beauty overshadowed

 

Sometimes I feel that beauty has gone out of fashion.  All around us beauty sits waiting to be discovered, to be noticed, to be appreciated.  We are busy getting annoyed at some political wrangle, getting frightened over threats beyond our control, getting apathetic because we are overwhelmed.  Beauty sits waiting for a glance and in return she lifts us up, makes us draw a quick breath of joyful surprise. So, even if she is out of fashion, I present her today in two forms.  One is the just opening flower…plumeria or frangipani or as I sometimes call her ” Hawaiian girl’s ear flower” .  She smells like vanilla and as you see, she has kept me waiting all summer in hopes of this cluster of blooms.  The flowers are formed as twists and they slowly unfurl in hot humid weather.

The other picture is of a sunset over Georgian Bay.  I have never seen one quite like it.

Woody Woodpecker

 

Ladies and gentlemen… here he is, fresh from Hollywood, just as raucous, cheeky and impudent as ever… your favorite and mine, Woody Woodpecker! It is very hot and sunny in Muskoka.  Confused birch trees are gently dropping their small brown leaves in the still air. Not a breath of wind disturbs the bees as they gather the last of clover nectar.   All is tranquil until Woody appears on the scene.  With a series of screeches he flaps around the property, examining the bark of various trees.  After a few half-hearted pecks he immerses himself in the leaves and branches of a choke cherry tree and makes a feast of the ripe fruit.  He hangs upside down, his red poll conspicuous in the leaves.  With a squawk he flies off to the next fruit tree, cackling as he goes,.  He flies very low from one tree to another so that I sometimes get the impression he is dive bombing me. The white underside of his wings make a show as he flaps around from one tree to another.

I always loved  cartoon Woody Woodpecker for his naughty ways and loud voice.  Well, here he is in the flesh and feathers! He hung out in our back lot all afternoon and probably went off to scare up a little feminine companionship with his cackling laugh and pesky ways.  Never a dull moment with Woody!

Mysteries – Do you know?

OK this is my week for asking my readers questions. I am posting a few pictures that have me scratching my head. One is of a tile depicting a saint – well, he has a halo! He seems to have a falcon on his hand as he rides his horse. Any idea who he is? Then there is a weird rock formation. The picture was taken looking at a cliff face. Obviously water has worn a channel down the rock but I wonder why it is that pink color. Next is a lovely plant that is blooming everywhere.  Is it Mimosa? Finally, this machine on the beach had me puzzled. I presume it is to haul boats up the beach but ….is that a car engine? Curiouer and curiouser as Alice would say!

Mystery plant

Those of my readers who love plants will know the frustration one experiences on finding a plant and having no idea what it is. Perhaps someone out there knows? It is shown here at the end of March in a mountain environment in Spain. So, it is able to thrive in cold snowy mountains and very hot summers. Please comment if you know what it is. Thanks

Spring morning in the Sierra Nevada

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Alpujarras Region of Spain 

Legions of hills and beyond, mountains stretch along the horizon. Large cumulous clouds lie above – mighty emperors reclining on rocky couches. Near our little cabin sits  a terraced farmers plot. Almond blossoms of white  and of a shocking neon pink bless a chicken coop. A yellow and white cat treads along a narrow plank between the coop and a grassy bank. Her own private bridge?

The sun is direct and hot even at an early hour but it is easily vanquished by the mountain breeze. We can hear many nesting birds, little finches, quite a flock of what look like large house sparrows, robins and this morning – a story-book pair of blackbirds. Their feathers glossy, their beaks sun yellow.

They fluttered about their business, tilting their broad fan-like tails upon alighting on a branch.

The dog barked and pulled on the lead and it was time to go back to coffee on the terrace.

‘Wedding Pictures’ by Isobel Cunningham

So great to have an original illustration!

Montréal Writes

Wedding Pictures

Illustration by Andres Garzon

Hi, Honey! Oh, Granny is so glad to see you. I hardly ever get a chance to baby-sit now that Nanna lives with you guys. I can’t compete with her!

Oh, my. Look how you’ve grown. You’re a big girl now, five years old already! C’mon in, Granny has oatmeal cookies and milky tea just like the other time. Only don’t tell Mummy or you’ll never be allowed back! Just kidding, darling . . . wave bye-bye to Mummy in the car.

Yes, Granny’s been decluttering—throwing out old pictures and books and things. What, this big white book? That’s Granny’s wedding album. Pictures of the day Granny got married to Grandpa. No, Grandpa doesn’t live with Granny any more.

It’s a wedding, you know, the day people get married. Marriage. Do you know what that is? Well, maybe you don’t.

You’ve seen people riding around…

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Jewels of the Volcano

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Yesterday we went jewel hunting – and we found some! On Wednesday we met some very kind Germans who were parked in their camper out in a wilderness just down the ravine from a volcano caldera. Now, there’s a something you don’t read every day! These two people were shuffling around in the dust with their heads down. It turns out they were looking for garnets…and finding them! I was very interested and so today we came back with a pick and a bottle for our treasures. As you can see we found lots of garnets and even some lovely crystals. All this bounty is the result of volcanic action that took place about 10 million years ago. This area (Cabo de Gata in southern Spain) is full of volcanic hills and calderas. After we had picked up quite a lot of garnets, Joe wanted to go into  the caldera. The path doesn’t look too difficult, does it? The picture is deceiving. As one approaches the lip of the crater, the path becomes steep and, of course, it is composed of unstable pebbles. As soon as we embarked on the top part I knew I would have trouble coming down but I certainly wasn’t going to give up when I was almost there.

It was so inspiring to stand about half way up the wide depression that forms the crater and look across to the other side. All around there are crags but the bowl of the crater is quite flat except for a little hill. Think of dropping a pebble into a glass of water and how the water flies up. Probably that was how the little hill was made. It was a wonderful sensation to stand there, totally alone since at this time of year, hikers are rare enough. The wind was whistling through the “bite” in the caldera wall and the sky was perfectly clear. There were large boulders all over the place and smaller stones scattered around. It just made me think about the millions of years that had passed since everything was in a turmoil and how surreal it was that we could turn around and see not far away a modern highway and the awful plastic greenhouses that cover a lot of Andalusia.

Now, the coming down part was less enjoyable. I have a bit of a problem with my right knee. My usual tactic is simply to ignore the pain and take care to go up with the good leg. Going down with the bad knee was rather perilous. To handle my deathly fear of falling and truly smashing up my knee I simply sat down and scooted down on my butt for the steepest parts. Needs must. Good thing I was wearing an ancient pair of jeans.

I am thrilled with my “Jewels” and even more so with the memory of climbing up to the caldera and looking over the extinct volcano.

The pictures – one shows the garnets just sitting there waiting to be taken home (down at the bottom of the pic)

. One shows the path up to the volcano lip, One shows the garnets and crystals after they had been cleaned up.  I can hardly wait to find some crafty type who will make them into jewelry for me and my granddaughter!

Talk to me, Baby


Find that dime, that quarter, that dollar, that card

Find the time, find the words.

Find the sea song that sends the sigh

over the waves

on the white wings of gulls.

Let me hear your breath, soft with a faint rasp

like the ripple of a wave that drags down pebbles.

Press the receiver to your shell ear.

Hear me lick my lips, draw in my breath

whisper ” Hello” before the goodbye.