“Be less curious about people…

077and more curious about ideas.” — Marie Curie

“An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment.” — David Attenborough

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Artists participating in a Tiffany Farm Paint-out painted the scenic barns, silos, cows and fields of this picturesque farm in Lyme, Connecticut.  Organized by the Lyme Art Association and Lyme Public Hall to raise awareness of the plight of dairy farmers, the 2007 event helped offset the short-term debt of this 1841 family farm, one of the last working dairy farms in Connecticut. Photo by Mary O’Connor © 2007.

Catnap

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It was a day when the sea

lay still, merging its salty

wetness with the waiting

edge of the sky and the clouds

were filled with fish,

so thick that I saw them—

in full color, I might note—

darting and turning through

bursts of beta waves before

losing their way in the deep.

There were bluefish. I forget

how many now, but I counted

them then, razor teeth scoring

orbiting rings of glass minnows

and shiners, astral bodies

thin as light, flashy as a diamond

jig. Next the needlefish, sturgeon,

marlin and sharks, nosing along

through the depths. There were more:

blowfish with swelled bellies

and squared shape, dogfish,

schooling alewife, skates and rays,

bass, even a pair of seahorse.

Last was the prettiest angelfish,

painted in blue and gold,

nudging me along, back

to everyday ground.

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Poem and photo by Mary O’Connor © 2014

 

 

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows follow behind you.” — Maori Proverb

sunflowers 005 (2)“I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life than the sunflower. sunflowers 009 For me, that’s because of the reason behind its name.  Not because it looks like the sun, but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.” — Helen Mirren

 

Sunflowers stand tall on some 14 acres of blooming fields at Buttonwood Farm, Griswold, Conn. Photographed, painted and simply admired for their beauty, the roughly 300,000 flowers generate more than viewing delight. Proceeds raised annually through sale of bouquets and Make-a-Wish Foundation donations make it possible for children with life-threatening medical conditions to have wishes for joy come true. 

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Photos by Mary O’Connor © 2014. Read more about the role of sunflowers as a source of joy to a former prison inmate in Life Is Full of Sweet Spots.

 

“Make yourselves nests of pleasant thoughts.

IMG_0376“None of us knows what fairy palaces we may build of beautiful thought—proof against all adversity.” — John Ruskin

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Weaver Bird nest, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania; photo by Mary O’Connor © 2010

The Nature of Peace

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Sometimes this feeling sets in—

as if that whole field of flowers

is gold

and wine

and perfect.

Some feel that way

when spring unfolds

its leaves

and petals

and sunshine flows

and we listen to the cadence

of downy reds, drumming

their way ’round an old tree trunk.

Others think—as the peepers gather

and the chorus swells—

that these are ordinary sounds.

I believe that what we hear

is simply the beat

of life’s mystical heart.

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“The Nature of Peace,” by Mary O’Connor, Dreams of a Wingless Child, Wheatmark, Tuscon, AZ © 2007

 

“Gardeners may create order briefly out of chaos,

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“but nature always gets the last word, and what it says is usually untidy by human standards. But I find all states of nature beautiful, and because I want to delight in my garden, not rule it, I just accept my yen to tame the chaos on one day and let the Japanese beetles run riot on the next.” — Diane Ackerman

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Field of poppies photo credit: Jan Logozzo © 2014

“The world is a fairy tale;

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we are its guardians.” — Dejan Stojanovic

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Lynde Point lighthouse, Old Saybrook, CT; photo by Mary O’Connor © 2014