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What better time to add a chapter to the adventures of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Vase than Mother’s Day, celebrated here in the States on Sunday, May 13 this year.

The vase has traveled some this past year, filled through the seasons, occasions and just because, but, it had taken a bit of a hiatus until it reappeared once more this weekend at a visit to Jennifer and Jason’s house!

What a pleasant surprise it was to be greeted this Mother’s Day with the latest traveling arrangement! Nestled inside the clear, round vase were small wooden eggs, repurposed from a forgotten display. The eggs helped to hold up stock, Hypericum berries, and glorious calla lilies whose velvety petals added to the allure of the presentation.

Not only was I honored to be the recipient of this sweet arrangement, I was also impressed at my daughter’s floral creativity . . .

. . . and, her culinary flair. Jennifer has always employed an inherently unique ability to put a tasteful array of ingredients together that whet one’s appetite in flavorful bliss. Rosemary coated chicken breasts sat on a bed of sautéed arugula with lighted warmed grapes! Topped with shavings of Gruyère, it was quite delicious.

We ate, we talked, we checked out J & J’s emerging garden, and we visited a nearby gardening center before I headed back home, my vase travelling with securely on the floor of the car. I was sated, content, and grateful for a most “motherly made” afternoon.

The saga of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Vase begins here.

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When I saw a notification that there was to be a spring concert at the Center in Palos Park, I marked it on my calendar in sincere hopes of attending.

My hopes were realized on a recent Sunday afternoon. As the day’s shadows lengthened, my dear friend, Kathryn, and I climbed the stone steps up to the The Center. Kathryn is an artist gifted in finding beauty in unexpected places. I hoped that she would enjoy the concert, but, I instinctively knew that she would appreciate the serenity of The Center and the Wayside Chapel.

Since my wintertime post about The Wayside Chapel at The Center, I have managed occasional walks around the grounds, taken photos as the season slowly changed from winter to spring, and subscribed to their online newsletter and notifications. I have come to realize that there are even more activities than I first imagined and vowed to take advantage of some of them.

I finally did.

 

Isn’t this a charming little cottage? It is a private residence on the grounds. I did not take photos up close, though I might have peaked in the windows. I could not, however, resist this appealing view.

We wandered about, enjoying the sweeping swathes of daffodils and Siberian swill (Scilla), the pathways and birds flitting about, and the quiet serenity of the space before us.  There is a certain calm and peace that envelopes pilgrims who wander these paths. It is hard to describe but quite palpable.

Soon, very soon, we walked over to the Lodge, following the sweet restrains of vocalists rehearsing for their performance. We were greeted by several women, one who I later discovered was the pastor. Kathryn and I found seats, chatted as long-time friends do, and waited for the concert to begin.

Oh, what joy this was! The Center Singers opened with “By Our Love”, accompanied with piano and percussion. As the concert carried us through gospel and jazz music, the old familiar hymns took on a celebratory air, with a sprinkling of hand clapping, foot tapping, and sighs of “oh, I remember that one”.

As the music ended, refreshments were offered – and we accepted. Who can say no to chocolate chip cookies? Two large trays of homemade delight along with comfortable conversation with other attendees added to the experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We casually wandered around the lodge, enjoying the ambiance of such a welcoming place, chatting, taking photos, content in the moment.

“I’ll Fly Away” is a favorite of mine. The Center Singers performed a medley of songs that included it. I have posted other renditions before, so offer you this rendition that I discovered on YouTube.

 

 

 

Illustration atop this post is from the concert’s program. 

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I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze
William Wordsworth
 
A “host of golden daffodils” has, at long, last arrived.
They were hesitant this year, poking tentatively through the soil, reluctant to display their papery blooms. It has been a particularly  long, cold interlude of expectation for which we are now being rewarded.
 
Glorious clusters of golden beauties are flirting, showing off in groups, alone, in rows and en masse.
 
They are, indeed, “dancing in the breeze” and a delight to behold as they brighten our days with their blousy skirts, vibrant colors and sweet disposition.
 Happy May Day (and Rabbit! Rabbit!)  to all.

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If-truth-be-told, we are often out-and-about in separate cars, yet, somehow, we usually manage to find each other by the time we reach the end of the road.

So it was on Friday that we arrived in separate cars. Tom needed to be at church earlier than I did, to help set up for the Good Friday service. He also brought the cross, which he meticulously crafted for our newly established satellite church location.. It was a labor of love and an act of humility from the wonderful carpenter Tom is.

