Growing through concrete

Yesterday I drove to Chicago and back to see a friend. I drove through the usual mess of road construction and major traffic snarls. The closer I got to the Loop, the more bogged down the traffic got.  As I sat (at a standstill) I glanced at the cement median. Along several cracks in the concrete, I noticed grass and wild flowers growing. Not just growing — thriving.

I considered taking a photo but I couldn’t reach my camera safely. (So I found some similar photos on Flickr. See gallery below.)

I thought about how sometimes we feel like those weeds and flowers. Hanging on by a few fragile roots, in the middle of a hot unforgiving place, with just a tiny fragment of space, little or no resources — but still finding a way to not only survive but to actually bloom.

That trite saying “bloom where you are planted” has truth. I’ve had to move more times than I have wanted. Each time, the process of leave-taking then starting over commences: the good-byes, the leave-taking, then being the outsider, mustering the bravada to carry on, and finally searching for the new “normal.”

I got my first teaching job in the summer of 1985. It was in a tiny town just east of Urbana, IL. The band room was surrounded by a tar and chip parking lot. As I prepared for the first marching band rehearsals, I was pleasantly surprised to see some lovely pink lilies pop up out of the tiny seam between the building and the pavement. My mom told me they were Resurrection Lilies. I later discovered other names for them:  Magic Lilies, Surprise Lilies, Naked Ladies, lycorissquamigera, and Amaryllidaceae.

They pop up out of no where (or seem to), bloom and then whither away all in a week or so. Each year I taught there (four, to be exact), I looked forward to seeing those lilies.

Beauty finds a way. Life finds a way. Always.

 

Then today, I saw this posted on a friend’s Facebook wall.

From Word Porn
From Word Porn

 

Quote from Tupac Shakur, photo by TTQ CC 4.0
Quote from Tupac Shakur, photo by TTQ CC 4.0
Quote from Tupac Shakur, photo by TTQ CC 4.0
Quote from Tupac Shakur, photo by TTQ CC 4.0
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An Abundance of Roses

Image by The Tromp Queen, CC License BY NC SA 4.0
Image by The Tromp Queen, CC License BY NC SA 4.0

The Rose
lyrics by Amanda McBroom

Some say love it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed

Some say love it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love it is a flower
And you it’s only seed

It’s the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It’s the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance

It’s the one who won’t be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul afraid of dyin’
That never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong

Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose
Image by The Tromp Queen, CC License BY NC SA 4.0
Image by The Tromp Queen, CC License BY NC SA 4.0

It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.
— Maud Hart Lovelace

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
— Emma Goldman

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Roses after Rain

Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license
Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license
Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license
Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license
Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license
Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license
Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license
Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license
Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license
Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license
Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license
Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

 

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune!

As fair thou art, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I:
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt with the sun;
I will luve thee still my dear,
When the sands of life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

I was walking from Princeton University to Westminster Choir College shortly after a brief summer rain. I couldn’t resist taking photographs of some lovely roses as I strolled along the sidewalk. The poem popped into my head as I was cropping the photos.  I realize my roses are not red, but the poem insisted on being included in this post.
 
 
*poem by Robert Burns

First Week of April: Beautiful Blooms

Beautiful Blooms!

The Milwaukee Art Museum recently hosted an exhibit of floral arrangements displayed side by side with the art works that inspired the florists.  Here are a few of the displays for your enjoyment.

Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.
Image by The Tromp Queen, taken at Milwaukee Art Museum during 2014 Art in Bloom exhibit.

February Haiku Challenge: Sleeping in, Eating out, Eating in (and SNOW everywhere all the time!)

Feb 12

Sleep in:  late school start.
Why are we still behind time?
Some things never change.

image by Dauvit Alexander via Flickr CC
image by Dauvit Alexander via Flickr CC

Feb 13

Snowy drive ‘cross town
slip, sliding our way to YUM
Viet, Thai, Lao lunch

Vietnamese Beef Salad, Mekong Cafe LLC Milwaukee Lunch Buffet — Awesomely delicious!

Feb 14

Making what I want —
Not waiting, hungry to sit.
Valentines at home!

Valentine's Day roses
image by Philip (outdoorPDK) via Flickr CC

(See my food blog soon for tonight’s recipes!  Aunt Helen’s Ham Loaf, veggies stir-fry, Martha Stewart’s Molten Lava Cakes — The Heat is ON!)

Impatient for blooms

It usually happens in February.  I get the urge to make a quilt using wild and crazy colors and/or a wild and crazy pattern.  I eagerly await the emergence of Spring flowers.  It seems to take forever.  Every single year.  I am an impatient resident of winter.  It isn’t that I don’t appreciate the beauty of winter — I do!  But by the time February rolls around, my eyes are feeling deprived of color and of sun.

IMG_0291

One of my favorite “Spring” poems is this one:

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

BY A.E. Housman

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

IMG_5543

I am about a few decades older that the person in this poem. I most likely don’t have even 50 more springs to see the branches “hung with snow” — with those lovely white and fragrant blooms.
I certainly plan to enjoy each and every spring (and every moment of every day!) for all the years I have left to live.

I love taking photographs of flowers.
I love all kinds of flower, but I seem to gravitate to roses, spring blooms and to day lilies.
I even take pictures of flowers in vases and pots that I happen to have at home.

I took a few pics of the potted hyacinths and tulips I bought this week (Valentine gifts for my two teenagers).

Here are some of my favorites from other seasons and times (all taken by me):

I just found these beautifully inspiring Big Blooms by Paul Lange today. Please follow the link to see Lange’s photographs. It is worth a look.

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/paul-lange-big-blooms

As a prominent fashion photographer for 25 years, Paul Lange has had his photographs featured in such publications as Vogue, Glamour and Elle. It was only eight years ago that he decided to make the switch to Fine Art photography, using the skills he had acquired in fashion to create his own original series. Big Blooms, which was started back in 2007, is a series that gives us a fresh new appreciation for flowers. He calls it Big Blooms because his photos of the flowers are blown up or as he says, “thrown out of scale.” With every single portrait, he takes into account lighting, line, form and composition, using the same approach he’s used in portraiture or fashion.
–quote from the blog by alice on mymodernmet.com