Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

Garden Kaleidoscope

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Trying to catch up on the last days of my road trip, it has been kind of hectic so bear with me! Here is the account of my final day in Madison, Wisconsin.

One of my favorite features thus far throughout Madison are all of the amazing gardens. From ALlen Centenntial Garden, to the Abrotetum, and now finally the Olbrich Botancial Gardens, all have been spectacular displays of nature within the confines of a major city.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens was like a playground for nature lovers. From amazing fountains, art exhibits hidden in the trees, and my personal favorite, a kaleidoscope of succulents. IMG_9791

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My view of all the different gardens around the city had begun to feel like a kaleidoscope mash-up of everything I had seen thus far. I had luckily caught a period of time right before the major frost where flowers were still blooming and beautiful but leaves had begun to change colors already. I was getting the best of both worlds and I knew it. So I reveled in the amazing gardens and was shocked by the array of colors and textures I found everywhere I went.

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There was even a Thai pavilion in the gardens that was ornate and beautiful with the backdrop of flowers surrounding it.

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Everything was beautiful and so much fun to explore with my Aunt, we really had a great time.

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There is one thing I forgot to mention thus far and it is the frequency with which Madison has free libraries in front of their homes. It always makes me very happy to see free book boxes in neighborhoods but Madison had an astounding abundance of ornate and well stocked free libraries. A neighborhood feels healthy and lively whenever there are free book boxes lining the streets. I really enjoyed this one which was a vibrant orange and had a beautiful mosaic of a tree on the side. Well done Madison, well done.

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I went off on my own again with a more serious mission in mind this time: visit the University of Wisconsin- Madison campus and check out the English Graduate Program. I spent the rest of my day slowly meandering around campus (with an additional stop inside of a wonderful liitle bookstore on State street) and visiting the English Department.

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The campus was really and truly very nice, I was genuinely impressed. The buildings were beautiful, the people were kind and generous with their information, the scenery was amazing (right on the lake and covered in colorful trees), and the available opportunities to talk to students and faculty was very abundant. I quite enjoyed it.

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I even found an acorn friend that sadly rolled away from me and got crushed by a car. It was slightly heartbreaking. Can you tell I haven’t been terribly sociable? I have started befriending acorns.

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But honestly, it made me miss Berkeley. There were so many things that kept reminding me of my alma mater and it left me with a heavy heart burdened by homesickness. There was even a tower that looked like the campanile (complete with carillons) and several of my favorite professors from Berkeley were going to be visiting campus to give lectures in the coming weeks. I missed my friends, my mentors, and the feeling of belonging to a community regardless of whether the people around you knew you or not. Despite actually really liking this campus, I left full of sadness because I wasn’t sure if anywhere else would ever feel like home in the way that Berkeley was. I know this is naive in many ways; I know I will go somewhere and I will learn to call it home, but Berkeley will always have my heart.

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It was a hard day, the first of probably many to come in the next few months, but not something that would stop me from moving forward. Some days are worse than others, but every day on the road is a step farther from home that I am proud to be taking even on the days when I wish for nothing more than to be back where I was. I am learning to miss the things I love and I hope each day to miss these things with happiness rather than sadness, but sadly that day has not yet come. Despite my sadness, I know nothing is gained without losing something first. Growth can be painful and I would be foolish to wish that pain away, so for now I grit my teeth and try to push forward to days when it hurts less.

But I know it is worth it.

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A Rainy Day in Madison

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

I woke up to the sound of rain against the window. It was the first time in a long time I had heard rain calling me outside. I lay in my bed listening and for the first time it became real. I knew I was very far from home; I knew that I was no longer in California and would not be returning for quite some time. In many ways this whole trip has been so surreal. A strange mixture between road trip and living in a bunch of different states. I bounce from one location to the next, usually with someone I know waiting at the end of my drive so it never feels like I am truly alone. But this morning I woke up and felt alone. I felt far from my friends, family, and all that was familiar to me. I felt it ringing in the rain drops like a vibrating siren and each drop sang out the sound of total strangeness. It was an odd moment, of finally letting it sink in that I wasn’t going home, at least not for a while. I had to make a home wherever I could find it now.

For now home is with my Aunt in Madison but even that is not for long. I pulled my tired body from bed and looked outside at the cardinal on the bird feeder below, unfazed by the rain and even more vibrant in it. The roads ran like rivers and the fall leaves had been glued to my car like some child’s scrapbook of autumn.

On our way to explore Madison we first stopped to get some really great coffee and Colectivo. A roomy coffee shop with huge windows, bright furniture, and great study spaces, Colectivo was definitely instantly on my favorite coffee spot list.

