The first two weeks of April are, in my opinion, the best time to be in Central North Carolina.
The dogwoods are blooming. The azaleas are blooming. The redbuds are blooming. It is like the whole tree and shrub system just wakes up automatically on April 1st. It is really hard to look in any direction and not see beautiful things.
Like a lot of people who like to garden, I have been spending every spare minute outside, in the mad rush to get the garden ready for our first frost-free planting date, April 15th. (Frost kills things like tomatoes and peppers, so you have to wait until you are sure frost is done before you can put them out.) Yesterday I double-dug a new bed, and pulled out a giant pile of rocks. This morning I am aching as my body reminds me I am no longer 19.
It isn’t just about the vegetables, or the flowers, or even about chasing beauty as a means of self-care (as important as that is.) It is about creating beautiful things in defiance of a world gone mad. It’s about resisting – like this beautiful story I found about how Virginia Wolfe’s husband resisted Hitler by planting iris.
Here are five things I thought were beautiful.
- Filed under “things you don’t ever think you are going to say” – there is a new Thelonious Monk album. Technically the soundtrack to a French film released in 1959, it has never been released before, and the film is long out of print.
- Current Instagram crush is Sean Graesser, who is a wildlife biologist and who takes amazing pictures of birds. Like, seriously amazing. Here is a short color-filled video of hummingbirds also from Sean.
- It seems like every week at this time of year there is another photography contest winner being announced, but I really liked this collection of the shortlist in the travel category of the Sony World Photography contest.
- The Magnum Photos Agency is celebrating their 70th birthday by releasing this collection of photos of their early New York work from their archives in an exhibit. This is pretty amazing, y’all.
- What do you know about the Middle East? If you are like most of us in the West, you think of war and conflict. Which is why I really like this collection the Guardian put together of Elger Esser’s landscape photographs from the region. Just another reminder that beauty is everywhere if we look for it.
Since every spare minute is spent outside these days, I haven’t read much this week, but I did really enjoy this article about the birth of comic sans, possibly the world’s most hated font.