The Hermitage is the largest art museum in the world, located in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was formerly the tsars’ winter palace. There is no way you can see this entire museum in one day, but what there is to see is more than paintings and sculptures. There are ceilings, floors, tables, thrones, clocks, fountains and more. “Art” at the Hermitage encompasses architecture and any other form that beauty may take.
As very young children, our hands were used to explore things – babies are very tactile explorers. At her first birthday party, my grand-niece Rosemary explored a blueberry pie, first by touching the rough surface of the crust…
…next by digging her hand into the cool gooey blueberry inside…another new sensation!
…and finally by putting her fingers into her mouth to taste this intriguing substance.
As we age, our hands grow along with us and are used for many things: typing on a keyboard (as I am doing right now), create a painting or sculpture, play a musical instrument, signal to people (victory signs, thumbs up, and others not so nice), even talk – the deaf community has its own language, ASL (American Sign Language) to communicate with their hands.When we meet someone, we shake their hands. When we want to express our heartfelt thanks, we might put our hand over our heart. We embrace our loved ones and caress our lovers with our hands.
When I think about it, it’s truly amazing what we can get our hands to do. A secretary who can type as fast as her boss can talk, or a pianist playing a concerto, or a teacher, her hand gripped around a piece of chalk or dry erase marker, as she illustrates or writes something on the board for her students, or a florist using his hands to shape a bouquet just so. So much do we rely on our hands to perform tasks that we become frustrated when our fingers refuse to cooperate!
Hands can be adorned with rings, henna or bracelets.
In old age, hands can fail us: they may become misshapen with arthritis or just not work as efficiently as before. The veins in the back of our hands become more prominent as do the bones of our joints. Age spots may appear on the skin. One of my favorite pictures of my mother is this one, taken on her ninetieth birthday, her wrist decorated with a corsage. Her hand is as expressive as the look on her face.
When I think of fun, I think of the exuberance of childhood – children find it easy to have fun! Fun means different things for children, adults, and cats…
Recently, I was at a birthday party for a grand-niece’s first birthday. In attendance were her aunt and uncle and their son Alex (age 2). Alex never has trouble entertaining himself. Here he was running around the house, with two pink balloons, singing a song with words something like, “Nah, nah, nah!”
Fun for my cat is chasing a laser light.
As for me, I have fun being with friends and family. My husband and I are in a dinner group which meets every month at a different restaurant. In June, they celebrated my birthday at Chevy’s, a Mexican restaurant in Schaumburg. People celebrating birthdays at that restaurant are given a sombrero and a small dessert with a candle. However, I was more interested in a luscious large dessert and willing to pay…
These are examples of the fun moments I like to remember.
On our short trip to Indiana in June, we visited Indianapolis and Columbus. Indianapolis has an eclectic mix of architectural styles, and Columbus is famous for its architecture (it’s rated 6th in the country for innovative architecture, superseded only by 5 large cities).
WINTER MORNINGS: CHILLY VIEWS FROM THE WEST (FRONT) SIDE OF MY HOUSE IN ILLINOIS
7:44 a.m., February after a snowstorm: The morning light filters through the trees and settles on the fresh snow. Although someone from my house has been outside (because of the footprints), it’s too early to have shoveled the walk. However, someone across the street has and a neighbor has already left for work, before the snow plows come through.
A month later, at 6:08 a.m., the golden full moon sets behind our neighborhood.
SPRING MORNINGS: NOSTALGIA, UPPER KAUBASHINE LAKE, WISCONSIN
9:00 a.m. on an early June day, I admired the stillness of Upper Kaubashine Lake in northern Wisconsin, a view I had seen many times for the last 50 springs and summers. This was to be my last morning at this beautiful place. My siblings and I were getting too old and our lives too far away to take care of the place.
As I gazed out at the lake in my bathrobe, with a cup of coffee in my hand, I saw a mama duck herding her little ones. They had no doubt awakened much earlier than I had and were ready for their daily fishing lessons.
SUMMER MORNINGS: I LOVE SUMMER MORNINGS!
It is my daily custom during warm months when I first get up (between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m.) to grab my cup of coffee and a light snack and sit on the deck at the back of our house, dressed in my bathrobe, and read for awhile out of whatever book I am reading. Sometimes, when I know it’s going to be a hot day, I try to take a walk as early as possible. On July 20, I was well on my way when I stopped to snap a picture of lilies and hibiscus bushes.
Walking to church around 9:15 a.m. on summer Sunday mornings, I pass this lovely garden and the colorful chairs that the residents of the house arrange on their lawn every summer.
AUTUMN MORNINGS: A REFRESHING TIME TO TAKE A WALK
8:30 a.m. in late September – a spider has been up all night, no doubt, creating this giant web. See her? She’s right in the middle of the web, just in front of the green leaves in the bottom center of the picture.
Autumn is a wonderful time to take 3-day road trips. Last October we went to Saugatuck, Michigan. The streets were nearly deserted on an October Saturday morning at 9:15 a.m. as we strolled down the main drag. The shops hadn’t even opened yet! Saugatuck is a lovely, photogenic town on Lake Michigan, in the southwest corner of the state of Michigan.
Morning brings the promise of a fresh new day and during every season, morning has its charms.