At the Scent of Wonder

Digital Camera

It was ten o’clock on a recent September morning, sunny and warming, the air scented with the last of white puffed hydrangeas and red roses spilling down the hillside to my right.  The aroma of fresh-turned earth rose from the tire-pocked path I walked, a  mysterious twittering and scuffling sounded from bushes.

From the top of the hill, great ship-like mansions drowsily woke to the breeze playing in the trees that surrounded them, framed like an aureole tinged with the first leaves of fall; they winked from windows at their lookout over the blue goblet lake to my left, lilted my spirit with their majesty, like unexpected Trumpet Voluntary.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Save for my shoes crunching on gravel, it seemed totally quiet.  But pausing there, summery sounds singled themselves out.  The hum of cicadas grew louder, louder, receding, then returning full force — like wires zinging undecipherable messages in code.  Laughter of a breakfast boating party, a little way down and rounding a curve, sang out from a waterside cabana just out of sight.  Bee murmur hovered over the bright splash of mustard and lavender wildflowers punctuating here, there, at the foot of the hills.

And over all, a breath of fall fell.

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Digital CameraAn orange leaf sailed  lazily down just then,   coming over the sloping lawns to land at my feet with a “Ha.”  I smiled.

Geese in formation, honked and flew squadron out over the trees.   And the loveliest sound of all… church bells floating and skimming across the inlet as if on watery shimmers.  I looked for and found it…the towering Colonial spire crowned with its historic Mayflower ship weathervane, just there… rising from treetops across the blue expanse to touch the white brushstrokes of scudding clouds.

I sighed, contentedly.   “Why do I not come here more often?”  I wondered.  This hidden, mostly unpaved public road that runs alongside the small neighborhood lake, sandwiched between private mansions and their beach fronts, was like a mini getaway just minutes from home.   Peace fluttered and lived here, like the splayed lashes on a sleeping child’s rosy cheek.  In the same way, it invited and welcomed you in, with a sort of hush, like a proud parent, finger to mouth, leading you in for a treasured peek, cradle-side.

Digital CameraThough the sunlight dazzled ahead on the winding path now, dappled in and out leafy glens, ran fingers of rivulets out on the water steps away to my left, it only caressed the high top homes I’d come to photograph for drawings.  Amateur photographer, I’d happened on the perfect time of day to capture them!   And now that I was here, I couldn’t stop clicking away.

Now and then, a jogger jaunted by, called hello, paused as if to share a drink with me.  One ran up to confide her own pleasure in following this one grand place I was snapping.  “I’ve been watching it through all its many seasons,” she burst forth, telling me how fragrant the roses there in springtime bloom, the joy of summer at its height, divulging its secrets.  “I can’t get enough of it, either,” I answered.  White, with balustrade and pillars across wide southern verandah, gigantic red, white and blue draped over its midsection, cupola on rooftop, porthole window accents, the shape and size of this striking beauty reminds me of a massive ocean liner somehow moored like a watchman atop the cliff.

Digital CameraYet, juxtaposed with these grand manors, their beach side cabanas below brought their own allure to me as I came upon a bit of Cape Cod cottage, lakeside, just big enough for one, two — loving the old-fashioned sailor’s lantern light hung at the door, the patterned gray shingle of its low lying roof, the vines growing up and around the door, the large pots of geraniums by the little brick path running up to it, the white picketed deck set in lapping water.

Digital Camera

Finally, sated with photos of such, I turned my thoughts to finding again the surprise glory a friend and I discovered the week before, walking here, camera-less.  That day, the lake was a mirror of white sail reflections out on holiday. 

But this morn lay serene upon the water, like a whisper.    Would they still be there, off by themselves in a secluded little pool, hidden by a circle bank of reeds?  I hoped so.

Two men stood chinning together by the path as I neared the spot where I thought they were.   Another trundled by in a golf cart.  I stepped aside momentarily for a lone meandering car, then hushed my steps as best I could, fearing I’d scare them out of their seclusion… like padding solitary on the carpet in a quiet, empty church, not wanting to breathe so heavily as to somehow extinguish the candle glow.

Then, as if pulling back a leafy drape from a private window, I found them.  Five or so, gray and white feathers, huddled together en masse — every now and then one stretching to its full startling height, then sinking back upon the others to groom and preen themselves.   I snapped pictures, knowing they were too far away and too much together to be distinguishable in a shot, probably blurry in telephoto anyway, willing even one of them to spread sail for me.

Oh!” I must have sighed after a bit, aloud and involuntary, for as I did, they jumped, peered about their quiet green haven suspiciously, even as I wondered again why they preferred this murky, reedy hollow to the clear blue just beyond…

And then… like words put to Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals…my heart leapt.

For quite of a sudden, she separated from the others (I think it was a she!), and like a prayed for gift, glided out on the water.

Lighting a Presence, a cathedral, an orchestration of praise upon the scene.   A feel of walking in the Garden in the cool of the day.  An air of wonder that made me stop and breathe, “Thank You.”



Beautiful swan.

