Dome of the Rock and the old walled city of Jerusalem viewed from the Mount of Olives, across the Kidrone Valley

Dome of the Rock and the old walled city of Jerusalem viewed from the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley

Jerusalem has to be one of the most interesting cities in the world.  There is so much life both within the walls of the Old City and without in the modern streets.  It is teeming with a diversity of people.  It is the site of holy places revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims.  My sister and I were fortunate to spend two days there.

Today’s post will share some impressions of the historic places of Jerusalem outside the walls of the Old City.  We saw Gethsemane and its Church of the Agony, the Garden of Olives, the Mount of Olives, the cave of Mary’s tomb, Dominus Flet (where Jesus wept), the Kidron Valley and the large stone cemetery there,  the tomb of David, the room of the Last Supper, Dormition Abbey where Mary lived her last days, and the site of Jesus’s tomb near Golgotha.  I promise I won’t show any more pictures of the interiors of churches, though I took so many they started blurring and looking alike.  I felt humbled to be in the place of so much history and in the presence of so many faithful pilgrims and people.

Old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Kidron Valley outside the Lion Gate

Old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Kidron Valley outside the Lion Gate

Stone tombs

Stone tombs

I wanted to see a camel on this trip, and we saw this one (admittedly a tourist prop) on the Mount of Olives

I wanted to see a camel on this trip, and we saw this one (admittedly a tourist prop) on the Mount of Olives

View of the Dome of the Rock from the Mount of Olives

View of the Dome of the Rock from the Mount of Olives

Old world and new on the Mount of Olives

Old world and new on the Mount of Olives

Orthodox priest hurrying on his way

Orthodox priest hurrying on his way

Window in Dominus Flet, where Jesus wept

Window in Dominus Flet, where Jesus wept

Onion domes of the Church of Mary Magdalene

Onion domes of the Church of Mary Magdalena

Two Orthodox priests leading a group of pilgrims to the Church of Mary Magdalene

Two Orthodox priests leading a group of pilgrims to the Church of Mary Magdalena

Dove at the back of the church at Gethsemane

Dove at the back of the church at Gethsemane

Old olive tree in the Garden of Olives

Old olive tree in the Garden of Olives

Taking a break outside the Jaffa Gate overlooking modern Jerusalem

Taking a break outside the Jaffa Gate overlooking modern Jerusalem

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Family walking outside the walls near the Jaffa Gate

Family walking outside the walls near the Jaffa Gate

 

A Joy Ride in a Paintbox

March 13, 2013

“Painting is a companion with whom one may hope to walk a great part of life’s journey.”
— Winston Churchill, Painting as Pastime

The current state of my work table -- watercolors and brushes, a stack of books, and found objects from nature

The current state of my work table — watercolors and brushes, a stack of books, and found objects from nature

” . . . painting is a friend who makes no undue demands, excites to no exhausting pursuits, keeps faithful pace even with feeble steps, and holds her canvas as a screen between us and the envious eyes of Time or the surly advance of Decrepitude.”
— Winston Churchill, Painting as Pastime

I enjoyed reading Winston Churchill’s Painting as Pastime, a short book, a single essay about the virtues of hobbies and especially painting.  Churchill took up painting in his 40s, and he encourages those of us in middle or advanced age to forget about lessons and simply have the audacity to pick up a paintbox and have a try:  ” . . . the first quality that is needed is Audacity.  There is no time for the deliberate approach.  Two years of drawing-lessons, three years of copying woodcuts, five years of plaster casts — these are for the young. . . We must not be too ambitious.  We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paintbox.  And for this Audacity is the only ticket.”

Isn’t he great with words?  I will leave you with one more quote:  “Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely.  Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day.”

 

 

Tendrils of frost on a car windshield

Tendrils of frost on a car windshield

Frost
by Valerie Worth, from All the Small Poems and Fourteen More

How does
The plain
Transparency
Of water

Sprout these
Lacy fronds
And plumes
And tendrils?

And where
Before window-
Panes, did
They root

Their lush
Crystal forests,
Their cold
Silver jungles?

Frosty windows

Frosty windows

Frosty January morning

Frosty January morning

 

The Ideal of Calm

January 7, 2013

Jellybean looking out of our dirty window

Jellybean looking out of our dirty window

Jellybean through the window

Jellybean through the window

“The ideal of calm exists in a sitting cat.”
— from The Journal of Jules Renard, edited and translated by Louise Bogan and Elizabeth Roget

It's in the eyes

It’s in the eyes

Watercolor sketch of Jellybean

Watercolor sketch of Jellybean

 

Self-portrait: my reflection in a shop window

When I was walking in Pioneer Square recently, my gaze was arrested by my reflected images in the shop windows.  I stopped to photograph these ghostly mirages.  I have few photos of myself because usually I’m the one behind the camera.  So these shots were a fun departure from the norm.  I felt like a figment of my own imagination.

Reflected image

I like the ghostly effect

A ghost among the candied apples!

 

 

 

The blue-ribbon days of summer!

Hydrangeas in blues and purples

A bush of blue hydrangeas

Garden art: blue plate in a garden gate

I love the blue stems of sea holly

Borage

Nothing but blue skies (Just kidding — this is Seattle, after all!)

Chihuly Garden and Glass sculpture brings this quote to life: “There is no blue without yellow and without orange.” (Vincent Van Gogh)

Blue window trim, Post Alley

Love-in-a-mist

Sweet blueberries, just picked

Sandra Cintro’s Encontro das Aguas (Encounters with Water) at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle

A Chaos of Beauty

June 28, 2012

“What a chaos of beauty there is upon a June morning.”
— Louise Beebe Wilder, Colour in My Garden

And here are a few snapshots taken out of the chaos of color and beauty in Seattle right now:

Diaphanous pink Shirley poppy and bud

Pink Shirley poppies

White love-in-a-mist

Blue love-in-a-mist

Globes of allium

Allium

Clematis (I think?)

Foxglove

Foxglove and window curtains

Some of my current pile of library books to read

“I see you, rose, half-open book filled
with so many pages of that detailed
happiness we will never read.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke

The titles in my pile of books:

  • Findings: Essays on the Natural and Unnatural World by Kathleen Jamie
  • When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilyn Robinson
  • Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea and Japan by F. H. King
  • Landscape and Memory by Simon Schama

(I was inspired to check two of these books out of the library after reading Sigrun’s list of books about nature, solitude, and travel on her blog, Sub Rosa.  You can link to her complete list here.)

To Give Myself Utterly

November 16, 2011

Blazing red maple tree

Maple leaves in reds and yellows

Reflections of red trees in plate glass windows

“I want to give myself
utterly
as this maple
that burned and burned
for three days without stinting
and then in two more
dropped off every leaf . . .”
— Jane Hirshfield, from “Lake and Maple”

 

“Her own way was to make art out of the very things that absorbed her attention in her own life.”
— William Deresiewicz, A Jane Austen Education:  How Six Novels Taught Me about Love, Friendship, and the Things that Matter

I am loving this book, A Jane Austen Education

I am fewer than 50 pages into William Deresiewicz’s book, A Jane Austen Education:  How Six Novels Taught Me about Love, Friendship, and the Things that Really Matter, and I am already ready to recommend this book!  I love what he says about the lessons in Emma acknowledging that it is the accumulation of “minute particulars” that comprise a life:

“To pay attention to ‘minute particulars’ is to notice your life as it passes.  But it is also, I realized, something more.  By talking over their little daily affairs — and not just talking them over, but talking them over and over, again and again . . . — the characters in Emma were doing nothing less than attaching themselves to life.  They were weaving the web of community, one strand of conversation at a time.  They were creating the world, in the process of talking about it.”

Here are a few of the “minute particulars” of my day so far:

The last of this season's raspberries, fresh picked

Tomatoes ripening on the kitchen windowsill

Coffee shop patron enjoying a warm autumn day at an outdoor table