Monday, August 25, 2014

blessing of the backpacks

Are you ever too grown up to experience the universal joy and energy of a first day of school? Yesterday was the annual 'Blessing of the Backpacks' at church, when children carry their school bags (sometimes bigger than they are!) up to the altar for a prayer before starting the new term. It's the sweetest thing, so full of anticipation and possibility. Backpacks are actually a hot fashion item for big people right now, so it's possible to find a style that tickles your personality today as much as the Arthur and D.W. motif did back in the third grade. Just make sure there's room enough for a composition book, a few #2 pencils and abundant blessings.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

back-to-school butterflies

“With many of my books I attempt to bridge the gap between the home and school. To me home represents, or should represent; warmth, security, toys, holding hands, being held. School is a strange and new place for a child. Will it be a happy place? There are new people, a teacher, classmates—will they be friendly?" - Eric Carle

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

la dolce vita

At an old Italian villa ensconced in bougainvillea,
a door opens. On the other side is the rest of your life.
From the balcony, picture postcard Positano. 
Hibiscus everywhere. And who knew the sea could be 
so many beautiful shades of blue?
Love is in the air. In the people and in the food, too. Amore
There is always a place to pause for prayer. 
Farmers here are artists, our guide said. 
The mountaintop town of Ravello takes your breath away. 
So does the nearby island of Capri. Pablo Neruda wrote a love note to it. 
The lemons are as big as mangoes and bloom three times a year. 
I did not want to say arrivederci to the Amalfi Coast. 
But the eternal city beckoned.
I just love this old place.
A double dip of dolce at every turn.
Sweet serendipity was coming upon the home of St. Ignatius.
Finding God in all things is his legacy. 
A midnight Vatican visit capped off Roma. Then, homa.
Thankfully, I brought it all back in my heart. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

stay with the fruit

Sometimes I look back over collages I made a while back to see what might have been hidden to me until now. Finding your inner Lewis & Clark is a great marching order for summer, or any time for that matter. It will definitely take you out on some sort of a limb, where fruit is. Something I learned recently is this: stay with the fruit. Stay where there's energy, goodness, kindness, love. Where there are books and berries. Where there's perfume, colored pencils, letters and ladybugs. If there's no fruit hanging from the limb you're on right now, go looking for some. Then stay with it.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

taste o' summer

Summer drives a faded red pick-up truck with a quilt in the back for impromptu picnics. It stops at roadside farm stands, drive-in movies and soft-serve ice cream joints where the line of customers spills into a parking lot illuminated by the glow of a neon sign. Summer carries a straw bag and a bandana and a library card, wears cotton shifts and cork sandals, has toes painted coral. Summer stays cool by ducking into a museum to catch the new exhibit and porch sitting in front of an oscillating fan. Summer is a paper bag full of peaches, summer is pie. It is fireflies and sparklers and starry nights, beach umbrellas in popsicle colors, a home run at the bottom of the ninth. If summer had initials, they would be B, L and T.

Friday, June 6, 2014

summer romance

Me, Dante, a comfy perch, iced coffee, biscotti to dip in it. And time. Let the summer reading romance begin.

Monday, June 2, 2014

dog days

Dogs don't get dragged down by the whole Monday thing. They live a more seamless existence, approaching each new morning with enthusiasm. Ready to pounce and play, roll in the grass, walk anywhere, angle for a treat, make a friend. Ready to love and, especially, to be loved. What great teachers they are.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June first

Let there be gardenias. Let there be mortar boards with alma mater-colored tassels and sheet cake with Congratulations spelled out in icing. Let there be a mason jar filled with herbs on the kitchen sill and hummingbirds at the feeder outside the window. Let there be strawberries for breakfast, a mountain of summer reading to climb, an ice water pitcher floating with cucumbers and mint. Let there be cotton shifts, straw bags, sandals. And jazz. Let there be porches and poetry. Let there be June.

Friday, May 30, 2014

fluff + majesty

They're outrageously beautiful in bloom and take your breath away every spring. Who knew that the Old Farmer's Almanac was full of such passion? But when the subject is peonies, it's natural that poetry would follow. There's even a quote by Henry Mitchell, who calls them "the fattest and most scrumptious of all flowers, a rare fusion of fluff and majesty." I didn't know that the peony was named after Paeon, Greek god of medicine and healing. Or that Renoir painted them in lush profusion. Wishing you peonies to ponder as May drifts softly into June. Whole armfuls of them.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

meeting Maya

I've learned that people will forget what you said, 
people will forget what you did, but people
will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou
When she was in the fifth grade, Italia was selected to read her poem aloud to Maya Angelou when the majestic poet visited Charlotte. The weeknight field trip was for a handful of elementary school poets and their teacher, and involved a backstage visit at the Blumenthal Center. It was a wonderful time, especially when Ms. Angelou said, "your name is very beautiful." Italia will never forget how that made her feel.