“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” ~ PB Shelley

photo(12)‘Tis a month before the month of May, and the spring comes slowly up this way. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A couple of weeks ago I was preparing a spring pictorial post based on my strolls through the neighborhood.  Suddenly winter came screaming back like a lover scorned, taking the wind out of my sails and lashing it against my face with its cold rain.  As I wrapped my scarf around my neck against the renewed chill, I was feeling more than a little demoralized.

Today there’s still a chill in the air but the sun is out and it cheers me.  I heard from a friend photo(20)in the Blue Ridge that there are four inches of snow and it’s still snowing in the NC mountains.  I’ve decided it’s the perfect day to publish spring photos.  At the top of the page and to the right are shots of my Bradford pear tree.  The pear trees are among the first to blossom every year.  They are everywhere in my city and even though I don’t like the smell of the flowers, I love the sight of them.

photo(17)My daffys bloom even before the pear trees.  Every spring I welcome them with great joy.  I’ve seen them many times peeking defiantly through the snow in their golden glory.

It’s daffodil time, so the robins all cry, For the sun’s a big daffodil up in the sky… ~ Clinton Scollard

photo(6)I suppose the least appealing aspect of spring is the greening of my lawn weeds.  Some of you may remember that I don’t really have grass in my yard, I have mostly weeds.  Sometimes the weeds bloom.  If you look closely you may be able to see tiny yellow flowers.  This means, of course, that I will soon have to mow.  It also means that those obnoxious, pushy lawn company employees will start trying to get me to sign a contract allowing them to put all manner of chemicals on my space.  I’m not biting.

photo(10)Even rosemary is flowering in my herb garden.

As for rosemary, I let it run all over my garden walls, not only because my bees love it but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance and to friendship... ~ Sir Thomas More

Rosemary is used as a decorative plant in gardens and has many culinary and medical uses.  The plant is said to improve the memory.  The leaves are used to flavor various foodsWikipedia  Simon and Garfunkel sang about it.

photo(11)Easter comes early this spring.  I have my welcome banner out for the grandchildren (and their parents, of course) who will grace my home with their presence Sunday afternoon.  We always have a grand time eating, hunting for eggs, and bartering with a cousin or a sibling for one more of those yummy caramel eggs.  photo(18)

To all my friends who celebrate Easter, I wish you joy and love and peace.

To all my friends who don’t celebrate Easter, I wish you joy and love and peace.

Awake, thou wintry earth–                                 Fling off thy sadness!                                         Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth                          Your ancient gladness! ~ Thomas Blackburn

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A walk in Tarheel country.

I’m visiting daughter #2 and her lovely teenage daughters.  Their husband/father is traveling.  He just left Kenya and is now on his way to India.  Even though I’m delighted to be here with them, my heart is heavy because another relative and her family are facing serious difficulties which I will not write about in this space.  The hardest part is that I can do nothing to make their road easier.  I went for a walk to look for beauty and to try to give myself a change-of-scenery shock treatment.  The first thing I noticed was this crocus, fooled into thinking it’s spring.

It’s a beautiful day in Chapel Hill and there are signs of early spring in all directions.  Hard to believe that they’re expecting snow starting around noon tomorrow.  Hopefully the temperature will not get cold enough to kill all the blossoms.  I’ll head for home early in order to avoid bad roads.  No snow predicted for my neighborhood.

If you’re a James Taylor fan you will recognize this street sign as the title of a JT song.  Actually  two North Carolina men–James Taylor and Reynolds Price combined their talent and wrote “Copperline.”  You know the smooth voice of Mr. Taylor but you may not know Mr. Price.  He was a professor at Duke University and writer extraordinaire.  His novels have entertained me for many years.  He was master of the written word and won awards for his writing.  Click here to learn more about Reynolds Price.

Apparently this little university town is friendly to Obama.  That makes me happy.  I spotted a black Volvo wearing this sticker on its side.  Obama took North Carolina in the last election.  I’m hoping we’ll be a blue state again in 2012.  Obviously the driver of this car hopes so too.

