Still, flowers bloom

Wow! These are so pretty I just had to share them. At our York home, July 2018

“this life
has been
a landscape
of pain

and still,
bloom in it.”      ― Sanober Khan

Just when it seemed the heat was becoming unbearable, it broke. On Friday my sister and I walked outside and simultaneously burst into exclamations of delight at the wonderfully cool air. When I arrived back in York County, the temperature was even more refreshing. Everything was green and growing, but with my eyes closed, I would have thought it was spring or fall.

I had another surprise waiting for me. I don’t remember planting a lily at the base of one of our trees, but I noticed the green stem shooting up the last time I was at our York home. It was getting tall, but still had no flowers on it. I tried to figure out whether it was something I had planted. I couldn’t even remember exactly what it was. It looked a bit out of place but I resisted the urge to pull it up.

When I came back ten days later, I was rewarded for having left it undisturbed. The flowers were so vibrant that they splashed instant cheer on my anxious, sad spirit.

I’m starting to understand why it became traditional to send flowers to those who are ill or grieving. No matter what one is enduring, flowers have a mystical power to conjure up instant joy. It’s especially fun to find surprise blooms in an everyday setting, seemingly popping up out of nowhere.

What’s blooming in your life today?


  1. Mickey Champagne

    So grateful for flowers and butterflies. They always bring delight and joy. Oh, and the fire flies !

    • Mickey, I agree! I just love fireflies. Growing up in Atlanta, I saw plenty of them, too. We called them “lightning bugs” and loved to catch them. When I was working as a children’s librarian in northern California, I read a picture book about fireflies to the kids and I was surprised to have them ask if they were real. None of them had ever seen one!

  2. Nancy Blevins

    They are just beautiful, Julia! Jan had lilies at her wedding. I’ll never forget their scent and beauty.

    • Nancy, Jeff and I were at Jan’s wedding, but I don’t remember the lilies. They are perfect wedding flowers, though. I do remember that her wedding was gorgeous.

  3. Sheila

    Good Monday morning, Julia. These recent cooler mornings are welcomed here as well. The lily must have been such a beautiful surprise. Had you pulled it up, you would never have been the wiser. But, as it turned out, it brought you such unexpected pleasure that you were able to share. If you don’t remember planting it and it’s blooming in an unusual place, do you think it could be a “hitchhiker”? Thank you for sharing! 🌸 Heading to our Verandah, with java! ☕️ Sheila

    • Sheila, our York yard gets all kinds of “hitchhikers” (probably owing to the huge bird population) so it very well may have been. Mama always called those plants “volunteers.” I have a couple of mature crape myrtles that started out as hitchhikers. As mentioned in an earlier comment, I tend to see these self-starters as being hardy plants worth keeping, so I try to dig them up and transplant them as often as I can. I was late getting to our July Verandah due to the move, but it surely was worth the wait! Just perfect for a hot and tired Southern gal to sit and sip! Toss a few mint leaves in that iced tea! 😀

      • Sheila

        Hey, I’ll call it a “mint Julie tea”! ♥️

        • Sheila, perfect! That’s one that doesn’t need alcohol because the namesake is already silly enough without it. 😀

  4. Renee

    Beautiful! Those flowers are as beautiful as you!

    • Renee, you are generous as always. Those flowers are way more camera-worthy than I am! And they don’t even have to clean up to get their picture taken. “Not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these” as Jesus said.

  5. Those are a beautiful surprise. Stunning colors.

    • Yes, I want to go out and buy more of them. I’d love to have a whole garden of them so I could cut some and bring them indoors.

  6. Harry Sims

    Lilium ‘Stargazer’ is a hybrid lily of the ‘Oriental group’. Oriental lilies are known for their fragrant perfume, blooming mid-to-late summer. Stargazers are easy to grow and do best in full sunlight. Wikipedia
    Scientific name: Lilium orientalis ‘Stargazer’
    Rank: Hybrid
    Higher classification: Lilium orientalis

    Thank God for Google.