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I took my coffee out into the cold rain to warm my fingers as we explored the state capital building. It was truly a magnificent piece of architecture and I loved escaping from the rain under their marbled ceilings and fancy decor.
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It was quite the place and the square that it sat in was surrounded by adorable shops and fantastic restaurants.

After we had circled the captial building a few times, marveling at the architecture from every angle, we drove through the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Going through campuses that are closer to the east coast always impress me because they are so thoroughly different from west coast campuses. The buildings are older, crafted from beautiful stone or brick and much more ornate than the average west coast campus building. I love my alma mater but I cannot help comparing the architecture between campuses and I was thoroughly impressed with the Madison campus.

At the far end of campus we stopped at the Allen Centennial Gardens, a small enclosure of nature next to an old historic home. The gardens, though small, were marvelous. Even in the rain, the vibrant crops like kale, colorful swiss chard, and of course corn, were incredibly beautiful.

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There were some really unique looking flowers, like the ones below, that lit up the entire park with vivid colors. IMG_9697

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From boardwalks to koi ponds, gazebos to vegetable gardens the entire garden was surprisingly entertaining. After marveling at the entire complex we continued on our way.

We decided to poke in at the Henry Villa Zoo. It was a fun little zoo but the alligator was by far my favorite. I had been taking pictures of the fall leaf littered pool, not realizing it was an alligator enclosure until afterwards when I looked at my pictures. It surprised me so much that I hadn’t even noticed the alligator lying quietly below the leaves.

There were also some adorable little badgers having a fun time digging around in the mud, which was pretty quintessential for all of Wisconsin. Go Badgers :)

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After the zoo, my aunt and I parted ways for a bit and I went off on my own to the University’s Arboretum for a hike. It was pretty, but also pretty marshy so my hike kept getting cut short by closed pathways. But what I did see was quite nice; the variety of different trail landscapes that I set foot on in just the few short miles I was able to hike was staggering. It was a wonderfully diverse park filled with prairies, lakes, and flowers.

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We finished out day with a sunset mini walk along some overgrown boardwalks next to Lake Monona. Stepping over a natural bubbling spring, we walked along the creaking old wooden planks along the rim of the lake watching the sky turn pink under wispy clouds. IMG_9754 IMG_9755

It was a good first day in Madison (finished with some really great pizza) but I am finding myself growing more and more tired as each day passes. Michigan is only one day away of driving from where I am now and I can feel the closeness in my road wearied bones. I have been traveling now for exactly two weeks and I have been alone for one week; it feels like a lifetime.

A good rest is in order soon and I know it awaits me on the shores of Lake Superior, so close yet so far from where I am now. For now, there is still more work to be done, more things to see, and always another adventure around the corner.

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York: Hope for Humanity and Hedgehogs

Monday, June 30th, 2014

While in England I took a series of day trips to spread my knowledge’s reach to other parts of England beyond London. Branching out on the train lines I set out to adventure in England beginning with York where I stayed for two glorious days. With just my purse and my camera packed away I trekked across London to the King’s Cross Station, which is a big impressive station, next to the even bigger and more impressive station in my opinion, the St. Pancras Station. I had a bit of a long wait for my train so in the meanwhile I explored the area surrounding the station, and even watched a Lays commercial being made with a blind taste test where people kept burning their mouths on hot food.

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Then I explored the interior of the station and realized that King’s Cross has Harry Potter’s Platform nine and three quarters and in the actual station they have this whole elaborate set up now for tourists looking to follow the Harry Potter things in London. It was a baggage cart cut in half next to wall with even an owl stuffed animal on it, and people had lined up, zigzagging through the station to take a photo with it pretending to be going through the wall. Not being a huge Harry Potter fan and finding the fanaticism funny, I sat on a nearby staircase watching the insane antics knowing if I had been with my friends we would have been one of those groups waiting in line since all of my friends are pretty die hard when it comes to Harry Potter. So I sat back and watched, laughing for almost an hour, watching the line snake its way forward endlessly.IMG_3342

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Finally my train arrived and I was really surprised by how nice the trains where, especially after having used Trenitalia all semester in Italy which is pretty bare bones on the regional trains. The seats where plush and each one either had a chess/checkers table or a monopoly table for playing games. I had a really nice seat all to myself and a nice big window to watch the countryside roll by.IMG_3361

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The two hour ride from London to York was wonderful, we essentially crossed all of England, almost to Scotland and the countryside was beautiful. Rolling hills of mustard grass and buttercups coloring the hills like a sea of yellow. Cows and cute towns speckled the landscape, the occasional river and undulating little hills with the fields of cows or sheep passing by the speeding train. I loved the ride and was almost sad when it ended, but even more excited to see what York had to behold.

