Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Whirlwind Tour of Asheville, NC & 46/365

"View from the historic Grove Park Inn"
This is quite an old hotel and is "THE" place to stay!  For the history, click HERE. Most of these photos were taken from the trolley.  We had a wonderful tour of the city. 

"First Baptist Church"

I think this is a Baptist Church - I always thought they were a little plainer - but this one is certainly a beauty. 

"A Slice of Heaven!"
A "Slice of Heaven" that will not be mine.  I did show it to my husband, though.  And this really wasn't the "bell of the ball" ... our neighbors would have been:

"Every man's home is his Castle"
And ...

I can't remember the story behind the above house, but I do know the tree on the right hand side was painted by a lady (who I think died in a fire).  The painting of the tree now hangs, I believe, in the Smithsonian.

I was on the wrong side of the trolley to get a photo of this building, but I think this is kind of neat.

"Sitting upon History"
This is the oldest continuous running Woolworth Counter and we certainly enjoyed the Ice Cream Soda!  I had NEVER had one before and it will NOT be my last!

"They do make them like they used to!"
And one last stop...

"Chocolate Fetish!"
The Chocolate Fetish can get one in trouble!  I adored the "turtles" (top) - this store called them "frogs".  It is a good thing we did so much hiking the day before!

I also purchased a blog friend's mystery books (Vickie Lane) at the BEST independent book store = Malaprops.

There is way too much to see in Asheville, NC and the surrounding area in just two days. We will be back.

The Basilica of St. Lawrence, Asheville, NC & 45/365

Rafael Guastavino (click on his name for further details) was the architect and builder of St. Lawrence.  He came to Asheville, NC to work on the Vanderbilt estate, The Biltmore.  This was his last work and his final resting place ... he is buried in a crypt inside this church.  

The church is built upon a massive stone foundation, has no beams of wood or steel in the entire structure.  All walls, floors, ceilings and pillars are of tile or other masonry materials. The roof is tile, covered with copper. 
The dome of St. Lawrence has a span of 58 x 82 feet and has the reputation of being the largest freestanding dome in North America.  To find out more, please click  here.   Below are photos of the interior.

The Altar

This is a 17th century painting of the Visitation. The artist might be Massimo Stanzione (1585-1656).   Few paintings depict an obviously pregnant Mary.  I couldn't get the best photo because of the glare & I had to crop a bit.  

  Old pottery - Capo diMonte, Italy

A fragment of Italian marble depicting the Nativity
Baptismal Font

Artist - Massimo Stanzione (1585-1656)

I have always loved the colors of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The homily for this particular Sunday was wonderful.  My girls & I discussed it over breakfast.  To sum it up: Be generous to others with our compassion and love.  How we will be judged will be a direct reflection as to how we judged others.  We confess our sins, we don't stand in front of God with a list of what others have done.  We don't know their story.  We only know ours.   

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Poetry with Photographs... 43 & 44/365

...Beauty that Feeds the Soul (the Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Mountains - specifically Craggy Gardens, NC)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blue Ridge Parkway, 42/365

This above photo is for Wednesday's Black & White Challenge.  Click to see other entries.

"Tucked Away"
"Craggy Mountains - Just Before the Hike"
"Craggy Mountains - Blue Ridge Pkwy, NC"
"Craggy Tree in Craggy Gardens"
"The Trickster"
"The Tilted Path"
"On Top of a Craggy Rock"
"A Scene from Sleepy Hollow?"
"Golden Beauty"
"Enjoying the View"
"The other side of Craggy Mountains - Nearing Sunset"
My oldest two girls and I visited the Blue Ridge Mountains this past weekend  They were spectacular with their golds, reds & oranges...and still quite a bit of green!  June & July is prime time for the pink & purple rhododendrons.

Asheville, NC  is 24 miles south of Craggy Gardens.  "Craggy" has great views from the east and west and we missed the sunrise this trip.  The Great Craggy Mountains are an area of exposed rock surfaces and high peaks that provide breathtaking views of the distant southern Appalachian ridges. 

I think we might have hiked part of the "bald" area but by the time we got back to the visitor center to ask, it was closed.  In the second photo above, you can see a whole area with no leaves - quite in contrast to the green, colorful side.  This was fun to hike.

