Azure sky beckons
Azure sky beckons
Usually, my son sends me flowers for Mother’s Day even though he lives far away. He sometimes sends his sister in Amarillo flowers as well. Since none of us are participating in the flower rituals this year due to quarantining, I offer all of you mothers out there photos of my iris this year.
Happy Mother’s Day. Stay safe, be thankful, take a walk. Enjoy!
In the midst of being home for about a month now, it is spring most of the time. Saturday was 80 something. Now it is snowing. When it was 80 plus, I walked around outside and took photos of some of the wild flowers and the orchids blooming in the window above my kitchen sink.
I had planned to post several days ago, but I am so busy teaching English and Spanish online, I hardly have time to do much else. I did mow for several hours Saturday morning, did some gardening, cleaned horse runs, let them out to run. My students are studying the works of John Steinbeck, reading Animal Farm, The Odyssey, and Oedipus Rex–I teach four different levels of English. Designing lessons they can do online with little assistance takes forethought and planning. I thought I would hate it, but there are some things I really like and when we go back to class, I probably will continue. In the meantime, I will read, think, garden, care for my horses, hike my canyon, teach, write, and dream. Take care. Be safe.
Once I was married to a man who sarcastically commented that I could find beauty anywhere. It’s probably true. Taking a hike in semi-arid country, I find tiny flowers, hidden lichens, cactus the size of my thumbnail. I keep thinking of the miniscule lavender flowers near the rock walkway by the garage. They only appear briefly in the spring. They are so tiny, tinier than my pinkie nail. How can I see them? They stand out so brightly against the rocks, they’re hard to miss. Well, hard for me to miss.
Every natural place has its own beauty. I can only think of one place I’ve been where I questioned this: a place on the Interstate east of LA next to the Arizona border. In June when it was 118 and the hot wind nearly knocked me over, I recall asking myself, “How can anyone live here?” Yet I’ve seen photos of the same desert carpeted with hot pink flowers in the spring.
Every natural place has its own beauty. You just have to be open to seeing., feeling, experiencing its magic.
Note: This essay was part of an assignment for a writing class from the Story Circle Network. The assignment is to write six minutes each day using just one word to get you started and writing about that word. You can make a list of topics or just pick a word out of a book. The teacher is Yesim Cimcoz. It would seem I never took of photo of the tiny flower mentioned above. Below are photos of native flowers taken around my house.
On one of our day trips from Sorrento, we headed down the Amalfi Coast. For years I have seen photos and told myself, “Wow”. No photo can do this coastline justice. The highway is excellent but narrow. On many of the turns, only one vehicle can proceed. A large bus cannot travel this highway. Even with the small ones we took, the driver would often honk as we turned a corner which we could not see around.
We stopped at one of the few turnoffs along the highway and took a short hike down to an overlook. This is the town of Positano. I took the following photos while at this overlook.
I love bougainvillea and all colors grew everywhere.
Looking across the Mediterranean.
The land is rugged with both new and ancient buildings hanging off mountainsides and cliffs.
A closer view of Positano.
Another view across the Mediterranean.
The highway, houses hanging off the edge, olive trees, lushness everywhere.
It was a stormy looking day. We kept thinking it would rain but luckily it did not.
The Amalfi Cathedral in the town of Almalfi. Its design is unique and shows the cultural influence of the Muslim world with whom the town was a major trading center for centuries–arches, gold and green.
A typical street in Amalfi. We walked all the way up this street to just below the school, found all sorts of delightful shops, and ate our favorite food of the entire trip. My favorite was spaghetti with a lemon creme sauce. Recipe comes later.
Near the sea looking up into the city. The large building up on the slopes is now a cemetery but used to be a monastery.
Same spot as previous photo, just looking the other direction.
We were supposed to take a little boat trip out into the sea but it was too rough. Ema, my daughter, walked all the way out to the end of the pier.
The water was so high I thought perhaps it was high tide. I was told it was not.
Today I asked my daughter and grandson what/where was their favorite in Italy. We all agree, Amalfi. I also loved Capri–more about there later.
In the Panhandle of Texas residents greet rain with joy. We rarely get enough and when it does rain, usually it brings lightning, thunder, sometimes hail, wind, downpours. Today was different. When I arrived home, I heard the waterfall running, saw droplets on the evergreens and flowers, saw flashes of sunshine.
Purple and gold
carpet emerald grass
from recent rains
Note: I live on a canyon rim near Amarillo, Texas. One story as to now Amarillo acquired its name is from the fact that in the both the spring and fall, the countryside is carpeted with yellow flowers.
These Mexican Bird of Paradise speak for themselves.
Several weeks ago, the tail of my favorite horse, Miracle, disappeared. When she died from colic after giving birth several years ago, one young lady at the vets took hairs from her tail, made a braid, and gave it to me. Since then, it had hung in the hallway next to Dad’s spurs and a photo of the family farm above Dad’s parade saddle. Suddenly, it disappeared. Where could it have gone? No one had recently been to the house except Martina, my Italian exchange student, and me. My daughter and grandson had stopped by, but no one else. Nothing else had disappeared. It was a mystery like the time I found a handful of dry dog food under the saddle. I never solved that one and had given up on solving this one. I had even considered looking for something else to hang in its place.
On my birthday yesterday, the principal walked to my room with a bouquet of flowers and a package. The bouquet was from my grandson. I opened the package. Much to my astonishment, there was Miracle’s tail, the top of the braid carefully and colorfully wrapped, a thin copper wire winding through it, and and then wrapped around the bottom. My daughter had managed to take it without my seeing her do so, took it home, and had wrapped it so it would not come apart. When I originally told her about it, she and my grandson commented how strange it was and made note of the dog food incident as if some mystery lurked in that particular place in my house.
My grandson had picked out each individual flower. He obviously knows my favorite color is orange.
Then to top off the day my son also sent flowers. It dropped 50 degrees from yesterday afternoon to late last night, the wind shrieks, clouds loom dark and ominous. It is a good day for bright flowers.
Barbara Lewis Duke, pretty petite, blue-eyed and blond, my mother, one fearless, controlling woman. Long after Mother’s death, Dad said, “Barbara was afraid of absolutely no one and nothing.” They married late: 34 and 38. He adored her unconditionally. She filled my life with horses, music, love, cornfields, hay rides, books, ambition. Whatever she felt she had missed, I was going to possess: piano lessons, a college education. Her father, who died long before I was born, loved fancy, fast horses. So did she. During my preschool, croupy years, she quieted my hysterical night coughing with stories of run aways horses pulling her in a wagon. With less than one hundred pounds and lots of determination, she stopped them, a tiny Barbie Doll flying across the Missouri River Bottom, strong, willful, free.
Note: this poem is in my book “On the Rim of Wonder” and was also recently published in “Inside and Out”, a collection of writings by women. It is available on Amazon and published by the Story Circle Network.
Addendum: My mother loved horses and flowers. When I look at the flowers around my house I think of my mother. And, yes, I have horses. The following photos are dedicated to my mother’s memory.
My mother’s mother and father.
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