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I rather liked the little train station and once outside in the sunny, slightly muggy air I made directly for one of the towns most famous aspects, the ancient walls that still enclose the city. IMG_3377

I have thus far neglected to mention an important part of this little solo adventure to York, the fact that I was couch surfing with a total stranger. My housing for York fell through and I had to last minute find random housing and a 66 year old woman named Heather was kind enough to accommodate me. This was the first time I had ever done this and I was a little worried. But I had a few hours to kill my first day in York before I was supposed to meet her at the house. So I began with the wall.

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 The wall that runs almost entirely around the city of York is an artifact of ancient times, the preservation of the old city’s fortress walls. Almost entirely intact, today you can go around the city on the winding dragon spine of this town to take in its sights. I got onto the wall and could see York Minster in the background and I started making my way along the wall to see what there was to see. At the end of my first section of wall that dipped at a bridge crossing a river leading to what I assume once was an old guard tower tucked away by the riverside. IMG_3385

Much to my surprise I discovered that this little turret tower was in fact an adorable coffee shop. I knew I had to go in and see what a tower coffee shop looked like, but first I made a stop by the river to look at all the baby geese wandering everywhere in the town. IMG_3389

(Notice in the background of this shop, the super pissed off goose ready to chase me off)IMG_3396

I climbed the stairs to the tower and looked inside to see wooden beams crossing the ceiling and couches filling every inch of the room that wasn’t taken up by the counter. It was really extremely cute, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend my money just yet having just arrived maybe 10 minutes previous to this point in time. However, I wasn’t given much choice by a nice, but bluntly gruff man sitting in the corner whom, upon seeing me standing, gawking in the doorway, hollered at me to step in and get something to drink instead of just staring. He was a hilariously caustic man I came to known was called Shawn. Little did I know that him calling me into the coffee shop against my will and my wallet’s desires would lead to one of my favorite experiences of my entire month of travel after my program. IMG_3403

I shyly shuffled in and still a little cautious of the man who had called me in who was now muttering over his computer, I ordered coffee from the very kind barista. After I ordered I figured I could take a few pictures, so I asked permission first and the man in the corner, Shawn once again pipped in saying he would be very glad to model in the corner. And as I was taking pictures another traveler such as myself wandered in behind me and seeing me taking photos, jumped into my shot just like this. Didn’t have any idea who he was, but I deeply loved the photo. IMG_3404

So laughing I sat down with my delicious coffee and began talking with everyone there, observing the barista and Shawn who obviously where friends ad kept poking fun at each other; Shawn caustically muttering and the barista calling him a grouch and an old man because of his bad behavior. And I got to talking with Ben, the traveler who, like me had just hopped of the train, and we wound up sitting and talking for about 2 or 3 hours. It was a marvelous time, laughing at Shawn bashing every city in England besides York to prove that York was clearly the best city in the UK and the barista teasing him about him just being a silly grumpy person with impossible standards. Ben told me he was traveling from Scotland to meet up with his grandmother whom he loved very much so the two of them could travel together in the UK. I told him all about Italy and the cultural curiosities of the country that most people wouldn’t know. The entire time, any time I would say something he liked he would stop and hunched over his little notebook would write anything he liked that I said in his little journal for later so he could remember the things I said. It was invigorating to have a conversation with a total stranger and realize that my words mean something to him; that even though he would probably forget my name, my words remained in that little black book to be viewed again.

I was very sad when he realized he was late for his train and ran off, neither of us realizing the time that had passed while we were talking. He ran off, and I didn’t even know his last name at the end, it was a saddening end to a wonderful encounter, but my entire time in that coffee shop was so up lifting and had me believing so thoroughly in the goodness of total strangers that when I got back to the wall I was grinning from ear to ear with the possibilities of human interaction, which, coming from an introvert, is not a phrase I say often. I was just so happy and felt so rejuvenated that I wandered down the wall in total awe of people and a new hope for humanity blooming in my heart.

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I walked all the way around the wall, enjoying the views, the flowers, and the warm summer air. IMG_3443

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I got off the wall to go to another ancient site in York, Clifford’s Tower, a lone little circular tower perched high atop a hill overlooking the city. I walked through a field of geese and their little babies just to get to it. IMG_3464

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The tower was very interesting and from there, with more time to wander, I decided to just weave my way through the backstreets of the city to see what there was to discover.IMG_3492

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I found purple doors, with fox door knockers, old churches knee deep in buttercups and dandelions, ancient cemeteries in older churchyards, and crooked streets leading me to crooked buildings.

