Monday, April 29, 2013

cheerer-uppers

When April showers just keep pouring and pouring, and the parade of life begins to feel like a rain-out, the best thing to do is take refuge beneath an umbrella of cheer. An assemblage of life-affirming images, ideas and actions that can catapult you into a sunnier state of mind. Things like a darling origami elephant. Or a virtual stroll through the Boboli Gardens. Poems curated by Ted Kooser. And the fascinating radio story I heard this morning about the father and son from Barcelona who created exquisite tile ceilings in public buildings across America in the late 1800s. I could go on, but the  gloom has lifted. It's still rainy out, but the sun is shining on the inside.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

la florida

I feel for the legions of people whose only perception of The Sunshine State comes from a canned schlepp through Disney World. That is worlds away from the lush paradise that explorer Ponce de Leon happened upon in 1513, claimed for Spain and named La Florida. A quincentennial later, I hardly recognize the place myself, but these commemorative stamps take me back through the geography of memory: to St. Augustine with its Fountain of Youth, the mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs, the Everglades and Alligator Alley, waves crashing on the Atlantic and lapping the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Sand dollars washing up on Anna Maria Island, the shells of Sanibel, Seminole Indian dolls, citrus groves, palm trees, flowers in every tropical hue. And, always, hibiscus.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

bring forth a flower

My friend was going through the worst of times and I was so worried about her. Then, right in the middle of it, a postcard arrived with a beautiful, love-filled message from her on one side and this poem on the other. Someone wise once told me that if you mine the deepest, darkest shadows, beneath them are flowers to bring forth. And that sorrow can be a doorway to grace. It's taken a lifetime, but I'm finally beginning to understand.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

eternal spring

The playlist for spring is Vivaldi strings, Louis Armstrong songs and April showers that patter gently on the roof at night. Spring is awe. And ahhhh. It's a newborn baby peeping out of a pastel papoose, eyes as mysterious as eternity. It's a young Beatrix Potter, sketching plein air in the Scottish countryside and, a century later, a mother reading The Tales of Peter Rabbit aloud to sleepy little girls in eyelet nightgowns. It's carrots pulled from a backyard garden and mint that's wintered over, blooming just in time for juleps in cold silver cups to sip while the horses run. Spring is a bakery box of elegant macaroons dressing up an ordinary afternoon and strawberries in a cut crystal bowl. A stylish trench coat is required attire in this, the perfect season for a movie with French subtitles and strolling through the museum garden where resides a cheerful topiary giraffe.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

you're pretty

It was just turning light when I walked outside this morning and cherry blossom petals were cascading down like confetti in the soft breeze. I couldn't even count the different bird songs I heard, but one was very distinct and rose above the rest. It sounded just like you're pretty, you're pretty, you're pretty.

Monday, April 1, 2013

beginning

Write about your sorrows, your wishes, your passing thoughts, your belief in anything beautiful. - Rainer Maria Rilke
Those are the marching orders for National Poetry Month which happens every April and begins today. This year commemorates "the important and enriching role that letter writing has played in the lives of poets." Listed here are 30 great ways to celebrate. And I'm delighted to say that you can request a free copy of this beautiful poster here. Writer's Digest has thrown a poetic gauntlet with its Poem-A-Day Challenge, a wonderful incentive to get the words in your heart onto paper. Starting today. Starting right now.