Monday, January 31, 2011

Field of Rainbows

Yearning for summer flowers. Norfolk Botanical Garden. Posted by Picasa

"Everything is both simpler than we can imagine, and more complicated that we can conceive." ~ Goethe
In the middle of winter with the bones of nature rattling in the preserve, I yearn for the gorgeous flowers of summer. The botanical garden here has a huge field of wildflowers with a white washed rough hewn fence that is beautiful in summer and fall. The colors of the rainbow shine out from the foliage and the mixture of reds and yellows as well as purple and white are just lovely. I know that the red flowers are bee balm or Monarda, but I'm not sure about the yellow or purple. Most of these are either perennials or annuals that reseed themselves and the garden suggests this as a "wild" natural yard alternative. If I had a huge yard with three or four acres of land, I would let one of them become a beautiful and wild, complex and simple field of rainbows like this.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Photo Hunt: Standing

Standing art. Metropolitan Museum of Art. NYC. 2006 Posted by Picasa

“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what kind of a person you are” ~ C.S. Lewis (British Scholar and Novelist. 1898-1963)
I posted this picture from our trip to New York City way back in 2006, but it remains one of my favorites. It was originally posted in color, however I like it just as much in black and white. It was taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on one of the hottest days of the year. We escaped there to enjoy both the art and the air conditioning. I had been concentrating on the bronze statue in the forefront that reminded me so much of those in Florence, Italy; when I looked up and saw Nyssa standing there gazing at the picture of a young girl dressed in a regal flowing gown and velvet cloak, but with loosely done hair that could pass for a modern young lady. So I couldn't help but sandwich Nyssa in between two gorgeous works of art... since she is, of course what I consider my greatest work of art, or at least I'd like to think I had a little to do with her inner beauty. Anyway, when I saw that the photo hunter theme was "standing", I couldn't help but gravitate to this picture of three children of three different ages and all standing.

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Saturday Photo Hunt ~ "Standing"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

ABC Wednesday: "B" Is For Black And Blue

Blue Anise Sage, Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' Posted by Picasa

"Flowers and plants are silent presences. They nourish every sense except the ear." ~ May Sarton
Summer breezes and sun warmed soil produce these lovely blooms. I have never seen such a rich and dark blue in a flower, nor stems and flower bases so dark... really a black color. Most often the "blue" flowers are really more lavender or purple tinged and any flower labeled "black" turn out to be a very dark burgandy. These flowers and the foliage are both fragrant and hummingbirds are said to love them. I'm not sure the hummers found these last summer; it was the fist planting after all. They did like the other salvia species I planted elsewhere and it was fun to watch them hover over the flowers and gently probe for nectar. The winder has been really cold and the ground feels frozen, but only near the edge of the flowerbed, so I am hoping they will return for a repeat engagement this spring and be more dense and lush as well. What a great welcome mat for the bees and hummingbirds!

So my offering for the letter "B" is "black and blue"; not a bruise... but, a beautiful bloom to begin this cycle of ABC Wednesday. Oops! "Cycle" doesn't begin with a "B" and I am late to post... again... but, better to be a blog behind than blank.

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ABC Wednesday Round 8: "B"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Singer, Tenor, Brother, Hero

Valencia, Spain.... sculptures.

"To the outside world we all grow old.
But not to brothers and sisters.
We know each other as we always were.
We know each other's hearts.
We share private family jokes.
We remember family feuds and secrets,
family griefs and joys.
We live outside the touch of time."
~ Clara Ortega

The Tenor....

"Our siblings push buttons that cast us in roles we felt sure we had let go of long ago - the baby, the peacekeeper, the caretaker, the avoider.... It doesn't seem to matter how much time has elapsed or how far we've traveled." ~ Jane Mersky Leder

Stephen ... My brother... Happy Birthday! Posted by Picasa

"There is a little boy inside the man who is my brother.
Oh, how I hated that little boy.
And how I love him too."
~ Anna Quindlan
Today is my brother's birthday. We are nine years and nine days apart... not by design.. just happened that way. When I became a teenager, he turned four. When I graduated from high school and left for college, he was eight and in second grade. When I got married, he was twelve and an usher at the wedding. When he graduated from high school, I was in residency. He graduated from college two years before Nyssa was born... I had been married for eleven years. He joined the original traveling company of Phantom of the Opera in Chicago in 1990, when Nyssa was four. And now he is in Europe as a heldon tenor, free lance and all grown up. Now he is my hero, helping Nyssa pay for college when we hit a hard patch, buying this wonderful home for us to live in and generally being an all around nice guy. We miss him a lot and the visits seem too short and too far between. He misses the relaxation of being home and the glamour of world travel has long since worn off.