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Past convents with shining stain glass windows, flowers blooming a deep crimson, old english buildings and back to the river again to hang my feet above the water with a beer in hand.IMG_3602

I took a short break on the water after an interesting encounter over taking pictures of geese that went a little something like this: I was taking pictures of some adorable baby geese, and realized there was an elderly gentleman also taking pictures of them. I thought it was a nice moment to share together, we made eye contact and I opened my mouth to affirm what I thought we both were thinking, how adorable are these baby geese?, when he looked at me, also about to speak but before I could say what I thought he was going to, he just looks at me and whispers, DINNER.  I was so deeply shocked at how wrong I had read the situation that I just started laughing and couldn’t stop until he had left. IMG_3611

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After that encounter, it was time to meet my host for the night, who riding up on a bicycle with bunting covering the straw basket, didn’t even stop before asking me, Do you want to come bird watching in an old Victorian cemetery with me tonight at sunset?

Who says no to that? Easily one of the strangest experiences of my trip, I ran/walked next to her for about thirty minutes outside of York while she rode her bike until we reached the cemetery. IMG_3634

The cemetery was entirely overgrown, a glowing green radiance summoned from the depth of these vine covered graves and deep rooted behemoth trees with branches reaching out like arms to encompass the entire cemetery like a mother raven pulling her children tightly underneath her broad wings. It was beautiful, quiet, peaceful, and despite it being a cemetery was a place full of life and solemn solitude.

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The birdwatching itself was kind of a bust with a majority of the group entirely fine with examining the calls of black birds, desperately craning their necks and squinting their eyes to make out a pigeon in the distance, but the surroundings where astounding and I was very glad I went and got to experience his oddity. IMG_3657

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After leaving the cemetery at dusk and run/walking back into York I broke off again from my kind host and decided to go wander around York at night to maximize my day and time for exploration.

After again sitting on the banks of the river with my feet dangling above the black starry water with a cider in hand, I finally headed home on the crooked cobblestone streets.

While on my journey back to the house, I saw something crossing the street, at first I thought it was a really weird looking rat because I could only see its outline in the dark and its strange waddling stride. I thought it was the strangest looking rat I had ever seen, I mean it didn’t even have a tail, when to my surprise as I wandered closer I realized it was a wild hedgehog. I have always wanted to see one and nearly lost my mind when I realized I had encountered one in the wilderness of York’s streets. IMG_3691

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After doing a little dance of celebration in the street at my luck, I made sure to take a few pictures and then leave the creature to its night wanderings. IMG_3694

I went back to the house grinning once again from ear to ear as I had done when leaving the coffee shop that same morning. My host was gracious enough to give me my own room in the attic of her terrace home. It was adorable, but felt a little haunted or something at night, but still adorable. IMG_3695

So after talking with my host about art, wildlife, her work, my travels, and a huge array of random topics over English tea, we both retired to bed after a long but fulfilling day.

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The Difference a Daisy Can Make

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

There is a haven to be found in every home you make. A place where the earth seems to resonate and the trees sway like a dancer in the wind that captures your heart with the grace and gentleness of a mother’s comforting embrace. In a field of daisies, underneath a cherry tree with cherry blossoms spinning in the air, lazily making their way down from above onto the green grass below, I felt the air resonate like the beat of a hummingbird’s heart, the same as my own just on a frequency faster than I could feel. It was like the wind whispering a thousand times over this is home, this is home.  IMG_7682

There is magic in a field of daisies. To stand on a pathway and look at the hundreds of upturned faces of flowers reaching towards the sky, their nourishing mother the sun shining down upon each petal, each upturned dot of beauty that makes for a sea of life below your feet.

Spring has arrived in Rome. The trees have begun to come back to life, the flowers are blooming, the sky is the deepest of blues. IMG_7680 IMG_7670 IMG_7685

One of my favorite places in Rome is the sprawling park of Villa Pamphilij. The huge expanse of park space, just seemingly endless hills of rolling green that sits above the main city center, a haven of green, and trees, and the peaceful tranquility of life slowed down to the sound of a beating heart. The get away from the noise, the hustle and bustle of the city, into the nature that Rome has to offer is always a treat. Just endless hours to wander through long grass fields under the canopy of umbrella pines, that only let in leaks of golden light to shower the grass with warm rays of nourishing sunlight. IMG_7706

Weaving through the spire like lengths of the umbrella pines, feeling the long grass slip between my finger tips, this place seems so unreal, like a part of a different world, wrapped up in itself, its own like cosmic bubble just beyond Rome, yet still a part of it. IMG_7712

There are even green parrots with long amazing tail feathers that dive through the canopy of the trees, crying out to one another as they swoop through the park to find new places to rest their wings. I found one of their tail feathers amongst the grass and it felt like such a gift, to hold this beautiful feather, a work of art straight from the nature that spawned it.

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There is so much in the park, so many different areas, different spaces all with their own special wonders that make this place a wonderland of adventure with infinite discoveries to be made by those who venture out into its long expanses of nature. It is one of my favorite things to just get lost wandering around this park. These are all just some photos of my adventure in the park, my haven of happiness to escape from the city center. 

