Posted in Monday Musings

Miles to Go

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After Forsyth Park Farmers Market-ing Saturday morning, Robert and I were walking home, minding our own business, when out of the blue, the Universe spoke to me again. (A fairly common occurrence these days.)

“It’s the end of October,” I thought. “Isn’t it a little late for hydrangeas to still be blooming?” But glancing up and down the row of bushes, I noticed that all the other hydrangeas were NOT blooming, except for this LONE, stubborn survivor.

I was mesmerized, the bloom just SO very June fresh.

“It’s rude to stare,” she interrupted my thoughts, a bit offended.

“Sorry, I didn’t meant to stare. But I’m floored to see you here when all of your … your brothers and sisters are … are less than alive.” (My awkward attempt to avoid further rudeness.)

“May I ask why you ARE still here?” I timidly wondered.

Her demeanor shifted, and she smiled the tiniest of smiles.

“I suppose you can, but I’ll let Frost answer for me.”

The woods are lovely dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

I walked home with lively, renewed fervor in my step.

Posted in Life and Death

The October Rose: Sorta Sad, Sorta Not, but More Sorta Sad than Sorta Not

Morning walking in Savannah’s Forsyth Park the other day led us, almost Alice-in-Wonderland-ishly, into the little old, hidden-away, walled and overgrown Fragrant Garden. I knew it was there, having walked by the usually locked entrance hundreds of times. But I had forgotten it.

I was pleasantly surprised to see from just inside the gate how many roses were still in bloom. Dozens of bursts of color. Isn’t Halloween nearly here? And the bushes were standing so beautifully tall! Proud, regal.

I was taken aback at my sudden jolt of happiness. And I thought of what my buddy Anne (you know, of Green Gables) told me one time: “Neal, I’m so glad we live in a world where there are Octobers.” What a perceptive young lady.

But (and just for the record, if you think about it, whenever someone says “but,” the words that follow are often not the most uplifting) my Fragrant World smelled a little less joyful as I realized that the bushes were so very tall because they had not been pruned nor tenderly cared for. And looking more closely, I saw that most of the blooms were beginning to lose petals, droop a bit and some were even whispering an elegantly tortured “goodbye.”

Fall has forever been my favorite season. Autumn isn’t so childishly young as spring, doesn’t exude summer’s arrogance, thinking itself so very hot. And fall doesn’t give you the icy stares and cold shoulders of winter. Fall is gorgeously colorful and aroma-therapeutically delicious.

But fall is also, of course, the season that recognizes, even blatantly exposes, her mortality as those leaves drift earthward, and annuals lose their colors and die, while the last rose of summer falls from her heights to the untilled soul in the Fragrant Garden.

Sad but a part of the universal cycle.

Celtic Woman expresses the sentiment beautifully in their rendition of Irish poet Thomas Moore’s 1805 poem, “The Last Rose of Summer.”

Posted in Savannah Joy

Farmers’ Marketing

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Saturday morning I stumbled out of bed (you would think someone my age could deal with morning a bit better) and walked a few blocks to Savannah’s Forsyth Park to get some fresh vegetables.  (It’s spring, so I’m on my Annual Quest to get in Stellar Shape for the maybe two times I go to Tybee Island and the beach during the summer.  I haven’t seen abs in forty years, but I’m such an optimist I AM NOT GIVING UP.  Do you hear me?!  I intend to be on the cover of Men’s Fitness one day.)

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The Forsyth Farmers’ Market is the coolest gathering of local vendors offering fresh–often organic–fruits and vegetables, along with coffees, breads, honey, jams, juices, pasta, fish, beef, poultry, herbs, flowers, etc.  I LOVE their statement of purpose: “The mission of the Forsyth Farmers’ Market is to promote understanding and participation in a local food system that supports sustainable production and increases access to local products.” 

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Coolest dog at the market:

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Coolest shoes at the market:

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What joyful shopping!

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Posted in Savannah Joy

The Greening, a Feis, a Friend and Bach: A Pre-St. Patty Day Weekend in Savannah

A few reflections on the weekend BEFORE St. Patrick’s Day weekend here in Savannah.

THE GREENING  ****

One of Savannah’s coolest St. Patrick’s Day traditions has to be the greening of the fountains.  In a week, we will welcome the city’s most popular holiday.  And at noon Friday the beautiful fountain in Forsyth Park, surrounded by several hundred people, morphed into a bright green explosion of water color.  Soon thereafter the other fountains in Savannah followed suit.

Tangent Ahead:  Okay, I know this is a Happiness Blog and all, but let me vent a second, okay?  Please?  But first, a little background:  While I taught up the road at Georgia Southern, I heard this refrain from time to time:  “GSU?  Oh, what a party school!”  That got on my last nerve.  My very last.  (Similar to the Kardashians’ dilemma over what to do after “reality” TV.)  Why did the comment irk me?  Simple.  GSU (or UGA or Emory or Harvard) is a party school if students choose to party there.  But GSU (etc.) is a great place to get a wonderful education for those students who choose to do so (which, by the way, are the vast majority).

In a similar vein, what do many people associate with our city’s incredibly popular March holiday?  Drinking on River Street, of course.  But that aspect of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration is only one part of the wonderful holiday, albeit a decidedly profitable one, and the one that often gets the most press.  However, so much more, SO MUCH MORE captures the attention and interest of most Savannahians.  Which brings me back to the greening of the fountains.  End of Tangent.

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Thinking I would just mosey up to the fountain and watch somebody toss in a bit of green dye, I was shocked at the size of the gathering and the palpable excitement of the event.

Before the greening:

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After the greening:

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Here’s James A. Ray, the Grand Marshal of the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

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And here’s his sister, Nancy Ray Johnson, who is the second female in Savannah St. Patrick’s Day history to be the Aid to the Grand Marshal.

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TARA FEIS  ****

And then on Saturday at Emmet Park near the river, Tara Feis (feis= festival, pronounced “fesh”) burst on the holiday scene with Irish music, dancers, food and fun.  This annual celebration of Erin Go Bragh–Ireland the Beautiful is completely family friendly and alcohol-free.

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Here’s a bit of the Glor Na Daire Irish dance school performance:

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And perennially popular local singer/songwriter Harry O’Donoghue‘s closing song, “All the Best”:

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Saints & Shamrocks  ****

After enjoying the festival for a couple of hours, I went in search of the official St. Patrick’s Day Parade Magazine, and finally found it at the beautifully delightful Saints & Shamrocks boutique …

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… specializing in religious gifts, Irish imports and fair trade gifts.  There I met the welcoming, helpful owner and new friend Hope (I love that name) Ebberwein …

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… who gave me a copy of the magazine.

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[Should I dye my facial hair green for the parade viewing?  Now be honest.  (Some of you weren’t when I asked if I was too old to wear skinny jeans.  See item#4 in the skinny jeans hyperlink.)]

Bach Music Marathon ****

Still not finished with the day, I walked into the Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church on Calhoun Square, where organist Christopher Jacobson from South Carolina sat at the incredible pipe organ performing a two-day marathon of the COMPLETE organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach (257 individual pieces!).

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Beautiful.

I get tired just trying to hum through Abba’s three most popular #1 hits.

What a tremendously festive weekend!  A greening.  A feis.  A new friend.  And a concert.  I wonder what the actual Saint Patrick’s Day Twenty-Thirteen will hold.  I’ll let you know.  I’m hosting a little parade viewing party, since my place lies directly on the parade route.

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