Of course we had our differences as children who were too far apart in age, but I have it on good authority that these differences would really have not been much different even if we had been four years or less apart. There were the arguments and the pranks he played and all that tattling. But looking back, he was just trying to act older and be with the older kids and teenagers because he wanted to be accepted by his sister and her friends. When I left for college, Stephen sent me cards in the mail. Some days that was the only mail that showed up in my box. He liked to send Peanuts cards, particularly Snoopy and Woodstock ones. He was in second grade and just starting to learn cursive writing so the letters were big and there never was enough room to write everything. But they were wonderful to me... I still have them.... NO, Stephen, I don't know exactly where they are without looking, but I know I still have them... somewhere.

Today we are good friends... the best of friends... there is no finer brother on the face of the earth... and I DO MEAN THAT!

Happy Birthday Stephen!

To go to Stephen's website click here.

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Where Did You Get Your Eyes So Blue?

Swinging the blues.... Mr. Rhett Posted by Picasa

“Where did you get your eyes so blue? Out of the sky as I came through.” ~ George MacDonald

Dear Mr. Rhett with his blue eyes is the darling of women everywhere. He has had a difficult couple of years here, what with getting out and spending the night under the house during the construction of the sunroom and losing his sister, Scarlett last May. Still he is the most inquisitive cat on the planet and it still gets him into a pickle on occasion. Mr. Rhett is getting old as are we all, but he can still run faster than I can catch him. Hmm. Perhaps that says more about me than him. He has been losing weight for several years, but not so much as in this last year. He had lost two pounds since his last checkup and his fur coat was looking rank and disheveled. I could brush him and get almost as much hair as I do off the Ragdoll cats. But, he ate... he ate like he was starved to death. He would eat his wet food and the leftovers from everyone else in five minutes. So at his checkup this year they drew some blood to check his kidney function, since he is over 15 now and they checked his thyroid function. His T4 level was almost ten times the upper limits of normal, so now he is on a medicine to block the effects of the T4. A liquid, we put it in his food twice a day and he doesn't know the difference, but a difference it has made already. I believe he has gained some weight and his coat is back to being soft and lush. He does not seem as driven to constantly move and search for food.. yet, he still gobbles all he can get as fast as he can. At least he is on the right path.

Here he was swinging in the hammock with Nyssa... his blue eyes complementing the royal blue of the strings. I'm not sure if his expression is one of delight, fear or simply the desire to "be somewhere else".

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Carmi's theme ~ "Blue"
Blue Monday

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ABC Wednesday: "A" Is For Autumn

Flying south in autumn's golden light. (Click picture to enlarge) Posted by Picasa

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." ~ George Eliot
"A" is for Autumn now past and that particular glow of light in the afternoon. It is a light not seen in any other season of the year; warm, glowing and yet, with just a hint of frost and the coming cold. Winter light is more often than not a harsh gray and even when the sun shines brightly in blue winter skies, it doesn't warm the soul. The trees are asleep; the flowers hibernate. In Spring, the light teases the earth and the soil and speaks to the bulbs and seeds below... whispering for them to wake up, wake up. Spring's light feels airy and green.. but pastel in character. The light of Summer is bold and hot and burning... it does not beckon to the plants and trees, it commands them to grow and demands that they stand up straight and bloom. The trees respond and work to form a dense thick canopy for us to hide beneath. Yes, the Summer light is almost too intense... too much heat. But the Autumn light is golden and bronze and amber and perfectly made for the backgrounds of orange, yellow, red and russet leaves of the trees. It reflects off the Canada geese in flight and they become glowing embers in the sky. So.. "A" is for Autumn... always awesome....absolutely alluring....almost perfect.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

About As Far From Home As You Can Get

Am I leaning? Are you leaning? Is that building leaning? Oooooh... dizzy!
Tokyo, Japan (Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." ~ Henry Miller
Nyssa and my brother Stephen are the only family members that really seem to go "far from home" these days, with Nyssa in the western US and Stephen traveling all over the world. So, we have to live the life through their stories and pictures sometimes. Traveling is not what it used to be... perhaps partly due to the changes after 9/11 with help from an economy that tries to cram as many people into one flight as possible; or perhaps it is simply that the thin patina of glamour wears off quickly when one has to live out of a suitcase. Stephen has said that some days he wakes up and not only does it take him a few seconds to remember where he is, but also who he is and what he is doing there. Coffee helps him through this... lots and lots of coffee.

