Gather and transform

I photographed this bee near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, 2005

I photographed this bee near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, 2005

“The men of experiment are like the ant, they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance. But the bee takes a middle course: it gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own.”Francis Bacon

I had to think about this quote for awhile to understand its full implications, but I concluded that Bacon had drawn an interesting parallel to human tendencies.  Some of us prefer action to thought, staying busy at various tasks with little introspection.  Others of us enjoy thinking more than we enjoy doing, and turn inward more than we reach outward.

Maybe the ideal balance lies somewhere in between.  If we consider the wisdom and accomplishments of others as inspiration and guidance, then complement our learning with our own unique set of experiences and perspectives, we can create new gifts to the world that can come only from us.  If we strive to think neither too little nor too much of ourselves, to cultivate humility without timidity and confidence without arrogance, we will be free to make the best use of our talents; to gather from the abundance around us and transform what we have been given into our own singular contribution.


  1. your final sentence if brilliant! well done, amiga.

    hope the day is good to you!

    • Thanks so much, Z! We have a lovely, sunny day here – I hope the day is beautiful in your part of the world too!

      • After strong rains last night, the day is pretty – a bit overcast but perfect temps and nice day! thanks! z

  2. Your quotes mean so much when shared with you ideas, thanks Julia. I think some parents are great at trumping up their children’s self esteem but forget to encourage the value of empathy and respect for others options and ideas. Both, in balance are a good recipe.

    • Thanks for visiting my blog, I always love hearing from you! I agree about balance, so important but so hard to achieve in some areas.

      • Welcome, my lap top packed it in today and I’m trying to figure out the hubby’s iPad, practicing patience, LOL

        • Hi Boomdee, so sorry you are having computer problems. I never feel my age as much as when I am trying to learn something new like a tablet or even worse (I haven’t the nerve to try) a smart phone! Good luck! You may soon be addicted to the iPad as so many others I have seen seem to be.

          • Thanks Julia, I’m typing on my new 13″ Macbook Pro…yippee. Pretty much the same as my last one but crisper colour by far.

            • Hooray! The nice thing about losing a computer, as frustrating as it may be, is that the replacement is usually better in some way. Although the learning curve is sometimes a bummer. Jeff gave me a new computer with Windows 8 and I haven’t started using it because I can’t get the hang of it! I’m a die hard Windows person but this may be a turning point; I might be too old to learn their new tricks!

              • Nahhhhh, never. Get this, I paid $99 for an Apple club that got THEM to do all the file transfers and also gives me one year ‘unlimited’ 1 hour, one on one, training at the Genius Bar. I could go every day if I wanted. That’s crazy good value. I’m pretty familiar with this MAC as it’s much the same as the old one. But I never did get the hang of iMovies….look out, here they come. LOL

                • Wow, I agree that’s a real bargain. I didn’t know that level of tech support existed anymore. I will look forward to your iMovies and I hope some of them will feature Petals and Blossum!

  3. mary aaron

    “Gather and transform”…don’t we all do that in our lives? We pick up ideas and inspiration from those around us. Just how we use those ideas depends on each of us.
    I’m pleased to discover your blog, Julia. Enjoy your photos, quotes and comments. We all need encouragement. Hope you’ve had a good day. ~}

    • Thanks so much, Mary! There was an online discussion recently about our minds being like compost bins, taking in and processing ideas – not quite as romantic a parallel as bees making honey, but one that also caught my eye. Each of us is so unique, not only in our identity at birth, but in what we pick up along the way. I’m so happy to have you visit my blog! I appreciate your comments and good wishes. Our weather here was lovely today; hope yours was too!

  4. Nancy

    Love the pic, Jules…you have a great photographic eye!

    • Thanks, Nancy! I have such happy memories of all those times almost four decades ago when I used to run you around Nashville and other places taking photos! Or I guess I should say, you used to run me…you were the one with the car! 🙂

  5. I believe the balance of which you speak is the key to success! (Or at least ONE of the keys). Good thought such as yours spur on other good thought! Thanks!

    • Carla, you’re welcome. As you know, balance is a challenge for me, but I’m getting there :-)!

  6. Sheila

    Julia, you always have a phrase that captures me. Confidence without arrogance is a wonderful place to be! Thank you for the prayers. Bill has had the dreadful chemo headache but tried to enjoy the evening with friends by the campfire. Yes, we’re camping! Keeping Jeff and you in my prayers. Sheila

    • Sheila, so wonderful to hear you’re camping; you must be getting some of the same mild weather we are. I’ll pray for Bill’s headache to go away. Thanks for your prayers for us!

  7. Harry S

    You may not be a Saint but you’re getting there.


    • Luckily for me, I was brought up believing that all Christians are saints, not by virtue of anything we did, but by virtue of what God did through Jesus. It’s a view that is shared by most denominations, Catholic and Protestant alike. And it’s a view that’s fairly obvious throughout the Bible – just do a word search on the term “saints.”


  1. Read or learned or picked up | Defeat Despair

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