A curious paradox

Flowers growing in the city where I grew: Atlanta, March 2014

Flowers growing in the city where I grew: Atlanta, March 2014

“There is a curious paradox that no one can explain.
Who understands the secret of the reaping of the grain?
Who understands why Spring is born out of Winter’s laboring pain,
or why we must all die a bit before we grow again.”
Tom Jones (playwright) from The Fantasticks

Today I send virtual flowers to everyone who has endured an extra measure of “Winter’s laboring pain” this year, literally or figuratively.

May we all grow again this spring, bringing color and joy to our worlds!

One year ago today:

Like life


  1. raynard

    Julia your flowers remind me of my old h.s campus where graduations were held.( I still have to make it over to Nemours mansion and gardens next to my job.. About that cake, I decorated it this morning and will send you a picture of it. be blessed

    • Raynard, the cake is lovely and I must admit, the bunnies looked prettier in all those different colors instead of just having a chocolate one as I had suggested (notice I said prettier, not tastier!) 🙂 I am sure the cake will be gobbled up quickly!

  2. Sheila

    Julia, so often I find content in your words that I just love. So often we hear the term, “I grew up in _____” , but truly our hometown is where we GROW. Does that make sense? Thank you for making this day special with your photograph, the quote, and your words! 🙂

    • Thank you Sheila, you are such an encouragement to me. I think our hometowns never leave us, no matter how far away we travel. I have lived away from Atlanta for nearly 40 years now, but people still hear it in my voice despite my having lived thousands of miles from the south for much of that time. I’m so happy you enjoy the blog! Hope your weekend was wonderful.

  3. Thank you for the virtual flowers. They are a day-brightener.

    • You’re welcome, Sheryl! I’m so happy you enjoyed them.

  4. Michael

    Beautiful picture and is that Kale in the background? I came across a quote today that I find especially relevant at this time,” Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
    Truman Capote.
    I came across a collection of his stories at a book sale and bought it for a quarter. I read again “A Christmas Memory.” I think I must have read it in high school. What a gem. Also is the phrase, ” stop stuffin biscuits,” a Southern saying or something particular to Capote?
    On second look those could be poppies. Sadly, the severe winter has polished off my poppies. Well it is time to feed the fish again.

    • Michael, I’m not familiar with the phrase “stuffin biscuits” although it could be regional, specific to a different “neck of the woods” than I lived in. The idioms vary across the south. When I started dating Jeff (who is a Tennessean) there were several phrases his family used that I had never heard, for example, a lot of rain would be called “a right smart of rain.” I’m sure all the southern regions have phrases peculiar to that area.

      Did you know that Truman Capote grew up in Alabama, a neighbor and good friend of Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird? The character of Del in that novel was based on Truman Capote. If you’ve seen the movie Capote you probably already knew that, but I find it very interesting.

  5. Michael

    Came across this website. I am fixin to use some of them today. I reckon they will come in handy. But I am as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room fulla rockin chairs.


    • Well, bless your heart, Michael! I reckon you are! I like to bust my britches laughin just thinkin bout you commencing to learn southern. I hear tell don’t nobody much speak it in your neck of the woods. I ain’t been there in way more than a month of Sundays, so I don’t know how it might be now. Don’t you worry none, Michael. You’re fixin to find out that southern is a friendly language that rolls right off the tongue. Pretty soon you’ll know more phrases than you can shake a stick at. Won’t nobody mess with you then. Am I right, Sheila?

      • Sheila

        Yes Ma’am? I’m havin’ a hissie fit because my iPad needs chargin’ but I’ll try to do my best with this other thingamajig. I’ve been chomping at the bit to check in with y’all. Listen, Honey, I’ll be back in a bit…..need a glass of sweet tea. Bless your heart! 😎

        • Sheila, you grab yourself one of those funeral parlor fans and set a spell. Today was perfect for sweet tea!

