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Art blue water

Thirst

Another morning and I wake with thirst
for the goodness I do not have. I walk
out to the pond and all the way God has
given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,
I was never a quick scholar but sulked
and hunched over my books past the hour
and the bell; grant me, in your mercy,
a little more time. Love for the earth
and love for you are having such a long
conversation in my heart. Who knows what
will finally happen or where I will be sent,
yet already I have given a great many things
away, expecting to be told to pack nothing,
except the prayers which, with this thirst,
I am slowly learning.

twilight silhouette

— Mary Oliver, Thirst,
Beacon Press, Boston, 2006

This is just a version of “Kids say the Darnedest Things” in which I bore or amuse you with two tales of my grandson Stephen’s interesting (to me, at least) use of words.

When Nathan was this age (three) he was fascinated with all things to do with Knights on horseback who carried swords and rescued damsels in distress from fire-breathing dragons. (In fact you may remember me posting a story here about five years ago, when Nathan was playing knight on his spring horse, going to rescue Alice who was the languishing princess. To our great delight he pulled his toy cell phone from his pocket, held it to his mouth, and shouted, “Hold on Princess, I’m almost there”). Stephen doesn’t have the same intense interest in medieval customs, but Tuesday morning when we were playing he had me help him put on the cape I had bought years ago for Nathan.

Stephen knights cape april 2014

He then proclaimed proudly, “Now I am a Knightmare!”

You may remember that we have a summer cottage at Lake Chautauqua in western New York. One of the attractions there is a paddle wheel steam boat called The Chautauqua Belle. Alice told me this afternoon that Stephen was sobbing in the car late this morning because she declined to take him to Chautaco Bell for lunch. (Taco Bell is an American fast food place that sells Mexican style food.)

Stephen chautaco bell 2 april 2014

My Hometown –

I was actually born in Cleveland, Ohio, though I grew up in a western suburb called first Fairview Village and then Fairview Park when it was discovered there was another Fairview Village in a distant part of the state…….

And now I live nearly a half an hour drive south, but actually the land between Cleveland and Akron is pretty continuously one metropolitan area by now. When we first moved here, nearly forty years ago, there were a few farms in between but though there are some farms in the National Park, they are rather special.

I was just inspired to write any of this because of a photo I saw of the Cleveland State University (the University where my husband was a professor of computer science and I and two of my children graduated) rowing team. It is a view from the water which I have not often seen.

CSU rowing team march 2014

So even though we live far south of Cleveland now, we’ve all spent a good deal of our lives in the city itself. We go to the theater there and sometimes to the beautiful parks that encircle it like an emerald necklace. And though we get too little sunshine, it’s a good place to live, or have in ones life.

One of the most special signs of spring around my neck of the woods is the Bath Road heronry which we drive by on our way to the Natatorium in Cuyahoga Falls where I do water exercises. Down at the lowest point in the valley is a grove of Sycamore trees in a sort of swamp where may be seen many heron nests and adult birds flying back and forth with large sticks in their beaks. It’s quite impressive and the park has a special place for people to pull off the road and watch and photograph the nesting birds. We didn’t stop today but drove by slowly, very happy to see the birds were in their usual spots, despite the fact that last year and this year some of the sycamores have fallen over due to the waterlogged quality of the land and the high winds we’ve been having.

There were some copyright free photos on the park’s website which I think you will enjoy, or at least, I hope you will.

Birds gbh spring 2014 nesting on bath road

There are two nesting sites in the park, and the one shown above is on Bath Road which I have driven over thousands of times. The other is called Piney Narrows, but I’ve never been there. I was surprised to learn that the first nesting in this area began only in 1985. But I am so glad that it did begin. This park is a joy and a blessing for everyone who lives here and has visitors from all around the country.

birds gbh arriving with stick march 2014

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is about 33,000 acres of land running north to south and there are about 140 heron nests here.

Birds gbh heron pair on station road

M1955.14.1?Arc And Dove, Watercolor by John Moll

The Ark and the Dove, the first ships from England to land in Maryland.

