Today we took our first excursion since before Covid 19 started. We met with our old friends at Lake Norman NC. It was a wonderful day of connection. The house where they were staying this week was surrounded by beautiful Azaleas and Dogwoods in full bloom. It was a gorgeous time to be there. I am pausing my story chapters to share some of the beautiful flowers with you. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Do you recognize this bridge? A few years ago while I was working at the Habitat Restore, we got an old wooden desk donated. While cleaning it up for resale, I found the small 3 x 3 black and white photo above in one of the drawers. It appeared to be an old post WWII era photo of a bridge, and on the back it said Savan River Bridge. I was intrigued by the picture and did some research, but came up with nothing with that name.
I though it looked like a bridge that could have been in Paris so I started looking at bridge images on line and found that it is the Ponte Alexander iii bridge. It was named in honor of a Russian Czar. You can read about it at this web site: Pont Alexandre III – Wikipedia
I decided to paint the bridge and this is how it came out: It is 3′ x 4′
When my grandchildren outgrew their toybox a few years ago, I decided to use it as a compost bin. I put it below my garden at the edge of the tree line. It gets filled with all my trimmings, grass clippings, household garbage, and any other natural vegetation. I fill it a few times over the year. Each time it rots and composts down. All that garbage condensed into a half of a bin full of rich compost.
Today, when I dug into it, it was well rotted and full of tiny earth worms. I put part of it on my grape vines and saved the rest for my tomatoes I am going to plant. Black Gold, wonderful stuff to build good rich soil.
While resetting my stepping stones, I stopped to take a rest on my chair along the creek. Across the way the sparrows were coming back and forth to the birdhouse with pieces of material to build a nest in the box. I noticed a feather lying in the leaves on the ground on the other side. About that time, I saw the male sparrow fly down and pick it up in its beak. He flew to the birdhouse and proceeded to drag it into the nest. He got two-thirds in the hole, but could not get the rest into the nest. Next thing I knew he pushed it back out and left it float back to the ground.
I went over and picked up the feather and found that it was a hawk feather. The hawks come and visit the gas-line clearing from time to time. It is a beautiful specimen as you can see. I thought it was interesting to see the fuzzy down at the base of the shaft. That is most likely the way they stay warm and insulated in cold weather. I decided to save it for my collection of odds and ends!
In the Christian faith we celebrate Good Friday, remembering the suffering and death of Christ on the Cross at Calvary. But it is not the dark night of the soul that draws us to God’s Love and Grace. It is the joy of Easter and the Light of the Resurrection that gives us hope. The Light at the end of the dark tunnel is Jesus!
Cherry blossoms lead the Spring parade. Along with flowering pear, and redbuds they provide a glorious silhouette against the deep blue sky. I took this photo in my neighborhood this morning. Cherry blossoms are a great symbol of new life and light as we lead into Easter this coming weekend.
Cherry blossoms shine
Painting warm soft spring snowflakes
Soon wrapped in deep green
At d’Verse, Frank asked us to write our Monday Haibun on the theme of cherry blossoms. I waited to post till today so I could show you the beautiful cherry blossoms I see as I pass in and out of my neighborhood.
We went this week and got our second Covid shot. The procedure is now very streamlined with little waiting time. After temperature checks we waited only a short time to be taken to a room for our shots. A dozen others were sitting at tables in the process of getting vaccinated. Sitting at opposite ends, we were asked the routine question before getting injected. The nurse did her best to make us feel relaxed and comfortable. I asked her how long she had been there giving the shots. She said since 6:30 this morning. This was at 4:00 PM. She and many other health workers were making a difference in all of our lives with their service. For this we are most grateful!
A few weeks ago a 22 x 28 print on canvas, of the Oyster Gatherers of Cancale, came in to the Habitat Restore where I volunteer. It was in very bad shape with stains and yellow with cigarette smoke. We could not clean it, so I decided to get it and attempt to do a restoration on it to bring it back to life. I painted over the colors with acrylic paints, trying to keep the feel of the original. This is what I completed today. The original is below.
Smoke stains covered with fresh paint
Life on French seashore
“OYSTER GATHERERS OF CANCALE byJohn Singer Sargent”
“John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American expatriate artist, considered the “leading portrait painter of his generation” for his evocations of Edwardian-era luxury. He was born in Florence to American parents, and trained in Paris before moving to London, living most of his life in Europe. He enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter.
From the beginning, Sargent’s work is characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality.
In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air. Art historians generally ignored “society” artists such as Sargent until the late 20th century.”
Now that Spring is on the way, I am anxiously waiting for this beautiful bird to appear. The Rose Breasted Grosbeak comes through each spring and stops to eat at my bird feeder. He shows up around Easter, when my lilac is blooming. His gorgeous colors make him stand out against the green foliage of Spring.
Today is the anniversary of the Covid-19 shut down in the United States. We had no idea what was going on, and it seemed no one else did either. Travel bans, restrictions, quarantines, hospitalizations, and deaths all came together for the perfect storm. It has been a very different year for all of us.
We celebrated our 50th in the summer of 2019 with a European River Cruise. We are so thankful that we were able to do this before all the Covid restrictions came down. We are waiting for our second shot, and the ability to feel safe going to restaurants, church, and travel to visit family once again. Hopefully you are doing well also.