He just finished up a run in Tokyo, performing as Tristan in Wagner's opera, Tristan and Isolda. An opera fan with a cold did not have the common sense or concern to keep from spreading his germs and several of the cast came down with his cold. Add on a two hour bus ride to the airport and a fourteen hour flight to Vienna with the last hour circling over Vienna because of fog... and he was totally upside down. He sounded quite congested when he called on Saturday but said he was much better than he had been... no fever.. finally being able to sleep more than two hours... his biorhythm getting back to normal. Of course, he had to leave the next day for Dresden, Germany.. but at least they are on the same time zone. His traveling schedule makes me dizzy.

That brings me to this picture Stephen took in Tokyo... it makes me dizzy. I have lived in moderate sized cities and smaller towns all my life. Not really a country girl but not a city slicker either. I loved the two weeks I got to live in New York City and ride the subways and shop in small neighborhood grocers and the fact that you can order delivery for almost any type of food you want.. even steak. I loved looking at the architecture of the skyscrapers old and new and the tall apartment buildings in between. But it does give you neck cramps after a while.. all that walking around and looking up. From his pictures, it appears that Tokyo is even worse... with limited land space, the cities have to build "up". And the innovation... makes me dizzy too. This building looks curved. Could it just be the angle of his shot?

No, this building is really curved at the base. It is the Sompo Japan Head Office Building and houses the Seiji Togo Memorial Museum of Art where Van Gogh's famous "Sunflowers" painting is exhibited, although I do think that there are several versions of his "Sunflower" paintings as Van Gogh seemed totally captivated by them for a long while. A similar design in buildings can be found in the Chase Tower in Chicago and in both the Solow Building and W.R. Grace building in Manhattan, NYC. I know.. more information than you ever wanted to know. Just thought I would share the dizziness.

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Carmi's theme ~ "Far From Home"

Monday, January 17, 2011

People Who Have The Most Birthdays Live The Longest

The "??th" anniversary of my 30th birthday. Posted by Picasa

"You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoes and wonder what else you can do while you're down there." ~ George Burns
I was trying to get through the anniversary of my birthday with as little fanfare as possible... then Judy spilled the beans on Facebook and floods of "happy birthdays" flowed in. So.. with much gratitude at such an outpouring of well wishes.. I say "Thank You!" You notice that I don't celebrate my birthday, but rather the anniversary of my birthday... my 30th birthday. I won't reveal what anniversary we are up to now, but let's just say that in a few, a very few years I will have to start celebrating the anniversary of the anniversary of my 30th birthday. Why 30th? Oh, I don't know.. it just seems like a nice round young number.

Laziness was the theme this year. I slept through half of it, but then my cousin David was on Skype the night before and we talked about everything for a very long time and it was almost time to get up before I finally went to bed and at my age, well.. you really need those eight hours of sleep. My brother called from Vienna, jet lagged from a 14 hour flight and with a cold from rabid fans in Japan. When Daisy and I finally dragged our ragged bodies down stairs I found two beautiful arrangements... one from my baby girl, Nyssa and one from my brother. Yellow roses and sunflowers to brighten the day from Stephen and an edible arrangement of the sweetest strawberries you have ever tasted in January, bananas dipped in white and milk chocolate, sweet red grapes and mellon balls. Oh, yes... flower shaped pineapple with melon ball centers as well and in such a cute teal green vase. I took pictures of the fruit and a good thing I did too... I ate them... all of them and they were great! The roses and sunflowers are still brightening the winter days... we had a bit of sun on Saturday but now clouds and rain are on the way for this evening. Still cold.

