freely with powerful uneducated persons,
And with the young, and with the mothers or families,
Re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book,
Dismiss whatever insults your own soul;
And your very flesh shall be a great poem….
And have the richest fluency, not only in its words,
But in the silent lines of its lips and face,
And between the lashes of your eyes, and
In every motion and joint of your body.”
~ Walt Whitman ~
Preface to Leaves of Grass, 1855 edition
Flashback – Monday, February 13, 2012 – This green orchid has been hanging in there. My white ones were curling up today and the single unopened blossom may not open. I love this picture because it looks like there is a magic piano behind the orchid, so I call it “The Ghost Piano”  🙂
February 13, 2012 sigFlashback – Wednesday, February 13, 2013 – These ornamental grasses have yesterday’s bird’s nest behind them.
February 13, 2013 sig
Flashback – Thursday, February 13, 2014 – This is an American widgeon after a downpour in a few moments of stillness at the pond.
February 13, 2014Friday – February 13, 2015 – Today was a little chillier, but still sunny and nice.  I saw my first native bee, probably a leaf-cutter bee (megachile sp.) 🙂
2:13:15 white crocus nb sig 2:13:15 nb sig 2:13:15 wc nb sig“solitary bee
you have survived the winter
grateful to see you”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
2:13:15 side nb sig 2:13:15 wc nb a sig 2:13:15 yc nb bum sig“bottoms up you seek
pollen and early nectar
diving in crocus”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
2:13:15 cute sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Bright Bee Blessings and Namaste ~ Raven

Take Care 2/12/15

2:12:15 spidey waits sig“It is good to know our universe. What is new is only new to us.”
~ Pearl S. Buck
Flashback – Sunday, Febrary 12, 2012 – Snow is falling this afternoon and for some reason a single streetlight is on.
February 12, 2012 sigFlashback – Tuesday, February 12, 2013 – This is a bird’s nest from my neighborhood walk. It lives in a tree near the end of my street on a cross street.
February 12, 2013 sigFlashback – Wednesday, February 12, 2014This wild looking plant in front is sumac (not the twiggy plants) 🙂
February 12, 2014Thursday, February 12, 2015 – Today was sunny and I believe in the 60s (F) which is unseasonably warm, yet delightful.  When taking photos I’ve had to be very careful where I put my hands (and feet) to brace myself for shots so that I don’t squish a little friend, either a creature or a plant.  The tiny jumping spider who is part of today’s photos has taken up residence by the little urban oasis where the ladies (and other creatures) like to drink.
2:12:15 side bee sig 2:12:15 cute crocus sig 2:12:15 tap a sig“when out in nature
be careful in your rambles
aware of the small”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
2:12:15 dark bee sig 2:12:15 purple 1 sig 2:12:15 side drink sig 2:12:15 sitting on tap sig“The beauty of the natural world lies in the details.”
~Natalie Angier
2:12:15 cute spidey sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Bright Bee Blessings and Namaste ~ Raven