We tried to make it to Douglas Falls.  We hiked quite a bit of the trail, but it was 4 miles (one way) and I made the decision to turn around before dark... we were told we might see bears and other wild animals and I preferred a bit of light.  We did hike half of it, through a mixed hardwood forest which winds past a series of cascades and two virgin hemlock groves before reaching the 70-foot Douglas Creek Falls.  I am told it is a  rewarding, 4-mile hike (8 mile roundtrip).  My daughters are all for getting up early on the next trip as they are eager to make it next time to the falls.

As I hiked these trails, I found it was necessary to really watch my footing.  The fallen leaves provided a very slippery "carpet" upon the jagged, and often times, wobbly  rocks.  Tree roots are hidden amongst ground coverage and we all tripped numerous times.

The following day we visited the magnificent St. Lawrence Basilica in Asheville, NC.  They encouraged photos and I took full advantage.  I will post about that tomorrow.   We also enjoyed shopping in the quaint historic downtown area and a two hour historic trolley ride.  I will post about that as well.  So, please come back!

I would also like to help promote my son's blog "Songs for a New Millennium".   He is passionate about poetry and I invite you to take a look! 

The very last post is also my entry for the "Sunday Creative".  Word for the week: dynamic

Friday, October 22, 2010

41/365 "Koi & Goldfish Pond"

"Peaceful Pond"
"Koi -  Japanese Carp"
Our dogs went to play today at a "Bed & Biscuit"... it is quite an amazing place.  The grounds are immaculate and so peaceful - yes, even with 15+ dogs romping around...  This man made pond is off limits to the dogs, but my 2 year old son enjoyed watching the koi and goldfish swim to the surface to eat.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

40/365 "Tiny Acorns" Poem by Alex I Askaroff

"Tiny Acorns"
The above photo is my 40th of my 365 day journey.  The acorns are the size of my little fingertip.    The challenge is hosted by Madeline Bea.

I googled "tiny acorns" and came across the following poem.   It really touched my heart and I think it is beautiful.  Please visit his home page by clicking on his name:  Alex I Askaroff.

Alex I Askaroff is also an author and his web page Sewalot can be found by clicking on that name.

Tiny Acorns
by Alex I Askaroff

I hear the birdsong as autumn leaves lay like a chestnut sea,
And gaze with saddened eyes while gentle rain entrances me.
So swift the seasons run this year, so soon the swallows fly.
While church bells toll to summon all for a friend has passed us by.

Oh how the tears do swell with the choir in harmony,
Where angels dwell in every note and where my friend should be.
I dare not glance at others eyes should I feel their pain in me,
This death has shaken all our souls with cold reality.

We stout men of England strong, that grew from soil so rich.
That beat the anvils from our past and learnt their rhythmic pitch,
We walked the path of duty, to earn our right to stay,
But beneath the churchyard yew is where we grudging lay.

What happened to those sunny days and our endless schemes,
When we were tiny acorns amongst a field of dreams.
Wide eyed we raced through life, with our hearts brimming full,
Yet the final flag is a shroud of silk, so harsh and miserable.

Were I to take your hand my friend, were I to grasp it hard,
I'd gladly share half my days though it would mark my card,
Then through the lofty corridors where silent whispers fly,
We'd shout our voices hoarse my friend and laugh until we die.

by Alex I Askaroff

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

39/365 "Only Red Means Love?"

"Simply Beautiful"

"Yellow Rose"

"The Yellow Rose"
I have always preferred yellow roses over red.  Haven't received many in my lifetime and I would much prefer seeing them outside and not in a vase.  I can see painting this with Georgia O'Keeffe in mind.  I just love her "macro" flowers!

Monday, October 18, 2010

38/365 & "Childhood" my first attempt at poetry (take 2)

by Margaret Bednar

Childhood is a time of wonderment
of security
encouragement and possibilities.

Exploration begins every morning
with fresh faces and engaging smiles.
Each day approached with boundless energy.

As the sun rises, imagination flourishes
and inspiration is found in the simple.
Creativity soars with seemingly no boundaries.

Each day is for experimenting
and is about the process, not the end result.
Failure does not define who they are.

As they are tucked away each evening
sleepy heads are filled with questions.
Confident there are answers.

Parenthood is a time of great importance
 a limited opportunity to re-learn life's secrets.
Offered in the sweetest of ways.

