Sunday, November 29, 2020

Lace Shop Window, Bruges, Belgium


It was an autumn day in Bruges, one of the historic world capitals of lacemaking. Lace was on display in the windows of almost every shop that edged the canals. Our destination was one very special family business. We peered in their window at the handmade laces, some very old and precious. The sun came out and lit up the trees along the canal. Reflections of blue sky, golden leaves and stately buildings merged with the beautiful Bruges lace. It was the perfect encapsulization of a magical day.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Votives In the Basilica, Lyon, France


Every day, in churches around the world, people light candles. Then they sit in dim churches away from the noise and harshness of life outside. They pray and gather their thoughts. As we approach Thanksgiving during a really difficult year, let's light a candle or two, whether in a church or simply in our minds. We can remember those who are no longer with us and be thankful for the good things in our lives, those things that offer to us the light of hope.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Autumn Cherry Tree


The cherry tree was not quite what any of us expected. Positioned where both families could enjoy it, our neighbors thought they had chosen a more diminutive variety. But it's perfect for our side yard. Friends arrive with lawn chairs. Masked and safely distanced, we have spread out in the tree's generous shade. We have stitched, sketched, shared books, magazines and ideas. This week, the tree has been in its full autumn splendor. We sat on the golden carpet while the golden canopy dropped leaves into our lap. We examined their subtleties as they landed; speckles, varied shapes, tint of red and orange. One last gift from a tree that has helped us sustain friendships and renew our sanity.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Mushrooms In the Lawn


Tree stumps don't simply die. They become hosts for other forms of life. On my last self-guided walking tour of Halloween decorations, I stopped to study the bouquets of mushrooms, dramatically lit by the late afternoon sun. Imagine a midnight wedding on Halloween, with brides in black, carrying those mushroom bouquets and attended by night creatures...I'm sad to report that, a few days later, the bouquets were gone and long trenches scarred the lawn, where the tree roots had been dug up to discourage the mushrooms. Macabre whimsy is short-lived.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Halloween On The Sidewalk


Holidays are different this year. How do you keep the fun in Halloween without running the risk of inadvertently passing along the coronavirus? My neighborhood dreamed up a "scavenger hunt" of sorts. Armed with a list of clues and locations, families decked out in costumes searched for a witch in the bushes or the dog in among the tombstones. My sidewalk jack-o-lanterns and ghost sported glittery eyes. No one was deprived of a satisfactory haul of candy. It was clipped to fences, spread out on tables or sent down pipes to land in trick or treat bags. The candy will soon be eaten but memories of the Adventurous Halloween of 2020 will remain.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Skeleton Fun


More people are home all day, so the Halloween decorations began showing up early this season. Halloween used to be a time of homemade costumes and jack-o-lanterns cut from construction paper. Now, Halloween themes have changed from mildly spooky to downright disturbing. Zombies, severed limbs and malevolent dagger-wielding babies are available at the craft and party stores. This gang of skeletons strike me as a pretty happy bunch, mischievous but not threatening, out for a good time. What's in your neighborhood right now? Take a walk and discover the local ghosts and ghouls.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Autres Directions


 Partway up a Swiss mountain, we came to an intersection. The preferred direction was clearly marked. Our friends humored me when I jumped out to photograph the sign. We spent a lovely afternoon up near the top of La Dole, with cows ambling along the road. I still wonder what we would have found if we had turned in the other direction. Now, years later, when we are lost or come across a confusing road sign, my husband and I will say, in unison "Autres Directions!"