Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Honeysuckle Rose

Louie Armstrong sang, “Ev’ry honeybee fills with jealousy, when they see you out with me. I don’t blame them…goodness knows, Honeysuckle Rose.”

One of my favorite memories is a trip to the Ohio Appalachian foothills with my parents when I was in my early 20s. I’d persuaded them to take me there because I wanted to see all the places where they'd lived and played as children. The road leading to the hollow where Mom's childhood home stood was a narrow, dusty dirt road. As our car bumped around curves and over hills, I sensed a growing excitement in Mom. The years fell away and she was 15 again, walking the same dusty roads she’d walked to and from church with her first love, the boy she was to eventually marry. “There’s Grandma Barbara’s old home place,“ she said excitedly as she pointed out a two-story, white clapboard house with a wide, wrap-around porch. "And there’s the bridge where I hid my clothes the night before Irvin and I eloped!" After a long, fun day of exploring and reminiscing, we returned to our hotel, which set back from the road up a hill. As we climbed the wrought iron steps to our room , I suddenly stopped as a I caught a whiff of the most incredibly sweet fragrance. “What's that smell?” I asked. “Wild honeysuckle,” Mom whispered, pointing out the arching vines twining through the thick brush. We just stood there together for a few minutes, in the twilight, not speaking, taking in the scents and sounds around us.

The honeysuckle flower is a symbol of everlasting love, devotion and generosity - all attributes my mother possessed. Honeysuckle has been mentioned in poems and songs and featured in paintings, including “Honeysuckle Bower,” by Peter Paul Rubens - a double portrait of the artist and his wife sitting beneath a blossoming honeysuckle shrub. Honeysuckle extract is frequently used in perfumes, face creams and soaps. As a curative, it’s also effective for respiratory issues and reducing fever. But, for me, honeysuckle will always be a warm evening in late spring, at twilight, standing on the steps with my mother. 

Honeysuckle Bower
Peter Paul Rubens

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A New Beginning and a Sad Farewell

After being MIA for quite some time on this blog, I've decided to come back to it. I missed it quite a lot, actually, and often thought about all of you. Thank you, to everyone who has stuck with me and is still following, I really do appreciate it. In the future, I'll be sharing book reviews, essays and storytelling, artist's profiles, and other fun stuff, such as my art and photography. I'm looking forward to it!

But first, I have some sad news. For those who have followed my blog for a long time, you know I often wrote about my 3 cats, Rudy, Buster and Sam. 

I lost my precious Rudy last month due to complications from diabetes. He was 13 years old, and until just a few months ago, healthy and happy.

I got Rudy when he was only 8 weeks old, and I can remember the day I first picked him up, and he nuzzled under my chin, like it was yesterday. Rudy was so special to me, I can't even begin to explain. But, anyone who has loved a cat, or a dog, or any other type of pet, knows the pain of losing them. My pain is still raw...and there are times I still can't believe he's gone. But, as with any passing, I know the pain will ease with time. Rudy will always be with me, though, in my heart and thoughts. He was with me through some pretty rough times, and he brought me such joy! I miss him, though...oh, how I miss him! 

Rudy watching a bird video.

Rudy's footprints (given to me from the girls at my vet's office.)

RIP my sweet angel cat. I'll never forget you.
Rudy 2002 - 2015

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sea Glass ~

On my dining room table is a rose-colored, vintage glass dish filled with sea glass. It was given to me by a beloved Aunt many years ago, and it's one of my most treasured possessions. Sea glass is found strewn along beaches all over the world, worn smooth by years of being tossed in water and tumbled by waves. Colors range from clear and pink to cobalt blue, turquoise, soft green and golden amber. Red is the rarest sea glass, only one piece found in every 5,000. Many people consider sea glass “trash.” Indeed, it does come from broken bits of bottles, jars, windows, plates, and other sources, some of them decades old. But, to me, sea glass is a rare treasure…even more, a metaphor for life. Each piece is unique. Each piece started out as one thing… and years later was transformed into something else. Just as sea glass reinvents itself over the years, so it is with life. I’ve reinvented myself more than once over the years. Some of these changes have been forced upon me, others from the choices I’ve made in life. And, this, I believe, is one of the themes in the novel, Sea Glass, by Anita Shreve.

I admit I was drawn to the novel by the mere title because of my love of the sea. Also, I’d previously read and enjoyed Anita Shreve’s book, “The Pilot’s Wife,” when it was one of Oprah Winfrey’s picks for her book club. Sea Glass is set in 1929 New England at the onset of the Great Depression. Two of the main characters, Honora and Sexton Beecher are newlyweds who rent a house on the coast of New Hampshire. Shreve cleverly uses the same large, old beach house as the setting that she used in two of her previous novels, “The Pilot’s Wife,” and “Fortune’s Rocks,” and again in a later novel, “Body Surfing.“ She successfully evokes the feeling of coastal life of the 1920s, and creates a story so rich in details of the era that it hooks the reader right from the beginning. Shreve weaves the stories of six main characters as they become involved in each other’s lives. Sexton, a typewriter salesman, loses his job when the Depression strikes and goes to work in a nearby mill, where he becomes involved in plans to form a union. What follows next changes the lives of all the main characters in the book. Throughout the novel, Honora collects sea glass on her walks along the beach, where she goes to think, to dream, to calm herself. After tragedy strikes, Honora must transform herself…and her life…and along the way she finds, as many of us do, that she is more resilient than she ever imagined.

"The only problem with looking for sea glass...is that you never look up. You never see the view. You never see the houses or the ocean, because you're afraid you'll miss something in the sand." From the novel, Sea Glass by Anita Shreve

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Gift From the Sea

"There are other beaches to explore, there are more shells to find. This is only the beginning." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Anne Morrow Lindbergh was an author, poet and wife of famed aviator pioneer, Charles Lindbergh. She was vaulted into celebrity by her marriage, and was not comfortable being in the spotlight - even before the 1932 kidnapping and murder of the couple's first child. The frenzied attention from the press caused the couple to first move to England, and later to the small island of Illiec, off the coast of Brittany in France. They later moved to Hawaii, where Charles died in 1974. Anne wrote her book, "Gift From the Sea," in 1955 while on vacation on Captiva Island, Florida. The book is written in essay style and touches on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment. The slim volume became a best seller and has sold over 3 million copies and has been translated into 45 languages. Anne moved to a cottage built on her daughter's Vermont farm in the late 1990s. She died in 2001 at the age of 94.

"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach — waiting for a gift from the sea." AML


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