  6. A thing cannot exist in more than one state of being. Water has three states-liquid, ice and vapor. It still exists as it is defined-water. But, It can only exist one state at a time. i.e., To become liquid it must die to ice or vapor first. As with each state. We too die to our mother’s womb to be born. And by death we are born to another existence. John 12:24.

    • I never thought about that particular analogy, but it is quite fitting to the verse here. And I love John 12:24; it has such a poetic sound and packs such a devastating but hopeful truth. Thanks for sharing these thoughts here!

  7. LB

    The flowers are gorgeous and I have to say that I loved the interaction between you and Michael. Having moved a good bit through out my life, I’m not a true southerner, so my favorite adopted Southwest Virginia term is “I might could get there” or “I might could do that”. 🙂

    • LB, I’m glad you like the flowers and the southern jokes. I noticed that you didn’t have a noticeable southern accent. In fact, once or twice I confused you with Alys when one of you would start saying something, though I caught onto my mistake after a few words. But if you stay in Virginia long enough, you might could pick up an accent whether you wanted to or not! And speaking of “might could” — I downloaded Skype 5 (my version was Skype 1.9-something) so I might could see all y’all next time!

      • LB

        Thanks for the reminder! I will download Skype 5 in a bit.
        I was a “navy brat” and never stayed long enough to develop an accent, but do tend to pick up the accent of whoever I am hanging with … I might could even sound like you with your beautiful southern accent 🙂

        • Kelly and I were just talking about that…we tend to do the same thing with accents! I was never aware of it until people pointed it out to me, but now I catch myself doing it. I wonder if that trait is more common among bloggers?

  8. Lovely flowers….thanks Julia.

    • You’re welcome! Believe it or not, they were part of the landscaping in a shopping center! Pretty enough to be a botanical garden display, I thought.

  9. Michael

    Well I am sure it will take me years to get close to the facility of Julia and Sheila is regards to the Southern tongue. I can’t seem to recall the character of Dell in Mockingbird, but I do remember Robert Duvall as Bo.
    Here in Seattle we are fixin to have a,” right smart of rain.”

    • Y’all get a right smart of rain all the time up there, don’t you? Does it ever “rain cats and dogs” or is that something that only happens in the south?

    • Sheila

      Michael, we’ll take that as a compliment! Right, Juia? Bless your heart! 🙂

      • Yes Ma’am! Or should I say, Yes Sir!

  10. Michael

    Yes- but we say,” slugs and snails”, up in these Northerner parts.

    • No wonder I like the south – cats and dogs are much more appealing to me than slugs and snails! 🙂 Seriously, I don’t think I had ever heard that expression, but it’s actually more accurate, based on what I see after it rains.

  11. Spring is really early in Atlanta. I also love tulips planted en-mass like this. I can’t imagine what it would be like to grow up in such a big city. My cousin lives in Chicago. I’d spend a holiday there now and again as a teen. The thing I loved was there was always so much to do and see. Concerts, theatre, amusement parks and shopping. The blocks and blocks of hi-rises Downtown alone just blew my mind. I sure admired all the trees. Almost every street is tree lined. Beautifully green when you fly over.

    • Yes, that is what impresses me about Atlanta to this day; how green it looks from the air. It is great growing up near (but not in) a big city – there are lots of perks that go with it. In high school, our chorus got to sing under Robert Shaw’s direction as part of a program the Atlanta symphony had with the local schools. I remember our chorus director telling us (because we were totally clueless) that someday it would be quite amazing to us to realize we had sung under the direction of one of the greatest choral artists of all time. Now I understand it more than I did then. Of course there were also the baseball games, shopping, museums, etc. but maybe my favorite thing about living in Atlanta was having nonstop flights to everywhere. I didn’t know how to appreciate that until I moved away and had to change planes every time I went somewhere!

