Easter Garden

EasterGarden

Some years ago I was moved to paint a still life based on our Easter customs.

Every year during Lent we plant a tiny garden of rye or clover seed and set it in the middle of the dining room table. And every year it’s startling (even though I’ve seen it so often before!) to find one morning that new, fragile green sprouts have pushed their way upward through the weight of earth. What fortitude. What will to live. So may we all find our way toward the light this springtime season.

CakeDaisiesSaul

Holy Thursday

ViaDell'Alba

‘Twas on a holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two in red and blue and green:
Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul’s they like Thames waters flow.

O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among:
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor.
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.

—William Blake

CakeBalloons2Giampaolo

Oh Canada…Oh Henry

RiverCropped

Aren’t you sometimes struck by a peculiar conjunction of events in your life? This is what’s happening here now:

1. The Olympic Games taking place in Vancouver are wrapping up. Every night we’ve had views of the fantastically beautiful British Columbia.

2. In our current homeschooling block, North American History and Geography, we now happen to be studying Canada, at this moment the Great Expulsion of 1755, when the French residents of Acadia (renamed Nova Scotia) were forcibly removed by the British.

3. We are reading “Evangeline,” the poetic interpretation of that event through the story of two ill-fated lovers, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

4. Today is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s birthday (1807-1882).

Longfellow was born actually not far from the setting of the poem, in Maine when it was still part of Massachusetts. He hoped when still in his teens that his would be a literary path, and it was—professor of languages at Bowdoin and Harvard, translator of Dante, novelist, and, in his day, probably the most popular of American poets. He was admired for his character as well as for his work. Twice widowed tragically and never recovered from his grief, he nevertheless forged on, productive, kindly, modest, and gracious in the face of later artistic criticism.

His poetry is definitely that of another era: strongly rhythmical, musical, metaphorical romantic storytelling with a capital S. You can’t listen to “Paul Revere’s Ride” or “The Song of Hiawatha” or “Evangeline” without being carried away on the current of vivid word-pictures and harmonious sound, and chanting under your breath at odd moments during the day: THIS is the FORest primEVal… It is poetry meant to be read aloud. If you haven’t ever done so, read the opening lines aloud now in your best storytelling voice, and wish Longfellow a Happy Birthday.

Alien Farm Boy

BoyWithLeaves

DevinAge2Mess DevinAge2Party

Here are a painting and sketches of my son when he was around 2 or 3 years old, when he could count among his achievements succesful potty training and looking adorable.

Today he turns 26 (!!!) and still looks adorable (still potty trained too). He’s also a more sociable party guest than as depicted in this old sketchbook (although somewhere along the way he lost his Mess Detector). Besides this he is funny and smart and a wonderful writer; speaks Japanese fluently, which is useful in his work for Japanese television; is a cool painter; is sweet to his parents, generous to his friends, and a fabulous big brother to his little sister. Happy Birthday, dear Devin, and thank you for coming.

CakeTRexDevin