Treasures everywhere

A picnic spot, a wildlife garden, and a Little Free Library, all in one place?
Not to mention the adjacent public library, full of discoveries. April 2019

“You don’t need to go to exotic places to find meaningful things. With a bit of curiosity, you can unearth treasures everywhere.”Mark Zeff

Zeff heads an architecture and design firm, so he’s referring here to collections that are featured as part of interior decoration. However, the principle applies to all sorts of treasures, and my favorite kinds are the ones you don’t have to buy or own to enjoy. Let your curiosity take you exploring right in your own home town, and you’ll see there really are treasures everywhere.

The photo above is taken at the garden of what surely must be one of the best small town libraries anywhere, but I’ve been to others just as full of unique treasures. There’s no telling how many more of them are out there, just waiting for us to discover them. Here’s another photo of a lovely memorial sculpture at that same library.

Even on an ordinary day, surprises are tucked away if we venture out a bit. Matt and I attended a benefit for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and along with more kinds of “free” food than I’ve ever seen in one place, there were other fun discoveries, such as this cautiously friendly fellow, a great horned owl:

I was amazed that, the minute I raised my cell phone to take a photo, he swiveled his head 180 degrees around. “He must be afraid of a flash,” I said to his handler. “But I’m not using a flash.” As soon as I said that, he turned his head back around and I snapped this photo. It was fun to pretend that he had understood what I said.

Finally, in the category of ordinary treasures, here’s a photo of my azaleas and dogwoods just starting to bloom. There’s nothing exotic about this everyday scene, but it’s one of the most meaningful aspects of home for me.

I never get tired of this sight, no matter how many times I see it. April 2019

Right where you are, there are treasures waiting to be discovered. Where will your curiosity take you today, and what will you find?


  1. Chris

    Hi Julia,
    Nice pictures. I couldn’t agree more. We’re almost always surrounded by meaningful things, or treasures. It simply takes awareness, and appreciation to unlock the treasure trove of blessings!
    We haven’t seen our owls in a very long time. They may have moved on. Now, we have a red tailed hawk that seems to like our neighborhood. We usually see him swooping among the pine trees in the wooded area behind the house. We even saw him fly by with “dinner” in his talons last weekend! He carried a snake and perched high in a pine. Although a couple hundred feet away, we watched as he devoured the meal! Really fascinating!
    Well, I hope your week will be be chocked full of treasures! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • WOW, if there’s anything better than a hawk, it’s a hawk eating a snake! Someone told me yesterday about how a hawk had grabbed his puppy (who fortunately wriggled out of its grip before getting fatally far off the ground) and I’ve heard a lot of urban legends about the sort of things hawks can steal. I think owls are pretty good predators, too, but hopefully they eat mostly mice and rats? In any case, these birds are fascinating to watch. And speaking of finding treasures, I’ve heard that ravens and crows and similar birds actually do collect “treasures” which they stash away. I once had a scarlet macaw steal the button off my shirt; supposedly they hoard “treasures” too. I’m sure they would agree with Zeff!

  2. MaryAnn Clontz

    God has blessed you with curiosity & an eye for His Beauty! I love how you encourage us to get outdoors & FIND the joyfully, marvelous, everyday treasures that surround us! I ride my bike in & around new construction, near us. It is fascinating to view how the weeds are so tall & look gorgeous! Purple, white, yellow & fuchsia all proclaiming God’s Creation!
    I sent a photo to your phone of my clematis bursting with blooms & buds! Such anticipation of so much more to come!
    See you soon! WOW!

    • Mary Ann, anyone who can find beauty in weeds is my kind of person! Yes, WOW we will be chatting in person very soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Alan Malizia


    • Thanks Alan, I’m glad you like it.

  4. Oh Julia – a wonderful meditation. May we keep our hearts and minds open to the infinite possibilities! Hugs

    • Thank you Clanmother, I’m happy you enjoyed it. Yes, we need to stay open to wonderful things the day might bring. Sometimes this is difficult but the rewards are worth the effort. Hugs right back to you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Sheila

    Good morning, my dear friend! How I love your yard in bloom and Iโ€™m so happy youโ€™ve taken us there once again! My pink Majestic Hawthorneโ€™s are in bloom and they play out for me every Spring like a long awaited friend. I get so excited and then they have to give way to new growth. Sunbeams dance through my little cottage this morning! Treasures abound! ๐Ÿ’› Have a wonderful Holy Week! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿปโ™ฅ๏ธ

    • Sheila, I love those Hawthornes. We had the landscaper plant one on either side of our front porch steps at York County, but one died within a couple of years and the other one still struggles. I’ve resisted planting anything else, but I may have to replace the one that didn’t make it. I wonder whether they are getting too much sunlight, or not enough? I was thinking they like shade but maybe not, as the prettiest ones I remember were from San Antonio. I love thinking of the sunbeams dancing through your cottage by the sea! Hope you are having a wonderful Holy Week too. Spring is the perfect reminder that “He is risen indeed.” โค

