One of those March days

The flowers said spring, but the winds said winter. A chilly day at the Smithsonian Institution, Washingon DC, March 2013

The flowers said spring, but the winds said winter.
A chilly day at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, March 2013

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”Charles Dickens

Today (two weeks before this is published) Michael commented that spring had been flirting with us.  That’s a perfect description of the past week here in Virginia.  We’ve enjoyed sunny days with warm temperatures (including a record-high 79 degrees in Hampton Roads!) interspersed with two days of snow during the final stretch of what must be the snowiest winter I have ever personally experienced.

By the time you read this, I hope spring will have cease flirtation and be pursuing us in earnest.  Though some of you live far north enough that this is unlikely even in mid March, the weather has been so crazy lately that maybe, against all odds, you’ll be granted a warm day or two to enjoy.  In any case, enjoy this Google image search and create the beginnings of a beautiful springtime in your heart and mind!

One year ago today:

How happily we listen


  1. Happy Travellers

    Beautiful photo of magnolia.

    • Thank you! I just love that type of tree. We had one in our front yard when I was a child and I would always look forward to seeing its blooms. It wasn’t large like our other magnolia (which had white flowers) but it had the prettiest blossoms. Thanks for visiting!

      • Happy Travellers

        You are lucky to have such a nice childhood memory : ) I love magnolia very much but hardly find any in the city I am living. Monday this week, I went to another city and saw them blooming all around. SO beautiful. I took some photos and posted them to my blog, not very much beautiful as I did it with my iPad.

  2. Susan

    “Flirting” sounds much more pleasant than the words that we use farther north…”teasing” “taunting,” even “toying with.”
    There is fresh snow on my car again this morning.
    But just as sure as morning follows night, eventually summer comes.
    Spring, sometimes. (Fickle Spring!) But summer is certain!

    • OH my, snow again! Today was the windiest day this year. The wind was making a lot of noise last night. But at least we don’t have any snow except for what has still not melted from the drifts. I am hoping for a LONG spring before summer, but right now, warm sounds really nice. I’m enjoying the extra daylight.

  3. Ann

    Yesterday the high was 79, today the high is 46! My plants and I are so confused😊

    Thanks for the beautiful array of Google images.


    • Ann, same here! It was 67 yesterday and right now it’s 24! YIKES! I went out to the mailbox and the wind was FREEZING. So much so that I did something I hardly ever do: cancelled my walk. Cold I can take, but when that wind kicks in, it’s too much. I do love the Google images. I only recently discovered how beautiful the results can be if the right search terms are used. Glad you enjoyed them.

  4. singleseatfighterpilot

    One year ago, today, Sheila shared some info with us about Russ. Her family had enjoyed a convocation that sounded much like our recent one with Carlyle. Have you heard any further news about Russ? I may have missed something, but hope Sheila does not mind updating us.

    • Eric, thanks for asking about Russ. I couldn’t find anything about him in the comments archive. Sheila, can you update us?

      • Sheila

        Eric and Julia, thank you for asking about Russ. On May 22nd, 2013, Russ died peacefully, but not before he showed so very many how to LIVE! He was 49 years old, had just celebrated a 30th wedding anniversary, has three grown sons and a grandson. His wife, Karla, told me they cried over the diagnosis but then they lived and loved every day they shared after that. So many loved Russ… His story is still being written! I really appreciate that you asked. 🙂

        • Hi Sheila, I’m so sorry to hear that Russ died, but thank you for letting us know. 49 seems so young to me! I am happy to know that his last earthly chapter was a well-written and happy one, and that others are continuing his story.

    • Sheila

      Brent “Russ” Essick went skydiving on May16th, 2013.

      • Sheila, this is stunning and beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it. It makes me so sad for the friends and family of Russ who are still grieving him; what a loss! I liked him instantly from watching this! I loved when they asked him what he liked best and he said “all of it.” 🙂 My kind of guy.

        WOW, that is the closest to skydiving I am likely to get, though Eric had to learn parachuting as part of his fighter pilot survival training (I think?) because I remember him being issued a “legal” switchblade for the purpose of being able to cut tangled lines with one hand – or am I remembering that correctly, Eric? Sometime I should tell the tale of our dear friend Dolly, a vivacious and beautiful senior citizen who went skydiving for one of her birthdays – I can’t remember which one, but it was in the retirement years! I will have to write and ask her about it if I ever write a post about it, so I can get the details down correctly.

  5. Gorgeous photo my friend and great post as always!

    • Thank you M! I appreciate you being here with us!

      • I love to stop by to get some inspiration everyday!

        • Thank you, M! I love having you visit here!

  6. Jenelle

    This blog is amazing! I’ve been all messed up this week with the time change (pathetic, I know) and I’m playing catch up. Maggie, is a gem. A 100% pure kindred spirit through and through. Way cool!
    The google image page blew me away. I gasped at the rainbow of color that popped up. There are so many gorgeous pictures, I don’t even know which one to bookmark first. Since I don’t travel much, I google image a lot. It gives me hope.

    CA is having funky weather too. Dickens quote nailed it for us out here. Sun=ahhhh, shade =brrrrrr. But flowers are blooming everywhere and definitely flirting with us 🙂

    Keep making a difference!

    • WOW, thanks Jenelle. Maggie is definitely a gem. I just love some of the results I get when I do a google image search. It’s fun to experiment with the results. As you say, it does lift the spirits to see so many beautiful photos.

      Wow, I had imagined CA would be exempt from the crazy weather. The flowers are a real plus, though. Year round blossoms are one of the things I missed most when we first left CA in 2004. Ten years ago this year. Hard to believe. I’ve mostly gotten past mourning for it, but it’s always there in my heart. 🙂

      Thanks so much for your kind words about the blog. I’m so happy you like it!

  7. Nice Magnolia! It is going to be so beautiful!

  8. MaryAnn

    This morning Bing’s home page made me instantly think of you & your wonderful view of God’s World through your camera! It was showcasing the Antarctic Sound during sunrise & sunset. Beautiful images! Each day, when I see another group of trees explode in blossom & hear the “birds sing sweetly”; I think of your extreme love of the way God shows He cares for us through nature!
    Thank you for continuing to share from your heart!!! Sending a cyber hug to you & Matt…

    • WOW, Antarctica is one of those places I’m still a bit afraid to, but Cindy Knoke’s blog has some wonderful photos that take me there in spirit. I’m glad to hear from you again; I had been wondering how you are doing. Be sure to see the sunset photo I took at Fairfield church, which I posted awhile back here on the blog. It was that night we were all at the building for the party with the young people (the one Drew and Martin organized and helped with). Fun memories! Cyber hugs to you too, from all of us!

  9. Julia…good evening. beautiful picture of spring. Spring has been flirting with us here in southeast Oklahoma. 🙂

    • Hi Merry, after getting almost fresh with us yesterday, spring gave us the (VERY) cold shoulder today! FREEZING winds! BRRRR! But nice sunshine, so it was still a pleasant day if one stayed indoors.

      • singleseatfighterpilot

        Sheila – – I, too, am sorry for Russ no longer being with you. A few years ago, I lost a dear friend who never made it to his 60th birthday. Tell Bill that his death was due to severe wounds, received in Viet Nam. Hospital Corpsman, Gary Dickerson, had so much life in him, it took almost forty years for the war to finally claim him. You folks seem so courageous!

  10. Raynard

    Julia it was almost 60 degrees here yesterday and last night the temperature fell like a brick. Saturday suppose to be in 50’s and by next Monday possible snow.I’m on my second cup of peppermint tea now. I guess spring hasn’t sprung yet or Jack Frost and Old Man Winter are Dr jeckall and Mr Hyde lolI

    • Raynard, Jekyll and Hyde is right! I am hoping for some warm weather this weekend. I wimped out of taking my walk today. Just tonight I was going through my photos from one year ago and found a video of it snowing in southeastern Virginia on March 24, so I guess this is just business as usual…

  11. Such a pretty scene! We can’t grow Magnolia here but when we were in Charlottesville VA I took a number photo’s around the University. I feel in love with the scent and couldn’t believe the size of an open bloom.