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Out of Season

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Day Five.

Found on the outskirts of you,
A new being began.
Born from the puddles of summer rain;
Constructed from the petals of May flowers;
Lost in a season not of its own kind
But of a colder climate that strips beauty
By the roots and plucks petals placed on eyelids
Like coins for Charon on a cold winter day.
This deification of displaced days
Is lost in the blur of a summer breeze
Caught in the heart of a winter waiting on change.
But without a place to lay their heads
The tulips bow under the weight of a season
Celebrated too soon.

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Petrichor

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Rain drops danced on the window sill, running their fingers gently against the glass with longing sighs as they settled into seas of water only to be disturbed again by the next drop. The tulips wilting on the inside of the window breathed in the warm air of the house, yet still could not bloom as they watched with drooping faces the disturbance on the window sill. All was quiet in the house except for the gentle tapping of the rain on the window pane like a young lover throwing rocks to awaken his sleeping beauty. Across the white walls of the small apartment lay splashes of life that were too wild and untamed to be contained to a single wall let alone one skinny apartment space. The solitary apartment stood isolated on the ground floor of a building centered in New York’s sprawling system of roads, where it alone seemed vibrant and alive. Roads like the pathways of a body filled with the ever awake but seemingly never living people of the city that never sleeps. Separated by thin capillary walls from the bustle of the dark and dirty streets lay the hidden white walls of her home. The macabre symphony of art was pinned to the walls in a random yet insistently purposeful manner that blossomed from a young and wild heart. The Van Gogh imitations to the typography, and the old photographs of people she had never known filled the spaces of the white wall with color and life that she mastered and owned but still was not her own. The very walls jittered with a peaceful happiness where her fingers had traced along the walls as she had run through the tight hallways and rooms. Every window, every space had been filled by her loving hands so no spot would feel alone or empty. She was kind.

Curled in a sea of billowy white comforters, she lay like a goddess who held the fiery force of life in her chest. Silent and still but very much alive. Her red wavy hair lay around her head like a sunset framing her face. Gnarled and twisted it lay like the warriors of fallen battles, stained by their own blood and those of their enemies. She breathed peacefully with her eyes gently closed. Her eyelashes fluttered like butterfly wings and opened. Noses almost touching she gazed into his eyes and he right back. He hadn’t stopped looking. He reached out with a hand and ran it along her cheek, tracing the contours of her face with his thumb until he reached her ear and ran his fingers through her wild hair. She smiled and scrunched her face, twisting her nose to the side slightly as she always did. He laughed. She smiled. They lay there in the sea of clouds built by human hands facing each other, watching each other, listening to the rain as it danced outside.

“We should probably move at some point.” He whispered playfully

She smiled and looked at him with green eyes and watched as the rain danced in his blue eyes. He smiled slightly, the way he always did, as if he was afraid to laugh out loud or widen his face with a smile.

“Why would we move, when we could stay right here and listen to the rain until it stops. We can’t let the rain outlast us can we now?” she smiled as she propped herself up on an elbow to look at him from above.

“Oh ok, I guess we don’t have to move. I was just going to say I would make breakfast… or lunch I guess,” he said looking down at his watch and the hours, which had been thrown to the wind. “Suit yourself then, I am good here.”

He rolled onto his back with his hands clasped behind his head, smiling playfully and closing his eyes. She pounced on him, throwing herself across his stomach. He let out a grunt and a laugh that made his eyes crinkle at the corners.

“You can’t do that!” she howled with mock tragedy.

“It was your choice, not mine.” He shrugged as he grabbed her arms, which assaulted his chest. Holding both of her wrists in one of his large palms he held her tight and she struggled even though she didn’t care if she never escaped.

“Well I changed my mind” she whispered right in his face as she leaned in only inches from his face. It escaped her almost as a snarl as her hair hung in front of her determined fiery eyes.

Just like that she sprang away, dancing out of his reach like a whirlwind of red hair and laughter. Her feet carried her across the wooden floor to the window where the tulips sat sadly waning against the glass. She frowned for a faint moment but it was chased across her face by the noise of the pattering rain. She threw open the window with a surge of motion that shook the tulips and the puddles on the windowsill. She leaned on the windowsill over her flowers staring into the rain. She felt her face so close to it, but it was just beyond her, beyond the window, beyond the tulips, but almost there. She breathed in deeply. Petrichor.

Propped up on his elbows, he surveyed her in the window’s soft light, which cast her hair like fire down her back. He smiled softly to himself watching her as she busied herself among her flowers and things. He shook his head with a soft chuckle, “Every time I get you flowers they just wilt and die, you have to learn to share some of that life that you have or else no one else will get any.”

