Category Archives: Moments

How they change us

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

A little passion on purple.

The last firefly

It’s mid-summer. The season is changing. I felt it this morning all of a sudden, a bit like seeing sheep on the hillside that don’t seem to move, but you look again and they’re in an entirely different spot.

But yes, of course. The sunflowers are drooping their poor heads and the wheat has been rolled.

The shadows are longer in the afternoons.

And this morning, our last firefly. I hope he had a good night, blinking his last blinks. I’m sure he sparkled for weeks, but his reason for being has been accomplished.  Farewell little one. Summer moves on.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreaming

I grew up saying, “goodnight moon” before going to bed. But I never thought I’d say goodnight moon at 6:00 on a freezing January morning. I happened to wake up and look out the window to see the moon setting over the ridge.

This week’s photo challenge of dreaming is two-fold. The first is a photo that makes us dream, which the moon always does for me.

The second is a photo with a long exposure. Now, I’m shooting with a Lumix TZ3, a very small but powerful digital camera. I can’t “do long exposures” in the sense of an SLR or manual . However, I opened up the shutter speed and hand held the camera for this shot. See what you think.

Capture the Colour

Capturing colors can bring wonderful surprises. So I decided to take part in the TravelSupermarket.com “Capture the Colour” contest to share some of my little surprises. Even if we spell color differently, capturing it is a gift!

I once painted a picture in elementary school with red grass and trees with blue trunks and violet leaves. My teacher asked what the heck I thought I was doing. I said I was imitating Gauguin, you know the guy with the pink sand, yellow ocean and blue/green/lavender horses? She told me to never pull a stunt like that again. Whew. Talk about blowing your enthusiasm for colors.

After I met and married my husband, who is a painter, my love of colors came back to me through him. Everywhere I turn now, I see colors. Here are my five:

#1

Feelin’ Kinda BLUE
Hotel Paříž, Prague

That was my first thought. The masses are outside, cramming the streets of Prague, which are filled with awful tourist-trap shops full of junk. Hidden in a spot that’s quiet, away from the tourists, our lady hangs her head and mourns her beautiful city.

#2

I got carried away! Sometimes it IS easy bein’ GREEN!
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

 One of the dozens of parades every week through the Jardin in San Miguel de Allende. This particular parade was very special to me as it was the last time my mother was able to get out of the house and walk to her beloved Jardin before she died. More on this trip on my post, I left my heart in San Miguel.

#3

I wanted to see the Christmas tree and all I could see was RED.
Old Town Square, Prague

 Turned the corner into the square and stopped dead in my tracks. It was a freezing night, but the red threw warmth into our souls.

#4

Did someone say WHITE? Well, here ya go!
At a park in the Czech Republic

He just couldn’t stop performing.

#5

“Silence is not always golden; sometimes it is YELLOW.” – Anonymous.
Montone, Italy (my home) 

On a cold March morning in Montone, the street lamps had been left to burn until almost ten. There had been a ferocious storm the night before, no one was out. I found myself alone, silent, with my little friends in this sculpture, who were bathing in their pale yellow light. More walks in Montone.

Bloggers I nominate (sorry, only 3 as so many have already been nominated!):

Janine – Destination Umbria
Anneliesa – Anneliesa Rabl Blog
Tiffany – The Pines of Rome

Weekly Photo Challenge – Movement

For me, movement is about waiting, anticipating that moment of movement.

Prague surprises

Enchanting, intriguing, beautiful Prague. Take away the tourists and gaudy souvenir shops, and you’ll see one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Prague is my husband’s home town, but he had to escape when the communists took over. And then came 1989. He was able to go back and stand on the ground of his beloved Prague. To say that it was unbearably emotional is an understatement.

Today, Prague is stuffed full of tourists with heads up and mouths open. It can be suffocating. But we know how to escape the crowds and venture into the more untouched spaces. I love Prague. It has become my home away from home.

If one knows where to look, there are surprises lurking around corners, behind doors, some in plain sight that the tourists don’t even see.

I get a kick out of watching the tourists watching the famous clock in Old Town Square.

Here are some of my Prague surprises. I hope they delight and surprise you as well. (If you click on any photo, a slide show appears.)

Awakenings…or I took a walk with a bee

It’s the small things one notices, and then the certainty. The season has changed. Spring is here, but it’s only just awakening.

Beginnings ripple throughout the countryside and suddenly there is color and sound and flight where there had been darkness and snow. I wonder if plants do have a secret life, secret from humans, that is. I just bet, when they’re flowering and leafing, they feel as excited as we do during our own awakenings.

I took a walk with a bee this morning. No kidding. I had gone down to the creek for my morning walk, and on the way back I started collecting sticks from the forest floor. They’re the best kindling for our fires as they’ve fallen naturally from the trees and have gathered lichen–great material for a fire starter.

So there I was, walking along holding my sticks, and I realized I had been hearing a buzzing sound for a few minutes. I looked down and sure enough, a brown, fuzzy bee was kind of hopping along just in front of my feet. The forest floor is oozing with moss and other strange mucky things from the recent rains, and it’s producing some beautiful white and purple flowers.

This little bee was ecstatic, jumping from one oozy mess to the next, then to the flowers, then back to the tips of my boots. She stayed with me for about 100 meters. Once in awhile I got ahead of her as she fell, intoxicated, into another patch of flowers. Then, she was back, hopping on my boot.

A breeze funneled down the path, whispering through the trees and making the world around me shiver. We reached the fork in the path, and I looked down just as she took off from my boot. We went our separate ways.

As I walked back up the hill toward our house, I thought, huh, I just took a walk with a bee. Well, it’s spring. Stranger things can happen I suppose. When I rounded the corner, I said, yep.

I left my heart in San Miguel

If home is where the heart is, then I have two homes. One of which I’ve never lived in. But it was my mom’s home for 25 years. And wherever my mom lived, my heart was there with her. The last time I was in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, was with my brother and sister to say goodbye to our mom forever and, as I discovered later, to leave my heart there with her.

A full year after my mom’s death, my mind wanders back to San Miguel. The pull is strong, but not nearly as strong as Italy, and it’s for different reasons. Italy is our home. We chose to live here. Ever since the lure of Italy wrapped itself around my husband and me, we’ve never doubted that we did the right thing by moving here.

Still, San Miguel calls to me through my mom. I know I could never live there, beautiful as it is. It’s too noisy, too congested, and too full of wealthy Americans who have replaced the charming, small houses with mansions and large hotels that don’t fit in with the local ambience. Luckily, one can still find the untouched streets that are the heart and soul of San Miguel.

When my mind wanders back, I feel the cobblestoned streets under my feet, I smell the cooking tortillas through open windows, I sweat under the intense sun and heat and stop to catch my breath as I walk up the steep hills at 7,000 feet. I hear babies crying, Spanish, endure the endless stream of pick-up trucks, I choke on the exhaust. The names of streets roll off my tongue: Tenerias, Pila Seca, Umaran, Zacateros, Calle de Aldama, Sollano. I sit in the Jardin and gaze at La Parroquia, or watch one of the parades that seem to dance through the historic center every day.

Then I walk away from the congested center and discover the quiet San Miguel with its small gems of painted doors surrounded by climbing bougainvillea.

I sit on the terrace of my room at the colorful B&B that’s owned by my mom’s best friend and remember how this “second family” of my mom’s became mine as well.

And amidst the pick-up trucks and taxis are the burros that still populate the streets.

All of these memories tumble through my mind, pulling me back to San Miguel. But the dearest memory I hold is sitting with my mom in the cool shade of her patio, watching her beautiful hands as she recounts stories of her beloved San Miguel–the place I left my heart.