Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Last Day of April

A wisteria wonderland. (Click pictures for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Tomorrow April will hide her tears and blushes beneath the flowers of lovely May." ~ Helen Keller
The wisteria comes and goes in April; this year I explored the drainage ditch for rain overflow that runs behind the house. There I found a weathered fence draped with the grape-like clusters of lavender and light blue flowers. Now, barely one week later, they are gone. Do I dare go back and gather seed pods from those branches that flow into public domain? I think so. Wisteria grows wild here in Virginia but not as widespread as that seen in Mississippi. (Click "read more" for more pictures and story)

Wisteria always brings a certain piece of art to mind. Birney Imes is the editor of the local newspaper in Columbus, Mississippi. His family has owned the paper for as long as anyone can remember. He is also a fairly well known photographer and has had gallery showings of his work. My favorite of all his photographs is a large framed print about 24 x 36. The subject is simple and Southern. The porch of an old white wood framed house is the backdrop. In the foreground, just the top of a white picket fence and gate shows and towards one side near the top, the white crossbeams of an arbor, not the rounded arch but the more sturdy squared off shape with wooden beams. A small rooster with his red comb and brown feathers is scratching in the dirt at the porch steps. The white paint on the house and fence has seen better days and is starting to peel; the fence has green tinges of algae so prevalent in the warm humid Mississippi climate. Sitting in the hanging front porch swing is an elderly black grandmother, the lady of the house, dressed in her simple white cotton dress with tiny flowers barely visible in the fabric; an apron tied around her waist. Her gray hair is tucked in a bun with stray wispy strands falling down along her cheek, a folding paper fan in her hand and a sly little smile on her face.

What transforms his photograph from a lovely portrait to a magnificent piece of art is the magic of the wisteria. The winding brown vines are wrapped around the white wood of the arbor and clusters of purple blooms hang from the crossbeams above and cascade down the side of the arbor and onto the fence. Wisteria frames the porch and the rooster and the walkway and the wizened face of the old black woman; it transports them from an ordinary day, in an ordinary house, on an ordinary street, in an ordinary Southern town, to a warm day dream of color and perfume in a land far away. Absolutely intoxicating.

So on this last day of April, when the tulips, daffodils, crocus, forsythia, dogwood and wisteria have all spent their blooms, I leave you with this.
"The last day of April made her bed,
As whole forests of cloud, capsizing, swayed in the West.
With a moonbeam knife the night sliced
The loaf of the sky, porous with stars.
~ Juozas Tysliava (1902 - 1961)
(end of post)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Fly

A fly being useful? (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
The Fly
God in his wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.
~ Ogden Nash
I generally do not appreciate flies and adhere to the concept that the "only good fly is a dead fly" but this fellow with his iridescent body, translucent wings and bright red eyes is quite lovely. I bet he's a little dizzy right now having to look at a hundred different images of my camera; I'm glad we don't have the compound eyes as insects do. Oh, look; there's a little ant trying to hog the limelight. Which insect to you like best? Ladybug, dragonfly, bumble bee? Remember, spiders aren't insects as they have eight legs rather than six.

Submission for PXITE topic "fly". (They may be thinking verb and not noun. (end of post)


A daisy by any other name. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices
instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, "Letters"
Who knew there were so many varieties of daisy and why didn't I take a little notebook to the garden shop? Therefore, I have no idea of the scientific name or common name for this variety. This does not keep me from enjoying its beauty. So much is going on in this small blossom. A center red crown ringed in gold and bejeweled with small miniature lily-like flowerets and surrounded by streaked pink petals. In my mind's eye I can imagine a "fairy faire" with gossamer wings, wearing a flowing pink chiffon tog. On her head of cherry red hair sits a crown of young spring leaves, woven limbs of yellow forsythia and white lily; a creature you might see in a "Midsummer Night's Dream." What do you see?