I totally feel silly posting this.  But I read the amazing, heart touching poem below and it really got me to thinking how childhood is so precious.  The above is more of a reflection than a poem.  But I think it is a start to poetry - thinking about the deeper meanings of life.  ...I can only get better, right?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

37/365 & My Son's Poetry Blog

"Friendship & Love
The above photo is 37/365.  Only 328 to go.  It is a photography challenge that anyone can participate in.  See 365 Days - A Photographic Journey
My son has started his own poetry blog.  I am trying to learn the fine ART of poetry and I am coming along s-l-o-w-l-y.  Will is very proud of me when a light bulb goes on in my brain and I get a line or two!
His blog is Songs For a New Millennium.  The first poem he posted is copied below.  Please feel free to follow his blog.  

Tis not in commitment
To love that warrants beauty,
For fickle a girl beauty is indeed, not to be bent
By sorrow and pain filled gazers and dandies,
Eyes gleaming in fleeting hope, without sense,
That their smiles, enwrapped and dependent,
Will have recompense
By her gaze, resplendent,
And perhaps, if in good favor,
Have admiration bestowed on them amorously.
But nay, beauty is a fickle girl. Alas, we love her.
So as the breeze sings melancholy,
And the leaves reflect her lips of flame,
As milky clouds remind of her skin,
When her hair is night, dark and sleek, putting others to shame,
Filled with expectation
And apparitions of loveliness,
I think of the sweet longing,
Hoping for the moment not to pass.
The sweet longing
I loved then,
For a moment,
Lingering in the agony of emotion,
In a short eternity that I underwent.

I then found beauty.
But then the lights were no longer low,
The emotions, so resplendent in ardor, escaped me.
The façade was gone after the show.
Nay tis not in commitment to serve
Love that hold beauty.
Tis in the memory of nerve,
Tumultuous as a stormy sea.
Tis in the very slow-grown enthrallment
Of her melodious voice.
Tis in the memory of through what my heart went
When I told it to her by my choice.
When I told how it was stolen by her raven hair,
By her star-drenched skin,
By her cherry lips at which I’d stare,
And the voice so in apprehension, rife with emotion from within.
Tis not in the resolution itself
Of intricate harmonies and dissonances,
So pleasing to the ear in their discord and wealth,
But in the expectations and resonances
Of this ecstasy,
That resides beauty,
Which is why I told her my love and melancholy,
Letting her forget, and proceeding to flee.
For the wonderful nostalgic memory
Of the shortness of breath,
Would by intimacy,
Certainly be put to death.

By William Bednar

Friday, October 15, 2010

36/365 "The "Other" Passion Fruit?"

"The "Other" Passion Fruit?"
This fruit, which is my eldest daughters favorite, is really quite beautiful.  I couldn't help but wonder if poetry had ever been written about it, and I'm not surprised to find it linked with love and the heart.

Elizabeth Barret Browning  wrote about the pomegranate (below).  Her heart was certainly broken early on with the tragic death of her brother and then to be disinherited by her father because she fell in love and married.  I do recognize her name, however, I am quite illiterate when it comes to poetry - it will be interesting to see if I like her writing.    

Excerpt from Elizabeth Barret Browning regarding a pomegranate: 

...which if cut deep down the middle 
Shows a heart within blood-tinctured, of a veined humanity! -
 Lady Geraldine's Courtship 165-166
You could not peel a fruit you fear to bruise
More calmly and more carefully than so, -
Nor would you find within, a rosier flushed
Pomegranate -
Aurora Leigh VI.562-565

35/365 "Dress Rehearsal"

"Dress Rehearsal"

"Prim & Proper"
The show must go on whether they are ready or not.  Dress Rehearsal for "The Little Princess" went fairly smoothly - these photos were taken at the back of a 400 seat auditorium and I had very low lighting.  Not perfect exposure, but wonderful keepsakes, nonetheless.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

34/365 Bird House

"Hidden Bird House"
 We moved here a year ago and I have never noticed this bird house tucked amongst the trees.  I will have to watch for a little bird head next year - how cute would that be?

Spiral Curl

"Spiral Curls"
It was quite nice for "The Little Princess" to coincide with the Sunday Creative's word of the week = spiral.  

Our local Fox 8 news covered my daughter singing a duet of  "Suppose" - a song from the show.