A trip down into the crawl space under your house may be the closest you will ever get to experiencing true terror. Even though you won’t find any living dead down there, many crawl spaces resemble a scene out of a horror movie – dark, damp, moldy, stinky and full of all kinds of creepy crawlies – and even the toughest among us quiver with dread when forced to descend into the depths of these subterranean terrors. Truly scary … More
I’m down to the last month of my winter stay in Provence. Actually, it’s going on eight months. Spring has been a little reluctant to appear. There are, however, a few signs of warmer days. The sunshine yellow forsythia is full. Early daffodils and violets provide dabs of yellow and purple to the drab ground. Although the cherry trees are only showing feeble signs of blossoms, the almond trees are in full array. More
Catholics around the world observe Good Friday with a liturgical form which includes the reading of the Passion, prayers for various groups and leaders, and the veneration of the Cross. In our area, it is common to precede the formal liturgy with the Stations of the Cross. This private/public devotion, which originated with St. Francis of Assisi, lists the stations as follows: More
Driving in beautiful Sicily is a challenge. The scenery is distracting — temples on top of hills, wild flowers everywhere, trees bright with lemons and oranges and roads along the Mediterranean. But directional signs? Well, that is a story! There are five choices: right, wrong, ambiguous, missing or can’t pick them out from the other twenty on the same post as you go past. “I can’t stop,” says Del, “there is traffic.” “Well I can’t see it.” So we go on, turn around and try it again. We did a lot of that. More
When I lived in Iran, the biggest event of the year was “Now Ruz,” the Iranian New Year, which occurs on the Spring Equinox, March 20. The entire festival season goes on for a couple weeks.
The first day of the event is called “Chahar Shambe Suri,” or “Red Wednesday.” On that day people shoot off fireworks and build bonfires in the streets. They jump over the fires while shouting, “My yellow to you, your red to me!” Yellow signifies sickness, red signifies health.
Before Iran became a Muslim country, they were Zoroastrians and believed that fire was a holy purifying element, so it’s easy to see that Chahar Shambe Suri has Zoroastrian roots. In the early days of the Revolutionary government there was an attempt to quash the Persian New Year celebrations, and the fire-jumping in particular, but the people loved it too much — it would be like trying to stop Christmas, for us. More
If I were in Michigan, it would be just another one of those typically Michigan gray days. Here in the Luberon, however, it is unusual, and I feel a sense of sadness. Amazing how quickly a person can become addicted to the provençal sun and blue skies.
I’m spending a few days again near Roussillon with my friends, the furry felines Sebby, Frankie, and Ellie. Their folks are away for a short break.
On St. Patrick’s Day there was a double treat in the heavens. The moon was a waxing crescent topped off by the planet Jupiter. Unfortunately Jupiter will be ending its nighttime appearance come Spring. The calendar says the season is three days away, but the weather doesn’t seem to be taking advice from it. Forecast for the near future calls for 6-10 inches of snow, but tonight is one of the clearest this winter. More
At any given moment, we can all be feeling “on the edge.” Any set of circumstances could push us over. It is part of being human and not something we grow out of, find a fix for, get over or move on from. It’s something we have to live with, and every one of us does that in a different way. More
It’s been quite some time since I posted a blog in astrophotography. There are so many reasons why. The last post was in January at http://blogs.record-eagle.com/?p=9726. I had begun the process of imaging in a different way. My goal was to make my observatory an all-inclusive one as to astrophotography and visual use. More
I’m almost reluctant to write about how warm the temperatures are here and the fact that the almond trees are just beginning to blossom. I know that the greater Grand Traverse Area is still experiencing snow. Today as I walked around the village, I spotted the first blossoms against the provençal blue sky. More