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Posts Tagged ‘spring’

As spring belatedly decided to show up in our neck of the woods, a Hollywood movie crew turned the town into a Christmas set, building a crèche in front of a picturesque church, decorating store windows with candy canes, snowmen, and plastic poinsettias — and spreading fake snow on lawns that had barely recovered from an April 1 blizzard. It was a little weird. One friend said she looked up from washing dishes at her kitchen window and saw what looked like a gigantic spaceship hovering over the trees. It was the boom for the cameraman.

In more seasonal news, spring flowers began to poke out. Woodland walks were taken. Mushrooms and lichens were admired.

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It is not really spring yet although a weird February tried to fool us with several warm days before handing us back to single-digit temperatures.

There is a period in New England when the weather teeters back and forth between winter and spring — and inevitably brings to mind the e.e. cummings poem “[In Just-].” It’s a happy poem reminding one that as long as there are springs, there will always be excited children running outdoors to play, hollering back at someone in the house, “I don’t need a coat — it’s hot!”

Here is the poem:

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s
spring
and

the

goat-footed

balloonMan whistles
far
and
wee

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Photo: Big Belly
Foot-pedal version of Big Belly for those who are squeamish about handles. (That would be me.)

Those Swedes! What will they think of next?

Are you familiar with the Big Belly solar-powered trash compactors sprouting up in public places? Well, in Uppsala, Sweden, the trash compactors have been taught to sing.

From a company post on Youtube: “Bigbelly International Partner, EWF, introduced an innovative and inspiring campaign to raise awareness of the Bigbelly Smart Waste & Recycling system in the metropolitan city of Uppsala, Sweden – home to one of the largest deployments in the world.

“The Uppsala ‘Waste Choir’ had their first performance during the Valborg celebrations on April 30th. Valborg is an annual holiday to welcome spring in Sweden. …

“The beautifully wrapped Bigbellys – each as a unique character and voice in the choir – stood together in front of 60,000+ visitors to the city and sang traditional Swedish songs in celebration of spring! …

“As noted in a press release regarding the campaign: ‘Citizens and visitors could for the first time listen to a garbage choir during the famous celebration of Walpurgis in the University City of Uppsala. The choir consists of 20 so called smart dust bins run by solar energy. Uppsala and Sweden are known for their many choirs.

“Maria Gardfjell (MP), chairman of the responsible municipal board had the honor of introducing the choir and informing the audience about other commitments to diminish littering.

“Fundamentally, it is an issue of changing attitudes and to encourage all of us to put our litter where it belongs, in a dust bin. … Since Uppsala introduced smart dust bins in 2013, the visible litter in the City Park and other main parks has decreased by 20 percent. The work environment for the sanitary workers has improved and the usage of plastic bags has decreased by 80 percent.”

Read the press release in full, here. And listen to the singing trash cans here:

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Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! This mother is indulging her interest in photography today (the simple kind: pointing and shooting with a phone). So here are a few recent pictures and explanations for the less obvious.

For example: I went out for a walk one evening and was surprised to encounter Morris Dancers on the steps of the library. They seemed to be practicing, not performing. Where would Morris dancers be performing in late April, after Patriots Day? That was a mystery. Another mystery to me was how young men and boys get drawn into performing Morris Dance. I’m sure it’s good exercise, but …

I include shots of a clay bird’s shadow on my wall and hedge shadows on a sidewalk. The fence with the stage coach and other old timey images painted along the railings is in Providence — easy to overlook when walking past.

Providence plaques and memorials. The one of Martin Luther King Jr. is on a bridge with a view of Water Place. The monument to an event Rhode Island celebrates as the real first engagement of the American Revolution — the colonists’  clash with Brits on the HMS Gaspee — is partly obscured by bushes.

Little old Rhode Island gets no respect. It was also the first colony to sign on for independence, May 4, 1776. Who knew?

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It rained hard at noon, but the stalwarts opening booths for the first farmers market of the season hung on and before long the weather cleared, and it was sunny and warm.

Today I’m posting some recent outdoor photos from Massachusetts and Rhode Island and thinking particularly how seed pods, the smell of lilacs, and small landscapers make me happy.

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At Global Envision, Seth Heller blogged about an organization that provides inexpensive eyeglasses to poor people in the developing world.

“We often take clear vision for granted,” writes Heller, “but Peter Eliassen knows that eyeglasses can be the difference between financial security and poverty for many in the developing world. As the chief operating officer of VisionSpring, Eliassen travels the globe making reasonably priced eyewear available for people who cannot otherwise afford them. …

“VisionSpring estimates more than 703 million people around the world need eyeglasses. Without vision correction, people are unable to secure employment during their prime working years, and supporting a family becomes almost impossible. …

“VisionSpring’s eyeglasses are priced around $4 and typically boost the wearer’s wage by an average of $108 per year – a significant amount in many developing nations. …

“However, a worker’s clear vision can be life-changing to many people outside their family. …

“The correlation between good public health and economic growth in developing nations is strong. If developing nations can reduce unemployment by solving ongoing public health problems such as impaired vision, the socioeconomic benefits can improve the lives of a nation’s entire population.” More here.

The story came to me by way of the Christian Science Monitor‘s Change Agent listserv.

Photo: Thatcher Cook/Mercy Corps
Eyeglasses from VisionSpring.

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It’s April 1st, and I have been looking for spring. There was a nice little surprise in my front yard — snowdrops next to the snow (still not melted). But when I went looking for spring in Fort Point at lunch, there were no flowers or even leaf buds. I’m happy with the blue sky, anyway, and the angle of light. Here are a few photos.

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