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Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

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The cardinal vine is trying to take over the world.

 

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Icebergs

Editorial note: Do you miss traveling? I do too! I thought my friend Andrea’s images of Iceland, taken before the pandemic, were beautiful but now … they are truly majestic, capturing a dynamic landscape rich in color and full of light. Thanks for sharing, Andrea!

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 Ice Cave

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Diamond Beach

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Glacier

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Black Sand

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Blue Lagoon

Photos courtesy of Andrea Ranger

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rosegold

One of the first times I picked up a camera in a serious way was to capture the glory of the rose gold sky I kept seeing as I walked home from work. It was never the same shade of rose or gold of course. I remember once the sky was so magnificent that I paused on the sidewalk and a man standing on his lawn … well, we just shared a moment of staring into the sky at the clouds being lit from below by the setting sun.

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I think one of my creative goals in this strange year is to train my camera to the skies once more. We’ll see what happens. Meanwhile if you’re interested in acquiring these images as prints or on merchandise, please visit links below.

Evening Light in Rose and Gold

Fire in the Sky

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raisedbed

The backstory is that Steve and I moved just as the pandemic struck the U.S. and everything began to shut down around us. Given that he is a cancer survivor and over a certain age that put him at high risk. But we still had to daily get from point A to point B, continue (luckily) to work from home, pack a mammoth amount of stuff (mostly books), navigate in a necessarily socially distant world … and try not to confuse shortness of breath due to anxiety with shortness of breath due to the virus.

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lemon verbena

We made our way into our new home where I immediately began ordering bookcases because neither of us realized that between our two book collections we could probably start our own bookstore. The previous owner had built out the interior of the home wonderfully but the back yard … hmmm … three plus months later we’re still waiting on a contractor to come in with a caterpillar to remove debris and put down loam and on and on … and all of that stuff takes time!

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thyme

Now I tend to come across as a rather calm person but I can be as anxious as any other human and one of the coping mechanisms I have found in my life is gardening. Probably goes back to childhood in Virginia being in the vegetable garden with my dad and helping my mother plant the flowers. Anyway in a time of such great chaos on so many fronts I was determined to have a garden. Steve’s only request was to plant tomatoes and basil.

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lemon basil

mints

spearmint and orange mint

We’ve managed to do that and a bit more. The neighbors must think I’m crazy because I’m outside almost everyday to peek at the garden and take photos, and even Steve has gotten into the habit of asking me each morning, “How’s the garden doing?” I’ve forced him … I mean invited him … to put so much hard work into it that even now he owns it.

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There is no rhyme or reason to the garden though I tried to be thoughtful at first. Keeping in mind pollinators. Keeping in mind bee-friendly. Keeping in mind full-sun, part-shade. Keeping in mind natural pest control. It became too much in this time. I just planted what would fit and tried to err on the side of edibility. The contractor is supposed to come next week. We’ll see … Chaos is still all around … in our personal lives, in the global realm … but for now there feels like space to breathe and to think and to consider planning. DSCN0515

I don’t feel like planning into the distant future right now but I can think about the seasons and what we might plant now to harvest in the fall and what we might plant now that will pop up in the spring. I think that’s good enough for now. 🙂

 

 

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Steve’s been having a good time in the new kitchen and with the fresh herbs. I picked up the salmon but decided it was good exercise for him to go up and down the various flights of stairs to select herbs for the fish and my artistic vision of a caprese salad.

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Only a few weeks ago, maybe even a week ago, he would have placed the salmon on the table and said, “Okay, go ahead. Take a picture and send it to William.”

Somehow my husband and my oldest brother bonded over food. Two very different people who found common ground in cooking. Given how infrequently they met I find it interesting they developed such respect for one another. Given that the two of them were of a certain generation, Steve, looking toward retirement one day, was hoping the two of them could start a little restaurant called The Two Grumpies. My brother, who had run restaurants before having to retire early due to health reasons, was not opposed to the idea and for awhile actively kept an eye open for locations in his hometown of Norfolk. But then Steve took some health hits and so did my brother though I don’t think he ever told me the full story. William could be a rather close-lipped person.

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Steve is staying strong and continues to cook but no more pictures to William. William passed away this week after a recent diagnosis of late stage cancer. One of the things that must have peeved him most was that the disease took away his appetite.

Somewhere I have a picture of him holding me as a toddler. We had a bit of an age difference. In the photo you would see a plump little baby being held tight in the arms of a tall, strong, young Black man with a great smile.

In the past ten months I’ve lost all three of my brothers. I’m not sure people believe me when I say I don’t feel alone. I feel like they are more a part of me than ever. A close friend said, “Cynthia, does this mean when you’re walking in the world, you’ve got the shadows of three six-feet plus black men at your back?” I said, “Well, I suppose.” She remarked, “Oh, goodness. It was hard enough keeping you out of trouble before. Now you’re going to be a real badass!”

Perhaps so. 🙂

 

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tomatoes

… it should not go away because it keeps me away from my little garden and that lets the herbs and veggies do what they need to do which is simply grow. I do have to go out and snip this and that to encourage further growth, and thin this and that so that I don’t have plants competing too much, and I do have some more seedlings to plant, and some seeds came in the mail and I have to be strategic in what I do with them because I’ve got this plan, you see, to create a wall of vines, some that bloom in the morning, some that bloom during the day, and the ones that bloom at night. Whoa! I’m trying to balance gardening in support of birds and the bees while respecting that a certain person in the household who is digging my raised beds doesn’t mind beauty but he’s really into edibles, especially tomatoes and basil. But he does understand that my growing cardinal vines and borage (which is edible but he doesn’t like the cucumber flavor) will help get his tomatoes properly pollinated. In this wierdest of all years in my living memory, I’m not gardening for sustenance necessarily; I’m gardening for sanity. I know, growing up in Virginia, that my dad’s vegetable garden definitely put food on the table. I remember helping him plant seed potatoes, beans, squash, peppers, onions and he grew his tomatoes, too. He gardened to feed his family but I suspect he gardened to find peace as well.

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lemon basil

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spearmint, basil and marigold

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orange mint, marigold, curly parsley, flat leaf parsley, oregano and a wonderfully empty red pot waiting to be filled

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