CREATIVITY is the soul reflected

Master Painter

Master Painter
Prairie Sunrise by Charlie Clark

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Color found

I posted the last week about craving color. A trip to Yoder, KS, provided that.

To begin with, I saw YELLOW daffodils and YELLOW forsythia beginning to bloom.

A friend and I went there for the Parade of Quilts, an annual event during which handiwork of local residents is displayed in several of the town's businesses. Now, that dished up lots of color!

Debbie and granddaugher Zoie
Zoie and me
My indulgence: blackberry cream pie

It's always fun to visit this Amish community, though it being a weekday, we didn't see any horses and buggies. Usually I go on a Saturday, which is the day families go to town to shop. I've always been intrigued with the Amish way of life, its simplicity, devotion to family life, strong faith, hard work, superior craftsmanship, dedication to basics. I've written before about this fascination, and I always come away from there  re-inspired. I'm ready to dig out old sewing projects and start new ones; to go through photo files and scrapbook memories. 

I even want to spring-cleanshock

In the past few days, spring has been popping out all around. Trees that were nothing but bare twigs last week are graced with delicate green fringe. Grass is greening—and growing (is that a mower being tuned up?). Charlie had the rototiller out in the garden this morning and has gone to the nursery for seeds and seed potatoes. 

Green forcing its way up through the dead remains of last year's perennials
The piece de resistance is this:

Barely above the ground, this tiny hyacinth sensed the urgency to bloom and provide a bit of color to its drab surroundings.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Craving color

It's raining, dark and chilly again today. 

As usual, I'm inspired by reading other blogs. Sometimes the author puts into perfect words exactly what I am thinking, but unable to articulate. This was the case when I read a post by Kelly Letky here:

Then there's, where the photography is as beautiful as the prose.

It has been a long winter, with more snow that I can remember in years and years, especially since I've been in Kansas. An honest-to-goodness blizzard, followed one week later by record low of -17° and 17" more of snow. 

At least while there was snow, there was brightness. When the flakes stopped coming down, the sun lit up the sky, a brilliant cloudless blue.

But something happened. The snow melted, the skies became endless varying shades of gray, the wind blew harder, and the landscape was nothing but drab gray and brown and beige. It rained, it sleeted, a little more snow fell and melted, and the mud deepened. I fell into such a funk.

Shades of brown, beige and gray

I got a new camera March 1 and began looking desperately for color. The only bright spots outside were the cardinals who frequented our feeders and an occasional bluebird. But they flitted away as quickly as I approached the window. Winter sunsets, however, provide a feast for the eye.

January sunset

Progression of a winter sunset

I was, as Kelly so aptly put it, "craving color like chocolate." And more aptly, colorful flowers. I settled for the pots of geraniums in my bedroom window. 


Then my bougainvilleaall winter a bare, thorny brown twig—began putting on blossoms. Fragile looking paper-like flowers with tiny white star-shaped centers. As the days lengthened, the clusters became more profuse. Still barely a green leaf! 

Bougainvillea mid-February

Bougainvillea in full bloom, a month later in Mid-March

Then yesterday, while walking through the yard, I saw these tiny (1/8"—¼" blue flowers with white centers. Their official name is Speedwell or Veronica, but I've always called them Little Blue Eyes. Hurray! Color, outside. 

Speedwell/Veronica aka Little Blue Eyes

And I noticed the frogs and robins singing and saw buzzards gliding overhead. I do believe it's finally happening! Spring is coming.

It's a bit late, but I'll close with this Irish blessing, taken from prairiegirl's blog:

may you have warm words on a cold evening,
a full moon on a dark night,
and a smooth road all the way to your door.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Just a postscript to this week's post…

The past two days were cold, but beautiful. None of our famous Kansas wind. Bright sunshine. I managed to get out for a walk both days and thoroughly enjoyed it. I stopped now and again, just to listen to the calm and an occasional bird. The sky was the bluest it could possibly be, without a cloud in it. I saw hundreds of little bird and rabbit tracks,  deer prints, and what I imagine was coyote pawprint. 

And yesterday morning, I looked out and saw bluebirds ringing our birdbath. What a joy! We hadn't had any around since last summer. Can spring be far behind?

Yes, I'm afraid so because already the weather forecast is calling for another "snow event" with frigid temperatures. Guess which day? Next week, the day I rescheduled those appointments I cancelled this week! Maybe Tuesday is a bad day. I'll go for Wednesday next time! 

Friday, February 4, 2011


7:15 a.m.
February 3, 2011

It's official: Kansas had a real, honest-to-goodness blizzard; Tuesday's evening weather report confirmed that all the criteria had been met.

Mid-day Tuesday, from the kitchen window
Through the dining room window

Now, we're in an arctic deep-freeze, but it's very pretty outside. Finally, the wind is calm, the sun is bright, and I'm almost tempted to bundle up and go out—almost. In lieu of that, I did shoot pictures from inside through the windows and a barely open door. 

From the back deck

From the barely open front door

Our wild birds have been in a frenzy. Charlie filled one of the feeders TWICE during the height of the storm, and it quickly emptied again. The ground beneath the feeders (we have 4 altogether) was writhing with little birds. I saw one yesterday I could not identify. And, they seemed grateful for the not-frozen water in the heated bird bath, lining the rim and dipping their tiny beaks. Cardinals, juncos, finches, flicker and downey woodpeckers, Harris sparrows, nuthatch, black-capped chickadees.

Our lab Sadie doesn't want to go outside unless Charlie goes with her or unless she's reached that point of Nature's urging that she has no choice. Yesterday Charlie spent several hours shoveling walks and driveway and making paths for her throughout the yard. Before that, with the wind howling around her and the ground covered with cold white stuff, she had a rough time.

No, that isn't a lampshade on her head. A week ago Sadie had 10 stitches in her thigh and has chewed out 9 of them. The cone is to keep her from reaching them. She's trudging through the snow as fast as her legs allow her.

I was quite worried about my son and his family, but breathed a sigh of relief early yesterday morning when I received an e-mail saying "we survived." Did I mention they live just south of Chicago? It was hard not to see at least a few film clips of the situation there. Lake Shore Drive was unbelievable. Glad I no longer live there!

Todd and Kelly have an all-electric house, so my biggest worry was they'd lose power. And they're out in the country, so they have a well and a pump—dependent on electricity. Same with their heating. Todd bought a generator the other day, but they didn't have to use it. Kelly, who has a two-hour commute (each way) on a normal good day, left work at noon Tuesday. I was so glad. But my little granddaughter did go to school in the morning (half-day kindergarten), which really surprised me. She rides the bus.

Tabitha was having fun!

As we exchanged emails throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, Todd reminded me of the lessons I had tried to instill, but often lapse from myself. Based on Wayne Dyer's philosophy of You'll See It When You Believe It, Todd maintained a positive attitude as they watched the snow pile up and listened to the monster wind wreaking havoc outside. He chastised me for even worrying and putting out negative thoughts.

I rescheduled three appointments I really needed to keep, made a crockpot of chili and batch of peanut butter cookies. Those comforting smells and added heat kept the chill away, as did the drier when I did several loads of laundry. It also seemed a good time to do the computer and software upgrades I'd been putting off. 

Someday we (and our grandchildren) will look back on this week as one of those history-making weather events. It's already been touted as Chicago's third worst winter storm, but only by one and two inches in those criteria; the worst in terms of the wind.