The coast of Maryland is being made beautiful by the presence of all of my children and grandchildren except for Andy. Alice has sent me photos of their visit… It is warmer there but as rainy as it is here.
However, that didn’t stop them from taking a long walk all around the St. Mary’s campus, even down to the site that marks the original landing of The Ark and The Dove.

“Maryland Day commemorates March 25, 1634. On that day, settlers disembarked from two small sailing ships – the Ark and the Dove – on to Maryland soil. At St. Clement’s Island, they landed in what is now St. Mary’s County, Maryland.

The Maryland settlement was authorized under the charter granted June 20, 1632, by Charles I of England to Cecilius Calvert, Baron of Baltimore. Traveling on the Ark to the new colony, Leonard Calvert, Lord Baltimore’s brother, led the Maryland settlers. The purpose of their voyage was not to discover new lands but to settle them. And, as it happened, they journeyed from island to island to find their new world.

Departing on November 22, 1633, these travelers (about 140 in number) set off from Cowes on the English Isle of Wight. Three days later a severe storm tossed them relentlessly about at sea. The morning after, the Dove (the smaller ship) could not be seen. The Ark continued its journey, following the European coast south to the Fortunate (now Canary) Islands. From the Canaries, the Ark sailed due west across the Atlantic, touching land at the island of Barbadoes in the West Indies on January 3, 1633/4. There, the ship’s weary travelers stayed three weeks replenishing provisions, and there the Dove reappeared, having weathered the Atlantic voyage alone. At other Caribbean isles they also landed, and then sailed north. They reached Virginia on February 27th, gathered more supplies, and navigated Chesapeake Bay north to the mouth of the Potomac by March 3rd.

As these voyagers approached southern Maryland shores in March 1634, their ships alarmed Native Americans, who sent alerts with huge signal fires. To meet the Conoy Indian chief and calm Indian fears, Leonard Calvert on the Dove sailed to Piscataway. There, they negotiated a peaceable accord, and then Calvert sailed back down the Potomac off present-day St. Mary’s County. On March 25th, the English settlers climbed down from the Ark and the Dove and rowed to the island which they named St. Clement’s. They held a day of thanksgiving for their safe voyage end, and we continue to commemorate it as Maryland Day. “

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Later, Stephen was photographed on a daffodil trail in St. Mary’s.

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I hadn’t realized that we are so close to Maryland Day. I feel rather attached to this state now that my daughter and her family are living there and I’ve visited several times.

I’ll be going there at the end of April, or early May, for my granddaughters’ ballet recital. Meanwhile their grandmother from Bavaria is coming for a long visit.

I’m having difficulties with this Windows 8 system again, or I would show you photos of the snowdrops around my yard. It’s a gray day but a blooming one.

They are always short-lived.

One always knows that winter has lost and warmth is spreading over the face of the land. The small shoots of green are rising from their sleep.

And so, the snow can be enjoyed because we know it will not stay.

For a time this afternoon I could barely see to the end of the back yard. But now it has stopped and the sun is warming each snow decorated branch and twig.

Soon there will be snowdrops all about, and crocuses, sweet violets, hyacinth, and our own daffodils.

snowdrops

Soon we will be able to walk the Daffodil Trail and see some of the more than 40,000 daffodils planted there in our Summit County park. I hope I remember my camera! This beautiful park began at the edge of the property of our first home on Fox Run Drive in Richfield, Ohio, and we could walk through the woods for nearly an hour and through the daffodil trails and also, in good time , look down on a river of Virginia Blue Bells blooming alongside Furnace Run Creek. It won’t be long now.

Today Nathan’s school had an event to go with the biographies they had worked on.

Each person represented the person they had reported on and dressed up to look like them and stood in front of a background for that person.

There was a button on the wall, and if you pressed it (just a button crayoned on the background) they gave their report for you, as a waxworks model might.

Nathan March 2014 Einstein

He did a great job, and so did the others. Alice tried to get an Einstein wig for her son, but the shop was out of them and she made do with Mark Twain hair and mustache…….

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