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Archive for April, 2011

Blue Dragon by Reich Karoly my favorite Hungarian children's book illustrator

Joy! Joy! Joy!

I have good news on Good Friday….All my test results came back with no signs of cancer, and I am happy but tired with all that’s gone on this week.

The images are just ones that make me happy, slightly giddily happy, with my good news. My spirit is jumping up and down with glee!

I wish everyone who celebrates it a Blessed and Joyful Easter!

End papers designed by Grant Wood

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Wood block print by Hiroshige sometimes called Thunderstorm at Ohasi

Today’s weather is best described by the Hungarian word “Szomorkas” which is pronounced so’ more kahsh, and is related to the word “szomoru” which means sad.

Szomorkas is the concept of sadness applied to weather.  I suppose in English the word “gloomy” comes closest.

It is dark and rainy and we are having those showers that are said to bring May flowers. Like most people I resonate more happily to sunshine pouring down over the land!

On the other hand, I have two books from the library about the wonderful woodblock prints of Hiroshige, the perceptive and skillful Japanese print maker who created so many prints about the beauty of rainy or snowy days.  I find that when I really look at the rain, especially now when I often see the golden blaze of a Forsythia bush behind the gray, or the bright coral of Japanese Quince (ok, this won’t actually be blooming for a time yet, but I can imagine and I can remember) I  find myself moved by the subtle beauty of the rain bringing the earth back to life…..I hear in my mind Portia speaking of mercy which “droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.”  I’m not speaking of the horrors of tornadoes, but just that too often unappreciated “gentle rain”.

Do you see how Hiroshige usually has some bright more intense color to contrast with the rain?

I am having a very quiet day.  Yesterday was another PET/CT scan and I’ll have the results on Friday.  Today I’m tired and perhaps this rain suits my mood perfectly, a little melancholy yet perfectly happy, watching the rain.

Hiroshige Evening Rain at Tadasugawara

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It is slightly better, but I have no idea why wordpress is putting my two posts side by side with the earlier one so very narrow. No idea at all………

This comment is after trying to do yet another post for an experiment, just adding 5 images with captions. The format was changed to a slightly better but still incorrect one and only one image was published with all the captions under it. I give up for now.

Third comment yet later: Just realized that all the pictures from the first April 15th didn’t appear but one extra caption is under a different picture.

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Helleborus orientalis in one of its many colors

I am so lucky. I really am.  There was a lot of chaos in my earliest years, but I grew up in a place of great natural beauty among people who truly appreciated that and I had remarkable freedom to explore it all.  It led to a deep connection with what we call “nature” as though we were somehow separate from it, which is not what I believe, and that has been a strength and richness all my life, even now when I can’t walk as far as I used to because of arthritis. (I’m hoping that will change some day, but first things first.

Yesterday I walked just around my own house looking for signs of spring and finding them all about.

Cornus Mas (Cornelian Cherry)

I’ll  post some of the pictures here and hope for the best. I did this post yesterday and it ended up hopelessly entangled with the previous one. I hope that doesn’t happen here….

I’ve always gardened, visited garden, was garden editor for a local magazine for more than seventeen years and belonged to herb societies and perennial societies and somehow maintained gardens in Ohio and upstate New York, though neither were quite well enough cared for.

Our family walked in parks and forests all during the time of my children growing up and now they do the same with their children. I really believe in the things that Richard Louv says in his book Last Child in the Woods, saving our children from nature deficit disorder.  When this connection is established early in life it is a treasure forever.  And if it isn’t I think something is lost for an entire life…

One of my daughters is an ecologist, another very connected with our local CSA farm (as I am) and my grandson just came back from the first meeting of Tiny Tillers, one of the groups he belongs to at the farm, with a little “habitat” he made and has put outside to see if anything will come live there. We’re lucky to live near the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It was established, first as a national recreation center, the year before we moved to this area, in ’75. And if it had not been saved this way, it would probably be full of housing developments. Everytime we go there we see lots of people of all ages, sorts and conditions, enjoying this gift.