(end of post)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Il Duomo

"Il Duomo", Florence, Italy (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Today in Florence all the air
Is soft with spring, with sunlight fair;
In the tall street gay folks are met;
Duomo and Tower gleam overhead,
Like jewels in the city set,
Fair-hued and many-faceted.
Against the old grey stones are piled
February violets, pale and sweet,
Whose scent of earth in woodland wild
Is wafted up and down the street.
The city's heart is glad ; my own
Sits lightly on its bosom's throne."
~ Amy Levy (1861 - 1889), "Alma Mater"
The prominent dome of Florence's famous Il Duomo can be seen from all areas of Florence. The massive octagonal cupola that dominates both the cathedral and the city was the creative achievement of Filippo Brunelleschi, master architect and sculptor. It is one of the world's greatest engineering feats spanning 140 feet.

Submission for PhotoFriday topic "famous". (end of post)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Lady & Her Lunch

Ladybug & aphid (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
A small speckled visitor
Wearing a crimson cape.
Brighter than a cherry
Smaller than a grape.
Tiny Ladybug
A polka-dotted someone
Walking on my wall.
A black-hooded lady
In a scarlet shawl.
~ Joan Walsh Anglund
The chick weed exploded behind the fence and with it came the aphids and the ladybugs. The ladybugs are thick, various numbers of spots noted; a few with no spots. Seems I've read that as ladybugs mature they lose their spots, unlike we humans who tend to gain them with age. These are not the easiest critters to capture in a macro shot, at least with my old camera and no tripod. Imagine my surprise when not only did the lovely ladybug show up in focus, but so did her lunch. There on the left, a tiny, almost translucent aphid; her unwilling "lunch date."

It reminds me of the year we had literally swarms of ladybugs in Mississippi. Millions and millions of them were in attics, cellars, in gardens, garages, and sheds. It was the fall of the year and they acted a bit sluggish. I swept up a gallon bag of them. The entomologist told people they could put them in the refrigerator for the winter and that many would revive in the spring, even though the majority looked almost dead when collected. Since they do such a fine job keeping aphids off roses and other garden plants, many people actually order them to put in the garden. Sure enough, when spring arrived at least half of the red ladies revived, and we released them to eat their little hearts out.

They are wonderful little insects, beautiful, unique, and useful; but one can't help but feel a tiny bit sorry for the aphid.

Submission for Moody Monday topic "small". (end of post)

How Comfortable Are You, With The Look?

"Mr. Rhett, What is it?" Posted by Picasa
"The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their faces whether they see a moth or an ax-murderer." ~ Paula Poundstone
There are times when a cat sits and stares, not really focusing on you but seems to be looking "through" you. Does this make you uncomfortable? Do the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up? Do you feel a draft of air in your hair at these times?

"What are you staring at, Miss Scarlett?"

Sometimes the stares are associated with that slight, quick move of the head, snapping to attention; but the focus is four feet behind you. Do you ever feel the creeping tingle on your arm or scalp, like an insect lighting on your head at these times?

"Hey, Nick, whatcha lookin' at? Nicky?"

Do you start to hear the "Jaws" theme music pounding in your head; or feel the touch of a cold, clammy hand on the back of your neck? Do you have visions of "Jason" and his white hockey mask or "Freddy" and his long sharp knives? Do you feel the wheels of Friday's Ark rolling down the track towards the deep ocean? Can you hear the crazy clown at the Carnival of the Cats and the music from the carnival tents at Furry Paws? (Turning slowly) What? OH NO!!!!

(Made you look, didn't I?)
(end of post)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Spring Violets

Viola sororia, Common wild violet, "Confederate Violet" variety.
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
Surely as cometh the Winter, I know
There are Spring violets under the snow.
~ Robert Henry Newell, "Spring Violets Under the Snow"
Brown and black, the dead leaves and limbs that cover the bank of the drainage ditch behind our house. Here these ditches are common and all with ties to the bay; they may be filled with rapidly flowing water after a downpour or almost dry during drought. At night I hear geese honking as they fly low over the ditch and occasionally a lone mallard or pair of ducks will swim slowly downstream, stopping to waddle across the drier spans of mud. A large oak has fallen across the ditch forming a natural bridge. A few have tried to plant grass or flowers here but the chickweed, wild hibiscus, vinca and thistle along with the honeysuckle vines and Virginia creeper choke most of them out. Attempts at vegetable gardens are not met with success. There used to be muskrat living here but I haven't seen any in the last two years; yet something wild makes these screeching banshee noises and drives the dog nuts in the middle of the night.

