Happy Valentine’s Day.
What are some of your favorite love stories?
Posted in Family and friends, Just for fun, movies, tagged An Affair to Remember, Bringing Up Baby, Rear Window, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Shop Around the Corner, Shrek, The Magic of Ordinary Days, You've Got Mail on Friday, February 13, 2015 | 20 Comments »
Happy Valentine’s Day.
What are some of your favorite love stories?
Posted in movies, Nature/animals, tagged Alberta Clipper, angel rays, Bitersweet, Evelyn Doyle, Evelyn the movie, Jan Karon, Petersen's Field Guide to Eastern Birds' Nests, Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good, sunshine on a Saturday morning on Saturday, January 24, 2015 | 15 Comments »
Those angel rays brushed the kitchen cabinets, rendering them a honey brown. Down the narrow hall they slid. They drifted from the skylights, casting shadows on the walls. It was a sunnyside up sort a day, so welcome and warm that I did not mind that the sunbeams accented the cobwebs that have chosen corners from which to hang. The sun has made such infrequent appearances this winter that it is pure joy to see her rays on this January day – especially with the ominous prediction of an Alberta clipper about to descend upon the Great Lakes region.
Our sunny day will be a bittersweet memory come Sunday morning. I think I’ll worry about the snow when it comes and just enjoy the goodwill of sunlight today, sipping something warm, perhaps, and enjoying a dollop or two of lemon curd on an English muffin, while I read Jan Karon’s new book, “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good”, which I have on seven day loan from the library.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ll take a walk about the Cutoff, with this wonderful little book in hand, a gift from a very dear friend. Perhaps I can tell the Cape Cods and Georgians of the nesting world and determine who has been living in the trees, pondering their return from the south as soon as warmer winds start blowing.
It’s all in the little things, my friend; like angel rays and birds nests, lemon curd and bittersweet.
I Come in the Little Things
. . . I come in the little things, Saith the Lord:
Yea! on the glancing wings
Of eager birds, the softly pattering feet
Of furred and gentle beasts, I come to meet
Your hear and wayward heart. In brown bright eyes
That peep from out the brake, I stand confest.
On every nest
Where feathery Patience is content to brood
And leaves her pleasure for the high emprize
Of motherhood . . .
. . . I come in the little things, Saith the Lord . . .
Checking out the “chipper chicken” in the middle refrigerated case of Marianno’s, I heard someone calling from across the case . ” .. .enny, I haven’t seen you in years, how are you?“.
She was looking at me, gesticulating gleefully, as one tends to do upon a chance encounter with someone from their past. “Do you like your new house?”. She was talking to me.
I had absolutely no idea who she was.
I’ve lived a life where more people seem to know me than I them. It is what it is. I’ve learned to roll with it. I can have a conversation with a hard boiled egg.
“Yes. Love it, but, miss my friends and neighbors of so many years“.
“We miss you too.”
Pause. Smiles. Chicken choices.
“I don’t think I know you. I thought you were an old neighbor.”
“It happens” I said. “I’ve done it myself.”
Someone chuckled behind me: a kindred spirit who had likely been on either side of such a conversation herself; or, was it the butcher? We laughed, the two of us, strangers in the supermarket – and proceeded to chat for fifteen minutes. We set the world right, as women all over are wont to do whilst shopping for their evening’s supper. Has this ever happened to you?
My earliest childhood memories are muted in black and white with my cousin Ted nearby. He was a constant playmate in the large brick two-flat in which our family lived. The house on Congress Street was filled with family; aunts and uncles and cousins, my parents and sister, and my Yia Yia. The photos are many of Teddy and Penny with Christmas presents, sitting on Santa’s lap at Marshall Field’s, and some with a Christmas tree in the background.
There are stories, too, of Christmases past, especially the one where my dad conjured up Santa Clause talking to Teddy and me through the heating ducts. “Penny. Teddy.” the voice boomed. “Have you been good?“, our toddler heads pumping yes up and down like bobble headed dolls. The masterful storytellers that wove the stories year after year are now long gone, but the tales, they linger on.
That magical junction where Christmas memories become my own merge in our small house on Harrison Street in Maywood. The lively cast of characters still played their roles, but, in separate houses next to each other, with my Yia Yia living in our house.
The magic of Christmas began in the early morning under the same Congress Street Christmas tree, which followed us to the suburbs. The tree has a story of her own that I will tell one day.
On Christmas morn, at the foot of tree, were two felt stockings, their toes rounded and plump with an orange in each toe; one stocking for my sister and one for me. Inside the stockings were trinkets befitting young girls of the 1950’s; a necklace or bracelet, a candy cane, a toy. My stocking was decorated in pink with a ballerina appliqué on it; proof that Santa has a sense of humor.
