Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Life's Bitter Cup

Here’s an epitaph that turns up in a number of places over the sad little bodies of babies.  This one is in Martha’s Vinyard, Massachusettes, and memorializes Caroline Newcome, age four months, who died in 1812:

She tasted Life’s bitter cup
Refused to drink the portion up
But turned her little head aside
Disgusted with the taste and died.

Okay, here’s the chapeau!  You can just barely see one of the butterflies on the left.  It’s rather modest, but I think it’s very pretty.  It was made especially for me by Angie’s Hats of Saint Paul.

Last Friday I got out of my car in the parking lot of the Courage Center shortly after six a.m., water aerobics kit in hand,  It was just barely starting to get light – and I heard a robin singing.  I stood transfixed with surprise and pleasure, listening to his liquid assertion of territory, one of the definitive signs of spring.  Monday morning he was still in full voice and his challenge was being answered by a more distant robin on his own territory. The finches are also back and singing.  The snow, ragged and filthy, is in full retreat.  March, the ugliest month in Minnesota, is history, and it seems that one of the harshest winters on record is over.

What’s odd is that the book I’m writing is set in October, and yesterday afternoon I looked out the window at the still-naked trees and for just a few seconds I wondered what I was going to do to mark Halloween.  Mental whiplash!

Oh, nuts, I looked out the window again this morning, and it’s snowing.  Winter is playing an April Food joke on us all.

Want to laugh?  Go here: http://www.aol.com/article/2014/03/31/wild-bird-chases-swedish-reporter/20860088/?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl4|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D459554.  Can anyone tell me what kind of bird that is?

Sunday two friends and I went to a matinee performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Grand Duke,” the last play they wrote together.  It was not well received when originally presented in 1910 – too long and the plot was too complicated – so this was one the local play-acting company that puts on one G&S play a year was willing to chop and blend.  They did a good job, the play was funny and, as usual, extremely well sung and acted.  Next year: “HMS Pinafore,” hurrah!  I think my next Betsy mystery will be set in a theater . . .


Monica Ferris said...

Ellen just e-mailed me about that fierce bird:
Looks to be a capercaillie. It's the largest member of the grouse family.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I always enjoy watching the birds in our backyard, Monica. We get everything from hummingbirds to finches to mockingbirds to hawks, and more!

Betty Hechtman said...

Great hat, Monica! Snowing again? The poor robins must have been stunned.

Anonymous said...

Is Darned if You Do your book's new title?

Monica Ferris said...

Yes, Anonymous, Darned If You Do is the next book's title, agreed to after a long struggle on my part to keep it A Needle Case. I won the fight for Threadbare, but conceded on this one.
Btw, there are blizzard warnings out tonight. Winter is not finished with us yet!