And Away They Go (3 photos)

Going . . .IMG_3388

Going . . .IMG_3363

Gone.IMG_3406

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Parting Shots of Summer

Summer wanes.

The light changes.

The TV is tuned to golf and college football (We are . . . !)

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I list vintage woolies on Etsy.

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And my thoughts turn to making chocolates.

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The garden keeps on giving.

The birds hum and the dragons fly.

Colors deepen and gleam.

IMG_3899Autumn is on its way . . .

The Ugly Duckling Season

IMG_1403You know how every young person goes through an awkward stage? Not an adorable child any longer but not quite grown into the beauty she or he will become? You remember the heart-stopping beauty that was and you believe in the miracle that will bring the loveliness to come and yet every time you look, and you see the teeth that are too big for the face and the acne, you have to wonder a little?

That’s what our weather is like right now. The rest of the northern hemisphere seems to have sprung into springdom in all its glory, but here, in the North Country of upstate New York, we’re at the awkward stage.

The snow is melting into huge ponds on front yards but then freezes into perfect ice rinks over night.

IMG_1389Dead leaves and flower stalks from last year are stuck in the ice and hint of life but it’s only the merest whisper of a hint.

IMG_1396 IMG_1383The sand left by road crews all winter is drifting and, on windy days, taking a walk feels like going through a sandblaster.

IMG_1373We have spots where bare ground is showing but also have lots of filthy snow and a lake that refuses to melt.

IMG_1387 IMG_1374Where there’s ice at night, there will be mud all day.

IMG_1395 IMG_1394But no one is really complaining. Transitions are awkward and sometimes unlovely, whether in children or seasons, but they are also exciting and full of promise.

And one morning, we’ll wake up and without noticing exactly when it happened, the ugly duckling will have become a swan.

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“And Then She Made the Lasses O”

green growYesterday was the anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, 18th-century Scottish poet and songwriter.

Burns is best known for “Auld Lang Syne,” which Americans sing on New Year’s Eve and Scots sing at Hogmanay. He also wrote “Scots Wha Hae,” a patriotic anthem of Scotland, and dozens of other poems.

My favorite, though, is “Green Grow the Rashes O.” It’s a paean to women, based on older (very) bawdy songs. I love Burns’ version for its theme of artistry and crafting, and for Burns’ gentle honoring of all women.

In the final verse of this song, a “toast to the lassies,” Burns casts Nature as an artist, who turns her loving hands to the making of humans.

At first, while an apprentice, Nature practices on making man.

And, then, having worked out the kinks, Nature makes woman:

Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears
Her noblest work she classes, O:
Her ‘prentice han’ she try’d on man,
An’ then she made the lasses, O

What’s not to love about that sentiment?!

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Full lyrics:

There’s nought but care on ev’ry han’
In every hour that passes, O
What signifies the life o’ man
An’ ’twere na for the lasses, O

The war’ly race may riches chase
An’ riches still may fly them, O
An’ tho’ at last they catch them fast
Their hearts can ne’er enjoy them, O

But gie me a cannie hour at e’en
My arms about my Dearie, O
An’ warly cares, an’ warly men
May a’ gae tapsalteerie, O

For you sae douse, ye sneer at this
Ye’re nought but senseless asses, O
The wisest Man the warl’ e’er saw
He dearly lov’d the lasses, O

Auld Nature swears, the lovely Dears
Her noblest work she classes, O
Her prentice han’ she try’d on man
An’ then she made the lasses, O

Green grow the rashes, O;
Green grow the rashes, O;
The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,
Are spent amang the lasses, O.