If we only knew

Late afternoon visitors enjoy a park in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, September 2007.

Late afternoon visitors enjoy a park in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, September 2007.

“Good heavens, of what uncostly material is our earthly happiness composedif we only knew it!  What incomes have we not had from a flower, and how unfailing are the dividends of the seasons!”  —  James Russell Lowell

It’s hard to choose a favorite season, but this time of year I’m especially aware of the untold wealth we enjoy, simply in being able to take a walk outdoors.  The harsh heat of summer is normally gone by now, but greenery and flowers still decorate the landscape and bring color to life.   Even those who don’t typically walk daily are lured outside by the gorgeous weather.

The price for almost everything bought with money continues to rise, but since Lowell’s day, one thing hasn’t changed; from a financial standpoint, our earthly happiness is composed of “uncostly material.” I hope you’ll find time this week to earn some income from the flowers, and take profit from the rich dividends of the season.

One year ago today:

Inconceivable antiquity


  1. raynard

    Julia while I would love to see the cherry blossoms in DC, ( bonk me on the head with a wet smelly fish” I have to the Dupont museums and mansions before winter.. This might be the first weekend we dont go to NJ.(maybe I can ” pull something off . I didnt say” rabbit out of the hat cause I know who put him in there lol..be blessed

    • Raynard, I do hope you are able to do something “just for fun” this weekend. Maybe you will even have a little bit of cool weather to enjoy the gardens. Send me a photo or two if you are able to go!

  2. Beautiful photo.
    I enjoy these lovely days of color…flowers and grass. Colorful!

    • Thank you, Merry! I do so love bright colors. We are re-doing the front landscaping at our York home, and I hope to have some color most of the year when we get finished. I never tire of it.

  3. singleseatfighterpilot

    One of the most glorious September displays in our mountains is Ironweed. (Search the Internet for William Kennedy’s photos of this beautiful weed.) Where virgin forest opens to the meadow of parks (the naturally occurring variety of park) sometimes thousands of ironweeds greet the eye! While you’re searching you can look for the virgin forest on the southern slope of Rich Mountain, Georgia (hey – you searched for Thomas Worthington Swartz, didn’t you?)

    • My search for William Kennedy’s Ironweed just turned up photos of the book and/or author, but I searched just “Ironweed” and got this gorgeous collection. Wow! Thousands at once would be a fabulous visual treat. Lots of gorgeous images for Rich Mountain, Georgia too. Still nothing for old T. W. Swartz, though – he must be so famous that he has publicists purging the internet of any reference to him! 😀 😀 😀

  4. Flowers are beautiful. I planted some last summer, but they died. This drought is terrible here. The beautiful lawn I had last summer is brown now. I love those flowers and the green grass you have there! Very beautiful!!

    • I am so sorry your grass and flowers have died. I hope that next summer will be better. We lost a lot of plants this year to the very cold winter, and I really missed them. Those Canada gardens are spectacular beyond compare. Everywhere I go in that country, I see gorgeous flowers. Of course, I don’t ever visit in the winter…

      • Thank you. I am, too. We just got word yesterday from the hatchery manager that we cannot water the lawns at all now. I am mostly worried about the trees if we get a lot of wind this winter! They are so dried out!

        • Wow, that is a bummer. I used to hate the water restrictions in Texas and California. But I don’t remember EVER being not allowed to water AT ALL. If all the lawns die out, won’t that cause even more evaporation? Not to mention wildfire risk. People used to ask me whether I was scared of earthquakes, living in CA. I always replied that wildfires were way, way scarier to me than earthquakes! Hope you get some rain SOON.

          • It has never been this bad, that’s for sure! I am terrified of fires also. We are definitely praying for rain!

            • I will pray with you. We have a friend who was a firefighter in CA, and he worked countless hours of overtime during fire season, all over the state, for many years. His wife and daughters were without him almost as much as if they had been a military family with a deployed husband/dad. I try never to complain about the rain because living in Texas and CA taught me what a blessing it is!

              • Thank you, Julia. Yes, the firefighters are working very hard here.

                I have always wanted more rain in California! I have never gotten used to it NOT raining in the summer. I have always missed that since I was raised in Georgia and Kentucky until I was 16.

                • I loved the “rain only 3-4 months of the year” climate of CA, because it was so predictable! When we moved back to Virginia, I had to get used to the notion that it could rain any time of year. Lots of times I would plan with no regard to the possibility of inclement weather.