I had a busy day doing household chores, running errands, checking table coverings, picking up ingredients for Sunday’s Easter dinner. I would arrive a bit later than Tom did, serve as a greeter, then, side-by-side, the two of us would worship together. It was a moving and meaningful service, both contemplative and experimental, solemn yet hopeful.

The evening air was rather pleasant as pulled out on to the road. A wispy veil of clouds floated above, hinting, then giving way to a moon that pretty full.

 

Kezzie’s Moon!

It is a sweet story, told here on the Cutoff a time or two, especially her first, full moon, which you can read about here.

Eight years have passed since that special night. While on our long ride home, the day after our granddaughter was born. Tom and I (in the same car 🙂 ) stopped at a tollway Oasis to stretch our legs. As we got out of the car, there, just coming up on the horizon, was the moon. It was big and bright and brilliant and I declared “it’s Kezzie’s  moon!”- and so it was and is and will be forevermore.

It warmed my heart when I later learned that Kezzie, way up north where she lives, was also watching the moon rising, and that she proclaimed that it was her moon, Kezzie’s moon, which gave me pause and a moment to reflect on how wondrous it is that we can also manage to find each other by the light of the late March moon.

 

 

 

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“I thank you God for this most amazing day,

for the leaping greenly spirits of trees,

and for the blue dream of sky and

                                                                                       for everything which is natural,

which is infinite,

which is yes.”

                                                                        e.e. cummings

 

Snow and cold are heading this way, but, for now, it is a “blue dream” day,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and so I will share some blue skies I have found

and be grateful.

May they always be infinite.

Yes?

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February can be a heartless month to those living in a cold climate. Positioned at half-past winter and a quarter to spring, February’s single digit temperatures and snow might swirl in the wind one day and be followed by 60 degrees (F) the next. Warm temperatures bring fast melting snow – over a foot in our neck of the woods – followed by rain, rain, and more rain. We tire of winter in February and we long for green instead of gray.

A bright spot in winter comes, hereabouts, on the last weekend in February and the first in March when Orchids by Hausermann hold their annual open house. I went last Friday; a dour day with leaden skies and a muddy parking lot. As I was directed by employees to a parking spot, visitors leaned into the wind with boxes of greenery, long arching stems of glorious orchids peeking out. Inside the doors was a feast for famished senses, attracting orchid lovers, gardeners, and winter weary wanderers.

Oh, what a glorious adventure on a grim afternoon!

Aisle upon aisle of orchids were displayed in the Hausermann greenhouses. Every color imaginable, scents and textures, potted plants and air plants: splendor as far as the eye could see.

The yellows were radiant,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

as were the reds.

Moustaches, whiskers, and other accoutrements- pretty in pink!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a joy it was roaming Hausermann’s, chatting with orchid lovers, photography buffs and even running into a few Elmhurst Garden Club friends.

My green thumb does not extend to orchids, so, I did not purchase a plant. I did, however, buy a small cut orchid arrangement, eager to bring a bit of Hausermann’s beauty home. The arrangement was small, as was the price, with an orchid and ferns nestled into a small container. The sun managed to come out and kiss my little arrangement, which is perched prominently on the kitchen counter.

 On Saturday, I noticed a small puddle of water on the countertop, under the arrangement. I wiped it off and went about my chores. A short while later, there was another puddle. On closer look, there was a teardrop on the tip of a fern leaf. I watched it. Really!  Who watches tear drops on ferns? 🙂  Soon, the swollen droplet let loose and filled the formica lake.

Click onto the photos for a closer look. I don’t want to be alone in watching a fern weep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In a while, I will put on some boots
and step out like someone walking in water,
and the dog will porpoise through the drifts,
and I will shake a laden branch
sending a cold shower down on us both.
But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,
a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.
I will make a pot of tea
and listen to the plastic radio on the counter    
From Snow Day by Billy Collins
The meteorologists seemed to agree. Snow was predicted come Thursday evening, last through the night and toss snow about the area all day Friday like a snow globe in the hands of an exuberant adolescent. Up to a foot was predicted and I do believe we came close to that mark, here along the Cutoff.
Snow buds blossomed on dormant bushes and muffin tops filled the bird baths.
 
More snow is on the way (the say), but, all is well here in our cozy house. Chicken soup is burbling atop the stove. A short walk brought a quiet peace as the snow fell, softly, quietly, steadily – the great equalizer of the north.

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