Crossing The Threshold

“Against all odds, a seed rises from darkness and beautifies the universe.”

~ Matshona Dhliwayo


I have written many times about my life’s journey….the path I am on.  And this past year, I have come face to face with myself….my true inner being and even the shadow side of me.  With lots of time to delve deep, I have been learning so much about my path, and my purpose here on earth.  

Many of us ask the reason why we are alive, and what is our purpose.  And we each have to answer that for ourselves.  For me it was all about teaching, whether I was in the classroom or in the office as an administrator.  My purpose was to try and make a difference in children’s lives and later to help their teachers.  And once I retired, I was unsure what my next steps would be.

It was hard to disengage from this life I led for 30+ years.  But I didn’t want the continue my path in the classroom or the office anymore….that much I knew in my heart.  So I have been on a quest to see what is next for me.  Cocooned in my own little spot, I have been percolating and questioning….digging deep and learning much.  And it really is funny to see where I landed….on the same teaching path.



A New Path

Teaching is in my blood….it is what sustains me….always has.  But the form it is now taking, is through my writing.  I have been doing a lot of teaching through my writing in the past on both my blogs, and I want to continue that writing but stretch a bit further with some other projects.

So one of the next steps, logically, was to connect with other writers.  A great opportunity presented itself when the Garden Writer’s Association (GWA) Annual Conference was to be held in Buffalo in early August (only 2 and a half hours away by car).  After all I have been a member for a few years, so why not connect.  And I wanted to learn as much as I could from these amazing writers I have long admired.

Of course this was not going to be easy for me as I am an introvert (mostly). And I have never felt comfortable in crowds for long periods of time.  Couple that with the fact that I am not a trained gardener or writer, and I had serious doubts about whether I even belonged at the conference.  

But I made a promise to myself that I was going to see this through.  And those doubts were wiped clean once I was there, as everyone was so gracious and welcoming.  I could only attend for one day because of minor surgery I had prior to the conference, but even one day was well worth it for me.



Crossing The Threshold

Going to this conference was a big step.  It was like going through a gateway….no turning back.  I imagined that upon entering the hotel, I was passing through a threshold, not just a doorway.  No this was a spiritual threshold as I was entering a new world….transitioning and transforming this retired teacher into a new me….declaring myself as a writer, a blogger and a poet….a creative soul now unleashed.

So lots of changes are coming….I know once I start changing my online profiles, the world will step up to meet the new me.  While my writing here is still sporadic, it will settle into a rhythm soon.  And to those of you who continue to follow me, and read even these sporadic posts, I give my heartfelt gratitude.


This huge patch of Echinacea came from one small plant, planted 3 or 4 years ago.  It seems happy with its home, and the birds and winds have brought many other Echinacea seeds here to create this wonderful spot in my garden. They have changed the whole landscape of my garden….creating a wilder/wildlife garden….oh so lovely!


Do you find wonderful surprises buried in the garden, that suddenly show up to bring you joy and make your inner light shine? 



Some Creative Vases

I have been making numerous vases with sweet peas this summer.  Amazing how wonderful they bloomed in our cooler and wetter summer….and the scent, well it’s heavenly….even my husband commented on how much he loved the scent.  The vase above also has Queen Anne’s Lace and snapdragon.  Below is a vase of just sweet peas.  



The sweet peas in these vases are off-white with lavender streaks called, ‘April In Paris’.




This is the last of the sweet peas, coupled with a few dill flowers for that gorgeous chartreuse color.  I have loads of dill this year too.  I am joining Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful In A Vase on Monday meme.

The pictures shared here were created with my iPod Touch camera and two free apps, Pixlr and Prisma.  I love the effects of these photos… creating art every day. 

I am posting poetry, almost weekly on Sundays, on my other blog, Living From Happiness.  You can read my poem about crossing that recent threshold here.


All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2017.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

40 Replies to “Crossing The Threshold”

  1. Congratulations on taking that first affirmative step into the next chapter of your life, Donna! As a fellow introvert, I appreciate the difficulty of moving into unknown territory. I look forward to seeing more posts from you.

  2. Yes, well done on crossing that threshold, Donna. You have always written so perceptively and it was a pleasure to hear you express yourself today. I love the effects you have created with the apps and that last photo is a real work of art. I will investigate these as I am sure they should be available for Android too

    1. So kind as always Cathy with your encouragement. Thank you. And yes I believe they are available for Android. I will warn you they are so addictive.

  3. Congratulations on your retirement and your plans for continued exquisite nature writings on your blogs, Donna! I’ve always enjoyed your blogs and found them very informative as well as beautiful and delightful.

    I have been busier than ever in retirement and enjoy each day as a gift. I know you will too!

  4. Donna, good for you! I too am, what I call, a seat of the pants gardener, photographer and writer. But we must keep going, learning, teaching ourselves. I am my own teacher, learning as I go. Looks like you are doing the same. Keep up the GOOD work!

