Ithaca is Gorgeous!

Ithaca gorge

Literally.  There are a lot of gorges in Ithaca.  I went up this weekend to see my old boss, Joe, and his family, and their new home in Ithaca.  Everyone told me that Ithaca would be beautiful, and it was.  The surrounding farmland was not quite as idyllic as the stony green hills of Vermont/New Hampshire, imo, but it was close enough to remind me of them.  And Cornell University was beautiful as well.  Most gorgeous of all is the fact that Joe and Mary and Robert seem to be happy up there.

American Beauty

I had an American Beauty moment this afternoon.  No, I don't mean a naked teenager in a bed of roses kind of moment.  I mean a plastic bag dancing in the wind kind of moment.

I was walking to the post office to mail some t-shirts and noticed a small twister of yellow leaves swirling in a plaza.  Something about the configuration of the buildings and such caused the slight breeze to form a funnel.  Cool, I thought, but my errand was waiting on me.

After doing my duty and mailing said t-shirts, I walked past the plaza again the the yellow leaves lay in a lifeless, scattered drift.  Oh well.  Since it was a warm day, I decided to treat myself to an iced-coffee drink.  After placing the order, I looked out the window and the leaves had spun to life again.  They circled fast and furious near the ground, like a cat chasing its tail.  (Yes, I know most of you think of a dog, but you've never seen my cat, and she is much faster than any dog.)  But a few feet above, the movement was softer, more like a caress.  Little yellow leaves, playing in the breeze.


Nearly everyone is relishing the spring weather.  Personally, while I am happy to be able to wear sandals again, I am a little sad.  The warm temperatures means that the spring flowers will soon be whithered and gone.

I mentioned almost two weeks ago that blossoms were dropping onto our terrace like little snow flurries.  Today, they fell so thick and fast that it was as if we were in a giant snow globe that had just been shaken.  A layer of yellowish white petals covered the floor and patio furniture.

Walking home from work, the spent blossoms of the redbud trees littered the sidewalks.  And the dogwood blossoms were drooping.

Oh the dogwoods!  Don't get me wrong, the cherry trees that everyone comes to ooh and ah over are truly beautiful.  But I will take a dogwood blossom any day over a cherry blossom.  Somehow the petals are both delicate and sturdy at the same time.  The flowers remind me of hundreds of white (or pink) moths about to take flight.

They are drooping.  For over a week now I keep forgetting to bring my camera so I can capture the beautiful dogwoods that grace our cement neighborhoods.  And now, even if I remember tomorrow, they probably won't be the same.  Oh well.  My fault.  I had almost two weeks.

And we wouldn't appreciate the beauty quite as much if it weren't transient.

Rob says that the azaleas are rioting over at the National Botanical Gardens.  Maybe I'll get there before the party is over.

This is Lea

I discovered a new artist today, quite by accident. Had made plans to spend time with a friend, and she suggested that we go see this jazz-infused folk artist who was playing at The Potter's House in Adams Morgan. Sure, I said. I wasn't expecting much. I just wanted to spend some time with Chanda.

Anyway, long story short, from the very first guitar strum I was mesmerized. It sounded so different from the way a folk guitar usually sounds (to me anyway). And then she opened her mouth to sing... what a beautiful voice.

I bought her cd on the spot and am listening to it as I twiddle around on this web site. Not as good as hearing her live, but still lovely. Check her out!

It's Snowing Blossoms

I was sitting in our conference room at lunch, talking, facing the large windows/sliding glass doors, when I noticed what looked like snow flurries gently dropping to the terrace outside.  Now the weather has been weird this year - hot, cold, hot, cold... - but it wasn't snowing outside.  The blossoms - I don't know what kind they were - were dropping, little by little.

I've seen this before.  In fact every year when I go see the cherry blossoms down by the Tidal Basin, I experience the same effect.  White and pink snow drifts on the ground.  So delicate.  So transient.

But I wasn't expecting to see it on the terrace of our office in the middle of our work day.

Leaves of Flame

Living so far south here in DC, the leaves are just starting to turn. But here and there is a single tree who for whatever reason is bright red even tho its neighbors are still green. Each afternoon as I've walked home from work I've been struck by the beauty of these trees. I mean just amazed. 

Monday I had to stop in front of this one bright red tree, sitting in the front yard of a brick row house painted dull grey. The yard was all paved over; there was nothing living in that courtyard except for the flaming tree. The contrast was spectacular. 

And then today, as I took a different route home, I saw another tree basking in the afternoon sun, where the red-orange leaves seemed to be glowing from within. Beckoning. 

I thought of Moses and the burning bush. Surely when confronted with that kind of surreal beauty people must have felt the undeniable presence of the Divine.

Beauty in Baltimore

American Visionary Museum in Baltimore, MD

Took a day trip to Baltimore today with my friend Carol in order to see the RACE/CLASS/GENDER does not equal CHARACTER exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum. We took the Baltimore-Washington Parkway on the way up, which is far more scenic than I-95. (It's owned by the National Park Service.) At one point the trees grew especially close to the road, giving us a cozy feel. The grey, rainy skies made the spring green leaves look even more verdant. Interspersed were trees of a redder hue. And here and there the punctuation of dogwood trees in full bloom, their shocking white blossoms like a swarm of moths with their wings lifted up towards heaven. I love dogwood blossoms! Carol and I talked about how we both liked dogwood blossoms even more than the delicate cherry blossoms that DC is so famous for. Even tho I've traveled through it many times on my way between New York and DC, I've actually never visited Baltimore before. It's charming. I definitely want to visit again. The American Visionary Art Museum displays works by artists who have not been formally trained. No oil paints or marble sculptures here. While we saw a variety of media used, mirrors seemed to be a recurring theme. Appropriate for an exhibit on race and identity. The exhibit itself was poignant and at times heartbreaking. It runs until Sept 3rd.

Spring in DC

Cherry blossoms in the Tidal Basin

Today, Miles and I went down to the tidal basin to see the cherry blossoms. They were already past their peak, the pinkish white blossoms covering the ground like a recent snow storm, but there was still plenty of white/pink of the trees, and the hint of green sprouting on the branches was beautiful in and of itself. Nobody does Spring like DC. Honestly, I never appreciated Spring until I moved here. There are no real seasons in coastal California, unless you count the rain and the Santa Ana winds as seasons. In New York, spring was a muddy mess - a brief transition from icy winter to sweltering summer - there might be a few blooms but they were often obliterated by a tardy snow storm. But DC: first the crocuses start to appear, followed by the daffodils. Then the trees take over with the delicate cherry blossoms and big bold magnolias. Then the ground answers back with tulips. Then the dogwood trees command attention. And finally the azaleas. I never thought much of azaleas until I saw big huge bushes of them in bloom, all in different colors, in DC. Spring in DC lasts for weeks and weeks, in wave after wave of color.

Glass Wing Butterlies

Glasswing Butterfly

A friend, Michael, forwarded me some pics of glass wing butterflies, native to South America. I had never heard of such a thing. They're beautiful!

I wonder...why is transparency beautiful?


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