14 April 2009

Rain and shine

No, that's not a typo in the title line. Most people say some activity is going to go on "rain or shine." Well, today here in Edgefield County, we're doing everything rain and shine, simply depending on which minute it is. We've gone from sun and distinct shadows to frog-strangling rain, from the busy sound of bees in the white azaleas outside the study window to thunder so forceful the springs in the window casing rattle and sing. And, it's only taken the blink of an eye to make the transition.

As my friend, Bob Norris, said this morning on Facebook: "Don't like the weather? Just wait fifteen minutes."

13 April 2009

Hiking along Stevens Creek

We are almost within the final two month period before our June adventure to Alaska (Alaska: Enlightenment under the Midnight Sun). Road Scholar (a division of Elderhostel) has sent out a detailed description of the excursion, advocating some conditioning prior to meeting the group in Fairbanks on June 20th. Ever obedient, our walks are beginning a shift from the flat of the roads in our neighborhood and the gentle hills of the nearby golf course. Yesterday afternoon we headed out to explore a portion of the 12 miles along Stevens Creek in McCormick County.

The day was utterly georgeous and I felt better than I had in a couple of weeks. Given those two plusses (which can quickly become minuses), we agreed to try to refrain from being overly ambitious. Since neither of us had thought to wear a watch and since I'd left the cell phone (which includes a clock) on the kitchen counter, we couldn't walk for a pre-determined length of time and turn around. We were grateful, once on the trail -- beginning at the bridge on SR23 near Modoc -- to see that the distance is posted every half-mile. This is Tal as we turned around at the 2-mile marker. (He indulged my effort to get the marker in the foreground by walking into the distance.)

It's along Stevens Creek that the famous and endangered Rocky Shoals Spider Lily will begin blooming next month. Although we weren't treated to that sight or scent today, we were blessed with another lily ... I think the Atamasco ... growing along tributaries to the main creek and in low glades. I managed to muddy both knees, but getting these shots (and several more ...) nourished my soul this Easter day.

This flower isn't new to me. As a child I was privately convinced that it should have been the real Easter lily. I remember (perhaps wrongly) that they bloomed at Eastertime on either side of a brick waterfall near the Youth Taming the Wild pool at Brookgreen Gardens. An enchanting spot in my memory to be sure and one, to my surprise (and I have looked), that I did not photograph during those early years.

12 April 2009

"Welcome, happy morning!"

Thus begins an ancient Easter hymn. A hymn, by the way, not much liked by most choirs I've known over the years. My suspicion is that the dislike is more for Arthur Seymour Sullivan's Fortunatus tune than Venantius Honorius Fortunatus' poetry. Check it out in "The Hymnal 1982" (Church Publishing, NY, hymn #179).

What a happy morning. We woke early, the day dawning as we watched. Day-by-day we are filled with wonder at the sight we see and, often, I say or think to myself that I should document the view. Today, before making the bed even, I did just that -- a process requiring raising the window and removing the screen. No wonder I didn't do it before ...

But, it was worth the effort. The native azalea in the foreground in all its glory, the sun streaming in from the right and the still-bare trees across the pond reflected on the surface of the water. Can you hear my happy sigh?

11 April 2009

Gallery sitting

For the past several days I've been at something of a low ebb. There's nothing in particular ailing me. The flame's simply a bit dim.

Today I was scheduled to sit with the gallery run by the Art Association of Ridge Spring. Normally, since such sitting is a rather quiet endeavor, I and other gallery associates (that's what we sitters are called officially) do something constructive -- like paint or clean. Today, however, I stayed quiet, enjoying the people who strolled through and forging ahead on the mystery I'm reading.

I did have the camera with me, however, so I have a few photographs to share. The gallery is in an old school -- well-remembered by many Ridge Spring residents and much-loved by, well maybe, not all of them!

This is a view of the larger of the two rooms currently used as gallery space, taken from the central hall where the desk is located. This room is to the right off the front door as the visitor faces the building. The large, old windows -- all in need of glazing, sorry to say -- provide lots of rather soft light.

This is the room to the left of the front door. From the looks of the far wall (left side of photo; wall without blackboard), this room was once the size of the larger gallery, having been divided into two rooms at some point in the school's past.

And, here is where I spent a good bit of the day ... in a cushiony wicker chair, the "art gallery open" banner flapping in the breeze (and wrapping around the pole), the book in my lap and sun on my legs.