Thursday, April 25, 2013

balcony season

 Yesterday before the evening thunderstorms rolled over, I finished sweeping the balcony and scrubbing down the grubby house siding and the table and chairs, and transplanting, trimming and situating new and old plants.  It felt very satisfying, and I am happy to say that it is now officially balcony season chez Maria!  I took these pictures tonight before sitting down to eat my dinner.  As nice as winter can be, I am very glad spring is here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

one of life's best luxuries... a new bar of soap!  Elegant out of its paper with its engravings and soft planes... and a gentle fragrance to perfume the steam in the shower and linger on your skin for a little while afterward.

PS - Thank you mom!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

blooming galore

 I think indoor-working people should be required to take off at least a full week from work in the spring.  They should be required to open up all the windows in their houses, sleep with them open, eat on their porches for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and spend at least 3 hours per day outside, reveling like silly, love-sick, amateur poets at all the color and scent.  The heat has already ended daffodil season, and the leaves of blooming trees are already pushing out to replace the blossoms... next thunderstorm, all the petals will blow off like confetti and start decomposing beneath the trees... tender new green will darken and steel itself for the summer sun.  It all transpires so quickly...

And look how much little Louis has grown!  He likes to greet people with wild somersaults and something that looks like break dancing...  and he is fulfilling his spring appreciation requirements with panache... tormenting kittens and chicks, and weirdly taking bites of the new leaves on my mom's rose bushes before galloping off to roll in the grass.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

untie the ribbons!

 Ewww!  I don't mind feet too much, but a lot of people do.  I apologize for this extra large photo of my extra large feet.  But the reason it's here is because today, while I was huffing around the house feeling annoyed that I am STILL sick, and getting ready for a healing hot bath, I happened to cross the part of my bedroom floor where the afternoon sun had been bathing the wood.  The pure pleasure of it stopped me.  The old wooden boards were so soft, and so warm on the soles of my feet, spring is finally starting to spring among thousands of other blessings... so what's there to be upset about?
And here is part of a daffodil watercolor I worked on earlier in the week... shut-ins can still paint!

Each day comes bearing its own gifts.  Untie the ribbons.
- W.J. Cameron

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

early spring cold

I've been resting inside with the potted plants because somehow I managed to get a terrible cold.  I plan on being well tomorrow, really!!  (I said that yesterday and the day before... but one of these days I'm bound to be right).

In the meantime, I'm making my way through this bottle of eucalyptus cough syrup I bought from Benedictine nuns in Italy.  Isn't the label beautiful... its colors, its asymmetry, its script?

The vinca is blooming outside where I've also seen several pairs of bluebirds (from the balcony, and also during a short daffodil picking excursion).   One of the good things about being temporarily sick is that you just focus on resting and becoming well and the kind of restless searching and struggling to achieve that can be part of daily 'normal' life can't be fussed with.

Something that often bothers me is wanting to go away and do more traveling.  I haven't been anywhere for two years now, and it feels like a long, long time.

In her memoir Blue Arabesque Patricia Hampl does an excellent job describing what it is that is so good about exploring an unfamiliar place.  She writes, "The hunger for wonder is appeased by nothing as it is satisfied by travel.  Moving around, being a stranger in a strange land, a located and limited 'I' turned into an uncertain anonymous 'eye'..."

Enjoying and participating in the security and love of family, and living in a community where you know the bank tellers and librarians, and familiars honk and wave when you ride your bike in town nurtures and supports you and anchors a 'place' for you in humanity.  Going somewhere you don't know a soul, with open eyes, heart and mind frees up your spirit, awakens your senses, and requires you to interact with and trust strangers, which can renew your faith in humanity.  Maybe home is the roast and abroad is the spice... plain roast isn't satisfying, and straight spice can't sustain you... in short, you need both!  Anyway, my next chance to travel remains unknown.  For now I will rest in bed.

*Yes the cough syrup is old, but still good... it's just that I barely ever get sick, so this is my first occasion to use it!