Mom decided to take Dad and I out to a fancy restaurant, The Vintage Tavern, for our birthday celebrations. You know it is a fancy restaurant when the first thing they do is exchange the perfectly good tan napkins for black napkins because you are wearing dark skirts or pants and you might get fuzz from the napkins on your clothes. It was an amazing meal... the menu is seasonal. So we had oyster stew, salad...watercress greens with fennel, sweet grapefruit centers, blood oranges and goat cheese with a creamy pomegranate dressing..broiled flounder over soft onion spoonbread with capers and cream sauce and sauteed mushrooms. At least, that is what I had. Dad had some of their gourmet mac 'n cheese as well and Mom had scallops, special cooked spinach and her scallops were over grits and with an orange puree that I think had carrot in it. We shared a creme brulee for desert. Mom paid the bill...she said this was Dad's birthday meal too, even though his will not be until February. We left the restaurant in what could only be described as somewhere between a waddle and a roll and I was still not hungry again well into Sunday afternoon.

So, thanks to all who helped make the "??" anniversary of my 30th birthday a raging success. At this age a success means you lived through it. Now, we continue... and another 12 months before we have to face it again.
"We've reached an age that when construction workers stare at us it's because they figure we might be considering a remodeling job." ~ Susan McClellan
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow Shadows

One cannot see the shadows without seeing the sunlight. Posted by Picasa

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” ~ Abraham Lincoln (16th US President, 1809-1865)
All the snow at Christmas afforded beautiful shadows when the sun finally appeared. There is nothing more beautiful that smooth, clean, white snow with sun sparkling through the crystals. It hides the drab green, gray and brown of winter grass and gives a magical fairy land look to the landscape. Our Japanese maple tree finally shed its last leaf and now all that remains is the stark trunk and branches. And yet when the sun came out, they cast a beautiful shadow on the fresh snow; a shadow that would not be so intricate and delicate if the leaves were still present. Even in winter, nature's bones are gorgeous.

Sometimes the shadow of an object is taller and larger than the object itself. Everyone has seen the twisted tree casting a gnarled and frightening shadow on the wall of the scared little boy in his bed as the wind made it move back and forth like a giant monster. Yet in the light of day, the tree is really insignificant. Even men (and women) can sometimes be like this tree.
"When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set." ~ Lin Yutang
Something to think about isn't it?

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ABC Wednesday: A Zealous Zebra And Zippy Zinnias

Needed this winter? A zest of color.
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"You'd be so lean, that blast of January
Would blow you through and through. Now, my fair'st friend,
I would I had some flowers o' the spring that might
Become your time of day."
~ William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, Act IV Scene 4.
The clouds have morphed from gray to fluffy cotton ball white and bright blue sky shows through. Sunshine has melted most of the thin ice layer and sublimation has revealed most interesting crystal patterns in that ice which remains. Tiny shards of ice are scattered all over the concrete driveway and on the deck, almost as if miniature icicles were blown apart by the west winds. It is still cold. Again, our forecasters were overly optimistic about that.. it did not reach 40℉... almost, but not quite and here we sit again in the 30's.

Even though the skies are blue and the sun shining yellow.. we could use more color in the flower beds. Right now the bulb and seed and plant catalogues are arriving and I must be content with these.... and the pictures from last summer. So, my submissions for the letter "Z" form a "zest" of color. The "zinnia" pictured were an afterthought. I had tilled up the edge of our no man's land between the fence and the preserve with its creeping rhizomes of wild cane and extra clay mixed with sand and dirt had been dumped there from the excavation of the most recent dry well. Not wanting to deal with the army of ticks that patrol that wilderness, I simply scattered a box of very old wildflower seed along the edge and covered it with a light dusting of leftover compost. The zinnia were the only flowers to germinate and grow, though looking quite scraggly, they grew and bloomed... and bloomed... and bloomed, well into October with bright yellows, deep reds, hot pinks and Tennessee orange petals. They finally succumbed to the cold north wind of November, but it was the first snow of December that finished them off.

The zebra swallowtail visited the zinnia, as well as the other flowers in our garden. Its cousins, the black swallowtail and tiger swallowtail were more commonly sighted; perhaps we can include some of the "zebra's" host plants this year.

"Z" was a hard word... I haven't been to a "zoo" recently to see any "zebra" of the horse family, although sometimes it feels like we have our own "zoo" right here, or perhaps it should be called the "Ziegfeld" follies!

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Holly Bears A Berry...

Deciduous holly... winterberry, Norfolk Botanical Garden
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa
"The holly and the ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown
O' the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry harp
Sweet singing of the choir.