  5. It’s been a pleasure following your writings over the years and I’m glad to see you getting back on form. Congratulations on overcoming the demon of fear – I can identify with much of what you say Donna and felt proud for you walking over that threshold.
    p.s. You are experimenting more with arty edits too – I particularly like that last vase
    p.p.s. the echinacea is expanding just like your horizons – so beautiful

    1. Thanks Laura….your friendship has been so very special for me….I can always feel your support across the miles. Yes I have been using 2 phone apps that are free and easy and I love the looks they create. I even figured out a way to move pics from my computer that I take with a camera to my ipod touch. And you do understand me so well…that echinacea was a perfect metaphor! Not sure if you saw the poem I put up on my other blog yesterday… is another take on crossing the threshold called, Taking Back A Life.

    1. Thanks Soosie…..I do believe we all have a purpose… may just not realize what yours is my friend….isn’t nature/garden wonderful….such a healing place.

  6. Sounds like an exciting next chapter in your life, Donna, and kudos for boldly stepping out of your comfort zone to attend the conference. Providence will move! (Goethe)
    Love the painterly effect of your photos, esp. the last one. 🙂

  7. Congratulations Donna! You have made a commitment to the new you and your destiny. I know you feel good! It took me a long time to declare myself an artist. I procrastinated any chance I had. I look forward to more of your writing (and your garden). Keep stepping on!

    1. Oh Kathy thanks so much. You have been an inspiration and your declaration helped me to move forward with mine. I hope our paths cross soon.

  8. Dear sister–You have always had the gift of words–which I must admit I may envy but it so fits you, my sister the teacher. And you can express yourself through words/your writings–in your gardening and your photography.
    I am excited to see and hear where this new path will take you. Love you.

    1. Oh you know most of all dear sister about my gift for gab and words as you have experienced them for our whole lives….but your words here have touched me to my very core and momentarily left me speechless (as you know I am rarely speechless for long). Thank you for all your support and love these many years….and my path is made more special knowing you are part of it….much love to you!! <3

  9. Hi Donna, it’s so important to leave your own comfort zone from time to time and I’m glad you left yours. Sounds all very exciting and who knows what time will bring. Yes, my garden and nature never cease to amaze me, little and great wonders wherever I turn. Love your arty vases. Best wishes

    1. I am pleased you loved the artsy vases Annette….and I can tell from your lovely posts that your garden is a wonderful muse too!

    1. Like old friends. I can’t wait for next steps together. You made crossing that threshold so much easier. Thank you!

  10. Good for you!
    I look forward to seeing where you go with this, change can be such an invigorating process.
    Kathy P asked me once if I was considering going to the GWA Conference and I laughed it off for all the same reasons you mention. Maybe she wasn’t all that far off, so perhaps someday 🙂

  11. So glad that you found the GWA rewarding. I have never been. I I hear they will be in Chicago next year, so maybe in 2018.

  12. We have traveled a similar path in many ways, Donna. Teacher then school administrator was my whole life, too. I retired ‘to garden’ and that led me to teach garden classes for many years. Now I devote my time to writing; always teaching. Must be in our blood.
    I’m so glad you went to GWA . I couldn’t make it this year as we were in Boston for my grandson at Berklee. I am looking forward to attending the Pitsburg conference next year. Maybe I’ll see you there! P. x

    1. Wow we are on a similar path Pam. I believe it is in our blood. I did not know GWA had a conf in Pittsburg next year….they have so many different ones….I’ll have to check on it. The National Conf is in Chicago and I am hoping to attend. Somehow we will catch up with each other and meet.

  13. Donna, your words resonated with me more than you know. I still think of myself as a teacher and miss the connection with students that I once had. Still, I don’t miss the daily grind of grading papers and endless paperwork, not to mention I just don’t have the energy for that anymore:) When I first retired, blogging became an outlet for the aspiring writer in me, and gardening became a passion that filled the empty void of a career. I haven’t been blogging so much in the past year and trying to decide what is most important to me, so I’m still on that journey to find myself, I guess. I’m glad you have found your path and wish you all the best on this journey!

    1. Rose how wonderful that we have this connection….I think we teachers are always trying to find ourselves, our purpose and path once we retire….teaching is so much a part of our lives, that I bet it will crop up in your life reborn in other ways too! I wish you joy and peace on your journey Rose. And I hope you keep writing in some way….

  14. Donna, This is exciting news. Congratulations on crossing that threshold. When I had cancer, my oncologist told me that cancer could provide an opportunity to figure out what was important in my life. It seems to me that retirement provides the same opportunity and the same push — perhaps because both bring us face-to-face with our own mortality. I found that learning and teaching were important to me, and that I had to find new ways to do both in retirement. The learning and teaching opportunities I have taken advantage of and created have brought me great joy.

    1. As always Jean you bring a fresh perspective to things for me….I think you are spot on with the idea that retirement brings us face-to-face with our mortality. You have been such an inspiration for me to keep looking and learning on my path….thank you for that and both your blogs!

  15. Thoroughly enjoyed your pictures!

    Also an introvert, and it took me some courage to join the botanical hikes. It helps to have an interest in common. Pushing me to a new level of fitness, and there is no other way that I would steadily learn new plants.

    1. Thanks Diana…I have had fun creating these pictures. I agree it does help when we have interests in common to push us out.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: