A subtle fragrance

It takes determination to idle one’s motor, to notice life’s subtleties, and in particular – to appreciate the glorious Easter lily. This year’s plants are long spent, their delicate scent noticeably gone. Until now, I enjoyed the look of an Easter lily: the white trumpet-like blooms, the golden anthers. But having slowed down, no longer running in third or fourth gears, I detected the lilies’ delicate perfume.

Nestled in the foyer among prolific philodendrons, a towering corn plant, thriving Peace Lilies and muted colors of a bromeliad, the Easter lilies shone. Their fragrance found me as I went about the house. And as blooms faded and fell, their faint bouquet persisted. The plant, after all, represents hope and life. It is found in literature, poetry, history, mythology and the Bible; some poets and artists feel the Easter lily has a soul.

Equally important, this lovely flower reminds one to take more than a moment in appreciation of life’s small gifts.

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You’re in the army now

I’ve designated the White-winged dove as Active Avian Military, taking frequent R and R at our affordable, all-you-can-eat resort. Their uniform is dull brown, water-repellent and camouflage-worthy. The wing bears a thin crescent of white, distinguishing it from the civilian Mourning Dove.
Accustomed to military regulations, and as directed in queue-obsessed bases everywhere, the White-wing knows: STAND BEHIND THE LINE. In this case, the line is an edge of spouting above our dangling bird feeder. Several White-wings might gather, stand at ease on the spouting and wait for a free table. Each goes forward as space allows, has his fill and heads for the nearest libation. That would be our freshly-filled-birdbath, a unique glass dish emblazoned with hummingbird motif.
The blue jay lacks the dove’s discipline and takes random cuts in the chow line. These doves, being trained in military tactics, displace the feistiest jay with threatening wing flutters.
One early morning, I found a mortally wounded White-wing. A diligent comrade kept vigil for many hours, standing as still as a windless day. I swear it looked sad.
Overall, various sized resident birds and high-strung squirrel families rate A plus in gets-along-well-with-others. As for the rebellious blue jay, we welcome vacationing MPs.

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Pixie Dust

Which pixie sprinkles pollen dust
instead of magic, sparkly stuff?
Won’t someone tell that pixie – please
how pine trees pollinate with ease.

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Mini gardens

My morning walk reveals eleven slight depressions in the street, aligned some six feet apart and perhaps three inches across. The cubbyholes appear to be purposeful, as though a giant hand scooped fistfuls of wet concrete and then, with an industrial strength cookie cutter, formed neat impressions. Dirt and debris collected in the tiny recesses and welcomed traveling seeds. These plants, whether weeds or self-transplanted bits of ground cover, are as green as the shamrock and thrive in spite of incredible odds.

Mother Nature, true to her calling, expects the most from her smallest and most vulnerable and these tiny gardens live up to her expectations.

We would do well to follow this mind-set when dealing with our at risk students.

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Shall we dance?

The mind rot, aka television, occasionally allows something remarkable. Mad Hot Ballroom is such a find. Absently searching the maze of channels I stopped mid-click upon finding this documentary: The story of 10 and 11- year-olds from 60 public schools in New York City boroughs – learning to ballroom dance! Highlighted were P.S. 112, a neighborhood of mostly Italian and Asian families; P.S. 150, from the wealthy and prestigious Tribeca district; P.S. 115, with most families below poverty level.

Some dance classes were given as part of P.E. programs, others, obviously, at private studios. Talented dance teachers, genuinely interested in helping young people succeed, worked tirelessly at teaching the tango, the fox trot, the rumba, the meringue. Real 10 and 11- year-olds had factual dialog among themselves – about life and babies and warding off the ugly and who is cute and who is not.

For students, the ultimate goal of learning to dance was participation in a prominent N.Y. City competition, though each gained even greater skills as confidence and maturity evolved. The ultimate goal of dance instructors was to bring out the best in already successful students; to encourage at-risk students; to turn around young lives – through dance. And how they succeeded! Student tenacity and skill amazed me and I cried as teams failed to make the cut. Serious life lessons were learned by those eliminated in further competition; tears of joys were shared by those who continued on.

Houston is not New York City, but we have outstanding music, performing and visual arts. Please, let’s draw upon these attributes and somehow reinstate the arts in our public schools.

And kindly save the last dance for me.

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Too Sweet

Resident birds and squirrels love our rustic, leaf-strewn backyard. We have woodpeckers, a smattering of blue jays, wrens, doves and an occasional robin. Sipping coffee and reading the paper this morning, I spied Monsieur and Madame Red Bird. I usually see such a couple as each breakfasts separately. The male arrives first, enjoys his food, and waits for his beloved. She dines a bit slower and, when done, off they fly. Not so today. This couple shared seed scattered below the bird feeder, looked lovingly at one another, and then tenderly touched beaks. Off they flew to a mid-morning rendezvous.

It behooves a gentleman to show patience.

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Backyard Business

Backyard Business

Squirrels are ambidextrous to the extreme. One bushy-tailed fellow, full of curiosity and bravado, managed to invade our bird feeder after studying it for a year. The feeder is an open, pink-hued glass dish and hangs from a short chain, well under the roof’s eave. The trespasser attacks from above, stretching like a piece of elastic from rooftop inward, until he reaches the chain. No small feat. He then gloats over this skill, and settles in to enjoy the spoils of war. Though I’ve set dishes of bird seed at the base of two trees, this squirrel prefers doing things the hard way – an unfortunate human trait.

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Post from a rain-slick roadway

The rain poured, traffic slowed and Ravel’s glorious music surged from the car
radio. A spirited piece, Ravel was in sync with the swelling storm. Choreographed lightning flashed left and right. When Ravel was spent, Rossini took center stage.  Another spirited piece, also well-suited to the heightened storm.  For an hour I cautiously drove, accompanied by famous composers. Then, as I neared home, the rain lessened and Shuman’s Scenes from Childhood softly met the scattered raindrops. The perfect ending to an unexpected concert.

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Post from the Theater District

Houston Ballet’s recent production of Romeo and Juliet exploded with sumptuous sets, brilliant dancing, Prokofiev’s music and high drama!  A before-the-show drink, properly plated appetizers and watching The Beautifu People are part of the theater experience. Drop-dead-gorgeous, stylishly-thin, short-skirted, high-heeled,ankle-tattooed, perfectly coifed and flawlessly complected Beautiful People. It was a sea of lush fabrics and haute couture, Performing Arts at its best!

 

 

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Post from the ladies’ room

At Houston’s sumptuous Wortham Theater, I thrilled to Stanton Welch’s amusing Cinderella and Prokofiev’s splendid score. Waiting in line at the rest room provided further entertainment. We ladies-in-waiting politely chatted as we inched forward, though in reality, we scrutinized one another’s clothing, hair style, makeup, shoes and figure. Thus, as the proverbial queue inched into the rest room, we were “on stage” before an attentive audience. Impressive solos ensued as each patron pranced from water closet to wash basin.

Insanely high heels were the main attraction and I admired the flair of head-to-toe ensembles. Had I, at such a tender age, been as chic and confident? And how would I fare against haute couture? Not to worry. I swept from the ladies’ room with shoulders back and tummy tight. My chic was of the traditional sort, and, unlike my younger, well-heeled counterparts, my steps were confident in sensible, no-pain-endured Naturalizer flats.

 

 

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