The Mighty Oak

[Oops! Thought I had published this several weeks ago. However, discovered this morning that it was still a draft. I do not know how to set a publish date (or if it is even possible) so here it is, posted in December rather than on November 12.]

A towering oak, close to 100 years old by our count of its rings, was cut down last Friday to begin the process of clearing the land for the building of a house. This neighborhood was first begun in the late nineteen-teens; our house was built in 1925 and we have had the honor of living in this house for the past 29 years. During all that time the oak tree stood across the street, part of an extra-wide lot that actually consisted of three lots, with a stately house and its side deck taking up a little over one lot and the remainder of the property landscaped with the trees untouched.

In the wider photo below, the oak is the tree on the right.

The owners, their daughters grown and no longer living at home, recently sold the house to a family with children, and the oak tree's land was sold to a developer. And so the tree came down.

I had no idea it would touch me as much as it did. While the tree was still standing, Fred and I wrapped our arms around it and gave it a big hug. And last Sunday I alighted onto the oak's stump and shared with its spirit a poem by Mary Oliver followed by an homage I wrote. Then I scooped up some of the saw dust and released it to the air, as if it was fairy dust blessing the ground. Had I done my research sooner, I would have learned that Native Americans bless their trees before they are cut down.

When I Am Among the Trees by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,

especially the willows and the honey locust,

equally the beech, the oak and the pines,

they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,

in which I have goodness, and discernment,

and never hurry through the world

but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out, "Stay awhile."

The light flows from their branches.

And they call again "It's simple," they say,

"and you too have come

into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine."

The dinosaur (well, it does bear some resemblance!) was not the tree chopper, but it has been parked on the property since the weekend, portending what comes next. And the small piece of wood is a bit of the oak tree, sitting in a new harbor on a small stone wall by the oft-used side entry to our home, a reminder of the mighty oak.

Half Moon

December 10, 2017

What we saw this morning 

Which inspired this

And the sharing of these

Another Husband Favorite

This morning was the second time (first time here) this Fall that my husband strongly suggested we needed a photo of my outfit. Indeed, as he took one and then another photo, he exclaimed "this is fun!" Ah, my fellow blogging buddy is now, dare I say it, hooked! Well, he is responsible for just about all of the outfit pictures. :-)

We had fun with this picture because, especially in the first one (nope, not posting it!), I was clowning around with holding aloft the mobile sculpture made by my husband and hanging above me. Also on the ceiling, at the opposite end of the room, is another sculpture by my husband, only in that one he has programmed LEDs. I will try to take some photos of his LED sculptures and post them because they are quite enjoyable to look at. More about them in another post.

The Hudson River School

Last Sunday we entered the world of Hudson River painters Thomas Cole and Frederick Church. Cole was a founder of The Hudson River School of painting, a style that was tied to the eastern American landscape. Our interest in visiting the historic homes of both these artists was due to my husband's interest in art. 

Cole and Church lived across the river (the Hudson River, of course!) from one another, Cole in Catskill, NY, and Church in Hudson, NY. Back in their day they would take long hikes together to sketch, and traveled across the river by boat (now there is the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.) 

Cole lived in an unassuming home with a welcoming yellow exterior; Church lived in a self-designed house on a hill that is among the more curious homes I've yet to see, in particular due to the front entrance. Church named his home Olana, and I took more photos there simply because of the unusualness of the building.

This first set of Olana pictures is of the exterior including a southwesterly view of the Hudson and the Catskill Mountains beyond.

These last two pictures from Olana include a western view from a window that Church intentionally framed with decoration to look like a picture frame. At the time he built Olana there was no Rip Van Winkle Bridge, but how perfect that the bridge can now be viewed from the window as if it had been placed there on purpose. The second picture is of a window that consists of two glass panels with cut out paper nestled between the panes. This type of scissor cutting art is a German style called scherenschnitte.

Leaving Olana we headed across the bridge to Catskill for lunch at HiLo, a funky place with yummy food. And from there it was a few blocks to the home of Cole. The first picture is of a soothingly-colored mural hanging on the wall at the landing between the first and second floor. The second photo, of the chair with the candle holder, caught my eye for the lighting technology of their day. The final photos are from an exhibit in one of the second floor rooms that has been turned into a studio.


Purple and red. Mystery and fire. 

The unknown swirling of the cosmos and the deep heat of the earth. 

Orange and red.

My younger son wrote those words in his birthday card to me. I know how he enjoys crystals and am deeply appreciative that he chose to share that delight with me in two sets of earrings. This pair touched me as graceful and rather different from any earrings I've seen. And I was quite pleasantly surprised to discover that over the course of the day they actually felt lighter and lighter. 
The other earrings are purple and will find their way to a post within the next few days.

Smiling-from-the-heart Mom :-)

November 15

Today was my husband's final day of jury duty, and he just happened to park in a significantly numbered parking spot, for today is also my birthday, and I subtly step from 62 to 63. :-)

And to kick off the morning, my email icon tallied at 63 right next to the recently opened calendar app, 63 on the 15th. :-)
To honor my Mom today, my Dad too but mostly my Mom because she is the person who gave birth to me, I wore three pieces of jewelry that she used to wear and gave to me – earrings, a necklace, and a gold bracelet that has her name on it. This is me with Mom in 2010, and I believe that is her Mom in the black and white photo on the bureau behind her.
And finally, the day in a dress I've been patiently waiting to wear for the first time since it arrived this past summer. It is a swirly dress from ModCloth, meant to be worn sleeveless in the spring, summer or on a warm fall day. Today was a bit too chilly for sleeveless so there is a cream short-sleeve tee underneath (a souvenir gift from Ecuador) and a burnt sienna sweater on top. I am certain that this dress will be worn again, and eventually it will be worn in warm weather where it's burgundy details can better be highlighted.
And the dress speaks swirls for itself. :-) 

Season Mixing

A spring-to-summer dress saved just so I could wear it at least once in late Fall accompanied by leggings and my new red sweater. Not much more to say other than how much I like wearing dresses at this time of year. All that's needed for a blend of comfort and warmth is a good pair of leggings, a pop of seasonal color in the way of a warm sweater, and then the dress can shine!

I am wearing much appreciated yoga jewelry given in celebration of my 200-hour yoga teacher training graduation in June 2016 – the earrings from my daughter-in-law, son and their children; the necklace from my friend and fellow yoga teacher Stephanie, who strongly urged me to pursue my yoga studies.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post – it's the outfit I've been building to, newly purchased just this summer and not yet worn!

Autumn Colors

This outfit received many complements on Monday, and you might be able to tell from my smiles just how comfortable and pleased I felt to be wearing it. Everything felt perfect, from the textures to the lengths to the colors to the drape of the dress. My wonderfully kind husband, who has been taking the vast majority of the pictures of me for this blog, smiled when I asked for a second picture: The boots have to be included!

I have worn all of these pieces before, and they have each been mentioned in a blog post sometime in the past. Suffice it to say that the dress is a delightful reminder of a road trip taken to Montréal a few summers ago with my friend Ann. 

The wearing of a dress for the month of November, at least for the days that I teach, is all part of celebrating my birthday month. There was a slight glitch last week, however, with no photos because I didn't wear any dresses. And I didn't wear any dresses because I didn't go to school! 

A week ago Saturday I woke up with a rash on my front torso. Figuring it might have been bug bites (spider bites), I dealt with the discomfort, knowing that on Monday I would be heading to the doctor for my annual physical. During the physical I gave Dr George a heads up so she wouldn't be surprised when examining me. Lo and behold, not a split second after mentioning the rash, she told me it was not a bunch of bug bites; rather, I had shingles!

Further, after letting the school nurse know my diagnosis, it turned out I was not permitted to return to school till the rash had healed because there are several students who are unvaccinated. Shingles is contagious to anyone who is not vaccinated and pregnant women. In both cases, the exposure could cause chicken pox. Home I remained until this past Saturday, when Dr George gave me an all-clear and I returned to school yesterday. So there you have it, the explanation for why no dress posts from last week.

Now onwards and upwards to my birthday!

Burnt Sienna of Autumn

My favorite Crayola crayon color was burnt sienna, and this sweater – purchased years ago in a no-longer existent Eddie Bauer store in Manhattan – caught my eye purely for the color. It has been a stalwart, go-to sweater every fall, being warm, easy to wear and easy to wash. 

The dress is another purchase from years ago, this time from J.Jill, purchased for the fall colors, leaf pattern, super soft cotton, ease of wear and ease of care. This is the second in my November campaign of wearing a dress each day that I am at school, at least till my birthday, though likely will continue through the entire month. I even managed a dress today, though Friday is my day off, but since I plan on reprising the outfit on Wednesday will wait till then for a photo.

Lots of jewelry with this outfit so may as well identify the pieces. The orange earrings are dried seeds from Ecuador; necklace was made by my next-door-neighbor's daughter; orange-black-gold bracelet on my right wrist also made by my neighbor's daughter; lighter beaded bracelet on my left wrist was my Mom's, and the darker, multi-hued wood bracelet is from Peru. (Jewelry from Ecuador and Peru were gifts from my daughter-in-law's family.) And yup, those are the fabulously artsy and comfortable new boots from Baltimore, Hampden to be specific. 

And not to be left out, on the counter are two light sculptures made by my husband!

Red accents

November is my birthday month, and I have decided to wear a dress every work day up till and including on my birthday! This is a Gap favorite that I always keep out thru as much of Autumn as possible. It is short sleeved so there's a blue tee shirt underneath, paired with leggings and a new red sweater (from LLBean's Signature collection). Coupled with my red hush puppies and, for outer wear, red gloves and a Land's End red hat, and there you have the red accents!

The hat has been a long time favorite, with the red crocheted flower being added about three years ago. It was a gift from a colleague, her mom made it for her to give to me. The red flower represents the celebration of St George's Day in Spain. My friend and her family are from Barcelona, and they would always stroll the markets to buy books and flowers, hence the red flower.

Linking up with Judith at Style Crone to join in the hat sharing fun, and because I find her writing and the photographs inspirational.