The Age of Miracles

It’s been kind of a bumpy ride the last few weeks, eh?  I’m one of the lucky ones who can work from home and I started doing that more than a week ago.  People here in Arlington–at least in the neighborhood I live in and the ones I’ve been through recently–are taking advice to stay in, stay six feet from people if you go out for a walk, and check in on folks who might need something.


The woods are full of bluebells (Mertensia virginica for those of you who immediately think of English or Spanish bluebells).

I’m a homebody and an introvert, so this is not difficult for me, but I have been calling friends to see how they’re doing and I have been to the garden to do preparation for planting.  On Saturday, a new volunteer and I weeded the Plot Against Hunger garden (six feet apart) and today I got my own garden re-weeded and ready to plant.  I may try to plant it this week, and if I do, I’ll take some photos.  Everyone who was there was glad to see each other and talk from a distance.


I came back from the garden with a boatload of turnips. I need to find out whether AFAC is still taking fresh food.

Most photos I have were taken last weekend and the weekend before, except for the turnips.  Last weekend a friend and I went out in search of trout lilies (Erythronum americanum) and bluebells (Mertensia virginica) at Roosevelt Island in the Potomac.  It’s a nice walk from my place and we stayed out walking for three hours, it was so nice.


No Erythronum, but there were a lot of these beautiful and invasive Celandine.

I also went to Great Falls the week before.  I needed to see the river.  First I went uphill into the woods.  Hardwood forests are so diverse.  There was tulip poplar, various kinds of oak, maple, beech, holly, hickory, and more.  It was lovely in there, with birds flitting and the pileated woodpecker hammering away at something.

Eventually I turned and went back down, in search of my quarry, the river.  I scrambled up some rocks for a view of this still place.


You can see the rapids in that bright place, middle right.

Later I got closer to the falls.  I have written about the Potomac River Gorge before.  Three separate ecosystems come together in it, and the falls itself are the longest of any American River.  It is always new every time I see it.



It had flooded earlier, and I came upon this bed of flotsam on my way to see the steep part of the falls.


I stood for a long time listening to its roar and watching it.

Then I detoured  through a low area and behold!  Mertensia virginica!


Those little broad leaved green things–the woodland floor was dotted with them.

There were far more of these at Roosevelt Island a week later.  Lovely things.


By now, they’re in their full glory.

My walks will likely not be much more than around the neighborhood for the next few weeks, but I have joined up with Robin at Breezes at Dawn in a meditation and exercise challenge for the next 40 days.  Have a look at Robin’s blog, which is inherently meditative.  She also has links to places that might be helpful if you want to start a meditation practice.


Did I mention the geology of the Potomac River gorge? It includes quartzite.

So let’s all hunker down together and do our best.  I have been thinking of a Mary Chapin Carpenter song from some years back, The Age of Miracles, and I offer it here in hopes it provides some solace.  May our best efforts make a difference!


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47 Responses to The Age of Miracles

  1. paolsoren says:

    There is something wonderful about water rushing downstream. As far as gardens go, we are just going into winter as you get warmer so there isn’t a lot to do. But I will show you my garden soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lavinia Ross says:

    A good crop of turnips and spring photos are always uplifting. Loved the song, too!


    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks for coming by, Lavinia. I’m glad you liked the song and that you can likely stay pretty darn safe on your property with your correspondents and your husband. Stay safe. I’d send you turnips if I thought they would mail well. Me, I’m going to have mashed neeps sometime soon.


  3. Nice to see – great photos! I’m so pleased to see where you are getting out and about to. I’d love to see that gorge! And I’m glad to hear you are safely at home with work and everything.

    I made the decision to go into self imposed isolation today as I had seen lots of careless people rushing about and with a bad feeling that the virus was in the community transmission stage I thought I’d better get myself out of the melee just to stay safe. I beat Jacinda putting the whole country into lockdown by a mere 48 hours!! I confess to feeling completely shocked and horrified when I heard that – it’s one thing to have ‘a feeling’ and quite another to have it be verified in such a magnified manner. It’s quite rocked my little boat and I am very, very sad that this is the state of our world.

    Our government is focused on saving as many lives as possible and everything they are doing is aimed at keeping people safe, keeping people warmly housed, fed, able to pay their bills even if they cannot work and as many small business owners as possible from going to the wall. The aim is to not overwhelm the hospitals and health services – to ‘lower the curve’. It is so surreal, yet this is our new reality. And I thought it would be flooding! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      I’m glad you’re safe and that your home got fixed up before the long isolation. Having a feeling is often what makes us safer. I’m hoping that people will take this seriously and not go about doing things. We’re hoping to flatten the curve here. I’m thinking we’ll know by June. I’ve got some cousins with the stuff–test results should be in today so we’ll know for sure, but with college age kids returning home, it’s likely Covid. Stay safe. I’lll email soo about a Skype!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh great! I suddenly feel the need to be very social 🙂 Probably because now we are going into lockdown the option is taken from me………. I have to go out and post Joanna’s birthday parcel this morning and I’m just a little scared of what I will find. I’ll report on skype how that went 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • arlingwoman says:

        Oh, I do hope that we can help this mess with a lockdown. I need to get a card out as well…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. KerryCan says:

    Hi, Lisa! We’re truly all in this together, aren’t we? Your photos are beautiful–one small positive about all this is that, for us, spring is coming and we can enjoy being outside. And I have so appreciated your cards and support these last few months–Don is doing really quite well. At least that crisis seems to have worked out pretty well. Now we need to get through this one . . . stay healthy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am pleased you got out for that walk and recorded it. The rushing water video and the song were enjoyable. Keep well, Lisa. XX

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Robin says:

    That is an amazing crop of turnips. Someday I hope to find a spot around here where the bluebells are blooming. I know they exist. Just haven’t found them yet. We were at Great Falls back in January. It looked much different.
    Thank you for the mention and thank you for the song. I enjoyed it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      I’ve always found them in the flood zones of creeks and rivers. I’m not sure if they grow near salt water or brackish. They’re such a delight, though. Maybe we’ll get some companions in the way with the meditation and exercise.


