I could have gone to any number of places to take photographs. I could have revisited places I love like the Old Mill, the Arkansas River, or one of our city parks but, I didn't. You see my favorite place to be is here; right here at home. I've walked this ground many times. I've raised my children here. I've played with my grandchildren here. I've spent many hours here working with Mr. H in our yard. We've seen a lot of changes through the 37 years we've lived here. Take for instance, the old railroad bed that is at the south end of our property. When we first moved here it was used by the Rock Island Railroad. Our daughter loved watching the train. When she heard the whistle, she'd run to the fence and wait to wave at the engineer and the caboose as the train crossed the trestle. By the time our son was born, the track was no longer being used. We've seen the trestle in all kinds of weather. We've seen it become overgrown after it was abandoned and the tracks were removed. Living here, I know I get better pictures of the trestle if I get out in the morning and point my camera to the southwest.
Today after the horrible tornadoes in Oklahoma, I am especially grateful for this little piece of the world that we call home. As I'm writing this I'm sitting in my swing that hangs from a large oak tree. Time and nature has it's effects on everything. This happens to be my third swing and it looks like it's about time to stain it again.
I'm listening to my neighbor mow his grass, the birds sing, a distant chain saw, and the leaves rustling in the wind of the trees I've seen grow from small to huge.
I look around thinking of how I can capture it to tell the story of how it looks today. It honestly looks different than yesterday, The rain has washed things clean, the grass and trees are a gorgeous, lush green. The sky is overcast, but occasionally the sun peeks through. We're getting ready for some more storms to pass through. Some may be severe. I'm praying for all those in it's path.
I get up and walk around with my camera and I'm drawn to the backyard by the smell of honeysuckle. It winds itself all over our neighbors fence. Mr. H doesn't like our side of the fence to be overgrown. We try to keep it trimmed, but during the spring I stall a little until the honeysuckle has quite blooming, then the fence gets a much needed trim. This overgrown fence row is a great indication of the seasons.
Honeysuckle brings back memories; memories of my daughter and son picking off a bloom, pinching the small green end (calyx) off, pulling the white string (style), and licking the sweet drop of nectar. It's like liquid candy from nature. Now, my grandsons like to do the same thing.
I waited for a break in the clouds so the raindrops would glisten.
I am innately curious. As I looked at the pictures I'd taken of the honeysuckle, I thought about how little I really know about it. I know it's sweet nectar tastes good, it's invasive and hard to get rid of, but that's about all. So I did a little digging.
- There are about 180 species of honeysuckle.
- Honeysuckle made its way to the United States from Asia.
- Three parts of the honeysuckle, the flower, the buds and the stem, are used in herbal medicine to treat numerous ailments. For example, the flower is said to clear coughs and aid in asthma. Honeysuckle is also known to be a natural antibiotic and can help treat staph infections or strep throat. This kind of made me smile. I can picture myself when my throat is sore, standing in front of the honeysuckle vines licking that one little drop that each bloom, has trying to sooth my throat. How many flowers would I have to pick before relief came if each bloom only has a tiny drop of nectar? Additionally, the healing qualities of the parts of a honeysuckle can reduce rashes caused by other plants, such as poison oak. I may give this a try next the time I get too close to poison oak.
- Honeysuckle can be a significant source of food for deer, rabbits, hummingbirds and other wildlife. No wonder the hummingbirds have avoided my feeder the last week. There's sweeter nectar to be found!
It's the simple things here in my place that I see each day that brings me joy.
Home, the spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest.
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest.