Spring at Davidson Lake!

Spring at Davidson Lake

Today, the woods are
full of chattering
avian architects and Romeos,
building nests,
broadcasting songs
to seduce mates, and
exchanging threats
from the tree tops
as they work
warning other
avian flyers away.
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Mossy carpets bask in
bright sunshine
soon to dim
when Summer’s
leaf canopy blooms.
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Canoes rest upended
awaiting passengers
to fill their empty shells,
paddling to hidden beaches
for romance and play.
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At the edge of the woods,
grass blooms in
darker green hues
long absent in Winter.
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Hardy dandelions surge
to gain ground
while they can
and try to stake
their claim.
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A volunteer pine
tree begins its
long climb to the sky.
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An exercise station
on the fitness trail
awaits the arrival
of local denizens
with healthy-me resolutions.
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A sunny day,
a gentle breeze,
a calm lake,
and a lone traveler
just sitting and dreaming
of yester-Springs.

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Sue Marquis Bishop 2014

Look Up! The Trees are Shouting “Spring is on the Loose!”

Look up! Look out as you walk! The Bradford Pear trees, Forsythia and Redbud trees, that herald the coming Spring with their fertile flowering, are beginning to shout.
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It’s been a long winter, especially for our friends and family in the North. This year, our mild winter mixed with unpredictable bursts of cold and snow and dreary, left us in the southern U.S, also eager for Spring. What a thrill to walk under and among cascading blooms.

It’s time to put on our walking shoes and get out our bicycles to witness first hand the magical transformation of the season of rest into the season of hope and renewal.
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Spring!
A time
of new beginnings.

Nature
is adding,
dividing and multiplying.

I’ll
make a
change this Spring.

Old grievances
left behind.
It’s a new day.

My forsythia.
Dainty yellow
blooms held aloft
on graceful arms,
longer than a
prima ballerina could.
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Beauty
doesn’t last
but the memory
of beauty savored
does.
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Time to start a list of Spring projects and personal goals.

Spring
breezes whisper
in my ear –
hope, engage, reach –
act now!

“Homeless Jesus”: Is it Art and What does it Mean?

THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING THE INSTALLATION OF A NEW ART PIECE in the lakeside town of Davidson, is creating quite a stir that has grabbed attention in the national and international news. I’m reminded of the saying, “Art is in the eye of the beholder.” I don’t know who said this first, but it has the ring of an eternal truth.

DAVIDSON IS A COLLEGE TOWN, home of Davidson College, and situated on Lake Norman, 20 minutes North of Charlotte, North Carolina. Davidson has been described as reminiscent of the small town America of Rockwell paintings, with tree lined streets and well kept homes with sidewalks, bike paths and green spaces, and a main street with places to park in front of stores and restaurants… Toast, the Soda Shop, antique shops, and more.

WE MOVED TO a rented townhome in Davidson a few weeks ago, after we sold our home in Charlotte, while we look for our new home as “empty nesters”. I was interested in seeing the Homeless Jesus sculpture for myself that was causing such different reactions.

The Homeless Jesus Sculpture was the creation of Timothy P. Schmalz, a Canadian sculpter. His larger-than-life sculptures are displayed in various places in the world. He has created bronze sculptures honoring military families, firefighters and a memorial to the 911 tragedy. One statue stands in front of the Santo Spirito Hospital in Rome. He is working on a 100 foot sculpture of St. Patrick to be given as a gift to Ireland from North America. The details and stories depicted in his sculptures are riveting, and it’s hard to look away.

I HAD NO TROUBLE finding St. Albans Episcopal Church, where the sculpture was on display, as it was only a few blocks away. The stately church is located in a quiet area of town tucked into landscape in the midst of tree-lined streets and well-kept townhomes and single family homes with sidewalks.

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AS I APPROACHED, I saw several park benches at the edge of the church’s property beside the sidewalk, beckoning walkers to sit and rest.

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ALTHOUGH THE AFTERNOON SUN had moved to shade the benches, it appeared one bench was occupied. (The media reported one passerby called the police, thinking it was a homeless person on the bench.)

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I PARKED THE CAR AT THE CURB and walked to the park bench with the now visible reclining sculpture.

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I noticed the space at the end of the bench, room for one person to sit down beside the sculpture.

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I recalled the picture of Pope Francis with his hand on the sculpture. (View on Schmalz ‘ web site: sculpturebytps.com)

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The feet clearly showed the nail holes, signaling that this creation of bronze was meant to be a depiction of a sleeping Jesus.

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THE CONTROVERSY.
Some of the naysayers disliking the sculpture said it should be in a private garden, or at least placed away from the front of the church. One neighbor interviewed on TV commented that “Jesus was not homeless,”, and said it was not appropriate to represent him that way. Some neighbors consider the sculpture to be sacrilegious.

Some appreciate the beauty and skill of the bronze sculpture of the Homeless Jesus, focusing on the workmanship. Others are forcefully reminded of the story and societal mandate to give back to others in need. Still others sit at the end of the bench and pray, laying their right hand gently on the bronze leg of the sleeping Jesus statue.

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My own thinking is that we need art to expand our humanity, as much as we need science to expand our knowledge. Art can tell us a story, stir our emotions and challenge our thoughts. If art can do this, maybe it will make us think about what we really do feel and believe…(no matter our differences in ethnicity, geography or spiritual beliefs), as well as what contributions we can make to each other…and to the world. MAYBE.

Sue Marquis Bishop 2014

Spring! Is it Here Yet?

EACH SEASON OF THE YEAR BRINGS IT OWN DELIGHTS, and I enjoy each one as it lingers awhile before giving sway to a new one. There is one season though, that I want to speed up its arrival… and that is SPRING. No doubt about it. I have Spring Fever!

I LIVED IN WEST VIRGINIA, KENTUCKY AND INDIANA for much of my life. When I lived those years in the Midwest, as February came to a close, I was so ready for Winter to be over. I was eager to put away heavy winter coats, boots and gloves,… to no longer have cold hands, nose and feet, or have to scrape the car windows of ice and snow. All of a sudden, I seemed to notice the drab winter colors everywhere. Mother used to say, “Don’t wish for Spring too soon. The too warm air colliding with the cold air causes tornadoes”. She was on alert in the Spring for tornadoes as long as she lived in Indiana.

I BEGIN TO MAKE TO-DO LISTS for Spring, think about cleaning out sock drawers, and previewing seed catalogs for herbs and flowers. February was a trifle early in the Midwest to look for Spring, but it never failed that each year I developed a growing yearning for Spring to bust forth in all its colorful new growth and warm breezes.

I HAVE LIVED IN THE SOUTH for over 20 years now, and still appreciate getting just a little head start on the arrival of Spring …or so it seems to me. One week ago, we had snow for a few days… then it warmed up to 70 degrees. It is cooler today and rainy, but I have started my annual look-out for signs of Spring. Daffodils are up about 4 inches, and red bud trees are in full bloom spreading touches of pinks and rose over the still quiescent landscape.
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RUNNING ERRANDS TODAY, I was happy to see redbud trees everywhere proudly waving their Spring colors in the wind.

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THE GRASS IS MOSTLY BROWN, yet to awaken from Winter rest to herald Spring with a showy new green carpet. The rosy blooms against the blue Carolina sky are a contrast with the brownish grass…reflecting en environment in transition.

WE LUNCHED AT MIMI’S. When we shared it was our anniversary, we were treated to a trio of desserts: apple crisp, bread pudding with bourbon sauce and crunchy brownie with ice cream. Although I love chocolate, my favorite was the bread pudding…soft, sweet and custardy!

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I WILL WATCH FOR, and celebrate, other signs of Spring, as I go about my daily chores. In the meantime, I am grateful two of my indoor orchids are showing their lovely blooming faces to cheer us, as we warm ourselves by the fire and have a cup of hot cocoa and cranberry orange muffins.

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Do you look for signs of Spring?

Sue Marquis Bishop 2014