    • Harry, that term “Stargazer” rings a bell. Maybe I really did pick up some bulbs somewhere and forgot I planted them. In any case, thanks for identifying them. Now I want to go out and buy a bunch more to plant!

      • Harry Sims

        Inspiration trumps despair.

        • 😀

          • Harry Sims

            🙂 You Bloom Girl! 🙂

            • Thank you, Harry. I’m trying.

        • Absolutely!

  7. MaryAnn Clontz

    Beautiful flowers in your yard, a gift from Your Heavenly Father; beautiful sentiment from you to us! Thank you! Sending much love to you & “my” Matt!

    • Mary Ann, isn’t it wonderful when we get flowers from the one who created them? 😀 Talk about a special delivery!! Love to you from Matt and me!

  8. Julia, how gorgeous! God sent you flowers!
    Stargazers grow from bulbs; I have one, and it’s blooming, too, but not with such extravagance and pizazz!

    • Susan, since I didn’t remember this particular plant at all, I have to conclude that it took a few years to come forth with so many bright flowers. It’s certainly not because I tended it lovingly, that’s for sure! One thing being away from York has taught me, is that some plants seem to thrive on lack of attention. Hmmm, there must be a lesson in that somewhere…

  9. Mike

    You mentioned fireflies. Well in back of our apartment is a little tree lined gully and at night we see them in abundance. And there is something in the trees that makes a loud ratching sound- not like a frog- and also a more softer buzzing sound. I looked up night sounds of Georgia on Google and I think they might be Katydids in unison. Apparently the males get together on the top of a tree and do a little song and dance number, which is sometimes answered by female friends.But the sound of the Katydids is sometimes almost deafening. There is a 10 hour utube sound byte of “Georgia night sounds,” Who would make such a thing?
    But I suppose it might help some sleep as it is kind of soothing and the rhythmic tunes of the tree crickets are almost hypnotic. But ten hours? The fireflies are pretty amazing. Have you captured any on film?
    Last Friday we went to BallgroundGa., where the battle of Taliwah(sp?) was fought between the Cherokee and the Creeks. There I tried Gumbo for the first time at a local resturant called Le Bon Temps. Good times? Not sure how authentic it was, but very good and kind of spicy.
    I may have to take the Stargazer challenge at some point. Don’t have any to mention.

    • Mike, I bet the Georgia night sounds tape was made for someone who was homesick for that particular reminder of living in the deep south. I love the nature sounds, whether birds or frogs or insects or even (when I used to sleep over at my Granny’s house) roosters crowing in the morning. Not sure I’d want that sound everyday, though. I like the sound of insects much better than the sight of them, that’s for sure. The 10 hour tape was probably the result of someone just leaving it on overnight and then uploading it unedited. I’ve never photographed the fireflies because I don’t think you could capture it in a picture, but maybe in a video? But I doubt the luminosity would come out on film as it does in the dark on a warm summer’s night.

      I don’t know how I got this idea, but I always thought of the Creek as being the pugnacious tribe ready for a fight. But maybe they got that way because the Cherokee drove them south and took over their land. I read a bit about the battle of Taliwa after I saw your comment, and I was most interested to read, for the first time, about the Cherokee woman the English called “Nancy Ward,” who became a leader among the Cherokee and was allowed to sit on their councils and have decision-making power. I grew up in Georgia but you have already seen many parts of it that I never saw or even heard of. That’s what is good about moving around. One explores and takes nothing for granted. I hope you discover many more such interesting places. Georgia is a fun state because, like California, it has all sorts of terrain– mountains, valleys, oceanfront, plains etc.

  10. Mike

    I had seen some firreflies previously on a stay at Mike’s in Canton, but not up close and personal.

    • Fireflies are one of those phenomena that should be experienced firsthand. I’m sure much of the charm they hold in my mind is connected to all the fun memories associated with them– playing outside at dusk, hide and seek with the neighborhood kids, cookouts, lawn chairs, eating watermelon. Plus the first sight of “lightning bugs” each year meant that summer had truly arrived.

