The hydrangea lesson

MEANDER #7 Saturday 24 June 2017 Four days does not a summer make, yet here it is. Here’s a quote from James Thomson, Scottish poet and playwright (1700-1748):

From bright’ning fields of ether fair disclosed,

Child of the Sun, refulgent Summer comes. —The Seasons

Ya, I had to look up “fields of ether” and “refulgent.” The latter means radiant, brilliance, as in brilliant summer. “Fields of ether,” on the other hand, leaves me clueless. Even when I read that “ether,” derived from the Greek, is defined as “a hypothetical medium, supposed to fill space, by means of vibrations in which light and other forms of radiation are transmitted.”

Huh? The theory of ether as vibratory energy well suits the poetic fragment but leaves me baffled. That’s O.K., the ethereal motion vibrating in my field of vision needs no immediate definition; it’s just a prod to move me on to salute brightly shining, resplendent summer.

Here’s a meditative quote I like better, from Matthew Arnold (1822-1888): “All the live murmur of a summer’s day.” Even as I visualize sitting beside a murmuring brook, I can’t help thinking about swatting buzzing mosquitos. All in a summer’s day.

And this from playwright Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) in Three Sisters: “People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy. If I lived in Moscow I don’t think I’d care what the weather was like.”

I note these quotes to say I’m happy. Summer is a time for live theatre at the Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts in Warsaw, Indiana and at the Stratford Festival of Canada in Stratford, Ontario. Also shows at the Lerner in Elkhart and elsewhere. Family and friends visiting time. Church time. Home time. Hydrangea story time–coming up.

Last Sunday we saw the musical Footloose at the Wagon Wheel. The show celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people, guiding them with a warm heart and an open mind.

Our next show will be The Mystery of Edwin Drood, based on an unfinished work by Charles Dickens. The audience will choose which character is the killer by putting it to a vote. Cruel, gruesome? Not hardly, since English mysteries are more about character and cozy settings than about brutality and gore. That’s right and I approve this message.

Scenes of summer from various walks and a stay in neighboring LaGrange County

The hydrangea story

Evelyn’s garden with the “you dig it up and take it home” hydrangea bush against the fence.

On Thursday we walked along an alley parallel to East Jackson Boulevard in Elkhart. One of the backyard gardens is pure delight. We’ve talked with the homeowner, Evelyn, before. Thursday we commented again on her lush hydrangea plants in full bloom.

Evelyn said she had just transplanted a hydrangea and would be most happy if we dug it up and took it home. In fact, she insisted we take the plant. So, today, Saturday, we dug it up and planted it where our old, for three years non-blooming hydrangea, used to be. I put the old one  at curbside on Friday–what a  job digging that was. Had to use an ax along with a pry bar.

The exchange reminds us so vividly of the abiding gracious nature of the human race. We hear and see so much of the ungracious side that it’s easy to forget that the majority of people are good people, caring people, sharing people, gracious people, giving-away-hydrangeas-people. Thanks for the reminder, Evelyn.

There’s the small hydrangea in its pre-dig setting. I’ll see about a picture of the transplant down the road.

Jazz festival

Elkhart is celebrating its 30th annual jazz festival this weekend. Besides ticketed venues, the festival includes lots of free shows. Six high school jazz bands were featured this morning and afternoon. Some of the jazz musicians spent time with these groups in classroom settings. And the festival organizers gave passes to each of the high school musicians. Brilliant!

We enjoyed a round of venues in and out of doors on Saturday with Alice and Willard Roth–the weather was perfect pitch. And the music makers got standing ovations.

Tennyson to conclude

These parting thoughts from Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892):

“Behold, we know not anything; / I can but trust that good shall fall / At last–far off–at last, to all, / And every winter change to spring.

“So runs my dream: but what am I? / An infant crying in the night: / An infant crying for the light: / And with no language but a cry.”

And every summer bring some growing goodness. So goes my dream, my cry. -John


5 thoughts on “The hydrangea lesson

  1. *I enjoy the pictures of flowers that I don’t have room for in my limited garden space.*

    On Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 8:08 PM, It’s About Now wrote:

    > John Bender posted: “MEANDER #7 Saturday 24 June 2017 Four days does > not a summer make, yet here it is. Here’s a quote from James Thomson, > Scottish poet and playwright (1700-1748): From bright’ning fields of ether > fair disclosed, Child of the Sun, refulgent Summer comes” >


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