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good.
O' the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry harp
Sweet singing of the choir."
~ Cecil Sharp, The Holly and the Ivy ( 17th Century Christmas Carol)
"It was a grey and dismal day" it does seem to be so often in winter and without the clean blanket of white snow to offset the damp and rain. We have entered that time of year when you can "feel the bone structure in the landscape" (Andrew Wyeth) and when the trees clack and crack together as the strong north wind blows. Everything is gray.. the sky, the tree trunks, even the grass that tends to stay a greenish tinge all winter here, seems gray. And yet when you look closely, you can find pops of color here and there.

Now is the glory of the holly. We mostly think of the evergreen holly with the scalloped spiny leaves and red berries often tucked in between the leaves and visible only upon close inspection. But my favorites (besides the soft evergreen varieties) are the deciduous hollies or native winterberries. I have seen these grow into tree forms and in the midst of winter you can see group plantings of them with branches covered by bright red berries. When framed by a gray winter sky, these pop with red fire and warm the space around them. The roses and coneflowers may rule the summer... but these holly are the queens of winter.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Where Is My Weather Expert When I Need Her? Seattle, Of Course!

Sudden white out..... and I didn't catch it at its worst!

"The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it." ~ Patrick Young

Saturday's weather forecast was for temperatures in the low 40's... mostly sunny... no chance of precipitation. It started out that way. The little birds flocked to the recently filled bird feeders and the four resident squirrels that were so small last year and ... well, so squirrelly acting.. have grown and filled out and are now more persistent in their attempts to get up to the feeders; not successful, but persistent. I was anemically trying to get the Christmas decorations down, but my energy was really not into it and I found myself at the computer working on pictures and trying to figure out how to learn Lightroom and Photoshop CS5 that I got for Christmas.

Suddenly... and it really seemed sudden.. the light in the room faded to a dark gray and it wasn't so much this change that made me turn to look out the window, but rather the sound... a howling, swirling wind that whistled around the copper roof and rattled the windows... the north winter winds that often herald a change in weather. This sound of sudden wind made me turn and what I saw was remarkable... a total white out!

A snow burst.. short-lived...

I ran.. OK, I didn't run.. I hobbled.. downstairs and grabbed the camera to shoot these pictures. It was really a white out and the blowing was unbelievable... white snow flakes blowing sideways, plastering up against the northwest sides of the trees and on the fences and sides of the cars. I turned on the weather channel, local on the 8's and expected to see current conditions listed as "snow".. but, instead... "partly sunny". PARTLY SUNNY!? Look out the window! No sun anywhere.

Fifteen minutes worth of snow....

This "burst" continued for fifteen to twenty minutes, leaving the grass covered and the streets wet. The temperature never did reach the low 40's and when the snow started it was 37℉ but quickly fell to 33℉. The skies began to lighten and the snow slowed after that, with flurries for another hour. The wind died down a bit, although it could never be called calm. Another less heavy burst of snow occurred a few hours later... still, no mention of any chance of snow in the forecast.

According to the weather forecast.. this never happened! Posted by Picasa

The sudden snow was never acknowledged and the sun did eventually come out and it melted off most areas, but pelleted ice was still present on the hot tub lid come Sunday morning and the temperatures have been colder than forecast all weekend.. This burst must have been an anomaly but had it continued for even another hour, we would have had an inch or so of snow. And where was my weather expert when I needed her to check her menagerie of weather charts to help forecast this snow? Clear across the country on her way to Seattle.

Now, this huge snow and ice storm is crossing over the southern states and is into North Carolina already. We have no winter weather advisories or warnings in place. There is a forecast for light wintery mix but no indication of accumulation. Perhaps it won't make it this far... they say our temperatures will be too high for snow.. but then, they said that Saturday too. I think I should go out and get a bit of salt for the driveway and a snow shovel, just to make sure... What can it hurt? I think I should call Nyssa and see what her crystal ball says.

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Carmi's Theme ~ wet

Friday, January 07, 2011

Wet And Wild

Sprucing up or just playing around? Posted by Picasa

"You don't drown by falling in the water, you drown by staying there." ~ Edwin Cole
I don't know if this goose is just playing around with the water or really taking a bath. But the old saying is true... "like water off of a duck's back"... the water doesn't seem to get them that wet, what with the oily coating on each feather they so carefully preen and distribute to the very tips. It's like a natural wet suit for these water loving creatures.

