Monthly Archives: February 2011

A Thing of Beauty: The Blossoming Jade Vine

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

— Wm. Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice

TO HIM who in the love of Nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware.

— William Cullen Bryant, Thanatopsis


Fully as beautiful, and unexpected, as mercy itself.

QUITE possibly, on temporary loan from the Heavens.

Side view of the Cottage, year before last

The flowering vine is as capricious as it is promiscuous in its beauty. Last year it chose one site to flower, directly over the coral chamber.  (Admittedly not a bad choice, at all, if its goal were to achieve maximum dramatic effect without all that trouble of taking shape, blooming, going back to nature, and so forth.)

Jade Vine over Coral Rock.

THIS year it’s going wild in the Mission backyard, meaning that our guests will have
to share the beauty.

Backyard, Mission.

This hurting world needs all the beauty it can find, to feel its light, healing touch.  These glorious blossoms, ever so fleeting and now in their full hour of glory, are for you.

Thank you.


A Beautiful Winter Afternoon, Impression.


Tuesday afternoon.  Florida’s brief winter days are a quiet glory.

IF I know of a single blessing, it is surely the Earth’s ancient, fragile and sustaining beauty.  All we need do is to seek it out and pay attention, and we are welcomed without condition to its great and good table.

Where al fresco remains fresh, daily.

HAVE you ever seen a jade vine plant in bloom? You might not believe your eyes.

But there it is!

Jade Vine (native to the Phillipines) in annual bloom, today.

AGAINST that promising backdrop of golden sunshine and blue sky, let’s throw in to the mix a one-of-a-kind, fanciful old Spanish house, just for good measure.  It’s awfully nice to have a comfortable place to lay one’s head down, to dream.  And to wake up in, to dream.

THEN, just because we can, let’s further fold in a little of Alan’s magic.  Wait. There’s a horse… up there!

Well, of course there is. 

Horses should fly, or at least so Humankind has dreamt for thousands of years.  Until such time as those fine creatures can take wing, brightening the day with their whimsy and illuminating gently the night, Alan has created this… vision.

WELCOME to the Mission.  We have dreamed for some time of your arrival here.  We have dreamed that you will come, for all kinds of reasons and from all over the world.  And you have.

Thank God, you have!

Thank you.

Alan chatting with our boy, Hoppers.