Garden In Progress

Garden Through the Years

Autumn Beauty

Black and White Images

Black Bear Visit

Edisto Island, SC


Folly Beach, SC

Fripp Island, SC

Homer's Gallery

Hunting Island State Park


Pollywog Pond



Sunlit Interiors

Textured Images

Water Magic


Red Bubble

About Our Animals

Homer's Pond

In Honor of My Mother

In Memory of My Father


Nature Journal
My Writing



Homer's Vietnam Experiences

Homer's Room

Tib's Room


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In late summer of 2003, I was driving to Lowes down a back road where the railroad tracks and interstate highway bordered industrial lots.  I caught a glimpse of pink flowers on my right and, determined to see what it was, stopped there on the way back from my errand.   As I stepped from my car, I couldn't believe what I saw before me -   a field of wild roses, goldenrod, purple thistle, crimson clover, lupine - blazing color everywhere.  As if arranged for a display, large mimosa trees hung over the field. I walked deeper into the field and saw that the roses seemed to cover the trunks of trees as they climbed and climbed looking for the sunlight.  To my right and left were sterile fields, cleared for industry and filled with litter.  The shadow of an interstate highway overpass hung over the road and a railroad track ran across the busy street behind me.  Cars whizzed by, nobody stopping to look or even pausing in their rush to get their errands done this Saturday.   And here was such wild beauty, right in front of their eyes.  No one else seemed interested.

"My camera, I've got to go get my camera!" I thought as  I raced home, telling Homer about the field as I ran into the house, grabbed two cameras and dashed  back to the car.  Being the really cool husband that he is, he jumped in the car with me and we took off.  We spent over two hours walking and exploring this beautiful field.  We ate blackberries, took rolls of film and thoroughly enjoyed this unexpected beauty.

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I began to fantasize about how the roses came to be there.  I saw in my mind, an elderly woman who lived in a small, neat white frame house.  Her dark skin was still smooth giving the impression she was younger than her 81 years.  She still stood tall even though arthritis had twisted her long fingers, a constant frustration for her as she dug in her garden and scooped up a handful of the rich sweet smelling earth.  There was no interstate highway, no industry close by to pollute the air, but she heard the train go by each evening as she cut back her tea roses.  She grew mint by the back steps and enjoyed plucking a few leaves to put in her iced tea.  She also grew tomatoes, corn, okra and all the good Southern, summer vegetables she enjoyed so much and put up in jars for the winter months.  The delicate pink tea roses had been a gift from her grandmother, lovingly passed to her with instructions on where and how to plant them.  As the years passed, the roses climbed the side of the house, giving off a sweet scent after a late afternoon rain and in the early morning mist.  She tried to show her daughter and granddaughter how to grow the roses and plant a vegetable garden, but they didn't seem interested.  Each had their own lives and even though they loved the old woman, they didn't take the time to listen.  Early one morning as she lay in the bed where she had birthed her daughter, the lady passed on, leaving this life gently and with few regrets.  The house was neglected and finally torn down, but the roses still bloomed each summer.  The daughter died and the granddaughter and her family moved away up North.  Soon, nothing was left but a small field that the train passed every evening.   An interstate was built, industry moved in, and the air was filled with the smell of fuel and dust.  But each summer the roses came back.  They were soon joined by their wild cousins, goldenrod and purple thistle.    The birds and squirrels still came as they always had and perched on the branches above the field of roses that continue to grow as if the woman still lived to care for them.  Wild creatures visited....

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"Tib!"  Suddenly, I was back in the real world as Homer yelled my name.  "Tib, I've called you three times - where WERE you?"  I just smiled and knew that, as usual, my imagination had carried me away.  Or maybe it was more than fantasy.  Did the spirit of the old woman speak to me or did her long life leave echoes on the land that could be felt by those with open hearts?  But, whether true or not, it didn't really  matter.  The beauty of the flowers stirred my soul and no matter how they got there - they are here now.  Every time I pass the field now, even in the dead of winter, I see the triumphant roses, still blooming, still growing and still providing a window to beauty and to the past.

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