“There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

This is one of those sweet June mornings when the world seems fresh and new, too soft for words, but I’ll try. I’m looking out the two windows in my bedroom as I write into the most beautiful gold light, the sort of light photographers love. Roses glow like jewels, their red, yellow, pink blossoms heavy with rain from the night. White daises sparkle, lacy pinks, red clover, lavender candy tuft, angel wing poppies, nodding columbine bells, spires of blue salvia, crimson lupines…and all the plants with a rich promise of more to come.

Hues of green spread through my yard and garden, out over the meadow, and up into the hills beyond the fields. The sky is washed in pale blue at the edges, deeper blue as it arches upward. And the air is alive with birdsong. Cows impatiently bawl for more hay, greedily snatching at the bales tossed down to them from the mow. Plump gray and white barnyard geese fuss, as is their way––I never quite catch the argument––while the goslings make this funny whistling sound.

“Waddle-butts,” I call the infants, “busy little waddle-butts,” plopping down to rest when they tire and then darting off again to catch up with the group.
If a gosling falls too far behind, its shrill peeping can be heard over hill and vale, by all, including the baddies out there that eat silly babies. Given the absentmindedness of mama and papa geese and auntie and uncles, it’s amazing that as many goslings survive as they do. Somehow, they manage, usually.

Wood duck mamas loudly cry ‘whoo-eek’ from the pond to round up the ducklings darting over its calm surface like little bumble bees. Mallard babies quietly follow their mothers in a dutiful row or all huddled together. Not so the wood ducklings. They are far more independent. But fast. Bad old snapping turtles are hard pressed to catch them. Snappers are the pond’s version of sharks, but I shouldn’t end on that visual image.

Way up beyond the hills and the distant fields I see the Allegheny Mountains rising above all. Why weren’t they called the Blue Ridge? They are equally blue, and can be every bit as hazy as the Smokies. What’s in a name? Much? Little? Some are steeped in meaning, others not. I don’t even know what Allegheny means, only that the mountains are glorious. They seem to roll on and on forever like the swells of a sea. I tell my daughter, Elise, that as long as the mountains stand and there are green meadows, we are well.


This piece is an excerpt from my non-fiction collection entitled Shenandoah Watercolors that my mom and I are combining with her lovely pics. This photograph of larkspur and the rose was taken last week by my daughter Elise. Mom and I are thinking of self-publishing Shenandoah Watercolors digitally so as to include all of her pics. We doubt any traditional publisher would allow them all.

For more on my novels, please visit:
The beauty of the valley and surrounding mountains are my inspiration.


  1. Edie Ramer // June 20, 2009 at 3:41 PM  

    Gorgeous photo! What a wonderful three-generational project to do! I imagine you'll make a few hard-cover copies, too, for the family.

  2. Beth Trissel // June 20, 2009 at 4:02 PM  

    Thanks Edie. Yes, I will for the family. :) It's so expensive to print color out.

  3. Mary Marvella // June 20, 2009 at 5:55 PM  

    Beth, your description makes me want to be there! Absolutely lovely!

  4. Scarlet Pumpernickel // June 20, 2009 at 7:07 PM  

    What an absolutely lovely description of early morning. Beth you have such a wonderful way with words. I'm sure there will be many who love your mom's pictures along with your beautiful words.


  5. Barbara Monajem // June 20, 2009 at 8:30 PM  

    Just beautiful, Beth.

  6. Beth Trissel // June 20, 2009 at 9:52 PM  

    Thanks guys. Mom is enjoying selecting her pics and finding just the right place for them.

  7. Mona Risk // June 20, 2009 at 11:50 PM  

    As Mary said I can't wait to discover your beautiful valley.

  8. Dayana // June 21, 2009 at 4:39 PM  

    Oh Beth! Thank you for such a glorious walk through your world. What a fabulous work of imagery. The photography and the words just AWED me and made me sigh with pleasure.

    Thank you,


  9. Judy // June 21, 2009 at 5:52 PM  

    Absolutely lovely...such a sense of place... I enjoyed it so much