Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Images of Elderberry

This spectacular sunset went on for almost half an hour. I took so many amazing shots at Goodnight and was thrilled to finally get this image along with several spectators.

Finn occasionally makes his guest appearance in my photos. This was an early morning walk alongside Mary Kay’s home. A fading palette of fall colors are still evident but winter is definitely creeping in.

As the weather turns cold the gardeners prepare the winter beds for dropping temperatures. We finally got two inches of much needed rain the day before and everyone, including the plants, were relieved. Drops of rain on the kale reflect the light like small prisms and there’s a magical misty quality to the morning.

Normally the hub of the community, the Central Circle was quiet and still. Early mornings seem to be reserved for birds, Finn and me.

I’ve noticed many of my photos seem devoid of people. But then I’m usually out pretty early each morning when my only dependable model is Finn. I can usually count on a crowd for potlucks, meetings, and Goodnight (a tradition started almost three years ago as the pandemic was clearly limiting how we could safely meet with each other). Usually there’s a lot of animated conversation. Here the weather was perfect to get outside and catch up with each other!

I have a very unusual plant, affectionately called “Ugly Plant” but in truth, a Night-blooming Cereus. This plant has limited qualities, shall we say, as plants go. It’s loaded with prickers, gets spindly and takes over window space. But once a year each blossom blooms for one night only. It’s worth the wait!

When I first moved to Elderberry I was amazed at the expansive sky. Elderberry is located on the top of a ridge, so we usually have a soft breeze in the summer, and spectacular skies year round. I happened to catch Richard walking up the pedway with these sun struck clouds overhead.

One evening I was walking laps around the pedway to reach 10,000 steps on my Fitbit. On my last lap, as I approached home, the lights from my kitchen looked so inviting.

Almost the a quintessential view of Elderberry! This seemed such a delightful lineup of wheelbarrows, just being lite by the morning sun, and a lovely representation of our work ethic—lots of variety and sizes! 

After many days of gloom, cold temperatures and rain (but no snow, unfortunately) we had a glorious morning! I stepped out to hike. After a long stretch of drought it was wonderful to see the stream crossing the Old Road Trail running fast and singing.

Late summer, early September, sunflowers grow in profusion at Elderberry. These appeared quite happy along the drainage ditch beside the pedway. 

On the north side of the South Quad is a glorious swale. Landscaped with perennials, well-placed rocks and steps, the large rock in the lower left is a preferred survey perch for Finn.

Early morning fog adds so much atmosphere to the landscape, a nice counterpoint to Finn moving through the vine-tangled gateway.

Marjorie and Mary bought a Blue Nissan Leaf, the first all electric, co-shared vehicle in the community. To celebrate it’s arrival, they drove along the pedway at Goodnight handing out cookies and batteries!

Wander down beyond the dog park, across Dean Duke Trail and into the meadow in front Vonda and Cecil’s old farmhouse. This is one of my favorite places for early morning explorations with Finn, and for revisiting the farming history of our beautiful land.

For the past few years I’ve used my Iphone to photograph the community. This summer I upgraded to an Iphone 14, with multiple lenses for distance and closeup. One morning I discovered a chrysalis on the tip of my garden glove (I’d left to dry on my boot rack). I took a series of images documenting the development and finally, the emerging Monarch butterfly!

I was out early photographing flowers in Mary Kay’s front bed. I happened to look down the pedway just as the morning sun was striking the trees behind Meg’s house. It was as if the trees were in flame! Within a few minutes this brief spectacle of light was gone.

Text and images by Joyce Hopkins.

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