  5. Even though it snowed yesterday morning, I will still say fall is my favourite season. As a kid it meant new clothes and shoes (only once a year back then, HA Everything I owned fit in a tiny closet and 6 drawers) and the opportunity to enjoy all the friends I didn’t see over the summer. We grew up in a community where people had lots of kids and rarely moved. We mostly all went to school together from grade one through twelve. I don’t think it’s that way now. Maybe because more people, more often, want what they don’t have (i.e..bigger house, better job). Now as a grownup, I look forward to the cooler weather and having time inside to complete projects I’ve been putting off over the summer when it’s too nice to be inside 😀 xoxoK

    • SNOW ALREADY??? As Mr. Bill used to say, “OOOHHHHHHH NNNOOOOOO!” I guess it’s good in your case since that gives you more time to craft those exquisite creations we all love so! I do love fall best now that we are back in the southeast. Fall was my only time for new clothes too, especially since I always wore a lot of hand-me-downs (our close family friends had daughters whose birthdays fell in a perfect hand-me-down line with my sister and me, and I was third in that line). My school situation was much like yours, and every fall there was much excitement to see whose class one would be in (in elementary school) and who the classmates would be. I’m glad I grew up when I did. If that makes me sound old, so be it. Old is a good thing to be! 🙂 ❤

      • Old is great but this quote from Woody Allen makes me laugh, “”You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.” True that, LOL

        • Oh, how true! I love it. Reminds me of this song by my favorite singer, Carly Simon. I’ve sung it to Jeff often over the years, especially since we have the very same birthday (though I’m two years older than him). “Stay out of the ocean, stay out of the sun, stay in perfect shape and be number one, We’ve got brilliant excuses for having no fun!” 😀

          • Oh thanks for sharing her music. A rather melancholy melody. I didn’t know you and Jeff have the same birthday. That’s fun! Hey! Guess what? I’m two years older then Mr B and Alys is two years older than her hubby….If I can throw out her ‘Word For The Year’ , that’s rather serendipitous,

            • Hee-hee, it’s a great thing to have in common! I highly recommend it! I was about to say something about how savvy we are, but actually it just means we have very intelligent husbands with refined taste in women. 😀

              • hehe, like moths to flames 😀

                • 😀 😀 😀

  6. I feel that nature is our greatest form of entertainment. And most of the time, it’s free to enjoy and even when we have to pay for camping or to visit a botanical garden or park it’s doable for my family. Gooooo creation!

    • Jenelle, I TOTALLY agree. My favorite concerts are the ones given by the song birds, and the squirrels put on quite a show all during the daylight hours. Even the weeds are pretty at this time of year. Tonight I brought home a handful of purple clover blooms that I picked while I was out walking. They look lovely with the liriope blooms I picked from our front yard. Bounty!

  7. Jack

    Thoreau says, “Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.” UAB Med School, UGA and various other institutions tell me, though, that money is absolutely necessary to buy my children’s admittance to theirs. I wish I could say I worked only to meet those obligations and then when their time has past for me to be responsible for them, I would dial things back. I doubt it, for a large part of my identify is tied up in my very enjoyable work (but work nonetheless).

    • Jack, I have come to believe that it’s a blessing to enjoy working. Not just for the people who work, but for all those of us who benefit from the fruits of the labor! 😀 My life has been made much easier, especially from a financial standpoint, because my parent and my husband are all enthusiastic about work. Like all good things it can get out of hand, but work is rewarding even apart from the very necessary financial rewards. Don’t get me started on college costs, though. It’s outrageous what the presidents of even mediocre universities get paid, and yet they tell us that the costs “must” keep going up, up, up. I think George Will is right on this one. But there’s not much we can do about it except reach for the wallet, if our kids want a career that requires a college and graduate education. As with health care and housing, they can keep raising costs, because the bottom line is that people have no choice but to pay up to the demands.

  8. I suppose it’s true: “The best things in life are free.”

    • Alan, I think they really must be — at least in terms of money. Or to put it in other words, oft-quoted but I don’t know who said it first: “The best things in life aren’t things.”

  9. Julia, not only are those flowers beautiful but those shadows complete the scenery. My momma used to speak of the longer shadows of late summer. I remember her observations so lovingly. 🙂 The recent rains and slightly cooler temps have really increased our dividends. I feel rich beyond words….chi-ching! 🙂

    • Sheila, that makes two of us — and I suspect, many many more! We really are rich beyond words, quite aside from the financial prosperity most of us enjoy relative to many parts of the world. I didn’t think about those “long shadows of summer” when I saw that photo, but I have surely been enjoying them on my evening walks. Today was about as perfect as it gets, weather-wise. Happy September!

      • Julia, I think tomorrow will find us “walking on sunshine”! 🙂

        • Sheila, I’m up early this morning (I’ve learned to see early-morning insomnia as a gift of time) and I’ll start the day with this song in my head! Thanks for your “sunny” wake-up comment! 😀

          • Julia, I’m usually up by 6:30 but with the idea I’ll get an afternoon “princess nap”. 🙂
            Second line to the song…… “And don’t it feel good?”. 🙂

            • Sheila, so far, so good! No nap yet, but I’ve already accomplished more than I do most days. Thanks for the theme song!

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