Green in the City

For Earth Day, I post this sketch made while watching my daughter and a friend scrambling over the rocks in green, watery and magical Rock Creek Park, which runs through the heart of Washington DC the length of the city and beyond.

In gratitude for this resource, fellow city-dwellers, you may wish to sign up for one of the many area clean-ups through your local community association, or, alternatively, the Earth Day website, where everyone, whether urban, suburban, or rural, can discover many ways to say Thank You to Mother Earth.

For another sketch, and a history of Earth Day, please see Earth Day.




One Hundred Years of Cherry Blossoms


This year, 2012, marks the 100-year anniversary of the gift of cherry trees from Tokyo, Japan to the city of Washington, DC, and so the annual flowering and pilgrimage to the Tidal Basin has been accompanied this season not only by the usual parade and street festivals, but also by a vast range of concerts, lectures, films, theatrical performances, cruises, workshops, and a dizzying selection of art, craft, textile, photography, and history exhibits. If you haven’t been checking them out, it’s not too late; some continue well beyond cherry blossom season.

Throughout changing administrations, evolving political systems, and wars, including one in which the United States and Japan bombed and killed each other’s citizens, the cherry trees have stood silently along the water’s edge, reliably budding and blooming each spring, and sprinkling with poignant pink-and-white petals their millions of admiring visitors. Now grown (we hope) to a more mature phase in our relationship, we two peoples take up our passports and visit one another amicably, sometimes transplanting ourselves and intermarrying.

Distantly related to rough-housing among children encountering one another in a sandbox, warfare has, throughout human history, served as a bizarre prelude to mutual recognition, acceptance, and eventual intimacy. At the height of WWII, there probably weren’t many people who, seeing their society’s young men dying horribly, envisioned enemy citizens as potential in-laws or their towns as future tourist destinations. But, given the pattern, perhaps we Americans can optimistically anticipate our grandchildren doing their study abroad, and perhaps finding their spouses, in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And, hoping you haven’t had enough cherry blossoms already, I post this completed painting, of which I showed the early stage in March. (Undoubtedly some will prefer that earlier stage!) Happy Sakura Season, everyone.

Trailing Clouds of Glory

Yesterday was the birthday of William Wordsworth (1770-1850); thus I post an excerpt from his beautiful Ode on Intimations of Immortality, so appropriate to this season and this day. Happy Passover, Happy Easter, everyone.


Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy

—William Wordsworth, from Intimations of Immortality

You can read the poem in entirety here.

For a mini-bio of Wordsworth, please see My Heart Leaps Up. For another painting and favorite poem, please see Dancing with the Daffodils.