Thankful Thursday - Natural Beauties, Take Two

" Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive, and even spiritual satisfaction."  ~E. O. Wilson

Penny's blog post last week got me to thinking about my own appreciation for the beauty of nature.  At this time of year, here in North Carolina, everything is in full, glorious bloom.  The intense heat of July and August haven't yet caused flowers to wilt, and the great amount of rain in recent weeks has accelerated the process of growth and bloom.  We're thankful the dreariness of the rainy days has given way to the brilliance of sunny days filled with the visual splendor and fantastic aromas of the newly blooming flowers and trees.  On our deck, we have many of my favorites:  gardenias, mandevillas, impatiens, and hibiscus, as you can see here.

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I am particularly proud of my potted gardenia tree.  Unwilling to abandon it to the frost at the end of its growing season last year, I brought it indoors.  Although I had never attempted to do so before, I hoped to be able to care for it until it was time to put it outside again.  I confess that my resolve almost faltered as I watched it steadily lose about half of its leaves (!), and begin to look very sad.  We put it out on the deck in early April, and watched hopefully as it slowly perked up (fertilizer helped), produced more leaves, and many, many buds.  And yes, I did a little happy dance on the day the first bud opened to reveal its lovely white petals and its divine scent (that's the first blossom in the upper left photo)! I appreciate both the resurgence of the tree, and the reminder that perseverance, care, and a generous dose of hope can work wonders.

Nature reminds us to pause, take it all in, and appreciate the beauty which surrounds us, and I'm thankful for that which greets me just outside my door.

I hope you'll take a moment appreciate your natural surroundings--you may be surprised at what catches your eye!

Until next time,