The Sunflower Queen of the Garden is past her prime.

Withered, old-gold petals,
sun-crisped leaves, and a
heavy-hanging head.
But when the sun shines through, 
the ordinary is transformed, and what was ugly 
becomes lovely instead.

The Son has the same effect.
Read more here.


The Fervent Beachcomber

 Steve took me to Savannah for a few days
a sweet birthday gift, maybe the very nicest part of turning fifty.
We left our spectacular room at the East Bay Inn and made the twenty-minute 
drive to Tybee Island.
 The early morning view was jaw-dropping. We roamed the beach and found a small, live sand dollar. 
Completely engaged in watching its tiny bristles move in the stiff beach breeze, 
 we didn't notice her approach. 
A hat-wearing beachcomber leaned in like an old friend, wanting a better view of the sand dollar. 
In shaky, ominous tones, the older woman narrated the plight of the sea creatures around
 Tybee due to recent offshore dredging. Obviously concerned for the life 
of the sand dollar still bristling
 in my husband's hand, she testified that the best policy is to 
"throw it back into the waves, and give it a fighting chance."
 As she edged nearer, I got the idea that she planned to snatch the sand dollar  
from my husband's hand and run into the waves, alone on a daring 
rescue mission to return it safely to Neptune's bosom. 
So my husband threw it into the waves himself, saving her the trouble, 
and she walked on with a smile and a casual (but triumphant) wave. 


Fall Flowers & Family

The garden is starting to slide downhill in my Kentucky acre,
but it still has lots to offer.
The Coral Drift rose bush is turning cartwheels in a garden plot where everything
else is finished for the season. 

My garden true love, Heavenly Blue morning glory, finally reached the top of 
the tepee and is blooming like crazy. It's one tall, majestic cascade of sky blue.
But they're best appreciated up close. These lucky black bugs think so too.
More on morning glories from a few years ago here.

And as always, the zinnia is the hardy hero that saves the fall garden.
Zinnias bloom and bloom and bloom without any attention. 
Extra watering, deadheading, staking—it's just not going to happen in October. 

This photo was taken a month ago today. It was a Friday night, just before a backyard 
party. My husband arrived home from the vet with bad news—
our family dog only of fourteen years had very little time left 
and there was nothing to be done to help. 
"I want to get a photo of all of us with her."
My Middle Son put a hand on my shoulder and said, "Then we should do it now."
So we did. 
I stopped filling coolers and Steve put away the grilling tools. 
All the guys delayed their work/school/social schedules long enough to get this photo.

It's a keeper.