I decided to explore the ditch, or at least to photograph the beautiful wisteria draped over the fence across the way. I saw the signs of spring everywhere. Trees that a few weeks ago were bare outlines of branches and twigs, now sport a pale green covering of small leaves. Marshy grasses grow with dots of yellow, purple and white wildflowers. The chickweed has exploded, a feeding ground for aphid and ladybug alike. Naturalized daffodils have come and gone and discarded iris bulbs have multiplied, now pale lavender blooms beyond the fence. Pink azalea made me pause to look and click my camera and then my eye moved down to the grass. Here a small flower lurked, almost buried; then I saw another and another. The common wild violet, usually a deep blue color, this one the "Confederate" variety, pale with purple highlights, a fitting inhabitant here. No snow here, but violets are still heralds of Spring.

Submission for Thursday Challenge topic "Spring". (end of post)

Mysterious Cat

Mysterious cat. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Did you ever hear of a thing like that?
Oh, what a proud mysterious cat."
~ Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931), U.S. poet. "The Mysterious Cat", Oxford Book of Children's Verse in America.
This is a mysterious cat indeed. Actually, I don't remember who this is, although I suspect it is Miss Clover. She hides in boxes, in blanket caves, in the laundry basket, behind the chair; it makes sense that her picture would be mysterious.

Submission for LensDay topic "mysterious". (end of post)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"Sign? What Sign? Did You See A Sign?"

"Hey, Ethel! "Someone said there was a sign! Did you see a sign?"
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"All of the animals excepting man know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it." ~ Samuel Butler
I thought this "NO SWIMMING" sign was a bit absurd. It does look like the geese are observing the order, but out of frame ducks and geese were swimming and quacking and honking to their hearts content. Where ARE those animal police when you need them? If there were categories on Blogger I would list this picture under "cute" and/or "absurd humor".

Submission for Tuesdays Photos topic "sign". (end of post)

Monday, April 24, 2006

20 Years Ago Today - April 24, 1986

This is what I was doing 20 years ago today.
(You don't need to click the picture, it doesn't get any better)
Posted by Picasa
"She discovered with great delight that one does not love one's children just because they are one's children but because of the friendship formed while raising them." ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Guess what I did twenty years ago today! Yes, she is there in that little bundle in my lap. We are quite a pair! Nyssa, just a few hours old and me, a few hours post C-section.

My child is smart, talented and good-hearted; many things come easily for her. "Birth" was not one of these things. After two days of induction with no results, my doc and I talked and decided not to do this any more. So after office hours an elective C-section was planned. I tried to tell everyone what to do. (docs always try to do this, it's the control freak in us) There were too many doctors in the delivery room: two OB, one anesthesiologist, one pediatrician, and me. Yes, one PhD (the dad). Too many nurses and additional docs looking in the window.

As her head appeared, I heard Dr. C say, "Cord around the neck times two" and immediately knew God had been taking care of Nyssa. If things had progressed during induction the c-section would have been an emergency rather than elective. As it was, she was screaming before her 7lb. 14 oz body was completely delivered. A round head full of medium brown hair and tightly closed fists, she was fully pink before even getting to the pediatrician. She had been warm, comfortably sleepy and suddenly disturbed; she was angry and let all of us know it.