Digital Camera

Doesn’t this shot, though a bit blurry, remind you of England paintings of lily pad waters?  🙂

©   Pam Depoyan


photos: mine

This is the gorgeous piece of music from Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals, with lovely words set to itIt was playing in my mind as I was watching this swan, inspiring me in this post…  🙂  Love the beautiful, moving scenery someone added to this you tube version too!



About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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26 Responses to At the Scent of Wonder

  1. Hi Pam,
    This is lovely! What a gorgeous home and lake and setting for your walk and what a joy to discover the swan! Great photos!

  2. elizabethfstewart says:

    So very lovely, your words, your photos.

  3. lynndmorrissey says:

    Pam, such an exquisite post in word and image . . . and then that surprise, that swan. It’s funny (rather, serendipitous) that that elegant bird should end this gloriously shimmering post (one of your very best!), because I had literally just sent what I call my “swan poem” to a friend. She is the mutual friend of the friend for whom I wrote this poem. It’s interesting too that both our minds swirled towards classical music–you to Saint-Saens’ Carnival of Animals, and I, to his Le Cygne (The Swan).
    Thank you for your continued beautiful work–a light on the web in the midst of such darkness.

  4. lynndmorrissey says:

    oops, sorry. Le Cygne is part of that cycle. But uncanny how we thought of the same thing.

    • Two like minds… you know! 🙂 Yes, The Swan was the part I was thinking of most, but when I looked it up it mentioned it was part of the whole Carnival… I LOVE that music. I have an AW CD where he recorded classical pieces that had words set to them. In this one, it describes someone coming upon a swan and you don’t know until the very end that the beauty they are seeing is the SWAN in all it’s glory. So glad you enjoyed this, Lynni! Sometimes when I try to write this descriptive way, I wonder if it comes across as too “sticky.” But its in the style so many of the British writers have such beautiful knack for — makes me want to try my hand at it! How lovely you sent that swan poem to your friend! Thank you for your beautiful words as always!

  5. Being Woven says:

    A tour of beauty. The majesty of God’s creations abound if only we take the time to look and keep our eyes open to see. The majesty of God is right there for the eyes of our hearts to see also when we wait upon Him. I have been blessed and will picture the swan for this day! : )

    • I am continually trying to make myself aware of the “wonder moments” all round us, to keep those uppermost in my thoughts – especially in a world with so much else going on to get us down. Thanks, Linda! So happy this speaks beauty and majesty to you, and yes, keep that lovely swan image for your day! 🙂

  6. Eileen says:

    Absolutely beautiful, and breathtaking, are your photos, Pam! A quiet, serene path, with a welcome escape from the noise and bustle of the world. We all need to take that path, in nature, and feel God speaking to us, and moving with us, and in us, as we do. Thank you for providing that experience for, us, today. Love, Eileen

    • Thanks, Eileen… I don’t know much about cameras, just point and shoot. Often, I can’t even really see the image in the camera due to the sun (what I hate about newer cameras), and just hope it is getting what I’m looking at. So it is fun when they turn out! I think the swan image is a bit blurry because of telephoto, but I love the softness and all the green in it. Actually makes that murky water look lovely! So glad this post uplifts and beautifies your day!

  7. Jann Olson says:

    What a beautiful journey! The manors are gorgeous and that elegant swan in the end is the icing on the cake! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  8. The photos are fantastic!
    What a beautiful discovery!
    Your #FreshMarketFriday neighbor,

  9. Lori @ Frog's Lilypad says:

    Oh my goodness, Pam, I could see all the lovely sights while I was reading. There is something about swans swimming on a lily pad filled pond. Thank you for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

    • Thanks, Lori. I love knowing that it made you feel that way! A friend just told me about seeing a beautiful swan in Austria once, floating on a lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Gorgeous. Suddenly it ran at them as if to attack! Guess they can be a bit aggressive! Makes me laugh at that story as it did them as they ran away…but, mm… it does tarnish the image of their peaceful beauty slightly! 🙂 Still, I do love seeing them on the lake…

  10. One New Year’s Day six years ago, we had a white swan show up unexpectedly on the lake in our backyard. It was a miracle that I still remember to this day. Glad you experienced the same!

  11. Kelly (Mimi) says:

    Thank you Pam for the chance to feel the joy. Your writing brought me back to the only time I felt true happiness. Life can be hard but reading your words give me hope that someday I will find that peace and joy I felt so long ago. Thank you. I look forward to reading all your posts. Blessings…Kelly Harrington

    • Kelly, I’m so glad this made you joyful today. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by a lot of things in my own life… but it is moments like these, looking for them in the simple everyday things so easily missed, that He breathes peace and assurance that His promises never fail. That makes me enjoy writing them too. 🙂 May joy sing new strength into you today. Zephaniah 3:17 is one of my favorite promises… He is singing rejoicing songs over you…

  12. I feel as if I have been on a truth-filled journey with you! Thanks for this Sunday afternoon gift.

  13. I’ve enjoyed some great walks this summer as well. I love nature, birds and trees. It makes me come alive.

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