On a cloudy, showery day
with overcast and gloomy skies,
the wooded spaces have a certain gleam –
an otherworldly brightness
in contrast to the dark.
As spring returns,
the ghost trees linger:
holding tight to leaves from yesteryear –
no sign of green among them,
only sun-bleached transparency remains.
Are they reluctant to let go
of memories of warmer times
and sunnier, carefree days –
or are they protecting the tiny buds
that soon will come, again?
Either way, they know and value
the reason for their existence –
providing a sheltered place in the forest
filled with life and growth –
for that which was, and also is to come.
American beech trees hold tightly to their dead fall leaves until the new spring buds are ready to open and start anew.
Our local Library Foundation supports the work of the six libraries in our county system. The board members work to gather support for programs above and beyond what public monies can supply. (With 75% of our taxes going to education, the library shares what remains with roads, recreation, law enforcement, utilities, etc…)
Our next event is a reception for the second annual Student Art Show. One piece of fourth grade art from each of the thirty schools in our county was submitted by the school’s art teacher. These pieces will be framed and displayed in the local libraries for the next year. This is a project that spotlights the art programs in the schools, and adds happy child-created art to the library spaces.
Here are a few pieces from last year:
One of our board members suggested that everything we do should have a connection to the written word, since that is what we are promoting at the library. What a great idea!
So, we are excited to have Linda Ragsdale, an author/illustrator, joining us to help the students (and adults!) make the connection between art and literacy, and to show how art is part of the “real world” beyond school years. Linda has an enthusiastic and encouraging spirit, as well as a touching life story. She is the founder of the Peace Dragon project, and you can read more about her here.
If you happen to be in Franklin, TN on April 6, come join us in our celebration!
Last fall is was our privilege to host the rehearsal dinner for our friend’s son. There are many reasons why this was a special opportunity for us, but suffice it to say that this friend is a treasure.
So we set to work to get our house and yard in order for the 70+ guests. One of the things I did to prepare for the party was “refresh” the plants in my outdoor pots. (That means I mostly threw out many of the spindly, ragged specimens and purchased new ones. These are not easy to find in early fall.)
One pot I filled with two beautiful “coral bell” plants. The lime green and plum were a perfect combination. This pot hung on our porch, and I was pleased to note during our warm winter that it never died. Recently it has begun its spring growth, and is looking better than ever.
Now when I look at this plant, it reminds me of that fun evening (with no rain – an answer to prayer!), and the cute couple celebrating their marriage, and mostly our sweet friend who was so pleased with how things turned out.
I am thankful for the privilege we had to do what friends do.
My ideas are a little scarce today and I am short on time (leaving for a day-long visit with my precious aunt) so I am going to share someone else’s words that have been speaking to me.
Each month in the Nashville Arts magazine, Marshall Chapman, a local singer/songwriter, has a column called “Beyond Words.”
This month she begins by asking, “Where does that first heartbeat come from?“ From there she shares how she felt when she first learned about infinity. Then at the end she wrote these inspiring thoughts, about songwriting – and writing for all of us:
It’s hard to explain where songs come from. I often say, “My songs are smarter than I am.” And that’s true, in a way. Because the really good ones don’t come from us. They come through us. I’ve also said, “The hardest part about writing is creating the space so it can happen.”
And every now and then, if you’re open to it and the stars and planets are lined up just so, something great will present itself. And whenever that happens, it’s like seeing infinity. Or hearing that first heartbeat.
I encourage you to read the entire column here. Meanwhile, I am going to keep trying to get out of the way, so that, perhaps, something can present itself, and come through me.
We have lived in our house for 12 years. We love the floor plan, the location, the neighbors, and the size of the yard. We have made it our own (after a lot of work). It is HOME.
All our bedrooms are upstairs. It is not an issue for us now, but our fourteen-year-old dog has some problems with the stairs. And one day we may, too.
We have been blessed to be able to “build” (have built for us) three houses. And we have also renovated three other houses that were built by someone else (including where we live now). Each had its challenges, and its rewards.
It isn’t time for us to make a move, and we aren’t considering it right now. (Good thing, since property values are so very high and prohibitive in our area right now.) But every once in a while it does cross our minds.
Here is a renovated home for sale in our area:
There is such a sense of place, and history, and established trees, and the pleasure of preservation, and carrying forward – all are involved with bringing an older house back to life.
Here is a newer home that is also for sale:
The builders have chosen a classic style with current detailed touches and an open floor plan. It speaks of roots, and being established, and sturdy materials, and practical usefulness.
Which one appeals more to you?
A bad habit is developing in the evenings at our house. I have been eating a small (truly very small) dish of vanilla bean ice cream. It is plain and natural and soothing to my digestion. There are (I reason with myself) much worse things that I could be consuming.
But it is becoming a habit.
Yet I continue almost every night.
To make things worse, now I am wishing for a topping. Not just any topping, but one remembered from my past. Something that isn’t made anymore. I can see it, smell it, almost taste it now. But I can never eat it again.
PDQ – Pretty Darn Quick – was a mix of flavored beads and chips that could be mixed with milk or sprinkled over ice cream. The chocolate milk was good – but oh! – that ice cream! Crunchy, chocolatey morsels that added just the right amount of interest and delight to plain vanilla ice cream. PDQ was made by Ovaltine, but it was discontinued in the late 1990’s. I have missed it for a long time.
It also came in strawberry and eggnog flavors. I never tasted either of those. I never wanted to! But the eggnog mix had many fans, including my father.
Here is some interesting news I discovered while searching for a picture:
The closest thing available now is Benco Instant Choco Drink which is manufactured in The Netherlands and sold in Europe. It tastes very similar to the PDQ Chocolate drink mixes.
And it apparently can be purchased on E-bay. Maybe I’ll try to get some…
I guess sometimes wishes really can come true!
The Bradford pear tree does not enjoy the favored stature that it once had.
There was a time when people planted them everywhere and couldn’t get enough of their lacy white blooms and beautiful oval shape. A neighboring community was just developing its town center back then and planted these trees all over, knowing they would grow quickly and fill out symmetrically. They even had a spring Pear Festival in their honor.
Now they have fallen from that favor and are dismissed, even disgraced, for their smelly aroma and their tendency to split and break apart over time.
Some, however, seem stronger than others. Maybe they are a different variety, or were planted in better soil, or are out of harm’s way when the winds blow through. This tree-lined driveway takes my breath away when viewed with sunlight pouring through its newborn blossoms. (I was a little late in snapping a photo this year.)
On one side of our sloping lake property these Bradford pears prove that some CAN withstand the winds that blow.
Bent but not broken. (The trees look better than the fence.)