Well, bluebonnets, of course. And pyracantha, yellow Missouri primrose, daffodils, paintbrush, Texas mountain laurel, redbuds, dogwood, and more. Late March and early April paint the Hill Country with lovely swathes of color, before summer blasts through and turns everything brown. These are among my favorite days of the year here at Meadow Knoll, where the resident flock of wild turkeys–a dozen or more hens and three or four toms with magnificent tails–are parading through the green grass of the south meadow. The hummingbirds are here and yesterday I saw a fox.
Spring also brings Easter, and with it a long tradition of egg crafts. Years ago, I indulged in pysanky-making: traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs, made with a “lost-wax” process that requires beeswax, a few tools, lots of patience, and plenty of time.
I’ve given most of my pysanky away, but here are a few I have left, in a pecan bowl that Bill made for me. The smaller eggs are the legacy of our chickens and ducks, the larger one is a gift of Mama Superior, our gray Toulouse goose, who unfailingly laid a couple of dozen eggs every spring and (with Papa Macho) cheerfully raised an annual flock of six or eight. (Happily, finding homes for gray geese wasn’t much of a challenge here in our rural area.) I still have my pysanky tools. Maybe someday . , ,
On the writing desk. Someone Always Nearby is in production and will be out in November. I’ve gone back to Pecan Springs, to China’s 29th (would you believe it?) mystery: Forget Me Never. The signature herbs will be a collection of nootropics, plants that have been used for centuries in many cultures to enhance cognitive function and improve memory, concentration, and focus. As usual, China is teaching me more than I ever imagined about these plants and I’m grateful for all the new research that’s emerging. We’re living longer than our grandmothers, but getting older means forgetting more. Anything that helps us hang onto our brainpower is good news.
Reading, and more. I know that many of you join me in becoming increasingly concerned about the current hysteria-fired book banning. So I wanted to share a recent post from National Public Radio: Plot twist: Activists skirt book bans with guerrilla giveaways and pop-up libraries. China was inspired by the post to add some guerilla-library shelves to her Thyme & Seasons shop. The sign reads “Banned Book Nook. Borrow and Share!” I hope you’ll be seeing some of these little libraries in your neighborhood. And that you’ll do what you can. wherever you are, to counter this dangerous, politically-inspired craziness. My young life–I grew up in small-town Illinois in the 1950s–was changed by books. The right to read is one of our greatest privileges. We can’t let anybody take it away.
Reading note. You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. –Ray Bradbury
Update: Here is the story behind the ongoing lawsuit over banned books in Llano County, TX, another Hill Country county: https://www.texasmonthly.com/news-politics/llano-library-book-bans-lawsuit/ This is the situation in Texas: https://www.texastribune.org/2022/09/19/texas-book-bans/