It has been 20 years, but I remember all the details. I remember the brightly painted labor room with the poster of a cute puppy stuck in a bowl of spaghetti and the words "Some things are easier to get into than out of." No joke. I remember the little pink t-shirt that read "I'm a Deaconess Angel" and how relaxed she looked under the bili lights, like it was just another day at the beach. I remember how she slept by my hospital bed and how her eyes were wide open taking the world in minutes after being born. It must be a mother thing, taking every detail in, saving them to have when your child is grown. Adding to the memories every day, every milestone, birthdays, events, daily happenings. I remember looking into those deep blue eyes and feeling that grip around my finger and knowing immediately that I loved this strange creature more than my life.

Now, 20 years later, that feeling hasn't changed.
Happy Birthday Nyssa; my baby, my child, my lovely young lady, and now, my friend.

Sleeping baby Nyssa, just a few hours old. 4/24/1986

The Moody Monday topic is "mushy". I feel mushy. This qualifies.
(end of post)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

More Softball Memories or Nyssa's Last Day as a Teenager

A page from the scrapbook I made Nyssa for her 16th birthday. (Nyssa and Miss L) Posted by Picasa
"Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things." ~ Robert Frost (1874-1963)
I've already posted about Nyssa's short love affair with softball when she was in eighth grade. She wasn't very good at most of the needed skills but she could run like the wind and became the pinch runner.

Nyssa had no illusion of greatness, but she practiced with the team every day. One day after supper she asked a very strange question, "If there is blood around the gum of your tooth, does it mean the tooth is going to fall out?" Why would you ask that question? She very nervously told me that at softball practice they were working on throwing and catching and her friend (who was very good at softball) threw her the ball and she didn't catch it with her glove. She caught it with her face. Right in the mouth. And she didn't tell anyone. I looked at her teeth and the braces and there it was; a snapped wire, a little blood around the gum and a front tooth that was about 1/8th inch lower than the other. Had the braces not been there, the tooth would be gone. (More suspense "read more")

Next morning, a trip to the dentist. He pushed it back up into place and fixed the wire; then it was off to the oral surgeon. Apparently, there was still a risk that the root was damaged and the tooth would die. He x-rayed and said we just had to wait and see although it looked ok. Thank goodness for braces; I knew they were good for something.

Of course the dentist highly recommended a mouth guard and over great protestations from Nyssa, he made one. It was great; a bright blue. She didn't want to wear it, but I insisted. I told her that if I came to a game and she was on the field, I better be able to see the mouthpiece in place or I would march right out on the field and haul her off.

I tried to make most of the home games. One evening I was running a bit late for the JV game. As I parked and started walking towards the bleachers, Nyssa's friend L. here ran by me on the way to the bus. She waved and kept running. I took my seat and there Nyssa was in the dugout waiting to be called to run. She fidgeted and looked around nervously, not a usual habit but I soon figured out what was up. Miss L came back and handed her a blue case and she slipped the mouthpiece in. L. told me later that Nyssa saw me coming, couldn't find her mouthpiece, remembered it was on the bus and sent her after it. I had to laugh. At least she knew me well enough to take my threat seriously. I do believe it is still floating around here somewhere.

She really should have worn it in basketball too, but she refused. Her reasoning? If she wore it she couldn't perform her signature defense.... she screams when the girl she's guarding tries to shoot the ball. Strange, yes, but unbelievably effective.

(end of post)

Azalea's In Bloom

Azalea blossoms. (Click pictures for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"A beautiful blossom is a fleeting thing
It stays for a moment and then takes wing:
With special rays we catch it ere flight
So all may enjoy the beautiful sight."
~ Albert Richards
The azaleas are in full bloom along with pink and white dogwood, tulips, iris, redbud, and a host of small but intricate "weeds". The azalea are various shades of pink, salmon, red and white. The bumble bees flock to the white blossoms and bury themselves in the depths of the flower to emerge, heads covered in yellow pollen, heady with nectar. I love Spring.

Submission for SeeItSunday topic "blossom". (end of post)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The First Butterfly of Spring

The first butterfly of spring. (At least the first one I caught on film)
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash'd palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle - and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color'd blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break."
~ Walt Whitman (1819-–1892) Leaves of Grass
The wildflower butterfly garden I planted is not yet mature, so I have to rely on the newly blooming lilac to attract the fluttering, flittering, fickle-winged creatures. It's not perfect but the color is true. I wonder what caterpillar morphed into this delicate creature.