  6. Harry Sims


  7. Ann H Weldon

    Thanks for the lovely pictures and soothing words. Since you mentioned libraries, I share my concern about our local library and ask if this is a national trend. Our local library has won national awards and seems to have changed its emphasis away from books to events, storytelling, crafts etc… All of which are nice but shouldn’t the primary focus of a library be books (print & digital)? Maybe I’m just being an old fuddy duddy! Plus I miss chatting with the librarian or the library assistants. Sorry for the rant!!
    Here’s the link to the library

    • Ann, thanks for caring about the library! I encourage you to consider joining the Friends group (almost all libraries have one, and I see that yours does too) so that you can continue to chat with the librarians and library assistants, and give them your input. I know they would love to hear from you. If it’s any comfort, the dilemma about what to prioritize has been an ongoing issue with libraries even way back when I was in library school (1994-1996). At that time, the digital revolution was just beginning — when I first started library school, the internet was still text-based, and we had to use some combination of Unix and HTML to access it — because GUIs (graphical user interfaces) were just being introduced. The first one was Mosaic, followed quickly by Netscape, neither of which are still around, but I digress…the point being that even then, librarians were pondering, discussing and weighing in on the role of the traditional book in the face of all the other uses for libraries. Some were more pro-book than others, but none would deny that public libraries exist to serve the community and must take into account its wishes and goals for libraries, which vary from locale to locale. The library has aptly been called “the poor man’s university” and as such, auxiliary services such as meeting rooms, literacy tutoring and various classes have long played a role.

      Based on a quick look at your library, you are lucky! It does indeed appear to be an excellent, well-run asset to your community. Though the events may seem most prominent, I did note that many of the traditional book-oriented services are still in place– inter-library loan, homebound book delivery, book club sets for checkout, many digital book options, and the traditional, much-loved story time for kids (almost always book-based) to name just a few. You can bet that your librarians use the circulation statistics and event attendance records to guide their decisions on which services are most utilized by the community, and these objective data will have an influence on where the emphasis lies. So the more people (including you) check out books, the more librarians will know that books are important to the community. Having said that, I have never, ever known a librarian who did not love love love books! So almost all of us are strong advocates for books, and I seriously doubt (no matter what skeptics may say) that traditional books will disappear. Thanks again for caring about your library! Your local Friends group would love to have you join them, if you aren’t already active. And thanks, too, for being here!

      • Ann

        Thanks for taking the time to look at the link included with my rant and thanks for your thoughtful comments.

        • You’re welcome, Ann! I guess you can tell that libraries are one of my favorite subjects. Once a librarian, always a librarian…

  8. Pleasant Libraries of America, Part …?
    I lose track! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Regarding your wise owl friend, I have to wonder if animals (their “thoughts” not formed in words) might sometimes understand what we mean, although not what we say.
    Here’s a case in point: Patrick’s cat, Eeek, is not the brightest bulb, and certainly could never count to five. Yet, when I open the door for her to go out, I count to five, and she considers the temperature, the breeze, the humidity (who knows?) until “four,” at which point she rushes out the door, before I say “five” and the door (mysteriously) closes. I’m sure it’s the cadence of my voice, which probably starts sounding desperate, pleading or threatening at “four,” and is just plain done, at “five.”

    • Susan, no wonder you lose track, I do too, hee-hee. I try to restrain myself from posting about libraries too often, but sometimes it gets away with me. I agree with you that animals understand us. Even if Eeek cannot count in the traditional sense, she obviously has learned the drill and knows that “five” comes after “four” and a closed door comes after “five.” I used to say that Pasha could count at least to two, because though he was always eager to rush to the food bowl, he knew that two scoops were coming, and would wait until that second scoop hit the dish before launching, bullet-like, to the bowl and gobbling as if he had only one or two seconds to wolf it all down. Perhaps someday we will confirm it for sure, but for now, many of us strongly suspect that animals know way more than science now tells us they know. And I think the more time that any animal spends in proximity to humans, the more they learn our ways and adapt accordingly. Some may call that anthropomorphism, but I think it’s an obvious truth.

      • Julia, that’s interesting about Pasha counting to two. I have to wonder, if the scoops were smaller and she’d have been given three, or four ..?? I suspect she’d learn to count that high!
        There’s motivation in not having kibbles falling on one’s head! LOL

        • Pasha was such a sharp guy that I think he could have counted several scoops. I have some truly hilarious (amazing) stories of how he was continually surprising us with how much he understood of what we were saying, even when eavesdropping on our conversations. Of course most dog families have to spell out things like W-A-L-K and T-R-E-A-T so we find out, if we didn’t already know, how much they adapt to human ways. Incidentally, people often assumed that “Pasha” was a female name. Pasha’s vet used to call him “Mr. Pasha” so that his staff wouldn’t refer to him as a female! ๐Ÿ˜€ Drew named him after the fierce little warrior in Doctor Zhivago, but I believe that a Pasha is actually a Turkish military officer, which also would be fitting.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

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