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Archive for March, 2014

A Visit to Maryland

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.

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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.

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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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Despite the fact that things continue to happen and be written about and considered during this month, despite the fact that we have had a few warm days and my witch hazel is finally in bloom as of late last Thursday afternoon, there is a sense of ever diminishing energy. I don’t only feel this myself but I am seeing it in blogdom, too. Not everywhere, but in some places, many of the ones I regularly read. It may be related to the weather, or to this liminal place between winter and the real feeling that spring has begun – that feeling is not quite here yet.

What has happened:

Nathan’s cub scout troop had an outing at a local indoor rock climbing place. He did wonderfully. Stephen tried too, but the hand and foot holds are spaced for longer legs than a three year has. However, the five inches of shredded rubber at the base gave him and another younger brother lots of fun jumping about.

Note: Nathan is in the dark blue t-shirt and black slacks with white stripes.

Nathan March 2014 kendalll cliffs

Nathan march 2014 top of cliffs kendall cliffs with cub scouts

Stephen march 2014 rock climbing kendall cliffs

Nathan March 2014 stilt walker award

Nathan got an “A” on his Albert Einstein report but this was a distant second to the pride he felt at finally getting his stilt walker certificate.
I remember my grandfather making me stilts of two different sizes when I was about Nathan’s age. How I loved walking about on them…….

Today is a national holiday in Hungary. I remember our excitement in 1992 when we were there on our first sabbatical since the fall of communism and our friend Ercsényi András led us to all the events, the actor on the steps of the National museum reciting Petőfi Sándor’s famous, “Talpra magyar, hí a haza ! Itt az idő, most vagy soha ! Rabok legyünk, vagy szabadok ? Ez a kérdés, válasszatok ! A magyarok istenére. Esküszünk, Esküszünk …”, to paliament square for more speeches and parades. The whole city seemed out celebrating, except for those hanging our their balcony windows to see the scenes below. I wish you all that is good, dear Hungary!

http://visitbudapest.travel/budapest-events/march-15th-national-holiday/ – read more about today’s events here.

Budapest march 2014 nemzeti

Budapest march 2014

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I have been “wasting time” as some would say, though I am not one of them. Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way advocated taking oneself on an “artist’s date” and that’s what I’ve been doing today, though without ever leaving my little quilting/computer room. A lot of Cameron’s ideas may seem overblown, but the morning pages and the artist’s date have helped me a lot at various times.

(I began writing this yesterday. Today I’ve spent the entire day with my grandchildren which is another sort of artist’s date.)

An artist’s date is going somewhere (or not) and looking at or hearing or experiencing something that satisfies something and inspires you to something. It can be anything, a walk in a woods, a trip to a museum, looking at fabric shops – anything. It can be reading poetry or listening to beautiful music or to the laughter of children.

Yesterday I was looking at the covers of women’s magazines from the 1920s. I enjoy this kind of art, chocolate boxy though some may call it. It has a domestic appeal and a lovely line and good color when it is being well done. And it makes me want to draw or do watercolor. At the very least, it makes me feel happy. So I hope you will enjoy a few happy magazine covers from long ago and therefore, far away.

Here are a few examples:

mags 20s bhg oct 27

mags 20s bhg aug 28

mags 20s gh  june 1930

There is a theme here – Spring and warmer, more flowery days are ahead….Today was in the mid-60s though tomorrow we may have snow though there is little agreement on how much. But at this time of year these snows don’t bother me because I believe them to be short-lived.

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Random Local News

Temperatures have arrived which are more normal for this time of year. Yesterday reached 60degrees Faherenheit, or 15.5 celcius. This weekend we begin daylight savings time. We are nearing the end of The Winter of our Discontent. I hope.

Thursday Alice, Stephen, Andy and I drove down to Wayne and Holmes counties looking for a desk for Andy. The main place we looked was Schlabach Furniture on Harrison Road in Apple Creek. They have lovely furniture which you can order in different woods and stains. The place is lit by solar power and what I think of as camping lights, gas with a mantle. They do take credit cards and will power up a generator to run the machine for this.

Schlabach Furniture logo

Schlabach furniture room

Sad to say Andy did not find anything he liked at a price he liked, so I think he is going to buy his new desk from Office Max. Stephen enjoyed all the rocking horses and kid sized rocking chairs. And then we drove on to Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen for a buffet lunch. We really must remember that Thursday is a bad day to do this since it is the horse auction day in Kidron and so many people move on to Mrs. Yoder’s for lunch. But the wait was not that long, and we enjoyed a lovely lunch.

Alice and Mike once had a very special dinner there. Mike is on the board of the Red Cross in northeast Ohio and rather surprisingly the Amish are one of the largest group of blood donors. So Alice and Mike were at a special dinner with Amish bishops from the area and their wives (of whom Mrs. Yoder is one). There was a prize of either a new car or a new custom designed buggy and since the winner was a young Amishman, he was very happy to have the buggy.

Alice, in what she calls a moment of madness, volunteered to build a new clothes rack for the pre-school Stephen attends. This is a clothes rack where various outfits and hats and accesories are stored for the children to use in playing imaginative pretend games – it has princess and police outfits, cowboy hats, wizard hats, fire-person hats, and so on. I think it turned out wonderfully.

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I had a new post yesterday, but removed it when I realized all the photos were the wrong ones. And I had no desire to begin again.
But today is another day. A sunny day, though a good thirty degrees colder than yesterday. I had decided, sadly, that March had come in like a lamb yesterday.

Animal lamb

I am ready for spring. Most years my witch hazel would be blooming. February is its month to bloom, but as I look out the window I see big buds, but no raggedy flowers yet.
And every day I see photos of spring flowers on some of the European blogs I read, violets clustered around the base of trees, primroses making their world more sunny and fragrant, hyacinth and snowdrops. And I can buy them at the florists or grocery store, even now. A friend had a beautiful bouquet of cheerful daffodils for St. David’s Day. Not a surprise, really. Her husband’s family is from Wales.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But sad to say, our March was positively lamb-like yesterday and that means it will go out like a lion. I imagine this year will be the sort when we have some serious snow storms in April. But spring will come! Yes, it will! And I will be so filled with happiness when it does. Not that I ever react to spring with anything like indifference. It is always a miracle. No other season is met with such joy. The glories of autumn are shadowed by what we know lies ahead, and so is the first snowfall. But lovely spring is the entire world come back to life, mine at least, and I do not share Edna St. Vincent Millay’s disdain for it.

Spring

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
April
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

When I was young and in the springtime of my own life, I thought this dramatic bit of pessimism full of power and truth. But now that I myself am on a downhill slope which does not lead to April, I love the coming of Spring and the cycle of life!

But in the meantime, we will dwell with lions for a while to come. Might as well make friends with them as best we can. And think of them as ornaments on the door to Spring.

lion venetian door knocker

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