Still in Virginia. 8 months now. It feels like forever. But the end is near.
In the middle of April I finally saw my first wildflowers while walking down to the lower field.
Finally, the sweet May Apple appeared along the path. Coupled with the Whippoorwill, these were signs spring had FINALLY arrived.
The full moon was dramatic over the mountains and behind the clouds mid month.
I watched it move through the sky for a long time sitting in the rocker on the bedroom porch.
You can see the moon and hear the whippoorwill at this link.
Maybe Gaelyn can tell me why I have the moon beams in the pictures.
They were not really there.
I thought it was spring but the next day Winter sent hail and sleet my way. That was its last gasp but we’ve still had lows in the 30’s. Uggggg – in late April.
Still the city market started up and on Saturday the 23rd I walked down for a visit. Actually there are now two markets. One is at the old spot on Market Street just off the downtown mall in Charlottesville and the other is several blocks over in IX park.
It’s no longer called a Farmer’s Market but rather the City Market. That seems to be because there are fewer farmers than bakers, food vendors and crafts people
This artist was selling a really nice Blue Ridge trip tic among other subjects local and not.
Home made candy anyone?
Herbs and flowers.
Funky record album art
Baked goods and tons more that I’m skipping over.
I walked several blocks further south to the IX Park where the second market was also under way.
The only thing I bought was a slice of this home made pizza which didn’t turn out unfortunately to be all that good despite how great it looked.
The baker boxed it up and I had a couple of bites, then decided I could wait to finish it.
There were other yummy baked goods but I passed.
Here’s what I should have bought.
but since I wasn’t going right back to my refrigerator, I didn’t.
Why wasn’t I going right back to my refrigerator? Well, on my way to the market I had passed by the intersection at McIntire road and found it and Market Street Blocked off. I asked the police woman behind the barricades what was going on and she obviously thought I was from outer space when she said – The Dogwood Parade.
I’ve been living in is area long enough to be very acquainted with the Dogwood Festival. I just hadn’t realized it was these two weeks. For those not in the know, The Dogwood Festival is a two week long series of events that celebrate the arrival of spring in Charlottesville. The festival began in 1950 as the Apple Harvest Festival, and in 1958 the name was changed in celebration of the state tree and flower. There is a parade, carnival rides, a queen, fireworks and who knows what else. I have seen the parade before and nearly always watched the fireworks. This year they have moved the carnival from McIntire Park to an abandoned KMart parking lot. I wonder how much attention it will get so far away from its former location.
I found a front row standing spot and watched what still seemed like a small town parade go by.
The area has had the curse of being label a #1 city to live in, to retire to, to everything else in numerous high profile magazines and Polls. The population of the area has grown exponentially and that of course means development everywhere you look. Forests gone. Property taxes sky rocketing. Traffic out of control. In my opinion, it isn’t nearly as nice a place to live as it was in 1976 when we first came here. I’m sorry for all those who moved here thinking to relocate to a small town.
But you’d never know it by the Dogwood Parade. I know lots of parades have fire engines. But do they have food trucks?
Or pickups with a cut out of Jake from State Farm?
Middle School Bands, of course.
But Gutter Pros? Do they pay to advertise in the parade?
Queens and princesses from every county around and THE Dogwood Queen chosen from that group. Of course.
But wreckers and heavy equipment?
I think there might have been 5 sets of Twirling Schools marching and doing their best.
Last year’s queen of course. I think she gives up her crown tonight.
I had to wait until this truck passed by with its men in white gloves before I knew who they were.
That’s some title, the most worshipful prince.
These girls looked like Disney Characters but I really have no idea. The crowd liked them.
I get the Rescue Squad but Stanley Steamer?
I’ll close with the Monticello High School Band whose drum major and head twirler were great! Best in show IMO.
If your eyes are glazing over, rest assured, this wasn’t the half of it. I left out the police, a Putt Putt golf cart with an orange golf ball in a yellow hat, in line skaters, the local media, they were covering and riding, numerous dance teams and on and on. Still seemed like a small town parade to me. And they were all throwing candy to every kid on the route.
I laughed out loud as I started to leave and found the city clean up crew following right behind the parade.
I walked over to what had been Charlottesville’s Lane High School which was in the center of the integration controversy here. The city sold it to the county and it is now the Albemarle County Office Building. It’s hard to tell where Albemarle County ends and Charlottesville City begins but they are two different entities and don’t forget it.
A city as old as Charlottesville has a storied past and the 2017 rally that took us all by surprise is just another in a series of happenings here. I am glad to see the city reckoning with its past and putting up historical markers to tell the whole story. Click the picture and you might be able to read the story.
Back at Winnona’s former parking spot things are in the full bloom of spring which is exactly why the Dogwood Festival is going on. The city is absolutely beautiful with flowering trees and bushes everywhere. Azaleas, dogwoods, clematis, daffodils and much more.
This one was one of The Travelling Reader book boxes that had such a hard time getting to me with Fed Ex. Both were damaged when they arrived so TR has agreed not to send my boxes that way in the future. I personally will never use Fed Ex again they didn’t have a clue where the boxes were for nearly a month but I wrote about that in the blog when it happened.
The Winter Sea is historical fiction and takes place in Scotland during the present time and during the time of the first Jacobite rebellion. I loved eating the snacks, ginger and lemon shortbread and a bar of white and dark chocolate – Yum to both, while reading the story and wish I could take Winnona to Scotland for the summer. The postcards of which there were 6 or 7 really enhanced the reading.
Our two person Wednesday Afternoon Book Club read Stephen King’s Time Travel book about the Kennedy Assignation and Native American Author Linda Hogan’s Mean Spirit about the deplorable killings in Oklahoma of Native People in order to take their land. This book is based on the historical truth and I suspect inspired the later the non fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon which I have also read.
French Braid is Anne Tyler’s latest novel and of course takes place in Baltimore and gently brings to life the family dynamics of 3 generations.
After reading Hogan, all of whose other books I’ve also read, I was looking for other fiction by Native American writers and found Marcie Rendon who now has 3 books out with Cash Blackbear as the main character. They are easy reads and very true to the life of Native people in Minnesota.
I also listened to several books on tape while I was getting my daily steps if I was just walking and not really hiking. I also listened at night to try to help me deal with my difficulty sleeping. They were both fun to listen to and had excellent readers though they weren’t guaranteed to help me go back to sleep when I’d wake up at 1am and be awake for 3 hours.
So that’s April. On to May. Hoping to be back on the road at its end. Cross your fingers!
What have you been doing? Reading? Do you wake in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep? And if so, do you have any suggestions for me?