Ode to Joy
By Gillian Clarke
to the long midsummer days,
to the light lost by the minute,
sing, and sing the dark away.
In the park the lovers listen,
blackbird's last song of the day.
Bats are scribbling verse on twilight.
Owls are calling, Kyrie.
Soon a gathering of swallows,
like a stanza on a wire,
voices rising in crescendo,
in hall and stadium and choir.
In the theatre of summer
stars ascending in their arc,
company and conversation.
Sing, and sing away the dark!
From Poems on the Underground.
Adam had a checkup at the orthodontist on Wednesday morning to make sure the retainers are doing what they're supposed to, which apparently they are. I had a conversation about colleges with the orthodontist, peered in a couple of stores, and stopped in Trader Joe's for necessities like hummus, almonds, and mochi ice cream. Adam and I both worked on photos in the afternoon -- we have both taken many of the baby bird and were sorting and cropping them. He had downloaded a scenery modeling program, Terragen, and was creating landscapes with it, plus he figured out how to take a photo of himself beating himself up using layer masks to merge images. Daniel was working on a power supply for his summer project and defragmenting his computer.
We tried to visit the bird twice in the late afternoon and evening, but we kept missing Rose, though Adam's friend tells us the bird was flying in her living room. Paul made black bean chili for dinner, after which we watched Van Gogh: Painted with Words, which a Sherlock fan had passed on because it stars Benedict Cumberbatch. I liked him vastly better as Van Gogh, and I learned a great deal from the documentary -- I had a very incomplete knowledge about Van Gogh's religious background and I loved the portrayal of his relationships with Sien Hoornik and Paul Gauguin. We also watched Human Spark on PBS, the episodes "Becoming Us" and "Brain Matters," in which Alan Alda tries to understand how we differ from Neanderthals and which parts of our brains interpret symbols and emotions...interesting but lots of repetition of the idea of "human spark" so that if felt heavy-handed and a bit defensive!
Here are some more photos of Agecroft Hall, the Tudor manor house transported from Lancashire, England to Richmond, Virginia.
This enormous window, which bears both the Dauntesey coat of arms and the last Langley owner's initials, was transported intact across the Atlantic.
Now the house overlooks the James River...
...and is the summer home of the Richmond Shakespeare Festival. The sign directs visitors to the box office, restrooms, and London, which is a bit further away.
The original wooden gate has a smaller door built into it so that unwelcome visitors can easily be slammed out.
Certain additions were necessary to meet Virginia building codes, such as drains and fire extinguishers. Mrs. T.C. Williams insisted on radiators inside the house but hid them behind oak panels.
Here's a closer view of some of the windows and an impressive spiderweb near the gift shop. We weren't allowed to take photos inside the house, but there are some photos on the web site.
The house is much smaller than it was on the banks of the Irwell River, but it has gardens and antiques from the era in which it was built and shortly afterward.