“That’s not fair, I share everything I have, most of all with my flowers.” She cast him a glance and a wayward smile without turning to face him. With only that sideways glance she let out a less than phased grunt and cast herself down the hallway with a ballerina’s grace away from the billowy comforters and into another room cast with light. Again, he shook his head incredulously at the sprite that flitted around the house.

“Oh! Shoot, I am sorry I totally forgot to tell you, you got some mail yesterday. I didn’t recognize who it was from, I think it was a bank or something. ”

She bent backwards into his view from the room down the hall so he could barely see her outline in the soft light split against the shadow of the hallway. “Really?” there was a note of some sort of expression in her voice he did not recognize. He sat up fully to try and see her face but she was too far. With his head slightly cocked he waited for her to say something else, but nothing else came.

“You alright?” he asked warily.

Her silhouette had disappeared from the hallway now, he leaned in to try and spot her but she was curiously absent.

“Everything is fine, I will be right back.” He watched as he figure passed across the hallway as she went towards the back door where their mailman of five years now still did not understand that that was not their front door. Every day he left their mail at the wrong door for them to discover in a small but haphazard pile.

She walked with lithe and light footsteps a smile on her face and a suppressed shriek of joy that she hid in fear of ruining her surprise. She tried to be normal, she tried to remain calm but she knew that the wedding invitations along with a surprise trip for them to take before they finally got married after almost six years of being together. Her chest felt full to bursting with a joy that could almost not be contained. She picked up the mail that she had disguised as a bank note so he wouldn’t look into it and ripped it open with savage excitement. Two tickets for Paris for their honeymoon six months from now.

Peaking down the hallway to make sure he wasn’t looking she retreated into the corner of the back room and danced wildly in a circle her red hair flying around her as she bit her knuckle to keep from screaming in excitement. She was about to empty the vase of flowers to hide the tickets under the red roses from their date last week when she noticed the other letter. Pausing for an unsure moment she contemplated her next course of action. Holding the flower vase in the crook of her arm still she picked up the remaining letter which must have just arrived and wondered if she should leave it for later and go display the wedding invites. After a brief moment she tore open the new letter without even looking at the return address.

Tapping his foot against the hard wood floor as his bare feet hung over the edge of the mattress of comforters they had built on the floor, he waited. Humming a soft song he had known his entire life he watched from his seated position as the rain fell into the house from the open window above the flower, which gently swayed in the wind. Shaking his head with a chuckle and that little smile of his he pushed himself to his feet shaking off the clouds of comforter to go close the window. She had such life but because of it she seemed to underestimate the fragility of the life of the things around her. That was why her flowers died, it wasn’t a lack of love or life, it was an abundance of it. She was his warrior with her wild hair and fiery eyes. He smiled as he thought of her leaning on the open windowsill as she had done. He wondered what it was like to be her, to be invincible to the world. He placed his hands on the windowsill where hers had rested pushing his face out towards the rain. But he saw nothing, nothing of what she saw even in her place. He tried, he really did try to live more like her but no matter how hard he tried to stop and live a life of carefree joy he would always be the shy boy with too much reservation for his own good. He was a quiet man.

He started to shut the window when the loud crash of the clay vase shattering on the hard wood floor startled him enough to make him jump. That loud crack shattered the tranquility of the house in a matter of seconds, the uninterrupted serenity of their house had never before been disturbed as it was now and it shook his entire being. Then the terrible silence. A silence never before heard or seen. Frozen, the house and its inhabitants, human and plant alike, even the art seemed to leer from the walls, waited on the edge of that vast chasm of silence as the sound of that terrifying silence grew and grew filling every corner of the house until it rang in all of their ears even louder than a scream. The sound that interrupted it was not a bang but the feather soft sound of paper gently floating to the ground to settle as a dandelion on the wind comes to rest on the blade of a serene grass meadow where no human foot has ever graced. That soft but perceivably sound ended the terrible silence but not the horror. With perked ears he listened with a mute tongue but frantic eyes as he heard her soft footsteps coming down the hallway. She was not walking but running very lightly down the hallway, her silhouetted figure eventually blotting out the backlight until she stood before him. She paused for only one moment as they both looked at each other across the room from each other.

“Honey, what-“

He opened his arms for her as he had done so many times before when something was wrong welcoming her into the sheltered harbor of his arms but even as he did so he could see this was different. He never got to finish that question in that moment as she eyed him as if she was a hunted animal and he the vicious predator. That guarded and hurt look in her eyes shut his mouth in one moment. She had never looked at him like that and he felt it like a stake in his heart. He moved in to try to embrace her but in one deft movement she leapt out of his reach towards the bathroom where she slammed and locked the door.

