Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

A little passion on purple.

Weekly photo challenge: Inside

Inside watching his favorite wild-life show…

Normally don’t post two…but couldn’t resist this one. So wistful as he’s no longer with us.

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.

A walk in Montone – Una passeggiata a Montone

Every time I bring a friend up to Montone, I see new things through fresh eyes. Today, it was rooftops and chimneys and campaniles. Ogni volta che porto a Montone un’amica, vedo qualche cose con uno sguardo nuovo. Oggi ho visto tetti e camini e campanili.

And a few little odd friends that live in a beautiful, modern sculpture just outside the walls of Montone. E anche ci sono pochi piccoli amici strani che vivono nella bella scultura moderna appena fuori le mura di Montone.

I had the pleasure to spend the day in Montone with a fellow blogger and new friend. Janine writes the blog Destination Umbria and her passion for Umbria, especially Perugia, is shown beautifully through her own photographs. I hope she realizes her dream of living here one day.

Ho avuto il piacere di trascorrere la giornata a Montone con un altra blogger e un’amica nuova. Janine scrive il blog Destination Umbria e la sua passione per Umbria, specialmente Perugia, e’ mostrata in bel modo attraverso le sue foto. Spero che realizza il suo sogno di vivere qui un giorno.

Below are more treasures that Montone gave us today.
Sotto ci sono piu’ tesori che oggi ci ha dato Montone.

(Ai miei amici italiani — scusatemi tanto per l’italiano…non scrivo abbastanza in questi giorni!)

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.)

So far away…

So far away.
Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore?
It would be so fine to see your face at my door.
Doesn’t help to know you’re just time away…

-Carole King, Tapestry, 1971.

One of the hardest things (perhaps really the only hard thing) about living in Italy is that we’re so far away from our loved ones. I wouldn’t trade living in Italy for anything else, and yet… If only we could beam everyone here for the weekend!

At night, when I go out on the terrace to hear the footfalls of the deer in the fields, the night birds, the rain, or look at the moon, I think of our family in the U.S., our friends, my mom. So many things I want to tell her about, but alas, I can’t. At least not in reality. I can still tell her about the music we’ve just listened to, which she would love. Or the full moon–her passion. Or something our little Olinka did today, like climbing the olive tree.

When one lives as an outsider in a foreign country, it takes courage to keep the spirits up, to make new friends, to keep appreciating the amazing things one has. At least we made the choice to live here. The thought of the millions of refugees around the world who have been tossed out of their homelands because of tyrannical governments, religion, slave-trade, or war…well, it’s just impossible to fathom their cruel fate.

So, the moment of sadness passes, the thankfulness we feel for our lives returns, and the good memories dance in my mind. They warm the heart. They make it all worthwhile being so far away.

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.