Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wall of White

This white-petaled bush lines the street in a neighborhood by the lake in a cul-de-sac edging some woods. Would make a lovely backdrop for a wedding party.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Musicians of Medieval Marginalia

The word cartoon first came into existence in the beginning of the Renaissance to refer to a study in preparation for a more permanent work of art, such as a painting. Later, in the 19th century the word "cartoon" came to refer to a comic picture with satirical or exaggerated graphic features--as in today's comic books, newspaper funnies, political cartoons, and graphic novels.

However, this leaves out the marginalia of medieval prayerbooks and hymnals. Here, surrounding the image of veneration--a saint, a scene from the life of Christ and of Mary, or a scene from the Old Testament, and calendars, or surrounding the musical notations in hymnals--a rich subterranean and often comic pictorial life flourishes in the marginalia.

For example, we see below that animals are often playing music in the marginalia--forerunners to the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, the Musicians of Bremen. All animals, not just the birds, it seems, had some kind of musical talent back then, even dragons (see last picture).

Monday, April 17, 2017

Day Is Done

It was a high spring day, but the reflection of the sky in the lake almost looks like a snowscape.

Fifteen minutes later and the clouds had broken up and their reflections made it look as if mist was rising from the water.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter, Everyone!

The Risen Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene, Rembrandt van Rijns, 1863

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Lone Goose

Here is the lone goose of Lake Newport this spring. I don't know his origins or why he is still here. From about November through the first week of March, the lake was the home to a flock of Canadian geese. They squawked all day and through the night. At least once a day, they flew from the lake to the soccer fields on the side of where I live, where they ate their meals. The trip often took them over where I live, and sometimes if they flew close and low enough, you could hear the soft whish of their wings.
It seemed like a large flock of up to five or six families. When they went from one place to another, they did not all take off as one big flock though. They took off in squadrons, one after another. In the back of a group, one goose would start flapping his wings and honking loudly and then lift himself up into the air and fly off. The rest of his squadron would follow suit, and in a flash up to 20 geese would be in the air. Then after a few minutes the next squadron would go in the same way. One after another until the lake was emptied.
I loved watching them land back in the water, as they swooped down gracefully but strongly, into the water, making a beautiful splash of water to their sides.
Then one day, as the weather was warming, they were gone. A few remained. Now there seems to be only one.                                

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Turtle in Tow

I got a photo this morning after a short rain shower of the (apparent) mother turtle and her little ones. If you look closely, you can see the larger turtle with its head a bit out of the water, and right behind it, another smaller head belonging to her offspring. There are other young turtles swimming around, trying to gain her attention from time to time. I watched while this mother and her child swam around. Every time the mother stopped swimming and surfaced her head to the water, the baby would do the same right away. When the mother started swimming again, the baby did the same, right away.
I believe I saw a young turtle with a very tiny green turtle on its back, but I could not get close enough to see it clearly. Certainly looked like a baby green turtle.
Then today in this neck of the lake there was some kind of large fish -- two or more feet -- swimming right on the surface. There was a gang of them down there. I couldn't tell what they are, but hope to soon. Is there such a thing as still waters?
In the photo below the tree is a reflection in the water, but the green-leafed branches are from bushes by the lakeside. The turtles like to sun on shore along the bushes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Turtle Time

Three young turtles basking. An older turtle dipped deep into the water as soon as my dog Bea and I came on the scene, but these younger ones were unperturbed. The shiny white streaks are the sun hitting little rivulets in the water made by a breeze. Yesterday I saw a larger turtle being followed by a smaller one in the water, but I didn't have my phone with me to get a picture. Wherever the big one went, the little one went, desperate to get the big one's attention, nipping at its feet or swimming around and meeting it head on. When they are looking up and the sun hits them, the turtle eyes look like little white shiny beads.  

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Redbud of Virginia

If you are out in the country in northern Virginia, redbud is everywhere, lining the roads and highways and edges of the woods. Such a beautiful tree, with its bright pink tiny flowers crawling up its branches. It does not take kindly to cutting and looks limp in a vase and won't last. The tree can stand tall and proud, sending its splays of pink out into the sky in more tame settings or, since it proliferates and always bends toward the sun out of the trees around it, the pink just peeks out.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Peeking Out

Everything is astir again. The first butterfly of the season. The turtles have returned to the lake nearby, with their baby turtles. The little flowers and greenery are peeking out from the dried up leaves of last autumn. We haven't seen or heard the fox though in a month. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Fragrance of Spring

Yesterday, as I was walking my dog (see above), I noticed a row of bushes with these gorgeous flowers, kind of white, pink, and red. I don't know what this flower is, but the smell was exquisite.
Today, after spring rains, the weather warmed and you could smell the earth again, at long last after the hardened soil of the winter. Is there any smell sweeter than spring earth after rain when the ground and trees are alive with green again? All these gifts.  The flowers were turning into berries, making them white and red, reading pink, with heady, heavy perfume. Grace.