“What are you doing?” he yelled not out of anger but a fear that was slowly welling in his chest. “Please open the door and talk to me! Tell me what is wrong!” He banged on the door with his huge open faced palm. There was no reply. He pressed his ear against the door and listened. All he could hear was the soft rustling of her movements. “Please” he whispered into the door with his eyes closed. The fear had grown inside of him filling every part of his body like a terrible poison feasting on his veins burning them while his blood still pumped. The sickening feeling that something was horribly wrong drew down the corners of his mouth bringing back the lines of frowns that he had almost forgotten and resurfacing the unsure and reserved fear within him.

The rustling stopped for a brief moment and he heard the soft and barely audible sound of a moan that sounded too wounded to be entirely human. That pitiful noise ripped his heart apart and he pounded on the door anew, yelling for her to open the door.

She sat in the bathtub hugging her knees to her chest as she rocked back and forth. She had madly thrown on new clothing and shoes but then lost the strength and seemingly the ability to move at all. So she lay curled in the tub with her knees hugged and one fist held against her horribly contorted mouth as she held back the sobs of a dying animal. Her wild red hair lay wilted against her face, wetted by her tears and fallen in its glory. A dull ringing in her ears muted the sound of the banging on the door and the screams of the man that loved her and she him. Her whole being was numb, that numbness spread like a poison throughout her body until she felt absolutely nothing. The rocking ceased and she lay there in the tub, listless and empty. With the numbness came resolution, not bothering to wipe her face she slowly stood and faced the door.

“Please, just leave me alone. I don’t love you.”

The knocking stopped and the second terrible silence struck like a clap of thunder. Stumbling back a few steps, he stared with wide eyes at the bathroom door. The soft voice which had whispered I love you so many times was now hollowed and coarse. He blinked in shock as he replayed that voice in his mind, the hollow voice with nothing in it at all, no joy, no love, and no life. Looking over his shoulder he took in every moment they had ever shared in this house together, five years of experiences, of life in every ounce of the house that screamed to be remembered.

“I don’t believe you.” He whispered in a voice weak and drained.

The bathroom door flung open and she burst forth like a fire behind closed doors running for the front door. He jumped and intersected her, engulfing her in his broad arms. Grabbing onto her as if he would never let her go she fought like a caged animal. Viciously she kicked and squirmed against him, trying desperately to be free of his grasp.

“Please stop, just talk to me!” He yelled spinning her in his arms until her tear stained face looked right into his just inches apart. He looked into her fiery eyes that had been extinguished with tears and her face sunken not from a few moments of horror but a life time of them.

“Please just let me go.” She whispered in a desperate and heartbreaking voice as she breathlessly beat her hands against his chest. She fought like a rabid animal and refused to stop. “Let me go!” she howled in a voice filled with the pain of a dying animal. The shock of her scream shattered his resolution; he had never heard her raise her soft voice before. She landed a solid hit on his chest and with a loud pained grunt he released her and she fell onto the ground in a distraught heap. She sprang back to her feet and raced to the front door, throwing it open as the rain poured behind her she stopped for one moment. He looked at her with eyes that swam with pain and saw in her nothing.

“Please, don’t ever follow me, and don’t ever look for me.” She whispered as she looked at him, her fiery eyes glinting in the house’s light. Her wild red hair blowing in the stormy wind which gusted in from the noisy street outside, filling the house with noise and chaos.

And she was gone, she ran out of the house, down the steps and out into the middle of the street. He rushed to the door just in time to see her dart across the street to the sound of screaming taxi horns and the yells of motorists as she ran without a care of being hit across the road and away. Her red hair being tossed carelessly by the wind, her shoelaces untied and scrambled around her feet and her shirt left carelessly untucked and wild in the breeze. She disappeared down the street into the thick throng of black umbrellas covering blank faces, swallowed by the throngs of people bustling to nowhere but always hungry for another life to drag into its clutches and never be released. Standing in the doorway, in the rain he stood with his heart in his hand and its slowing beat.

The shattered flower vase lay in pieces on the floor of the back room, the water running from its broken contents like blood. Its path only interrupted by the letter laying on the floor that slowly absorbed the liquid, blurring and spreading the ink of the words into an incoherent chaos never to be deciphered by another humans’ eyes. The last sentence to be swallowed by the blood water of the vase as the ink spread like a plague on its surface: terminal cancer, 4 months to live. He would never see the letter, and its damning words as he walked numbly back into the empty house devoid of life and love. He fell to his knees on the sea of comforters, gathering them into his arms to fill the hole in his heart, curling into a ball in the sea of white, he was left alone with no explanation just the devastating hole in his chest and the rain drifting through the open window and door, and the smell of petrichor.

