Winter storms remind me of my beloved Beethoven.
It was autumn when we moved into our 1820s farm house in Hunters Valley in south central Pennsylvania. We had the illusion of owning half a hemisphere. We were surrounded by forests, streams, fields, and state games lands and at the time, couldn't see another house from horizon to horizon. By Christmas, a friend who owned a similar property, had convinced me that we needed a little more activity on the vacant acreage.
So on Christmas morning, I prepared two large golden packages. They were wrapped so the lids could be removed immediately for the comfort of the temporary guests inside. The backs of the boxes were completely open to prevent the tails from being crushed, and the girls positioned them so all the feathers were hidden beneath the Christmas tree. Mike’s face lit up when he opened the boxes to discover two peacocks!
It was mid-April when I heard Mike on the phone with Ruth Buck, a reporter for the local newspaper. “Well, we have at least three hundred birds,” Mike stated casually. I stopped and turned. Stunned.
I knew the collection had grown - iridescent white peacocks joined the blues, there were Bourbon Reds, Bronze and Royal Palm turkeys, Golden Pheasants, rheas, Dia Rhea and Gonna Rhea (another story- these two made NPR news!).
Years ago I wrote and piloted a curriculum for middle school students in the Harrisburg School District. It began in 5 schools and I worked with 180 students for two years. It was later funded in all schools through out the district.
When Christmas arrived, I wanted gifts for all of my students and hoped to find something useful and meaningful. My budget was already strained and even at $1 a present, the cost would have been almost two hundred dollars. I had no idea how I'd ever afford anything worthy of such wonderful kids.
Then one December weekend I traveled to Upper Dauphin for a sale on fabric at an arctic wear store that was going out of business. They had a sign for free scarves! Lots of free scarves! Enough for me to gather 180! II wish I had a photo of my car - there was barely room to sit! It is surprising the amount of space that many scarves will take up!
This photo inspires me to remember that thoughts become things. We can manifest from nothing if we have faith. At the time I didn't really understand manifesting, but wishing with all my heart for something special for these young people, and having it materialize, was a first step in understanding. And as I've learned over the years, the universe always gives me much more than I could ever imagine for myself.
The scarves represented warm hugs! This photo also represents why I love working with kids! Each young person had a different creative interpretation for their scarves! Adults would have probably draped them predictable around their necks, but not these kids! Every day - every moment - we have opportunities to interpret things creatively and express our own unique point of view. Striving for new ways to use the things in our lives can create dramatic results. (Remember my story about the young person who changed the economy of an entire town in W.V. when he realized the temperature in a coal mine was the same as the temperature to raise fish?) We should never underestimate the power of creative thinking.
Oh, and years later, I occasionally get a call from a friend mentioning they have spotted one of the scarves on someone walking by!
" . . . for all the beauty you add to the world, and to my life especially . . . "
I can't imagine a better way to describe Carrie's gift to me than the sentiment she included (above) in the gorgeous card she created. Just look at the way she has packaged these treasures! The attention to detail and the intricate laces are pure delight.
A few weeks ago I was painting roses and there was a photograph of the vase Nancy gave me in one of the pictures. Carrie mentioned that she had the tray to match it. It never occurred to me that she would pack it up and send it! She included a card, an embroidered linen doily, a crabapple candle that smells good enough to eat, and a candle holder adorned with stars and berries!
Mycenea brought me a gorgeous bouquet of roses!
"Orange roses - a literal mixture of yellow and red, orange roses were seen as a bridge between friendship symbolized by yellow roses and love represented by red roses. They can be an expression of fascination, or a gift to say 'I'm proud of you." Aw! Hope so!
Mycenea, Nancy and I met for dinner at Rockbass and shared appetizers and desserts as well as lively conversation. The food and view were divine. It's one of my favorite restaurants in Harrisburg.
The Millennium Music Conference featured almost 400 artists and bands through the Harrisburg area. Mycenea's band, Pleiades, with Ross Kennedy and Chuck Kembring, was featured at 10:00 p.m. at the Coliseum on my birthday! A once in a lifetime gift and a memories I cherish!
Our trip was overflowing with fun that ended much too soon! Thank you to Nancy for planning weeks ahead to ensure that my birthday would be filled with memorable moments!
