Sunday, March 30, 2014



Hope harvests our dreams.
Fresh and vital,
Against the pale of disappointment
Hope flushes expectantly .

 While hope protects,
 Spikes of unkindness are blunted
 Spears of anger are turned away
 The sharpness of spite is blurred.

 Hope is graceful,
 With gentle lines that follow through.
 It is strong and steadfast,
 Sharing its visions.

  Hope sprouts new life
 Out of darkness and gloom.
 Hope harvests dreams
 Laughs like stars, and shines like the moon.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Coming Melt

I stuck a yardstick in the snow this morning in the back yard.  Two feet of snow on the ground.  Some places it is more.  I tried to dig down to some snowdrops to see if anything was happening with them, but I hit a layer of ice at ground level.  Finally, tomorrow temperatures are going up so we will see how quickly all this snow will melt and when I will have snowdrops.  We should have some great puddles and run-off streams.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mary Anning and Her Fossils

I recently took a book out of the library about Mary Anning, an English fossil hunter from the early 19th century.  The book, "Remarkable Creatures" by Tracy Chevalier is historical fiction so the author has certainly taken artistic liberties with some of the characters, but it is still an interesting story about a woman that I hadn't previously heard about.  Mary was a poor girl who lived in Lyme Regis on the south-west coast of  England.  Her family supplemented their income by selling fossils that she and her brother found in the sea cliffs.  The best fossils were usually found after winter storms, so the fossil hunting was done largely in the cold, wet weather. It was challenging work , but Mary and her brother had a good eye for spotting the fossils and, when Mary was 12 years old, they found a dinosaur skeleton.  This discovery encouraged Mary to become an avid dinosaur hunter, and she became friends with Elizabeth Philpott, an upper-class spinster, who shared her interest in fossils. Because of the instability of the cliffs, the fossil hunting was a dangerous activity, and Mary had a close call when a landslide just missed her but killed her dog.
Over the years, Mary found other significant dinosaur remains which eventually made their way to the British Museum.  Because she was a woman and came from a working class family, she was not allowed to attend meetings of the newly founded geologists association even though she was more knowledgeable than most of the members. Many of them had bought fossils from Mary and had gleaned information about fossils from her when they visited Lyme Regis. Mary never married and always struggled financially in spite of her important discoveries.  In her forties, she became ill with cancer, and one of the well-to-do fossil enthusiasts arranged for her to receive a small pension. She died at 47.
You can read more about her and Elizabeth Philpott on Wiki.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Blue Stays True

                The Blue Stays True

Within knotted messages
Con-founded promises
Mazes full of dead ends

Snarling fears
Confusing threats
Jumbled t-errors

Beyond the tangled web
The blue stays true
Boundless harmonies

Sunday, March 9, 2014

If Only

If only we could have this perspective:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

St. Francis of Assisi

Friday, March 7, 2014

Basil Lime

Finally, today the temperature outside went up to around the freezing point and, with the bright sun, it was lovely to go for a walk.
I started seeds a few couple of weeks ago and although most of them have sprouted, only the basil has been able to do any significant growing .  The windowsill has been too cold for the flower seedlings to do anything much.
This variety of basil is called lime basil, but when I sampled it, to me, the overtone was licorice not lime.  It will be an interesting flavour to try to cook with.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Mrs. Delany and her Paper Flowers

My mother just lent me this book , The Paper Garden, by Molly Peacock about Mrs. Mary Delany's amazing paper flower collection.    Mrs. Delany lived in England and Ireland from 1700-1788 .  She was always a lively,creative woman, but her tour de force  happened after she turned 72.  She had been widowed for a few years and was still feeling a huge loss from the death of her husband.  One day she noticed that a geranium petal was the same colour as a piece of paper she had.  That set her creative wheels in motion, and soon she was assembling the most amazing collages out of cut paper which she stuck on a black paper background.  The rose on the cover of the book is not a painting; it is cut out of paper and the different colours are layers of different hand-painted coloured paper.  The British Museum has a large number of her almost 1000 flower collages, and on their website you can view enlarged versions that really allow you to appreciate her masterpieces.