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Venice: Windows and Doors

Monday, September 19th, 2011

There is so much beauty in Venice it is a shame to have to divide it up like I am doing, but in reality it is the only way it can be done. There are so many doors and windows in Venice that look so beautiful, yet are always closed. It is this idea of beauty hidden behind closed doors in Venice that is astounding. people come to Venice to see the sights like the Campanile and St Mark’s Basilica, but the hidden wonders of Venice, that lie behind those closed doors is where the really mysterious wonders lie. Here are just a few of the beautiful windows and doors I stumbled upon during our wonders that reminded me of this hidden splendor that I or you may never actually come to know.

 

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Villach, Austria

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

After our few short days in Germany we started to make our way down towards Italy. On the way though was Austria. We drove through miles of countryside and finally the Alps. It was beautiful driving around the countryside of Germany, and Austria. Here unlike the USA, towns are scattered, rather than having a large city that fans out into countryside, it seems like hundreds of little towns were plopped down in the middle of nowhere without purpose.

The little villages are so tiny and quaint all the red roofs, surrounding the epicenter, the church.In many places these towns are not allowed to build structures taller than the church. I thought that was an interesting notion.

Villach is a relatively large place and is quite beautiful. The town surrounds a beautiful church named after St. Jakob.

 

The town itself like many others here is speckled with multicolored buildings and quaint little shops on every corner.

Maiya was lucky enough to get chased around buy a guy in a weird suit trying to sell Fanta to tourists.

Instead of Fanta we stopped in a cute little cafe for some gelato!

They gave us gigantic spoons that were really fun to eat with and on a nice hot day in Austria, nothing beats gelato.

After a nice little trompe through the town we went and visited a very interesting cemetery. With a beautiful entrance way the cemetery was basically begging us to come inside and have a look around.

It is interesting, in this cemetery there were plenty of flowers but it seemed like instead of more flowers most graves were dotted with little red candles. Apparently that is tradition here and it is one I really enjoy. I think it is an extremely nice idea to leave behind a burning candle to light the ways of the ones you love that have gone their separate ways.

Our stop in Austria was very brief but very interesting. We had stopped to have lunch with the family I am traveling with’s son who is doing an internship there. We ate at a nice little place where I got very typical German/Austrian food. I got goulash with some dumplings which is basically the only kind of food that they eat; meat and potatoes. That and cake. :) It was extremely good and flavorful and after just one dumpling I felt ridiculously full. It was a good Austrian experience and I was glad for the stop. However it was just a brief reprieve from our little road trip down to Italy and within that, VENICE!

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Travel Update: Napa Part 1

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

My family and I went on a short trip up to Napa for my little brother’s road bike race called the Cherry Pie Criterium. Yes, the winners do get cherry pies, sadly not us though. This was my first trip to wine country and because I am not yet of drinking age we had to find some pretty awesome adventures other than wine tasting. First plan for adventure: visiting cool looking wineries and taking pictures of fields with flowers.

We visited one winery with really interesting statues around it and it was really beautiful. Not to mention the weather while we were p there, around 80 the whole time. Nice!

Just looking around Napa there is such beautiful architecture everywhere. I wish I could have taken photos of all of it. The other amazing part about Napa are the old trees. I love the trees there with their scraggly limbs and reaching arms.

Next item on the adventure agenda was food of course! You can’t go to Napa and not eat good food, I think it should be a crime not to get good food. Our food of choice was the CIA, not the federal scary secretive thing but the Culinary Institute of America.

It was really amazing. We got two samplers, the entrée samplers and then the dessert samplers. With a side of the best brussel sprouts I have ever eaten!

The case of the missing food, I went to the bathroom and lo and behold it was gone. What can I say? Next was the desert round!!

I loved the little cookie spoon in this panacotta, it was beyond adorable and fun to eat with.

That is all for part one of the Napa trip, tomorrow there will be more tales of our next exciting adventure. Heres a hint, it has to do with something medieval looking and many animals, stay tuned :)

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Poppy Tears

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Even flowers cry sometimes
What do they have to cry about?
They are so pretty

But they won’t stay pretty for long
And it isn’t about being pretty
It is about loosing life
Where did they loose it?
I laughed softly
Resting my hand on her shoulder
I don’t know
Maybe they left it under their bed
And forgot it was there
I did that once
She said with a sad sigh
I know I said smiling
Maybe they lost it
In the playground
Hidden under a sandy Everest
I think I get it
The flowers have lost their petals
And that is why they are sad

Exactly and they cry for each others loss
Then why doesn’t it make me sad?
Different things make different people sad
I say with a frown
Watching the poppy’s tears
Roll down its face
You will understand when you are older
But I want to understand now!
I know, I say with a smile
I know as I guide her away
To happier things
To flowers with open faces
Smiling at the sun
But she will never forget
The crying flower
Knowing that every flower she sees
Will cry someday
For what it lost in the sandbox
Or under the bed
We all loose something in the end

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