I have a butterfly; her name is Nyssa Marie. She is lovely, colorful, delicate, and (relative to me) new to life. She is also stronger, smarter, bolder and more determined than most teenagers I have ever known. On Monday, she will no longer be a teenager. This makes her sad and although I have often wondered if we would ever get out of the "teens", this milestone also makes me a little sad as well. I know she's already a butterfly testing her wings in college, that's a given. But, when did this metamorphosis happen? When did this caterpillar change? Where was the cocoon? How did I miss it?

This was a teenage girl who couldn't get up on her own in the morning without the blasting of multiple alarms, sprays of cold water, mother begging, cajoling and finally threatening her with bodily harm. This girl slept through the loud crash of a 14 foot ceiling beam with attached light and fan that fell from the vaulted ceiling in the den one night. How would she ever get up on her own in the dorm at the Math & Science high school her junior year? Yes, she went to her 8 AM class in her flannel sleep pants and tee shirt, with a sweatshirt thrown on top, hair scrounged up in a ponytail, no make-up and yes, fuzzy slippers; but she got up on her own. (Apparently she wasn't the only one to do this, hence the sign in the dorm that read "Girls, do not go to class in your pjs". Maybe the slippers gave it away!)

This teenager learned to work for wages; as a waitress, in the library, in a candy store, as a daycare helper and next year as an RA in the college dorm. She's on the Dean's List at The College of William and Mary, even after they waitlisted her twice for admission. She is kind and empathetic and feels the hurts of others as acutely as if they were her own. This summer she spends three weeks working on the Mississippi Gulf Coast through a program that has college kids clearing debris, hammering nails, painting; essentially providing the "hands" needed for Katrina recovery. They pay their own way, so she wrote a grant proposal to the College and they've awarded her grant. I am amazed at this metamorphosis from a pretty, little fuzzy caterpillar to a graceful and "strong" butterfly with a beautiful heart.

So to Nyssa: I know it hurts when your father can't remember the correct date of your birthday. I know the workload is crushing at the end of the semester. I also know you will make it, just take one blossom at a time. When the "teens" leave on Monday, don't be sad, so much is ahead. Come my butterfly, your lilacs await! Love you!

(end of post)

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Different Perspective

A Daffodil, from a different perspective. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils."
~ William Wordsworth
No daffodil was wounded, no flower plucked for this photo. I have taken so many pictures of daffodils this spring; different shades of yellow, pale and bold; some with a touch of peach and others two-toned, small and large. This daffodil grew on the bank of a drainage ditch just behind the house; growing wild, naturalized through the years and turned with its face towards the setting sun. I decided to photograph this lovely flower from a different angle. Just as it is with problems in life, if I examine them from a different perspective, I often find a depth of beauty completely overlooked in the "head on" view and a simplicity in the solution; like the simple but elegant line of the flower.

Submission for Photo Friday topic "golden". (end of post)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cats and Beds

Sleeping siblings: Miss Clover (L.) and Miss Chloe (R.) (Click pictures for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"How wonderful it is to indulge in your favorite pastime with a sibling!" ~ unknown
How many hours do cats sleep? Chloe and Clover sleep at least 19 hours a day. They move from their sleeping beanbag in the sunroom to my bed. Then they sleep again, always together. (Click "read more" to continue)

"In my experience, cats and beds seem to be a natural combination." ~ Louis J. Camuti, DVM
At our house five out of seven cats prefer sleeping on a bed. The other two have favorite chairs to spend their day in. This doesn't mean they stay awake, oh no, they still sleep.

And sleep. And sleep. It is so very hard to be human here. Watching them curled up or stretched out, sleeping peacefully, and snoring at times; this makes it - yawwwwnnnnn - very, very hard - yawwwwwwwwwwnnnn - to stay awake.

