Many of the photos in this blog are taken along paths trod time and time again on weekend “photo safaris,” which usually consist of an hour walking an area less than a half-mile radius from the house. There are mornings where the thought forms, (with sigh): “There doesn’t seem to be anything new today.” And almost before it’s completed, something new does appear. This was the first time in all the years on the mountain that we’d seen these purple bee balms. These were perched comfortably on a steep, south-facing slope.
Blooming of the crested iris is a moment I look forward to every spring. Last year, they bloomed midweek and by the time the weekend, and my first opportunity to shoot arrived, the delicate blooms were spent. Not so this year — we saw them on the way home this evening. Once home, threw on a pair of sneakers and ran down the hill with camera in hand. Handholding longish exposures in the fading light was a challenge, but well worth the effort.
Another set of the blooms that surround us. A followup to last month’s big bouquet.
Today is Gaudete Sunday, the next-to-last Sunday in Advent. Advent, like Lent, is a time of introspection; a time to prepare the soul and mind. Advent encompasses four Sundays in anticipation of Christmas and Lent does the same before Easter.
During three of the Sundays in Advent and Lent, the priest wears violet vestments — a symbol of penance. Gaudete Sunday is one of two holidays in the Catholic calendar where rose vestments — which symbolize joy — are worn, the other being Laetare Sunday, the third Sunday of Lent. (A nice summary on liturgical colors can be found here: http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/LITCOLOR.HTM)
In the West, pink is a culturally difficult color. It’s OK for women, but often taboo for men. It takes a big man to wear rose, and they don’t come any bigger than B16. Biltrix has a great photo of Il Papa in his rose vestments. (In Thailand, pink has become associated with the king.)
A trend we’ve been seeing in the pews is parishioners embracing the colors of the season. At the Saturday vigil Mass, the pews were filled with men, women and children who had worked rose or violet into their Sunday (or Saturday) best. It’s a powerful external symbol of the inner states that Advent and Lent are meant to touch.
My father’s Pacific Time backyard is overflowing with color. Blue irises, pale coral moon flowers, brilliant bougainvillea and all sorts of other treats for the eye. The neighbors’ yards are equally filled with color — trees dripping with exotic tropical flowers, ripening lemons and oranges, and brilliant scarlet pomegranate flowers.
Yellows dominate the Central Time Suburban Ferndale mini-gardens.
It’s been warm here in Arkansas. National Weather Service records show that during February 2012 there were only four days where the temps fell to freezing or below and there were two days in February that hit 80 or higher. In January, there were only 13 days that saw lows at freezing or below and three days hit 70 or above.
The warm air and warm soil temperatures accelerated this year’s flower show.
Last year, there was so much rain, none of the grape vines twined around the trees was pollinated. No grapes. Anywhere. This year, there were grapes, but the hot dry summer caused many to become raisins on the vine — which is why it was so surprising to see these plump muscadines ripening.
Muscadines are a hardy grape and often wind up in jellies and wine.