Archive for the ‘Spring’ Tag

For the Last Day of April   Leave a comment

A poem seems to be in order.

The first for Mr. FreshAir, whose birthday it is, the second to express the fleeting time as April’s breath gives life to May.

How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

– Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

To an Early Daffodil

Thou yellow trumpeter of laggard Spring!
Thou herald of rich Summer’s myriad flowers!
The climbing sun with new recovered powers
Does warm thee into being, through the ring
Of rich, brown earth he woos thee, makes thee fling
Thy green shoots up, inheriting the dowers

Of bending sky and sudden, sweeping showers,
Till ripe and blossoming thou art a thing
To make all nature glad, thou art so gay;

To fill the lonely with a joy untold;
Nodding at every gust of wind to-day,
To-morrow jewelled with raindrops. Always bold

To stand erect, full in the dazzling play
Of April’s sun, for thou hast caught his gold.

-Amy Lowell (1874-1925)

Here’s hoping you’ll enjoy a beautiful weekend.

I’ll be in Chicago, visiting the big Matisse exhibit.   I’ll let you know what I’ve seen upon my return.


Yeah. It Was Worth a Purple Finger.   Leave a comment

Every so often I have a David Byrne moment.  David Byrne as in the Talking Heads.  Specifically David Byrne singing Once in a Lifetime.  You may know the lyrics and even have the vision from the video etched into memory as most people do who listened to radio in the 80’s…….”And you may ask did I get here?…..And you may say to yourself…my god what have I done!?!………same as it ever was…..same as it ever was…..”

Well the story starts like this….Mr. FreshAir decided yesterday afternoon that he was tired and in need of a nap. Not being in the napping mood myself, I decided that an inspirational Sunday Spring drive was in order.  You know…..fresh air, pretty farmland, all of God’s creatures frolicking…that sort of thing.  And if all went well, my car’s autopilot would be set to the same antiques store that I subjected Mr. FreshAir to last weekend….except now he wouldn’t have to be subjected to it…..he would be in dreamland!  And I might have a second look at some vintage Better Homes & Gardens magazines which had called out plaintively to me last weekend but had to be left behind in the name of “smart money management”.

All was going well as I cruised along the country roads, the smell of Spring blowing in through my half opened window and the sight of the new dark earth where fields had begun to be plowed filling me with joy.  I flew past old clapboard farmhouses constructed in the early 1800’s, their ancient apple orchards still standing and in the first stages of bloom, fulfilling the same promise of fruit year after year.  Barns of all ages and sizes appeared at every turn and I delighted when a flock of birds took flight from an only partially harvested corn field left over from last Fall.  Around another bend, a beautiful herd of Guernsey cows had been turned out into a pasture that offered fresh new greens for their enjoyment and consumption, and it was plain to see they were doing both….enjoying and consuming!

After about a half hour of Spring scenery I reached the shop that held the objects of my desire.  I got out of my car, stretched my legs and headed for the large heavy double door of what had obviously at one time been some kind of a fairly good- sized warehouse.  Now it held thousands of treasures!  As I opened the weighty door and started to step through, a sign caught my attention.  It said “15% off Sale!”.  Like metal to a magnet, I was staring hard to see what exactly it was that was discounted by 15% . This was one time where being an artist and a very visual person backfired terribly.  I was still glued to the idea of saving 15%, but my hand was still glued to the outer edge of the door as my closing motion, helped along by a sudden gust of wind, closed the door….. with my fingers failing to come inside.  My right middle finger caught the brunt of it and when I was able to regain my senses and pull it to safety, I saw that it had a rather nice dent in it just above the second knuckle.  My eyes were smarting from the pain, but of course I had to look as if nothing had happened in order to save face….so I walked on in and tried to focus my thoughts on the wonders of the shop, while praying that I hadn’t broken anything too terribly important.

One thing that strikes fear into the heart of any artist or craftsperson is the thought of losing either your eyesight or your hands.  As I walked around the shop trying to hone in on those elusive vintage magazines, I watched my middle finger turn ever more purple as the bruising made its way toward my big knuckle.  I was too afraid to try to move the finger….I didn’t want to know the truth just then as to what damage had been done, so I carried on one-handedly in my search.  I looked high and low. I peered in nooks and crannies. I went round and round until I was convinced that they…now by this point they had ceased to be  just magazines they were my magazines… had been whisked off to some other home in my absence.  And then I spotted them.  Back behind a bookcase which I had passed at least twice, they were lying in their little wooden crate….waiting for me.

Now, I believe in the healing power of a lot of things, but I never knew that antiques have this mysterious ability as well. But I swear that the pain in my finger was markedly less the more I rifled through those Better Homes & Gardens.  I decided to try to move the finger.  It moved.  I moved it again. It didn’t fall off.  I said at least 25 “Thank you God!”s  People passed by and probably wondered what in the world I was doing crouched in a corner, kneeling on the ground looking so exulted at finding a pile of old magazines.  But that’s OK.  I had my treasures and my finger, however purple.

I was only able to take home four of my new BH&G buddies (yes, in the name of smart money management), but I promised the others I would come get them as soon as I could.  And the next time I’ll keep my eyes away from any sales signs.  My fingers will thank me.