Even Mr Rhett (L.) and his sister Miss Scarlett (R.) find the bed too enticing to resist.

I hope these kitties wake up in time to board Friday's Ark tomorrow and that they don't sleep through the Carnival of the Cats this Sunday, hosted this week by Animal Family. (end of post)


Friendship. A valuable relationship. (Nyssa and Margaret, 2005) Posted by Picasa
"If out of all mankind one finds a single friend, he has found something more precious than any treasure, since there is nothing in the world so valuable that it can be compared to a real friend." ~ Andreas Capellanus
Usually, finding a picture for one of the photo meme topics isn't too difficult; but this week's Thursday's Challenge was just that, a challenge. The topic? All things valuable. The obvious material things such as diamonds, gold, wealth, property, antiques, art and power seem so useless. There are so many less tangible concepts and ideas that are invaluable to me including virtue, faith, human life, family, education, love, reputation, service, kindness, empathy, loyalty, perseverance and freedom. What to choose? (Click "read more" to continue)

I choose "friendship." True friendship isn't easy; ups and downs, warts and blemishes, highs and lows, disagreements and laughter; it is a hodge podge of emotions, events, joy, sorrow and all things in between. Friendship waxes and wanes like the moon, but if true it stands the test of time. Christ showed us the blueprint for "friendship":
"I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it, the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends."
~ John 15:12-13 (New Living Translation)
Wow! That is extreme! I could give my life to save my daughter and my parents would do the same for me, but to be honest, I don't know if I could sacrifice my life for a friend. Sacrifice self-respect, money, time, pleasure and other "things"; I could do, but my life? That is not only friendship but love. I am grateful for earthly friendships but most valuable is the friendship of Christ. Why? Because He created the blueprint of true friendship; He did lay down His life for us, His friends.

Submission for Thursday Challenge topic "valuable". (end of post)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Life in Motion

Carousel in motion. (Click picture for larger view and a dizzy sensation) Posted by Picasa
"I feel the carousel starting slowly
And going faster and faster: desk, papers, books,
Photographs of friends, the window and the trees
Merging in one neutral band that surrounds
Me on all sides, everywhere I look.
~ John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror."
If the world were perfectly free of friction, this carousel would adhere to Newton's Three Laws of Motion:
  • Lex I: Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo quiescendi vel movendi uniformiter in directum, nisi quatenus a viribus impressis cogitur statum illum mutare.

    ~ "An object at rest or traveling in uniform motion will remain at rest or traveling in uniform motion unless acted upon by a net force."

  • Lex II: Mutationem motus proportionalem esse vi motrici impressae, et fieri secundum lineam rectam qua vis illa imprimitur.

    ~ The rate of change of momentum of a body is equal to the resultant force acting on the body and is in the same direction.

  • Lex III: Actioni contrariam semper et aequalem esse reactionem: sive corporum duorum actiones is se mutuo semper esse aequales et in partes contrarias dirigi.

    ~ All forces occur in pairs, and these two forces are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.
But the world isn't perfect. Friction exists. We hold on. Life ebbs and flows. The carousel spins; sometimes fast, sometimes slower and if we are lucky and hold on tight, we may end up with a fabulous ride.

Submission for LensDay topic "kinetic".

I found Newton's Laws in Latin, Nyssa. I'm sure you'll tell me if there are any mistakes. Spellcheck should have fun with this.;-)

(end of post)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tulip Time

Tulips at market. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Not one of Flora's brilliant race
A form more perfect can display;
Art could not feign more simple grace
Nor Nature take a line away."
~ James Montgomery, On Planting a Tulip-Root
It's tulip time in Virginia Beach. Red, yellow, hot pink, cream, speckled, striped, spotted, short, tall and in-between; tulips everywhere. I see one home with a ring of tulips thick around a small dogwood tree; all blooming, swaying slightly in the breeze and all a deep royal purple. Exquisite! Tulips are so regal and bold. If only they would grace us with their presence for many, many days hence. Alas, they are with us but a short time, and yet never far from our hearts.

