Back to standard time

Did you all enjoy the extra hour of sleep last night?  I celebrated by staying up an hour later.  Had a good day where  got out to a couple of places for photos…now, at 4:45 the outside light is growing dim.  The shorter days are really coming in.

P1270793-1GLIt started out as a very gray day but I decided to go out anyway, and then the sun came out.  It is on the warm side for the beginning of November and the humidity made for a bit of a haze for just a while.  In some places, the trees are bare and in other places, they are still green!  It has been an odd fall i that you will see dull or no color, then turn a corner and…color!

collins 2 GLBut it won’t be long before we have no leaves, and things will be on the very dull side until the first clinging snowfall.  I am always a bit sad to see the color leave but I guess it makes us appreciate every season just a little bit more.  It is also time to start thinking about Thanksgiving.  And then Christmas.

Where DID the time go?

Mid October

fallOK..a little past mid-October.

It is an interesting Fall…still a lot of green yet some places have trees that are already bare.  You see a dull area, then turn a corner and some brightly colored trees await.  We did have some color and a very cold day for my retreat day on Sunday…we even had a sleet and then a snow squall.

For now, all the retreat work for the year is done.  It’s time to start thinking of Thanksgiving and already, the needed items are being stocked here on the home front.  I get out a little here and there for photos of course, and wonder just where summer went!  This past weekend, the first killing frost showed up and killed the super coleus that bloomed so magnificently over the summer.  Everything has its time, and the time for the coleus had come…and gone.

And so, mentally it is time to prepare for a long winters’ nap.  Or something like that!

My own retreat!

P1240866-1Most of the retreats I am away on are “working retreats” so every now and then it’s nice to just take a little time away to renew, and to get ideas for the upcoming presentations.  Since they are all nature based, what better than a small cabin/ hermitage where you can take advantage of the quiet?  I did just that last week, spending a couple of days at MY “go to” place for retreat…Still Point.

The photo above is the cabin I stayed in (there are 4…and one is a double cabin.) The weather was perfect…a little rain, a little wind (well, a lot of wind one day) and a little sunshine.P1240851-1  There is a Nature Trail, a pond and woods around the cabin  A perfect place when you crave quiet.  Normally, I will fix my own meals and bring books to read.  There are also programs that you can attend if that is what you like to do.  Not every day, but a few offerings throughout each month.

Mostly, though, I love o absorb the beauty around me…to listen to the birds and crickets at this time of year, to watch the squirrels and chipmunks running around the cabin…it’s a great place to renew and come back refreshed.  A few more photos below, and you can also check out the link at the top of this page.


Back from the Mountains

PLC1I got back from leading 2 retreats at Pyramid Life Center about 9 days ago.

It is always so beautiful up there, and the weather could not have been better.  Not too hot, not too cold, and NO BUGS!  No mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies…it was like Heaven.  And the people I spent the time with were awesome…some I’ve known since I started up there years ago (2015 was my 10th year presenting) and some new people come in each year.  The loons were not as noisy this year and I only saw one from my observation point but those who got out on the water saw 2-3 of them.

PLC2Pyramid Lake is not too far from the High Peaks area…up around Paradox and is one of only 2 “pure” lakes in the Adirondack Mountains.  Meaning, not affected by acid rain.  Great care is taken to make sure any incoming canoes or kayaks are sanitized before going out on the lake, to protect against invasive species.  I heard also that the fishing was excellent as well this year.  I miss being able to get out in the kayaks or out on the trails like I used to but there is still a lot to see and do.  Life abounds there, and the area (over 700 acres) is in fairly pristine conditions.

PLC3And the evenings…pure magic.  The air was soft and smelled of the mountains.  On clear nights the view of the sky, even with the guide lights along the pathways, is spectacular.  These photos are only a small glimpse of the beauty that surrounds you.  It’s tough work doing the retreats there but someone has to do it.  And I am more than happy to oblige.

There comes the day though when you have to come down off the mountain.  Back to the busy everyday life but that’s not so bad either.  A balance in life is vital, and we all need wild areas as well as the community areas to keep life interesting.

John Muir wrote:Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.

Take some time to find YOUR “mountain.”

Where IS the summer going?

sunset81415I can’t believe it is getting near the end of August!

I have been busy getting ready to lead a couple of retreats up in the Adirondacks.  I have all year to do this and always seem to wait until the last minute.  But I seem to work better under pressure.  And I am not changing things all the time.  I found over the past 10 years that it works out better overall.