      • OH, good point about the flying direct. I would have never thought of it but that would be a nice perk. Mr B just flew home from Georgia and they had a short stop in Chicago. We now have direct to New York from Edmonton. Also Hawaii and San Francisco. From Edmonton, we make a lot of pit stops in Denver, luckily it’s a pretty nice airport.

        • Yes, Denver would be the logical place to change planes from Edmonton, I guess. When my friend Amy lived in Montana, I asked her “what is the closest city I can fly into if I come see you” and she said “Bozeman” and I said “No, what is the closest REAL city?” and she said “Denver.” Wow, that was a shocker. The west is so big and everything is so far apart!

          • Wellllll, Calgary Alberta would have been closer. only 472 miles to Boseman where as Denver is 694 miles. I’d drive down to Calgary, pick you up and take a road trip. Get this, even flights from Calgary go to Denver first…that’s crazy.

            • I’ll remember that if Amy ever goes back to Montana to live – she always wanted to! I’d love an excuse to go back to Calgary. Jeff and I loved Alberta and British Columbia both, at least what we saw of it. SO beautiful! Not that Denver is lacking either, but not quite as stunning as Canada.

              • Thanks for that Julia, I’m glad we both know a bit about where each other call home. There is a lot of beauty here, the lower 2/3’s of the province anyways. The blight that churns the economy here is nothing to write home about. I wish it wasn’t so. There’d be so much unemployment here without the oil and gas industry, but I’d rather be in a place that makes their money thru tourism or something.

                • The only down side to that is that there isn’t a lot of money to be made from tourism. In Hawaii, while we lived there anyway, it was really sad because many of the locals used to say that really the only professional jobs there were in teaching, otherwise most people had to leave the islands to get a good salary — and with the cost of living there, a good salary is even more necessary than in most places. There are a few tourism jobs in management and so forth but the great majority of them are low paid positions cooking, cleaning, driving, etc. and the sugar, pineapples and other sources of income and jobs have now gone to other countries for the most part. I never realized that oil and gas were major industries for Alberta. I’m glad we are getting some fuel from this hemisphere although I can understand that it doesn’t make for a pretty landscape. Kind of like factories and 18-wheel trucks on the highways – something we all have to have, but don’t enjoy seeing.

                  • That’s something I never thought about when I think of Hawaii. Thanks for opening my eyes. Everyone seems so pleasant and happy when we travel there. It seems like paradise. We are very good tippers for that reason, we know the minimum wage is ridiculous.

                    As far as the Oil Sands, Rob Redford and James Cameron have both come out with PSA’s denouncing the industry and the pipeline is very controversial. I think these companies making gazillions must be made to put up a non-refundable insurance account that is managed by an independent third party. There is no justification for the environment disasters they are responsible for. There’s got to be a very dire financial penalty enforced to stop the irrevocable damage caused by their constant negligence. It’s the only thing they understand, ‘money’, or the treat of losing it. The penalty for damaging the environment has to be so severe, they wouldn’t even consider it. Something like a years gross corporate income. It’s a shame the government is in the pockets of big business and it will never happen.

                    • It took living in Hawaii for three years, and going to UH for two of those, for me to begin to understand how much sadness lies underneath the beauty of “paradise.” The people there are indeed very loving and happy for the most part, but it’s still sad that so few opportunities exist for college graduates. Of course, business and industry come at a price, as you have pointed out here. Don’t get me started about campaign finance reform 🙂 – if we could find a way to eliminate the possibility of buying elected offices, things might change. As it stands, though, the one who spends the most, wins. That holds true from the lowest levels all the way up to the President. Very sad that people get their political beliefs off commercials and media hype. As long as money rules government, money will rule everything else. Hmm, I’m supposed to be defeating despair here, better change subjects…. 🙂

  12. Michael

    Today the weatherman said,”if it is not raining where you are it will be soon.” Spring is a tease. But the garden is in.

    • Yep, and if the garden is in, the rain is a good thing. I’m still weeding and I’m afraid to plant any annuals just yet. Maybe in a couple of weeks…

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