With the colder weather this fall our full compliment of geese and ducks has returned. Canada geese are here all year and their numbers are multiplying, but others migrate in and out. We live sort of sandwiched in between two golf courses and a preserve and are about five miles from the northeastern edge of the Great Dismal Swamp. Along the main east-west (sort of) road, the golf course has a long and narrow pond. When we have the remnants of tropical storms or nor'easters with ten or twelve inches of rain, this pond overflows and has even flooded the road. Water expands to fill the adjacent sand traps as well. With this fall's cold temperatures after Thanksgiving ice formed around the edges and in the shaded spots.

Here the seagulls, ducks and geese gather, somedays it looks like a huge church congregation. The Canada geese first meet and have breakfast on the golf course.. bits of grass ... or they are across the road at the community college at another restaurant. Usually there is a group of twenty or so smaller ducks, huddled on the sand in long rows two or three deep... they are the choir in practice. A few mallards float on the calm waters... they just keep together in family groups or the never ending pursuit of two males after one female. One or two crane watch the proceedings from a rock at the edge... keeping to themselves. And the seagulls make their dissonant noise... often drowning out the choir. Eventually, the Canada geese gather into one force, waddling across the four lane road and stopping traffic in the process. The group floats quietly on the pond... and the service begins.

As with their human counterparts... the attendance at these services seems greater in the winter... I guess they are all at the beach in the summer. I haven't been back to Mt. Trashmore since we moved to Chesapeake... I wonder how their attendance is going?

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Carmi's Theme ~ Wet
See It Sunday ~ Birds

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Lighting Our Path

Lighting the path to the future.... Posted by Picasa

"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." ~ Ben Sweetland
I remember being in New Year's Eve services where the congregation took small white candles held in crude paper holders to catch the hot wax drippings and formed a large chain around the sanctuary. Near midnight the organ would start to play an old hymn and we would begin to sing while the leaders in front began to light their candles. Each person received the flame and passed it on around until all were basking in the golden light. Voices raised together to ring in the New Year.

I've seen candlelight gatherings in remembrance of loved ones lost, vastly different from the joy of a new year and yet it seems even more appropriate. Sadness can become oppressive and all light seems gone from life..but the lit candle, even if only one or two, brings light back. The light dispels the darkness just enough to let us see and process our memories and remember with joy those that have left us.

This particular gathering is a tradition at William and Mary. The night before graduation the Seniors gather for humorous speeches, serious speeches, songs and a general good time... with snacks of course. They gather in front of the Wren building in cap and gown.... at the very end, the candles carried by each graduate are lit... from one to another.. they are lifted high and in one voice they sing the Alma Mater. These lights are hopeful, lights to show the way to the future as well as to remember their time spent here. I've wondered which tradition my daughter loved best at William and Mary... perhaps she'll tell me sometime. I thought this was lovely and was thrilled to have been there.

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Thursday Challenge

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Rosemary For Remembrance

Rosemary and holly...Colonial Williamsburg Christmas spray. Posted by Picasa

"Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour. " ~ John Boswell
I was strolling through my Christmas pictures from Colonial Williamsburg and down the lane lined with memories associated with each one. This particular arrangement had been passed by and passed over many times without a pause to study or reflect on its beauty. Perhaps it was that this was the first summer past that I had really gardened at our new house or perhaps I simply had not noticed the rosemary before, thinking the greenery, often overlooked, was simply some other form of evergreen... at any rate, the rosemary suddenly lunged out of the screen and grabbed me.

The Colonial Williamsburg wreaths are all made of natural materials that grow in the area... except for the pineapples, I think they ship them in and did so even in Colonial times. I'm used to seeing wreaths of pine and fir and even magnolia leaves but it never occurred to me that rosemary would make such a lovely arrangement. I planted a bush rosemary and an upright rosemary in the flowerbeds and in a patio pot this summer and have discovered that they thrive in the cooler temperatures of fall and even winter. When most of the other plants have lost their color, the rosemary, sage, parsley and even the fennel (minus the black swallowtail caterpillars) has weathered the cold and the snow.

More sturdy than the fine feathery yarrow leaves and yet more delicate than the stiff and sticky fir, the rosemary finds that balance to support the strawflowers, red holly berries, lotus pods, golden yarrow and that one dried artichoke in the center. I think it is a lovely spray and what a heavenly fragrance as well. Rosemary is considered the herb of remembrance; how could I have passed it over so many times?
"As for rosemary, I let it run all over my garden walls, not only because my bees love it but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance and to friendship, whence a sprig of it hath a dumb language." ~ Sir Thomas More
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