The garden was particularly lovely this summer.  Things are beginning to fade somewhat but it is still lovely.  Hard to believe that Fall is just around the corner.  About a month from now.  But there is still time to enjoy wearing sandals, not having to find a sweater when you go outside…you know the drill.

I hope to get another post up before I leave.  The house will e in capable hands, and I DO miss family when I am gone but it makes coming back all that much better.  Conditions where I will be going are rustic but the place still has a pristine charm, and although I will be working, I will also be taking in the best of nature.

It’s a win-win deal.

In Full Bloom

7We are at the end of July (just about) and the garden is peaking.  The yard is filled with birds and critters and the occasional neighbor cat.

For a couple of days we had cooler temperatures and a great breeze that kept the mosquitoes away enough to get some weeding done.  It’s a jungle out there…



I will have just a few more photos in this post…to share some of the sights I am blessed to see each day.  Rain or shine, you can’t help but smile at nature’s beauty…enjoy!




Hosta flowers in bloom.






Visitor at the cone flowers







Humming bird at the bee balm






Female Cardinal at the fountain







Female red wing blackbird






Chipmunk on seed cleanup detail.



Belated Happy 4th!

Foggysunset2Hope you all had a safe and happy 4th!

We didn’t get to the fireworks in Albany because we attended a 90th birthday party for 2 people…both turned 90 this year and they just happen to be married also.  It was a grand celebration! Quite a milestone – and they are both still alert and active. What a gift!

When we got home, the sun was just beginning to set.  I grabbed the camera and practically flew over to one of the locks near home in time to get a beautiful sun setting…and fog settling in.  This area was devastated during Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Irene in 2011, and has just been reopened this year.  It’s one of my favorite places to catch a sunset.  No wires..just water and hills…and the sound of frogs and crickets.  There are usually a couple of people fishing, and perhaps a boat moored for the night.  In my opinion, it was a wonderful end to a wonderful day.

May YOUR days be filled with wonder.




The First of July

come sitI can’t believe it is July already!

As you can see, things are really green around these parts.  The rains we had in June (and it is raining off and on today) have helped the deficit we DID have.  After the snow this past winter it seemed we would be abundant but dry months from March through May dropped levels significantly.  But things are lush and green now, for the time being.

Summer is fully upon us, even though the air has been cooler the last few days. junegarden Gardens are flourishing and somehow, even when the skies are dull it is still beautiful out there.  The birds are most likely raising their last broods and soon the outdoor sounds change from new life to quiet fullness.  I’ve been able to get out for photos and opportunities abound.  There are still things indoors that could be done but I think I will put them off a while longer as I soak in this fullness.

How about you?

June…Bustin’ out all over!

rgsm1We bounced back and forth from warm to cool, then sunny to finally much needed rain (although we really didn’t need some of the heavy storms we’ve had)

But in the middle of all of this flux…life was building and growing in gardens – especially the rose garden at Central Park.  I stopped by last night for a few photos and was blown away by how much bloom took place since I last passed by.  The Rose Garden is a crown jewel in Schenectady…it was maintained for years by the City and then the job was taken over by a committee of hard-working citizens when budget constraints rgsm2caused the city to give up the greenhouse and the Rose Garden operation and maintenance.  Since the committee took over, the area has been improved, a central fountain was added, and the “bridge” area has been expanded with a larger waterfall feature added.  It truly is an amazing place and a testament to how hard work and determination can save a landmark.

Of course, the park is beautiful as well…Iroquois Lake, the Duck Pond, picnic areas, tennis and softball courts, Music Haven…just to mention a few.  But my focus today is on the Rose Garden itself, and the beauty that is appreciated by thousands yearly.

rgsm3I will head back over quite a few times before the season is done.  Breathing in the scent of roses…listening to the splash of fountain and waterfall…hearing the birds and watching people come in with their cameras, kids, or just for a stroll.  To read more about the Rose Garden, visit their web page:

Schenectady Rose Garden

Back to real life

8Since my last post, I did get out for a couple of wonderful days at Still Point.

In this photo, I was standing at the door of one of the cabins (not the one I stayed in) and took a picture of the other ones.  It was raining and/or very overcast most of the time which made for a wonderfully restful stay, and some dreamy lighting.  I enjoyed listening to the birds – especially very early morning and at dusk.  In the evening, I could hear a couple of peepers as well.

John Muir wrote “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”  This is where I do both.  The cabins are small, perfect for hermit time.  I listen to my internal clock rather than look at an actual clock and even in that short time, benefit from tapping into the natural cycle of nature.

In a couple of days I hope to update my Still Point page here…with newest photos from this retreat.  Have yourself a day filled with wonder!