Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Small Moments

These are my Lichfield Angel, David Austin roses. They are just coming on again after a late freeze. Fortunately they are a repeat-flowering variety. The tea roses have not fared as well.

We have been spending hours under the cottonwood trees with our recent turn to warmer days. When the days grow hotter it will be a challenge to keep things fresh and green in our desert heat, and less pleasant in the afternoon. But all is suspended in time for now.

I have flashbacks in the empty hours, like in a movie, where I hear the crack of croquet balls on the lawn, and see lace hangings flowing in the breeze as little girls chatter and squeal under the canopy at Granny Camp. 

Springs here have seen a long succession of weddings, graduation parties, picnics, holidays and summer vacations under the trees. So a flowered cloth and a bouquet of roses begs for a celebration, even if a small one.

Small moments can hold so much after all. A touch of beauty. Expressions of love. A memory.

A few days ago I sent out a fist full of birthday cards. You wouldn't believe how many! Lots of our family were born in the month of April. A few of the greetings were long belated. And a couple were hilariously early. (Remembering birthdays on time is always a challenge for me.) But I think I may have hit on something. One card session a month seems about right! 

So a month of birthdays is as good a reason to celebrate as any as April drifts away on the breeze again. A little cake would be nice. Perhaps a few candles.

But there are occasions when simply remembering is enough while we wait for the repeat-flowering of our days.

My parting gift at the end of this National Poetry Month is a page of poems about waiting at Hello Poetry. The link is here. It may fill you up, or give you a lift. One of my favorites is by Mike Essig called 'Lawrence Ferlinghetti.' Mike is a monk with a witty and soulful page of his own on Hello Poetry too. You might enjoy it.

Thinking of you in the small moments too.

So nice that you stopped by!


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Lilac Therapy

Lilacs are considered a harbinger of spring. Ours came on more than a week ago and will suffer a freeze overnight after a day of wet snow that didn't stick around.

The boys went out to cover the rose buds, but the recently planted annuals will have to figure it out on their own. It's not a deep freeze, but is supposed to stick around for two nights in a row.

The cherry blossoms are mostly spent. We often get an Easter snow and it can be hit or miss whether we get much fruit eventually or not. Nature does what it will.

Blooms are such a good lesson in how to enjoy the fleeting moments in life. There could never be enough of them, and they never last long enough! I'm always torn between cutting stems for a vase or leaving them where they are for as long as they will last. Especially if there are only a few.

Little rituals are especially important now. Spreading out a pretty cloth. Using our favorite bits of china. 

I have selected a spot in the yard, just outside the door, for a table to spread things on. A meal, books, the computer. Nearby, along the stucco wall, is a newly planted garden spot (very small) to watch unfolding, and with a few small potted plants to admire. Flowers in pots make it so easy to refresh a little corner. Especially when you are not a real gardener!

On the lawn, under a tree, with a long view of green, I can hear all of the neighborhood birds and marvel at how quiet the world has become.

I never saw the old NY musical called Stop The World- I Want To Get Off, but I have certainly expressed the sentiment myself often enough. Who knew we would someday get a chance to do just that!? 

I know there are plenty of folks who desperately need to get on with things. But even with the hardships, I am finding that many of the people I talk to are settling in. Finding pleasure in the new routines. Waking up to the possibilities.

Nobody I know is bored. My son temporarily home from work says, "One day I putter in the yard, the next in the garage." And the new bonds formed or refreshed in families over these days may last for a lifetime.

I am reminded of a time in the 80's when our seven children were young. For a time we lived in a remote town in a small mobile home and there was absolutely no money. There was no phone, no internet, and no cable in those days of course, and the nearest neighbor a quarter mile away. During school days my daily bright spot was a drive to the post office about a mile away. 

The nearest "convenience" store was eight miles down the road. The grocery much farther still. There were few trips to the market, and lots of stocking up for a family of nine. Isolation was for a  completely different reason, yet feels so familar now. You learn what the conveniences in life really are.

And there are still plenty of trying times ahead. We're still preparing for the long haul. Bags and boxes of supplies are tucked everywhere like Badgers house in a page from The Wind in the Willows. (That just might be my wish to escape into youthful fantasy for awhile showing!) 

But these hard weeks to come could prove to be a blooming. Never meant to last forever, but perhaps the spring of something treasured as roses and lilacs. An interlude of loveliness amid the harshest of climates.

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."
-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Wishing you roses and lilacs,
 and many good days to come.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Saturday, April 11, 2020

NY Tough~ An Easter Message

It is an Easter without all the trappings. I wonder if there was even the grocery aisle with the candy and decor as usual? I haven't been to the store for a couple of weeks. And I haven't colored eggs for years.

It seems that many of us are reflecting on the way things used to be instead. (The Saturday before Easter used to be so busy when all the kids were still at home!) And some are having a hard time with Easter celebrations being so different this time.

We naturally turn to our own small worlds and worries in our isolation. To our own thoughts. Our families. Our future.

I find that I am profoundly thankful more than ever each day for this small place on the earth that I call home. The rooms that hold us safe. The little patch of green that surrounds us. And all that being home contains.

So much to celebrate this Easter Day! And yet so much more to do as we bear one another's burdens and mourn with those who mourn. 