Due to my throbbing finger, my photo taking was distinctly hampered, but I managed to get one shot of one of the big barns I passed on the way home. It’s not too far from my house and it may end up as a reference photo for a painting…

……after the purple finger disappears!  And yeah.  It was indeed worth it!

Enjoy your day.

Spring Brings Birthdays….and Cake!   Leave a comment

Sometimes just the vision of sugarplums or a beautifully turned out cake is enough to get my heart racing!  This past week marked my daughter’s birthday and her cake request was for a certain creation found at one of Northeast Ohio’s most delectable bakeries, Michael Angelo’s Bakery (and Chocolatier!).  Their website alone is drool-worthy to say  the least.  When one of their confections lands in your  mouth, you know you are experiencing something special.  We asked for standard flowers as the decorative element….I liked the way they placed small leaves along the side of the cake as well….it’s the details that make it special.  And it was way too tall to fit under my cake cover…another nice detail!

Absolutely fresh ingredients and an abundance of beautifully sculpted and piped whipped cream icing, that happens to be lighter than air and not at all overpowering, are the hallmarks of their lovely cakes.  This one happens to have fresh strawberry custard as the filling.  Yum!

A beautiful Spring cake makes the celebration even more memorable, and it’s sad to see the last piece go!

A cold glass of milk, a sunny Spring day, and even the fork looks happy!

Posted April 3, 2010 by freshairfour in Food

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Ahhhhh….the Weekend!   Leave a comment

Time to settle in with a cup of coffee and a few of my favorite publications.  Nothing like a good dose of Spring eye candy to stimulate the imagination. …whether it be an Easter crafts article or pages packed with beautiful images of the season at hand.  I’ve always been a magazine junkie due to the inherently visual nature of the format.  Some people love to cook and eat…..for me, images are my food!

The weekend is also the time to light out into the woods to see what progress has been made in nature’s attempt to reawaken from winter slumber.  At the edge of a small meadow at the far end of our property I happened upon something I had not realized existed….perhaps because I may have actually crossed the property line and might actually have been trespassing on a neighbor’s property….but we won’t talk about that…it was really close to being in my yard, so I’m claiming it!  So there!

Anyway, it was a clump of Snowdrops…one of the very earliest blooming flowers, so named because it often shows up in late winter, its petals rising above the snow.  This particular clump must have been the more intelligent variety, waiting until all the snow had melted!  They were a pleasure to see.

What were these little guys doing in such an odd location?  I surely don’t know, but I’m glad I came upon them.

In the Victorian times flowers were very important in conveying messages and emotions.  Each flower had a meaning associated with it.  The Snowdrop stood for consolation or hope…which may be why it appears on many Victorian Easter cards.  Here are a few examples from my own collection..I find them delightful, almost like a trip back through time…

May you enjoy your weekend and the blessings of nature.

Posted March 22, 2010 by freshairfour in Nature, Vintage/Antiques

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A Little Serendipity on a Spring Afternoon   Leave a comment

Webster’s defines the word serendipity as “the phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for”.

Much in need of some sunshine and color, I set out this afternoon on a short jaunt around the back yard to see what I could come across that gave evidence that the long winter was at last vanquished.  As my shoes sank slightly with each step on the ground that was still drying out from the snow’s last runoff, I searched for any sign of green…anything poking its head through layers of last Fall’s leaves….clinging to a rock….whatever I could find on this mid-March day.  Ahh!  I spied a crocus, that welcome harbinger of Spring early bloomers.  As I leaned down to take a shot, serendipity arrived on wings….bumblebee wings…..and I took full advantage of it.

My next stop was over to an old garden border where I thought I had seen evidence of another crocus a few days ago.  Sure enough, there it was….and fully opened at that. As I pressed the camera shutter a couple of times to capture the beauty of the small flower, I finally noticed that the lovely bloom had a very small visitor who had been sitting on one of the petals the whole time I was shooting!  Serendipity?  I think so!  Take a look…If you know how small a crocus is, you’ll know how small the visitor is too!

The rest of my walk yielded no more winged creatures in my shots, but plenty of evidence that Spring is indeed springing.  I vowed from now on to be better at recognizing serendipity when it was staring me in the face!

Here’s hoping you will take a moment to enjoy all the smalls that nature provides in this wonderful season of renewal….

………renewal and rebirth…

Wonderful Spring!

Posted March 20, 2010 by freshairfour in Nature, Spring

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I Need to See Some Green Right About Now!   Leave a comment

How about you?  This long winter has dragged on long enough….like a snail set on slow motion…if you can even get slower than a snail, which come to think of it, I guess you can.  Well, anyway, you know what I’m saying I’m sure.

I for one, am ready for a “small” from the world of flora and fauna.  I’m fast forwarding to summer, since it appears spring is still in snoozing mode.

Does this look at all familiar?  Observed up close and out of context it can become anything from a flailing undersea yellow octopus all the way to a creature from a bad science fiction movie.  The fun is in using the imagination.  This inspires me….and I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t been treading in the world of smalls.   Now let’s hope some tender shoots really do start unveiling themselves soon in the yard!

Posted March 3, 2010 by freshairfour in Nature, Spring

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