Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Walks on Days of Buttermilk Skies.

In case of sunshine, I take a cap.  On a chance of rain, I take an umbrella.  On any given walk I use either, or neither, or both.

I love to look at those skies that some call buttermilk.  I like the changing of the colors of smudgy white and ashen gray.  I like to see whether sun may break, or a rain shower, or whether there will remain the shifting white overcast.

Light from buttermilk skies changes the colors of things, makes even smoother the light brown of the trunks and limbs of crepe myrtle trees, makes milkier the white of magnolia flowers, helps shield the bright orange flower of a solitary day lily.


At Trader Joe’s, as I looked for packaged foods relatively low in carbohydrates, I found Trader Joe’s Parsnip Chips.  The package art features two women in nineteenth century gardening clothes and baskets of parsnips.  “What are we going to do with all of these parsnips?” is the caption, one woman speaking to the other.

They are tasty, earthy-sweet.  With some salt, they make a fine afternoon snack with a glass of cold camomile tea.  I like them on a salad of arugula and shredded lettuce with olive oil and vinegar dressing.  Delicious.

In the Back Yard.

There was a sudden sight of bright yellow as a goldfinch perched acrobatic-like on the wires holding a hanging basket and looked down into the basket.  Why?  So that I could compare the orange-gold of its beak with the gold-orange of the one French marigold planted there?

I bought a potted foxglove and rested it in the clay pot in which I was going to plant it.  After several days of rain, I decided to plant it on a sunny day.  As I carefully pulled the container away from the clay pot, I noticed a host of slugs, beautiful–dark brown with black lines and white underbellies.  As I gently moved them onto the spade I was using, I wondered briefly if people ate them.  They look, after all, like snails without shells.  I gently placed them in another damp and shaded area in the yard.

My intended kindness may have been rewarded a few days later, when I looked out my bedroom window first thing in the morning and saw a slug climbing up the screen.  It seemed to wave good morning with its antennae.

At the North Carolina Museum of Art.  “Glory of Venice: Masterworks of the Renaissance”

I spent an hour in this special exhibit to identify works that I most liked.  There were seven.  After lunch in the museum with a friend, I returned for more than an hour to visit again those seven works: a portrait of a warrior, two portraits of saints, allegories on a panel, and three religious scenes.  My favorite seven:

Sebastiano del Piombo’s Portrait of a Man in Armor (about 1512), an image of handsome self-assurance and virility; Carlo Crivelli’s Saint Nicholas of Bari (1472), the saint in beautiful robes of a bishop and looking grumpy;  Giovanni Bellini’s Saint Dominic (c. 1500), the saint with a beatific expression while reading; Bellini’s Allegories of Fortune/Melancholy and Perseverance (late 1400’s or 1500’s) with its strange symbols and beautiful bodies, human and angelic; Visitation (1505-1510), attributed to de Piombo, a group portrait of Mary and Elizabeth and their husbands; Christ Carrying the Cross (about 1500-1510) by a follower of Bellini, with its haunting expression of somber awareness of Christ’s face and the shadow of his body falling on the cross; and perhaps my favorite, Vincenzo Catina’s The Adoration of the Shepherds (probably after 1520), a springtime nativity with two shepherds, a man and a boy, and a basket of eggs as gift.

There are more famous and popular works in the exhibition, which I enjoyed, but these seven spoke to me, perhaps because I did not know them.  It was a rare soul treat to see this show.


About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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4 Responses to Wednesday, May 31, 2017

  1. Hi Bill, I enjoyed your thoughts, the colors were fun to imagine; also your kindness to the slugs; also the various paintings at the art show. Ciao,

  2. fhobart2013 says:

    Glad I read the blog. Enjoyed the descriptions of the yard and the visit to the museum. Frankie

  3. Penny Evans says:

    I will have to visit my Trader Joe’s for parsnip chips. Thanks for the head’s up.

    I’ve never heard of slugs described as beautiful before.

  4. Janice Kittner says:

    You have a beautiful mind, Mr. Oliver, and in a way, you have the ability to stop time, whatever time is supposed to be! I feel so very inspired by your simple observations of your surroundings! Because I notice these things too! But not to the inth degree that you do? I doubt I’d consider the poor slug ‘an appetizer’, however, if you wish to pursue your inquiry, I happen to have a nice recipe for escargot as well as the shells to cook them in. We could do a double blind study, you be the tester, and I’ll take your word for it! How’s that sound? (tehe)


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