    We’ve actually had a number of mild days in a row, hence the spring shoe shopping. I hope it lasts but it’s almost a given that we’ll see more snow. I hope your sun hangs around though that far south. It is just so unusual this winter. I don’t think I’ve heard that word ‘Vortex’ so much in my life. Sounds like an evil character out of Harry Potter.

    I’d love to tour the Smithsonian, that could be on our list 😀

    • K, the Smithsonian will require at least a week, even to scratch the surface! Of course, not many people can take that kind of time. When I am there strolling around I notice how people seem to be rushing about, trying to hit all the highlights. But I think it might be better to go slowly and REALLY soak in a few exhibits. Each one is fascinating to me.

      We had a GIANT Southern Magnolia in our front yard when I was growing up — actually two, but one was so huge that the owners who bought our home eventually had to have it removed. It was literally much taller than our split-level home by the time my parents moved away! Underneath the branches (which went pretty much all the way to the ground) it was like a little den or hideout, and I used to love to crawl under there and sit. The branches grew so thickly that it was cool and dark even on hot days. And yes, the scent is wonderful and the flowers enormous.

      I hope your mild weather continues! THE EVIL VORTEX – a perfect villain for a fantasy novel! Cue up the Darth Vader music!

      • LOL, that composer was bang on when he penciled that little diddy….it just oozes tyrant-militant villain-antagonist.
        How fun to have a hideout that smelt so luscious. I can imagine how fun it’d be to build a little home in there if you were a Gnome 😀 You’d have a tiny wee bed with a big poofy pillow made from a big creamy blossom 😀 My villain may just be a wee blonde girl with a ponytail and shiny white shoes that wakes up the Gnome in the daylight hours with giggling. Makes him grumpy because this particular Gnome works the nightshift. He toodles around the neighbourhood picking up this and that and raiding gardens for strawberries, which he can’t resist. He has to get them while they’re still green because that’s how he likes them. Weird hey? Most Gnomes like them big, plump and red. He was always a little different. LOL, well that got a little carried away.

        • Boomdee, that Magnolia hideout was SO definitely a Gnome home. Now I know who stole our strawberries! The big green magnolia leaves were curved so that if you inverted them they could hold water, so they were probably his soaker tub. He would scrape out the rust-colored fuzz from the leaves to make his carpeting. Now you got me started too. Did you ever read about the Menehune in Hawaii? They get everything done when humans aren’t looking. In Hawaii the Menehune are the ones who help Santa get ready for Christmas, among many other ways of being useful. So they have a lot in common with the Gnomes and Leprechauns and other interesting creatures.

          • Oh I love that, a soaker tub and a fluffy carpet. Mmmmm, positively cozy. I hadn’t heard about the Menehune before, thank you for letting me in on them. Sounds very interesting to know that Alyster may have ancestors in Hawaii. 😀

            • Yes, that is why I was so interested in knowing whether he got to go to Maui with you. 🙂

  12. Sheila

    Eric, I’m sorry, too, for the loss of your friend,Gary. I think the Viet Nam war claimed far more than will ever be recorded. I have wondered if Bill’s autoimmune disorder is a result of his exposure to various chemicals from that era. But then he has been exposed to so many unhealthy elements in our prosthetic lab. It would be hard to differentiate. Thank you!

    • Sheila, my mother is convinced that Jeff’s long term exposure to dental materials contributed to his cancer. Jeff’s cousin, who is a dental hygienist, has had extensive health problems that are likely related to her employer’s unintentional OSHA violations regarding the safe handling of dental materials, and another friend who is currently fighting cancer also worked as a dental assistant, so it’s hard not to wonder…but as you say, we are exposed to so many toxins all the time. I do agree that the combined assaults on mental and physical health suffered by our Viet Nam vets took a toll that will never be fully measured.

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