I am thinking today of people that are so hard hit. Of news so very bad that we have to turn away. But we cannot turn away.

I am thinking today of what the Governor of NY calls "New York tough."  He broadcasts a message each morning to the citizens of that ravaged city to inform and to console and to encourage. And though I live far from there I am always left inspired to be NY tough as he defines it. Being Smart, Resourceful, Loving, and United during these awful days.

I am thinking today of all of you. Your 
thoughtfulness, kindness, and all
 your sharing.

Wishing you a beautiful Easter Day!
Hoping you keep safe and well.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Hard Times

Dickens wrote, "The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again."  This is just one of the inspiring quotes found at this link of twenty beautiful quotes by Charles Dickens on kindness and gratitude at We are reminded of so much we are grateful for in these times and at this season. And it has been so wonderful to hear from old friends over the last few days of blogging. So many of us feeling and experiencing the same things. 

 It's been good therapy to put a little post together too. I was lucky enough to find these adorable little flower pot napkin rings at a thrift shop long ago. I only learned later that they were originally from Pottery Barn. They are my favorite for spring. I'm a big proponent of "use what you have." Probably more because I get attached to things than because of being frugal. But lets face it. If you are a collector like I am you already have plenty to choose from.

These sweet bunny plates get so much attention whenever I post them. They are from a long past season by Magenta and sometimes turn up on Etsy or Ebay. I really enjoy them at Easter or other special occasions. Who doesn't love a dressed up bunny? And the lettering takes them over the top.

I use my everyday things for every different holiday, only dressing things up with accessories like flowers, cards, and natural elements found right outside and which change with the seasons. I already take up so much storage with china and linens that not much room is left over for strictly seasonal decorations! I did a big purge of a lot of Christmas decor this year and I'm so glad.

For a while, at least for now, we can follow the old adage:

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
or Do without.

 Calvin Coolidge was quoted as saying “Eat it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without” (Later, the phrase became more popular with, “Use it up.”)

Here's a great link from My Joy Filled Life of forty ways to do just that.

If you're looking for something of substance to read this week, try Hard Times by Dickens. It's free to read online in its entirety by the Project Gutenberg at this link. Maybe you want to just take a peek at it. It's the shortest Dickens novel which he wrote in his own hard times. Sales of his weekly periodical were low, and he hoped this novel, released in installments, would increase circulation. And it worked! A synopsis is found at goodreads here.

Ruskin said that "Hard Times should be studied with close and earnest care by persons interested in social questions."

  There are also interesting quotes from Hard Times on goodreads at this link like the following:

“Do the wise thing and the kind thing too, and make the best of us and not the worst.”
― Charles Dickens, Hard Times

So here we all are just trying to make the best of things. 

The best of us. By being home.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


PS Thanks to those whose comments are still not posting or have no links back to answer. You must log in with Chrome to leave a comment. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Armchair Travel & Magic in the Moonlight

Aren't spring blossoms the cheeriest?

 The surest sign of spring.

Not much else is happening outdoors yet, but the trees are beginning to leaf and the grass is greening up. I'm so glad that we are in the hopeful time of year in our part of the world.

This is the lovely second year bloom of my cast off paperwhites. I tossed the spent plant into the nearest flower bed right after Christmas two years ago and it surprisingly came up again in the spring. My kind of plant! 

To express my appreciation I have set up a little fairy garden set beside the solitary bloom.

The rest of the yard still lies in suspended animation.


Something that has me enthused about gardening this season was stumbling across a mention of the film Magic in the Moolight set on the French Riviera in the 1920's. Need I say more? I had not seen it before but have now watched it a dozen times, often with the sound off. But the music is great too.

Meet The Woman Behind Emma's New Look | Magic in the moonlight ...

It's a perfect film for an armchair traveler. Released in 2014, PG-13, about three stars. The sets are luscious, the gardens divine. The lavish costumes are all vintage and gorgeous. The architecture and landscape are a main feature of the film. Lots of container plantings and dreamy verandas. We are going to do more garden pots this year because of the gorgeous scenes in this movie.

Magic in the Moonlight - Category: Magic in the moonlight

Oddly, I found the story more amusing when I read the subtitles with the sound off.

Magic in the Moonlight

Closer to home... rose buds are coming on.

And the little boxwood made it through another winter!

And lilac. (Unfortunately just a few this year.)

I was asked about the swarm of bees poem in my last post (a sketch from The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady), so here it is in full.

"A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay,
A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon,
A swarm of bees in July is not worth a fly."

... a proverbial bee-keepers' saying, mid 17th century; meaning that the later in the year it is, the less time there will be for bees to collect pollen from flowers in blossom.

Finally, it's national poetry month. Did you know? So if you're needing a little mental stimulation you might google "April is the cruelest month" and you will get a list of material to choose from starting with the text of The Wasteland by T. S. Eliot. Move on to questions to ponder like "Why is April the cruelest month?" and other discussions. Darkly thoughtful, and not as cheery as bee proverbs.

"The best way to understand the poem’s endless allusions — obscure in some places, impenetrable in others — is to have both the text and a glossary to hand. However, it’s also possible to appreciate the poem on a more basic level: its lyrical flow, jarring juxtapositions, and surprising images." From the National Review

Thanks so much for coming by!

 Your visit cheers my day like cherry blossoms.