pussy willow in pollen behind a blue holly

Nathan's Habitat

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Photo from the deck spring of 2008

The apple blossom is not out yet, but I have a feeling it won’t be terribly long now, given the warmth of the last two days! Yesterday the temps were in the 80s. Alice and her family went for a long up and down hike in Hampton Hills and were terribly too warm! It’s always like that when we suddenly have too much of a jump into almost summer. It’s been raining a lot so I haven’t gone out to take any photos and am tired of doing this through screens! But soon……

Every year I long for spring and when it comes I realize how much work there is to do outside! It’s a big shock.  We still have a lovely Irish juniper which fell over outside the deck. It’s too wet to have it dragged away, so it will be a feature for a while, something for my dog’s leash to become entangled in whenever he’s out.

I have jury duty this week and phone every evening to see whether I need to show up at the courthouse. Today I don’t, but I have a feeling I may tomorrow. A few weeks from now my son has jury duty. It’s a feature that comes with voting which we always do.

I’ve been waiting for some inspiration to strike and give me a topic for blogging.  Not much yet. Or it’s just my mood in this warm and darkly overcast day. Saturday night I went with friends to see Les Mis at Playhouse Square in Cleveland. It was truly wonderful, the entire evening. I was somewhat amazed that one couple brought their kindergarten aged daughter to see this play which is rather long and rather dark, but she was beautifully behaved.  When I asked her which part she enjoyed much, and who she would be if she could join the cast, I was slightly surprised to hear that Madame Thenardier was her choice on both counts. But she is, after all, the most colorful character and I doubt that little Anna really understood much of the plot.

Madame Thenardier, similar costume but not the actress I saw Saturday

I really must go out soon and photograph the lovely daffodils and the Cornelian Cherry tree. My pussy willows are mostly yellow with pollen now, and the spring witch hazel well past it’s prime. But crocuses and glory of the snow are still lovely.

I hope to have something more coherent to post soon, but didn’t want to let too long a time go with nothing.

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White Bird of Paradise blooms just outside the lanai screen

I arrived back in Ohio late on Thursday after what seemed like a day of traveling. I arrived back to mornings of 32 degrees fahrenheit with heat waves  in the 40s after a month of 80 degree weather. Back to more painful joints than I’ve been having, which confuses me because the humidity isn’t so different.

But also back to Andy and Bo, to little mouse Basil and the gerbil buddies, Master Tesla and Marconi.  It is indeed good to be back, but I still have a few pictures from the yard in Venice to share with you.

oranges and lemons........oops. We picked the lemons.

It was a really lovely vacation and I’ve already paid a deposit for next March. I know you can’t bathe in the same stream twice, but I think we can enjoy the similar environment. Or so I hope. We’ll all be a year older, God willing. Who really knows what changes will be, since that’s the name of the game, but I hope the ocean and the beach will still bring as much happiness to all of us.

My landlord keeps telling me that he is installing some beautiful tile on the floor of the bedroom I used and every time he says it I think, “the better to fall on, my dear”. But no mind. We’ll just have to be more careful!

Dolphins on the bottom of the pool

the empty lot next door

When I returned home and began to look through the mail I was thrilled to receive a beautiful photo book from my wonderful son in law in Pennsylvania (both my sons in law are wonderful!) which was titled Florida 2011. It’s full of photos from the trip. Emily was posting all the pictures she and Alice and I took each day to their flicker account and before she was even home he had begun the book as a sort of thank you. This was wonderful because I do notice that now that everyone (just about) is using digital cameras and saving the images on their computer, we aren’t getting all the prints made we used to. I think I have more than 300 prepaid prints with snapfish, and I must get busy and order some, but uploading them seems somewhat time consuming! Very likely there is a much better way to do this than my way! However, getting the photo books is a wonderful alternative! I have quite a few now that I have gotten as gifts and I love every one!

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