Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In the Timber Grove

In winter, the bones of the landscape are more visible, prominently displayed in lieu of bright blooms and lush foliage. Textures and dark hues dazzle the forest, and what is hidden in other seasons is more conspicuous.

The harborages, dens, burrows of the inhabitants of the wood are there in the tree trunk and the forest floor. What could be finding home here in a tree?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Awards and Such...

I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Virginia at Tangent Gardening. Thank you, Virginia, I am honored to receive this award. I am grateful that there are people like you that find value in what I have to offer. My quest through The Sage Butterfly is to explore, discover, and chronicle my garden and nature. If I inspire or give joy in any way, I am honored and feel inspired to continue on my quest for creative reflection.

Over the last year or so, I had seen this award and the nominations on several blogs, but I never really knew the history or much about it. So, I decided to do research.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

W4W - Reflection in a Crystal Palace

Over the last few days, we have had several ice storms that covered trees, shrubs, lawn, and garden beds with a cloak of crystalline shimmering magic. When I walk outside, the ice-covered surroundings make me feel as if I have entered a crystal palace.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wintertide Foliage - GBFD

I did not expect to find as much foliage as I did in the midst of winter, but there were some interesting finds.

Winter's foliage in photographs...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

An Herbal Adventure - Garden Book Review

Since one of my new year's resolutions is to foster good health, I have been reading some herbal books that I have on the shelf. One book, in particular, is a book I have had for many years. It is an illustrated guide to herbs that includes herbal gardening and cooking but also includes medicinal uses for herbs as well as some beauty treatments, such as facial masks. I refer to it often for one or more of these purposes.

Title:  The Herb Book

Authors: Arabella Boxer & Philippa Back

Published in 1985 by Peerage Books (This book was first published in Great Britain in 1980 by Octopus Books Limited.)

A Year of Enchanted Discovery - A Birthday!

The Sage Butterfly is one year old today. I have learned much in this year through trial and error, through experimentation, and through other bloggers. It has been an interesting and fulfilling experience to express my affection for nature by writing about my garden, animals I encounter, and other discoveries or reflections.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Winter, in its dormancy, has a stillness that permeates through the echoes between the branches. Many trees do not have the vibrancy of their leaves, and much of the perennial landscape has abandoned life above the soil and gone into a still and gentle hibernation. Some species of animals take this time to hibernate in warmer dens--their voices silent--not to be seen or heard until spring. Nature's vivid colors are absent, and the gray and brown hues have a restful quality about them.

In winter, I am able to find stillness more than in any other time of the year. In the spring, I am active with preparing the garden for the growing season. Summer is filled with maintaining the growing plants. And autumn is a time when things slow down, but there is lots to do to clean up and prepare for winter.  At this time of year, the garden is resting, sleeping, still, and I find myself moving a bit more slowly and having more breathing space in between tasks.

If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation. - Chuang Tzu

In Traditional Chinese medicine, the Chinese believe that for optimal health we humans should live in harmony with nature. The seasons guide us by dictating where we should focus our energies. Winter is a time of rest and replenishment, a time to conserve our energy so we may have more vitality once the activities of spring begin. It is a time of reflection and introspection.

As stillness is one of the words I have chosen to guide me through this new year of 2012, I am content to find stillness in this cold and windy winter and carry it through to spring, summer, and fall. To find those moments during the mass of deadlines, the prattle of mind chatter, and the bustle of chores as the year steps into spring is a welcome challenge. I hope to stop my clock periodically and sit abidingly in the stillness to remind me of its cherished value.

Many years ago, winter was my least favorite season. The gray cloudy and cold days could bring me to the brink of depression. Colors were dull, and the forest seemed lifeless. The days seemed to linger and never move to the next. The holidays were over, and it seemed there was nothing for me to look forward to until spring when the gold of daffodils and the lively colors of tulips adorned the landscape. Over time, I found the wisdom and value in bringing my attention to rest and replenishment. Now, I welcome it. Winter seems to be a season when there is more of an expanse of time. I have eventually found the magic in settling in stillness.

Nature consistently and calmly demonstrates its wisdom by simply following its age-old rhythm. No matter what happens, winter comes, rest comes--and the stillness predominates.

When winds are raging o'er the upper ocean
And billows wild contend with angry roar,
'Tis said, far down beneath the wild commotion
That peaceful stillness reigneth evermore.
-- Harriet Beecher Stowe

I am linking up with Holly at Your Gardening Friend for Friday's Photo Blog Hop.

© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Snow Splash!

Visit Wordless Wednesday for more photos.

© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year Promise

Happy New Year! The Sage Butterfly has a new look. When I returned from my blog-cation, I noticed that my blog had suffered from some sort of technical misalignment. The blog appeared fine if viewed on Google Chrome, but the misalignment appeared if viewed in IE or Firefox. I looked at the HTML code but could not identify any problem. Reading some of the Blogger forums, I found that others were having a similar problem.

Months ago, I had planned to unveil a new look to The Sage Butterfly, perhaps at the one year blog birthday this year, but having no other options to correct the problem I decided to go ahead and change to the new look. I may be tweaking it here and there for a while until I settle into a new look for 2012. Enjoy!

A new year always holds such promise. We are allowed to start over in every or any area of our lives. I like new starts. I think I like them because they offer a wiped canvas to start fresh, to begin new projects, to improve on others, and to see the near future as an attainable horizon.

I am a list maker, and this is the time when I make lots of lists. Pondering the home improvement projects, the garden projects, and the personal projects is something I feel compelled to do at this time of year. The lists help me keep everything in one place instead of scattered around in my brain.

A personal goal for me in the new year is to commit to maintaining good health. This holiday season, I suffered from a severe case of bronchitis. Rest was something I had not been doing much of in 2011, and this forced me to take things a bit slowly. It was one of those cases where the illness just never seemed to go away. It dragged on for quite a while.

I am recovered and hopeful for the promise of the new year. The bloom and sparkle of a new year brings bright prospect and optimism. Words that come to mind for me as I plan for 2012 are:


What words come to mind for you in 2012?
© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter
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