Some birds are making their way back to my yard as the weather warms a little. Arriving home from church yesterday, I heard the distinctive call of the cardinal. Looking over, I saw this bright red little guy on top of the silver fence, under the green magnolia tree. I loved the colors and slid out of the car, lifted my camera, and snapped away, hoping not to spook him into flight. Not to worry, that part of the yard is the domain of the birds, and they feel comfortable, even entitled, to sit under the tree and sing to their heart’s content, no matter what. I’m glad. The tree is home to two bird houses and countless chicks, moms, and dads, and their birdsong livens up the yard. I can’t wait for spring till they are all back!
I watched Masterpiece Theatre last night as the Cranford series continued. I love the genteel scenes, the witty and lilting dialog, yet it is incisive and occasionally biting too. I love the Thomas Hardy-ish rolling hills of the English countryside, and the costumes of the dowagers who run the town. In one scene, Matty, Judi Dench playing the lead character, decides to lift the spirits of the town by re-opening and renovating the long-disused town ballroom. As the spinsters excitedly enter the room, and plumes of dust trail after their skirts, they do not see the dilapidation and ruin. They reminisce about their youthful dances, when their dance cards were full and life was ahead of them. Their faces lit up and they swirled around the room, lovingly touching each lampstand, each curtain, each sconce. The spell lasted until they assembled in front of the dusty gilt mirror and their memories of their young, blooming selves was evaporated by the reality in front of them. Their faces falling, they viewed their dowager selves for a moment, cocking their heads this way and that, as if the truth was not the truth but only a cruel joke.
Mrs Forrester’s voice is soft: ‘I do not recall such a mottled patina.’ With a gloved hand, Miss Matty wipes away the dust and answers: ‘The candlelight was kind. It polished the glass, and the faces captured there.’
‘Candlelight was kind’…indeed. If we could all go around in the soft sepia tones of the old movies, designed to highlight the softness and freshness of the face. Have you ever caught your own face in the mirror, and been startled by your mother’s visage lurking there? Or worse, that the youthful decline had skipped a generation, and the grandmother’s visage reflected back? Ah, where does the time go. Until then, we always have candlelight.