It did not really matter to me what my stocking held. What mattered was that the stocking appeared each year – and that it was filled to bulging with a fragrant orange. We had those stockings every Christmas Day in the morning throughout my childhood. As we grew older, the stockings were filled with other small treasures, evolving as we did, until they held such things as lip gloss and oval, plastic eggs holding Legg’s pantyhose.
What I remember the most, however, are the oranges and it is oranges (or tangerines or Clementines these days that evoke Christmas memories in me.
Ma gave each of us our Christmas stockings to keep when we were on our own. When Tom and I married, I bought us new, matching stockings that we would fill for each other. How fun it would be to come home from work or awake in the morning to find our stockings a little fuller as the days until Christmas neared. What could that little wrapped box mean? or that odd shaped tissue paper lump?
When our children came along, they each had a stocking of their own, which, each in their turn was filled as well. When they became engaged, a Christmas stocking appeared for each of our then future sons-in-law, and those stockings followed each couple into their own marriages.
The constant in my Christmas stocking(s) has always been an orange; with its taste and scent and nostalgia. Besides, how else does that toe in the stocking become full?
There is a heartwarming and sensitive movie; which is sometimes sad and harsh, but always hopeful, called Christmas Oranges. Have you seen it?
Posted in Books, movies, music, Nature/animals, Quotes, tagged Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventure of the Copper Beeches, Copper Beech, Copperline, James Taylor, Maeve Binchy Copper Beeches, Morton Arboretum, the resignation of trees, Willa Cather on Friday, September 12, 2014 | 17 Comments »
I call it “my tree”; a stately copper beech, it holds court just east of the visitor center It is an anchor of the shade garden at the Morton Arboretum.
It isn’t really mine, of course. It is everyone’s, but, I call it mine as it is truly my favorite tree. I look for it each time I wander the Morton. It’s copper leaves, smooth bark, sturdy limbs and strength of character call to me. It is a prescient presence, whatever the season. This copper beech is so wide of girth that I could never hug it completely. I know. I’ve tried to. Standing beneath its comfort and shade, however, seems to be all the beech I need.
Sir Author Conan Doyle knighted one of his stories The Adventure of the Copper Beeches. Maeve Binchy gave Copper Beech title to a book. Poets and troubadours have caught its essence in verse and in song.
Soon, very soon, “my tree” will turn toward another season. It will shed its leaves, resigned to the way it must live, but, its strong trunk and encompassing limbs will still hold court in the shade garden.
Do you have a favorite tree?
Posted in Gardening, movies, music, Nature/animals, tagged Beach Boys In the Jungle, In the Jungle, Joe Pye weed, Monarch butterflies, prairie grasses, The Lion King In the Jungle, Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | 24 Comments »
After the misty morning fogs, the recent rains, and the August heat, the weeds have been advancing aggressively into the flower beds, chasing me around the garden like a snake slinking in search of supper. My nails are split and my ankles are ringed in mosquito bites. A sense of accomplishment reigns, however, each time I bring order to the jungle of overgrowth here.
I found refuge in the tall grasses, camouflaged. Can you find me hiding? I top 5’3″. These tall grasses, divisions from my friend Jan, are twice as tall as me – and they have not as yet showed their plumes!
It has been a most pleasant summer here on the Cutoff. We have had more nights than not with the windows opened., breezes wafting in; the tree toads and crickets crooning and strumming in late night chorus along with it. The daisies have been resplendent, showing off from before the Fourth of July, just now starting to fade. The Echinacea and Rudbeckia have been proudly wearing their seasonal crowns of glory and the finch are finding their seeds; a sign of summer’s long farewell at hand.
Just a few feet away from the grasses, Joe Pye Weed, divisions from the Wilder herb garden last year, have been prolific, with a host of flitting and buzzing visitors enjoying their sweet, sweet nectar.
I am encouraged by the emergence of more bees this summer, and the return of monarchs. While their numbers are low, there is marked resurgence in our winged friends, and I choose to take hope from their presence, especially since I only saw one Monarch on our property last summer. I was not quick enough, nor was my camera, at capturing the Monarchs on the Joe Pye Weed, but, did catch in the lens a few other butterflies, just before I posed again for Sports Illustrated.
where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry
stories from the west of county clare
Your Guide to a Stylish Life
"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." William Wordsworth
A blog for visitors to the Garden.
Circles of Life: My professional background in Foods and Nutrition (MS, Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, RDN, LDN) provides the background for my personal interests in nutrition, foods and cooking; health and wellness; environment and sustainability.
Be a Leader in Your Own Life
The Farm at Middlemay
Beautiful Things Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder
savoring the beauty in the everyday
Beautiful Beekeeping, English Cottage Gardening, and Cooking with Honey
FOR DISCERNING READERS
An old fashioned heart
Analysis and reflection from someone endlessly fascinated with Louisa May Alcott. Member/supporter of Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House (including the Alcott International Circle) and the Louisa May Alcott Society.
Reducing stress one exhale at a time ...exploring Southern California and beyond
A thousand thousand stories
musings from and about our cottage in the West of Ireland