"Tulips" by Renoir

(end of post)

The Open Road

The open road. Tennessee. (Click picture for larger view)
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.
~ Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. "Song of the Open Road."
I have a childhood friend who, with her husband, travels the "open road" throughout the year. They live in their motor home and visit family and friends all over the US; wherever they are, whenever they are needed and for as long as necessary. Other times of the year they visit the Grand Canyon, Florida and all sites in between. Sometimes I wonder if they get tired of this gypsy life. I never thought of her as the type to live this way, but she seems happy and content. Perhaps I didn't know her as well as I thought I did.

Submission for Moody Monday topic "open".
Submission for Tuesdays Photos topic "travel". (end of post)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Pale Blue-eyed Grass

Wildflowers grow among the daffodils. (Click pictures for larger view)

"Blue-eyed grass in the meadow,
A linnet's nest near by,
Blackbirds caroling clearly
Somewhere between earth & sky."
~ Mary Austin(1868-1934)
A clump of wildflowers grows around the base of the crepe myrtle bush in our front yard. I have searched the library for information about these pale blue flowers with thin grass like leaves. Finally, a name; Sisyrinchium sp., also known as "blue-eyed grass". This may represent the "white" or "pale" version. Hopefully these will continue to spread as the delicate blue blooms are a nice addition to the yellow of the daffodils. Do they have a fragrance? The bees seem to love them but with my sinuses, who knows.

(end of post)

Easter Morning

University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Picture by Nyssa
"If Easter says anything to us today, it says this: You can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there. You can nail it to a cross, wrap it in winding sheets and shut it up in a tomb, but it will rise!" ~ Clarence W. Hall
May everyone experience God's gifts of joy and peace this Easter. ~ srp

(end of post)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter Memories

Nyssa (Age 6) You're no bunny, 'til some bunny loves you.
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"Spring is come home with her world-wandering feet.
And all the things are made young with young desires."
~ Francis Thompson
Nyssa used to love to wear the smocked dresses. I smocked this one in a bunny motif. I worked all day and spent the early evening with her; reading, doing homework, piano practice, supper, bath and to bed by 8 PM. Then it was my time to play. Smocking really did relax me and seeing the final product done, piping made and the dress constructed was a great feeling. Nyssa's reaction was always the same, "Momma, it is the MOST BEAUTIFUL dress in the whole world!!" Who wouldn't eagerly sit down to fashion another one-of-a-kind design immediately.

(Click "Read more" to continue Easter Memories.)

We did the Easter Bunny with paw prints and baskets and a bit of candy. Did I ever mention that I LOVE PEEPS? I know they are nothing but sugar and bad for body and teeth, but I can't help it. I LOVE PEEPS! Bunnies or chicks, doesn't matter. Nyssa always wants a hollow chocolate bunny. In Columbus, there is a gift shop that would put a plush animal and a few pieces of candy in a large clear balloon with brightly colored ribbon. The balloon would have to be popped to retrieve the loot. I was always amazed at how long it took Nyssa to finally break down and take on the balloon. Never being one to enjoy the loud POP from a pin prick, she would squeeze and pinch and try to hold her ears at the same time. Once she tried to get one of the cats to bite it, but they only wanted the ribbon.

Nyssa and her friend Lori loved the Easter Egg Hunt. Patty (Lori's mom) and I would take all our plastic eggs (sometimes it seemed like we had a hundred); fill them with a Hershey's Kiss or a few jelly beans and hide them in the back yard. Then it was an empty basket and away they went. Where are those eggs? Don't forget to look in the barbecue grill, or in the downspout or even in the woodpile! After the eggs were found and the candy removed, they always wanted to do it again. Sometimes the girls would hide the eggs and make their poor old moms do the hunting.

The smocked dress is now safely packed away for future little girls. The plastic eggs are hunted by other little children. Sweet memories of days now past. (But I still LOVE PEEPS and Nyssa still wants her "hollow chocolate bunny.")
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