There’s a tiny park in the neighborhood with an old family cemetery.  The cemetery is surrounded by a stacked stone wall and was the burial ground for the Purefoy family.  The best I can tell the family was/is a prominent clan in this county.  I loved ambling through and reading the headstones.

As I was strolling past the shops in the neighborhood I spotted this t-shirt.  I must say that no one talks about this town without mentioning Carolina Tarheel basketball.  This is Coach Roy Williams pictured on the front of the shirt.  Since we’re in the Bible Belt, I find the message “Get Heeled” rather funny.

There were some humorous items inside the shop, too.



I love the piggies.

And the brilliant rooster.

I arrived home warmer than when I left and feeling a little less sad.  Pictured on the left is a trellis on the side of my daughter’s house.  Here it stands at attention waiting for a better day, a day of flowering transition.  Our family could use such a transition.  We’ll try to plant the seeds needed to accomplish a blossoming of better days.  We can do it.  We will do it.

Get your knees green.

White azalea.

“If your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously examine your life.” ~ Bill Watterson

When I was a child my knees were green most of the summer.  So was the seat of my shorts.  My shirt.  My hands.  I loved being outside.  I lived in the mountains.  It was considerably cooler there than in Charlotte.  Here, and now, I have to take advantage of spring and fall and even winter for my outdoor activities.  Today my knees are green.  I worked in the yard this morning.

Sometimes, when the summertime heat and humidity become unbearable, I head for the hills.  I remember one time a number of years ago when D and I did that.  He had asked me what was wrong, that I seemed sad, depressed.  I told him it was the heat.  I didn’t think I could stand it one more minute.  I wanted to be outside.  I couldn’t.  The temperature had been in the high nineties and even triple digits for at least two weeks.  The only way to escape it was to stay inside in the air conditioning.  D said,  “Let’s go find some cool air.”  (He was often so very thoughtful and kind in those days.)  We got in the car, turned on the air, of course, and headed north up I-77.  We drove until we came to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Then we found an old homestead that had been preserved.  We got out of the car, walked down a little trail and found a rock wall to sit on.  We sat and felt the breezes blowing off the valley.

As we sat, the tears flowed freely down my cheeks.  D took my hand, put his arm around me and just held me.  I thanked him for taking me up there where I could breathe again.  My misery mattered to him and he acted to relieve it.  And now the tears flow freely again  as I remember.  That’s the D I will never stop missing.

I had no idea what direction my writing would take when I sat down.  I’m glad I have this sweet memory.  And that’s why I write.

Spring is in the air.

Beautiful "early" Spring day.

“It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want–oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so.”~ Mark Twain

It’s hard not to have spring fever when outside looks like this photo.  Makes me want to dig in the dirt but it’s really too early for that.  These warm, sunny days have nudged all the early plants and trees into a false sense of security.  Bradford pears are in full bloom.  Daffodils aren’t just peeking up, they’re nodding their beautiful golden heads.  The red bud trees are a glorious fuchsia.  The grass is greening.  The leaves on many of the trees are inquiring about the possibility of a full showing.  Ah-h-h.  Spring.  I love it.

Fall used to be my favorite season.  I think it still is.  But this time of year it’s easy to believe that spring is the one.  That’s been especially true for me the past few years.  It seems to be connected to the beginning of the end of my marriage.  Isn’t everything?  It’s symbolic in some way.  When I was young, I don’t know that I really appreciated it.  I didn’t realize that it was springtime and that I should glory in its beauty, both symbolically and literally.  That’s human nature, I guess.  Now that I’m older and I have no husband, no companion to share my mature (Yuck!  I hate that word!) thoughts with, fall doesn’t have quite the appeal it once had.

I know myself well enough, though, to know that when fall next appears after a long, hot Charlotte summer, I will be delighted to make its acquaintance again.  And so it is with age.  I’m happy not to have the problems that youth brings with it.  And being alone has helped me to become happy with where I am.  I seldom “sweat the small stuff” nowadays.  I save my passion for things that matter–family, art, thinking about the spiritual side of me, etc.  I don’t get upset about insignificant matters.  I guess I would say that I have acquired a small dose of wisdom.  There was a time when I thought I never would.  And life goes on.