  7. Lovely, lovely song. And as Wordsworth so beautifully wrote, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Stay safe, be well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A lovely post, Lisa. Thank you for sharing your time in the forest, at the falls, in your garden and, I presume, washing veggies in your kitchen sink. I’ll be you are thoroughly enjoying your remodeled kitchen given your love of cooking and canning and the like.

    Nature is restorative, and you have an amazing variety to choose from. My foot is still quite sore, but I’m walking, tentatively, and managed a half hour of weeding pulling in a misty rain. It was restorative. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Eliza Waters says:

    Introverts are faring better staying at home than extroverts, I dare say. This pandemic is requiring internal fortitude beyond what we’ve needed before. I’m looking at it as an opportunity to slow down and reevaluate what is important in life. Lots of folks are putting the time toward good use, learning things online, connecting with loved ones and self-improvement through exercise and meditation. “It’s an ill wind that blows no good.” Take care of yourself, Lisa!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Brenda says:

    I love the photos of the gorge–so dramatic and unexpected to see the rocky upheavals coming out of the wooded landscape. I envy your ability to start working on your garden. Just when I thought I’d start some prep, we had about 6 inches of snow last night. Matches my mood, I guess. Stay well and keep posting, please.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi ya Lisa, popped in to see what’s up, or in the case of these falls, down 😀 I think the sound of rushing water beneath a blue sky is exhilarating. Sounds like you’ve got things under control. Jim will be working from home starting Monday next and I’m off work till who knows when. I’m getting a lot of stuff done though, so that’s nice. Hoping the projects last until June, ha! Nothing growing here yet. We actually got fresh snow yesterday and it hovers around 32F or slightly below. It’ll be a refreshing change to look out at greenery in a couple of months. Hang in there and take good care xK

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      I have the cleanest closets and most organized files I’ve had in a while! Even did some crafting. But with working most days, I don’t have lots of extra time, just no real excuse to go anywhere. It’s been okay, though I have friends going stir crazy. Take care and enjoy that last bit of winter. We never had any!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m glad you are able to work from home and get out in the fresh air. The fresh air will help with the doldrums of isolation. I’m catching walks between rainstorms. I wouldn’t know what to do with turnips. I wasn’t a fan of the the taste so never invested in them. We have some beautiful falls here in the gorge on the Columbia River outside Portland. It’s a favorite place for my visitors to go but we have not been since the devastating fires two summers ago. They had to close it for quite some time. Keep well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Well, I roast turnips with carrots and squash. I also boil and mash them with butter–mashed neeps–as I first saw on a Scottish menu. My goodness, will we ever travel again? I guess so and I guess walking in neighborhoods is good for the time being. The Columbia River Gorge is famous! I have not seen it, but maybe someday. Stay safe, Marlene and thanks for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Sylvie Ge says:

    I am a big fan of the 2 meter apart rule too. I am an introvert too, so I do not feel too deprived, nonetheless I notice that even in my not very glamorous social life, I came in contact with quite a few people, although in a superficial way.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. shoreacres says:

    I’m just about at the end of wanting to talk about the virus, the restrictions, and so on. Things are what they are, at least for the time being, and life goes on. Of course, it’s not so hard for me, since I live alone, have worked alone on the docks for thirty years, and prefer to be alone in nature during leisure hours. I’ve got the social distancing thing down cold! As far as shortages in the grocery stores, I learned how to cope with that situation when I lived in Liberia, and shortages/limited choices were standard operating procedure.

    There are funny experiences, of course. A friend went to the grocery to pick up a few things. When she returned, she hadn’t been able to find eggs, flour, or cheese. But, she said, she did manage to pick up two jars of capers. When I asked what she was going to do with the capers, she said, “I don’t have a clue. But they were there, so I picked them up.” Ah, people!

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      I haven’t been to the grocery for a week and will hold off for another. I think the whole thing is harder on some of us than others. It’s easier to isolate living alone, though a friend of mine is doing a lot of Zoom meetings with book groups and the like. It just depends as you say, on your way of life.

      Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres says:

        What I have noticed is that despite the constraints, there somehow is more socializing going on. I now have the names, phone numbers, and many life details of many of my neighbors, along with invitations to dinner after the current crisis is over. Strange how that happens, but I think it’s a sign that good things can happen now, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • arlingwoman says:

        Yes. I’m calling more people and skyping and face timing more. It’s really better in a way to want to be in touch.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for this excellent post, Lisa. Glad to hear you’re gardening again, and I very much appreciated your taking us on the walk with you. And that you found the bluebells! I’m looking forward to seeing our blue scilla bloom – I enjoy blue shades in my garden. Be safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Looks like an excellent walk. I’m missing the ability to get out into the countryside and the freedom to pick up bread and milk when I need them, but apart from that, seclusion suits me.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. kevin cooper says:

    Nice… I especially like the video of the rapids. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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