  11. LB

    Julia! It’s been so long since I’ve been able to visit blogs! Rest assured that it has not been long since I’ve thought of you, though. I wonder about you and how Matt is and how school is and the houses are …. the blooms on that lilly are gorgeous! XO

    • Hi LB, it is always such a joy to hear from you! I’m in the same boat about being out of touch with the blogging world, and missing and thinking of everyone. WOW it has been a long time since we caught up. It has been almost a year ago now that I made the decision to quit school. At the time, Matt’s disability services were set to be discontinued (because of a small check the VA was sending him) and there just seemed no way I could continue if he didn’t have a day program or any sort of transportation or other services. But since then those problems have been resolved. However, I know that quitting was the right thing to do. I was just spending way, way too much time on papers and assignments that I really wasn’t enjoying. PhD level work (at least in my field) was far too theoretical to me. Matt is doing well. Like me he has his down days but overall I’d say he is doing much better at adjusting than I am. It’s still a struggle for me. Thanks for checking in — your visits (virtual and real) are such a “shot in the arm” for me. I couldn’t resist the medical pun, it fits so well. 😀 Sending you hugs and best wishes!

      • LB

        How did I miss that you had stopped school? I’m such a slouch! Seems like a good decision, and you can always go back if you choose. I’m thankful Matt is adjusting, for many reasons of course, but definitely because it is better for you! I’m not surprised that it is still a struggle … you and Jeff had a great love. Holding you close and sending peace

        • Thank you, LB. Your friendship is a tremendous solace. ❤

  12. That’s gorgeous Julia and I bet it smelt fantastic! Everything is blooming like mad here too. We’ve had excessively hot spells followed by days of rain, sprinkled with sunshine. The last two days have been brilliant. I revel in the days of temps in the low 20’s C (below 70 F) with sunshine. We don’t get much humidity on the prairies but plenty of storms.
    When we last visited Washington, being it was April, I found it pretty warm but tolerable. I can’t imagine summertime. I’m certain I froze poor Pauline and Alys in our hotel room. I was always looking to be cool. Alys’s California temperature is so much warmer then here in North-central Canada. I’m not used to walking around in 80, 90 and hotter. Those are the days I prefer to be inside and look out at my garden 😀 xo K

    • Kelly, I can imagine that our worst heat would be almost unbearable to a Canadian. Our bodies grow accustomed to wherever we live. When we went back to San Antonio to visit, I was surprised how HOT it seemed. I do remember being amazed how hot it got there, even while we were living there. On the flip side, Jeff and I were in the Bahamas one spring when there was some atypical cool weather. By “cool” I mean temperatures in the 60’s (F). We got the biggest kick out of seeing all the locals bundled up as if for winter. One vendor at the straw market was even wearing a ski mask! Virginia’s climate is pretty mild compared to the extremes of the southwest or the northeast, but no climate we lived in was more agreeable than the lovely California coast. However, when we moved back to Virginia, I was delighted to have long springimes and autumns again. I didn’t realize how much I missed having a true autumn during the years we lived in California, Hawaii and Texas.

      • The seasons do bring an expectant high. I get excited about the first weeks of golden tree’s or pretty shining snow too. Fall is so short here, if you miss taking photo’s one day, it can all be blown off the next. As for the snow, well, that’s hit and miss. I think most people enjoy more on their days off, otherwise it’s a bother, nuisance and sometimes, never ending, LOL 😀 I think the Bahamian in a ski-mask would be a fun photo op 😀 crazy hey? xo K

        • Yes, I so wish I had taken a photo of that guy, sitting in a tropical straw market with the sun shining above, wearing a ski mask. If not for the fact that everyone else was bundled up (except we tourists 😀 who thought the weather was perfect) he would have looked as if he was planning a bank robbery or something.

          Snow is definitely more fun when one doesn’t have to get out in it. One of the perks of being retired. 😀


  1. Punctual surprise | Defeat Despair

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: