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Monday, April 21, 2014

Après le Weekend

Manitou Passage from Jelinek Road
In some ways, things look much the same. There was still ice out in the Manitou Passage this morning and still patches of dirty snow on woodsy hillsides and in odd pockets. Mornings these days, however, are alive with birdsong and the gurgling or creeks, and it only took a little raking yesterday to liberate cheery, determined flowers around our old farmhouse.

Winter aconite

Hellebores -- I finally remembered the name

“What’s it like here in the winter?” That’s what summer visitors ask every year, and this year, after the winter we’ve endured, I suggested to a few friends that an illustrated poster was in order. Karen Casebeer took up the challenge on her photo blog and went beyond my conception, providing a narrative from fall to spring. Beautiful work, Karen!

Here's something exciting -- to me, anyway! The bird I misidentified on Facebook recently (and I should have known better), my friends now tell me is a meadowlark. That explains its beautiful morning song! I include a photo here, though it would be poor resolution because it's the only one I have, but you can find better images elsewhere. 

My new drawing class in Traverse City begins this coming Wednesday afternoon, and helper Bruce must be out of town all week. What that means is that Dog Ears Books will close early on Wednesday this week, around 2 p.m. Bruce should be back for subsequent Wednesdays, so the duration of my six-week class shouldn’t disrupt the bookstore schedule too much.

I don’t have a lot of deep thoughts today, but I do have a book to feature, one that I doubt many (if any) of my readers know: the English translation of Alain-Fournier’s Le Grand Meaulnes, absolutely the most romantic book I’ve ever read in my entire life. “Romantic” in the largest sense possible, that is – a story like a dream, with a mysterious, elusive, dreamlike setting. When I first described the story to David, he said it sounded like Green Mansions, which at the time of our conversation I had not yet read. Later, after reading the Hudson novel, I agreed with David that it and Le Grand Meaulnes share the ineffable quality of romance. If you seek temporary escape in literature from the ills or even simply the nonstop challenges of modern life (we all need a break now and then), The Great Meaulnes is what your bookseller prescribes today. 


BB-Idaho said...

I was sure it rained there: Après
le Weekend hints at the old French
Sun King's 'apres moi le deluge' .From what I hear of the Midwest Winter, I'm thinking you are all looking for any and every sign of Spring!

Karen Casebeer said...

Thanks, Pamela, for mentioning my blog. I'm still considering a real poster, but would like to pare down the images to 3 or 4. Which ones do you think would best portray up north winters? I love your flower photos. I especially like the second one. The two flowers seem as if they are being shy with each other. Karen

Gerry said...

I am enchanted with the notion of having my very own bookseller. Now when people say "My financial advisor says . . . " or "My yoga instructor says . . . " I will find a way to bring "My bookseller" into the conversation.

P. J. Grath said...

BB, I hadn't thought of the Sun King! It was other things -- someone telling me about the movie, "Le Weekend," dinner with a French correspondent, reading a biography of Proust, etc.

Karen, to be honest, I wasn't thinking of showing a "representative" winter but just this last, endless, overwhelming one. My usual answer to the question, "What's it like here in the winter?: is "That depends on the year." This year being what it was, the photos could also be overwhelming, eh?

P. J. Grath said...

Gerry!!!!!!!!!! Well, someone in my family says "my mechanic" and "my pawnbroker," in addition to "my hairdresser," etc. I love your idea of "my bookseller" and can only hope it will catch on.