Sunday, May 31, 2020

Red Roses With Faces

An unusual-looking rose is blooming under a nearby tree. I stopped to study the pale undersides of the unfurled petals. They looked almost like little faces with half-opened mouths. Where had I seen roses like this before? Ah, yes...it was in Disney's animated version of "Alice In Wonderland." The director of the flower choir is a red rose. Perhaps the artists who developed the flower characters were inspired by this variety of rose. I like to think so. And I admit to lingering for quite a long time, enjoying the roses but also hoping to see at least one bread-and-butterfly. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

QSDS: Memories Saved, New Ones Delayed

If not for the Coronovirus pandemic, scores of people would be arriving in Columbus, Ohio today to start their adventures in learning at the 31st annual Quilt & Surface Design Symposium. On Monday, students would begin working with dyes and paints, cutting and sewing fabric and learning new design skills. They would be shooting photos as teachers showed artwork or demonstrated techniques. I would be right there with them, as the historian, documenting the mastery of new skills and the excitement of compositional breakthroughs. We cannot welcome friends with hugs, stand shoulder to shoulder during demonstrations or sit and chat during lunch. But we WILL all do this again. It's a part of our very being.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Shirley Temple Pitcher

My mother loved Shirley Temple. She never tired of watching all those old movies. The story is that she won this little glass pitcher, probably a giveaway at the movies. "Dish Night" was a popular event during the 1930s. Like many who lived through the Great Depression, her instinct was to save everything, but this was special. I have spent most of my life examining and questioning that sometimes-fuzzy line between collecting with a purpose and hoarding. But some items have acquired Family Treasure status and deserve to be saved, regardless of their intrinsic worth.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Deadnettle Lawn

The sloping front yard of a local business has been neglected this spring. The deadnettles claimed it. Their purply top leaves and tiny flowers were backlit in the late morning light. The longer I stared, the harder it was to hold on to my sense of scale. It was as if there were acres of them instead of a few square yards. Deadnettles are members of the mint family. They were used as poultices for wounds and brewed into tea. The next time it invades your garden, save a few and toss the top leaves and flowers into your salad. Your great, great grandma would approve. 

Sunday, May 3, 2020

View Of The White Garden, Hidcote

In May, garden lovers make pilgrimages to Hidcote, the magnificent garden estate in the Cotswolds. But not this year. None will stroll along the Long Walk or take note of a particular variety of peony blooming in a border. This spring, the gardens are there for only the wildlife to enjoy. While I dig the crabgrass out from among my bloomed-out patch of daffodils, I will imagine wandering from leafy garden room to garden room. In my mind, the lilacs are in bloom and it’s always sunny enough to tell the time on the White Garden's sundial.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Tea With A Friend

They might have been mother and daughter, aunt and niece or simply friends, sitting in Fortnum & Mason in London, having tea. I was struck by the light outlining the tea service and the way that their sweaters did not match but complemented. Now I look at this image and feel a bit sad. How long will it be before we can sit at a small table, sharing a pot of tea and some quiet conversation, face to face? That day WILL come again. When it does, I will savor the simple presence of the friend much more than the tea.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

BuddingTrumpet Vine

A fence covered with greenery encouraged me to slow down and look more closely. Among the tangle of stems and leaves were the newly emerged buds of the trumpet vine. Their tight little clusters hinted at the flamboyant reds and oranges that will soon entice hummingbirds and butterflies. The big surprise for me was the way that each set of buds wore a leafy Elizabethan collar with a network of lacy veins that glowed in the morning light. It was that day’s most remarkable moment, something for which I am grateful.