Monday, May 27, 2019

A Salute for Memorial Day

Around the Washington DC area a major event on Memorial Day weekend has been the Rolling Thunder bike run. Begun in 1988 by Vietnam veterans as a way to draw attention to MIA's and POW's it has been a peaceful demonstration of the First Amendment every year. However the organizer had declared last December that this, the 31st ride, would be the last one here in the nation's capital city. We wanted to see it and, with a record number of participants (estimated to be greater than 1 million bikes), it seemed a lot of motor cyclists wanted to ride in it.
 By 11.30am we staked out our position on the curb, under some trees at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 14th Street. The first bikes started appearing at 12.15pm and we sat or stood and watched at that spot until 3.30pm. There was lots of variety but this one seems a good one to begin with. Flying the flag of the US Marine Corps this is an owner who loves his bike and his country.
 The people watching was great too. This keen photographer, herself apparently a veteran, whooped and hollered as the bikes cruised by and took a lot of photographs too.
 Colorful bikes from North Carolina.
Not all the bikes were big rigs or colorful but the riders all wanted to be there and many brought  a friend to ride pillion.
 Some larger groups rode in a somewhat orderly formation.
 Some rode alone and were clearly delighted to be there on this hot, steamy day with a great and friendly crowd watching.
 Some were very serious as they rode by.
 And some had driven from far away like these ones from Texas.
 Not all the veterans were on a motor cycle.
 Check out this one. Look closely and see the license plate indicates that passenger in the trailer is there routinely. (DOG9)
 Large numbers of riders had come from North Carolina so I'm including this shot overlooking the World War II Memorial.
 Thunder storms threatened to spoil the day but thankfully did not eventuate.
 The ride had begun in the parking lots at the Pentagon just across the river in Virginia, crossed over the Arlington Memorial Bridge, up Constitution Ave and across in front of the Capitol then back down Independence Ave, round the top of the tidal basin and on to end in West Potomac Park. It took  over four hours for all to pass by. Those who parked their bikes there at the end could walk over to the Lincoln Memorial to meet and greet friends and visit the war memorials in the vicinity.
Many chose to finish out the experience by going down to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial which honors those servicemen and women who fought in the Vietnam war. Names inscribed on the wall are those who died and those who remain missing in action.

On each Memorial Day we should take quiet time to honor all those who put on a uniform, went to war to fight for the freedom of those at home and died doing that duty.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Walking Through Springtime

 Let's follow the example of these waterfowl and take a walk through the late April- early May springtime. For Easter we went to visit family in PA and had a lovely walk around the St Vincent Lake and Ponds in Latrobe. What do you think of that black duck? Any idea of it's breed?
 In the ponds we found many nesting pairs of geese. While one sat on the nest the mate was always very close by keeping an eye out for intruders.
 Back home in VA the beautiful native dogwood in our backyard were at their finest on Easter Day when we arrived home.
 The bleeding heart was pretty wonderful this year also. I don't always remember to check this area of the garden but when a friend put up a photo on instagram of  her similar plant it reminded me to check mine.
 This was a surprise as we drove down the hill heading home on our return from PA. The lilac in the front garden was out in full bloom. This particular shrub had been somewhat of a dud for many springs now with only one or two blossoms right on top where they could not be seen. In 2017 we gave it a severe pruning and last year there were few blooms but this year, oh my, lots of bloom and fragrance.
 Where shall we look next? East or west?
 Staying back in the east I made a quick visit to Meadowlark Gardens again yesterday right after a 10 minute heavy rainfall around 4.30pm. But the sun came out again and I thought crowds would be light so I braved the rush-hour traffic and headed out. When I first arrived I thought there must be a wedding party there...until I noticed that all the "bridesmaids" were dressed differently. That's when the penny dropped and I thought "prom time". Fortunately for me they all stayed at the top of the hill to take their photos while I went down to the lake, the peony gardens and more. If you look back to my blog post of April 7 you'll see this lake looking quite different as it was then in prime cherry blossom season. But for now the only splash of color aside from all that green, is in those big orange fish in the foreground
 Strolling on there were pockets of beauty to be found around every corner. In addition to the flowers the variety of foliage colors adds to the spectacular spring display.
 I must remember to return when the water lilies bloom. For now though the occasional flag iris provide a spot of color.
 Just settle in and enjoy the view. No need to say anything.
 Unless you want to sigh over the great color combinations here in the planter bowl
 or outside the front entrance. That downpour had washed everything clean and made the colors light up.
Let's end this springtime walk with the clematis outside the dining room window. I was not the only one enjoying it a few days ago as you can see.

What's next in the garden you might wonder? Gee, the weeds are back bigtime again after some rain but I'm not going to show you those. But maybe some peonies...come back soon to find out.