The festivities continues when I returned home! Mycala took me to the Melting Pot for a full course fondue experience! We had cheddar cheese fondue with veggies, breads and applies followed by the house garden salad. Next came surf and turf with a variety of vegetables and six sauces. The meal ended with Pure Chocolate fondue with cookies, cakes, marshmallows, strawberries, pineapple and bananas. Bliss!
This morning I journaled on my new couch, enjoying my roses! One of the best parts about going away is coming home!
Last evening Mayor Catherine Pugh welcomed the Sweet Silver Bells at City Hall to be part of Baltimore's tree lighting celebration. But as you can see in the news broadcast below, the evening was about much more than lighting a Christmas tree.
Today is the first year anniversary of my brother Benjamin's death - 11-03-2016 - and I miss him. Benjamin's favorite color was yellow, he had a special place in his heart for cats, and enjoyed all kinds of music, He was an expert chess player and played daily. His sense of humor was so dry that most people missed it. He was one of the youngest to receive Eagle Scout, an honor earned by only about 4% of Boy Scouts. He loved his country and served in the Navy and later in the Marines. Benjamin graduated from the University of Texas in Austin and kept his love for all things Texas in his heart by watching westerns, listening to country music and cheering for any sports team within the Texas borders. He was often seen in a cowboy hat and boots, carrying a walking stick in later years.
Benjamin loved numbers. He kept notebooks filled with the numbers the way I keep journals filled with words and sketches. He assessed life through numbers, daily listing dates, temperatures, check book balances, stock figures, and some I can't decipher. When I would grumble about math or balancing the check book, he'd grin and say, "What's the problem? There are only 10 of them." My dad, who passed on his fascination with numbers, was a calculus professor at an engineering school. His death anniversary was yesterday - 11-02-1963 - twenty days before President Kennedy was assassinated. That's another post.
They both viewed the world numerically, a skill I've never quite embraced. If you look at the categories to the right on the side bar, you'll see that I have at times attempted to give them more attention. They've been on my mind more than usual lately since I'm keeping a daily word count for NaNoWriMo and keeping statistics on on my website.
In an attempt to keep my brother's memory closer, I'm committing to paying more attention to the numbers in my life.
Jazz in the Garden - September 9 from 5 - 7:00 p.m.
Delighted to announce that our History of Jazz Instructor (I've taken his course four times!) and saxophonist extraordinaire, Greg Thompkins, will be playing at the Rawlings Conservatory in Baltimore again. I've heard several area musicians describe Greg as "the best saxophonist I've ever heard." and in May he was inducted into the Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame.
This is two hours of sensory bliss - the surroundings are exquisite, the music divine, and there will be food and drink. All this for free! Join us if you can!
Recently we attend the phenomenal light show at Longwood Gardens. We arrived early and set up our chairs in the front row, very close to the center, so this display is very similar to the one was viewed. i was much too captivated with the experience to record the show so was delighted that this 'sneak peak' was so similar. The background music for the evening we attended was jazz, and if you follow my blog, you'll know I was delighted! This will give you an idea of the spectacular event, and hopefully it will inspire you to check the Longwood Garden site to check their schedule, purchase tickets and attend!
While we were at Longwood Gardens, I heard it referred to as "America's Versailles". I disagree. The variety of plants, artistry of presentation, reverence and dedication to nature and seasonal displays make Longwood far superior. The Versailles gardens were such a disappointment, but isn't it delightful to know we can save the airfare to France and have a much more delightful experience here? For those who are more interested in the history, architecture and furnishings at Versailles, it's worth the trip, but if you are going for the gardens, you may want to reconsider and head to Kennett Square, PA.
We passed this sleepy tree on the way in, already yawning by late afternoon. He probably didn't stay awake for the light show, but he's undoubtedly seen it many times!
We had a leisurely dinner at 1906 while we waited for dusk. Everything there is a step above what is expected. This is their shrimp appetizer - jumbo shrimp served on a square of tomato aspic with sorrel and touch of horseradish. Not only delicious but a work of art!
Although I've been to Longwood Gardens many times over the years and experienced each of the five seasons - spring, summer, fall, holiday and winter - at least once, this was my first after dark experience light display. I'm adding it to my collecting firsts!
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!