Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Christmas Cactus


A glorious bloom worth waiting for.

This cactus lived outside all summer. I watered it against the drought. It seemed to thrive in the dry heat. It began to show some buds which is odd. I had thought it wouldn't bloom until it had been through a dry and dark four weeks followed by light and watering.

I have counted forty-five buds and blossoms on this Zygocactus plant. Unlike a cactus, this plant produces no prickles or spines.

The white booms are elegant. The buds are long and fat and then gradually fold petals back like fairy wings until the stigma and stamens are revealed. I love how the magenta color edges the opening in the flower.

The blooms almost appear to be flying free of the plant, like little white birds, only attached by a light green stem.  This is how the "zygo" gets in the name. The blooms sprout from the ends of the leaves which support them. "Zygo" means yoke or joining.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Poems

This poem won an award at a writer's Conference:

Of a Summer Morning
By Elece Hollis

Out in the field where the meadowlark goes,
Red Paintbrushes stand on the tips of their toes.
Butterflies—yellow ones, white, orange, and black
Weave melodies over the grasses and back.

Out in the woods where the tanager sings,
Luna moth travels on gossamer wings.
Timid mouse peeps from his leafy retreat
Looking for wild winterberries to eat.

Down by the swift river’s warm sandy shore,
Sandpipers skitter about to explore.
Water bugs dart across sparkling blue
Where sunlight reflects the sky’s silvery hue.

Deep in the forest’s cool shadowy rooms,
Mosses cling staunchly to fallen tree tombs.
Gray squirrels hold conference on nutting technique
With Jack-in-his-pulpit preparing to speak.

Out in the pasture where cows gentle graze,
White egrets stalk silently through summer days.
Grasshoppers balance—on hot grasses sway
To the melodies blackbirds and barbed wire play.

The following  was not intended to become a poem but was composed of lines
I had written to go with a batch of photographs I took and was posting.
It was published in Life Notes this week with editor Cheryl Barker .

Cicada Days
by Elece Hollis

The sun is bright and harsh in the 
Oklahoma sky.
The grasses sway in the heat.
The first leaves dry and float to the ground.
The cicadas thrum and throb.
The trees struggle to provide shade.
Everything metal is too hot to touch.
The pecans begin to dry and their hulls brown and split.
Dragonflies spin and swoop and rest on dry grass stems.
Children swelter until their sweet faces flush rosy.
Little girls go barefoot. Lazy dogs rest in the shade.
Children go swimming in the early morning.
We watch the apples ripen.  
Spiders set up webs in broad daylight.
Butterflies flutter across the yard. Cicadas buzz and drone.
Thistle blooms. Last nasturtiums fade.
Farmers line up huge rounds of hay.
The sky is stark blue.
Follow the barbed wire to fall.

 This poem was published this month in the FCW ReadyWriter as 
a "writing to inspire lesson," by poet writer James Tate.

By Elece Hollis

Sunlight filters down
Through the branches
 of towering trees
to the woodland floor.
A few leaves cling tenaciously
 to the branches.
 The wind pulls at them. 
Their shadows dance
 in ever-changing patterns
 on the narrow winding path.
 Moss and low hardy shrubs
 hold fast to their places. 
Last night’s rain is trapped
 in the leafy layers
 making a spongy labyrinth
 for mice and beetles.
 A late butterfly flutters
 among the barren branches. 
A crow calls from the pine,
 “This is my wood,” he screeches.
 “Go away!”  
Despite his scolding,
 I do not find this a dreary place,
 although it is so different
from the early summer’s world.
 It is full of movement,
 sound, light and life.
 There is a healing here,
 a comforting sense of belonging.
 Lord, may my life be like
 these woods,
that those who encounter me
 may find peace, comfort, hope
 and the light
 of encouragement.

John 8:12
“Then spoke Jesus again unto them,
 saying, I am the light of the world:
 he that followeth me
shall not walk in darkness,
but shall have the light
of life.”

 The following is one of my favorite poems for late summer:

Dog Days

By Elece Hollis

The porch swing hangs heavy.
The potted plants sigh;
But none is so hot nor
So weary as I.

The music of crickets,
The buzz of the fly
Is droning unanswered
Tired and dry.

The sun on the garden
Has dried every leaf
The vines have all withered
Gone summer’s feast.

The Queen Anne has faded.
Is no longer white.
All life waits in stillness
For coolness of night.

We watch for the promise
Of color on trees,
Of pears and of pumpkins
To come with the ease,

Of cooler and wetter
Oh, welcome relief
From the dogs days of summer.
The satin cerise

Of summer’s late sunsets,
That guarantee all
The geese winging southward
God sending us fall.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Victorian Lady of Jenks, Oklahoma

This is the front of the Victorian Lady Bed and Breakfast where
Ron and I spent our anniversary celebration. It is in Jenks, a town just south of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Victorian Lady,  was a welcome retreat from the July heat.
 Well-kept flowerbeds cheered us as we were greeted by the proprietor, Deena Slass.
Inside she served us chocolate covered strawberries with dark chocolate. They were sumptuous.
And beautiful.
These lace curtains hung in the front bedroom.

Footboard of the bed in our room, a hope chest, and jewelry/photo box.

More Chocolate covered strawberries. ( My sister says Chocolate is not capitalized, but I beg to differ.)

An oil lamp over the dining table.
Decorative trim
A fine old clock
This piece was designed to hold nuts or fruit and the cones live flower blossoms.
Bed skirt of crocheted lace
Rocking chair fit for a queen
Lace bedspread

Headboard in another room.

This headboard was in the room we stayed in. I loved the wood floors, the paint color here and the wallpaper borders.
Coffee  service in candlelight
One of many paintings and art pieces with lovely old frames.
Blueberry Coffee cake is a favorite at this bed and breakfast.
Good to the last crumb.
Peach topped French toast was served for breakfast.
Plant in the kitchen some kind of violet.
Embroidered pedal covers on a parlor organ.
I loved this headboard and I love the blue walls.
Vases of peacock featheres were in many of the rooms.
Lots of Lace and artistry.
 Thanks to the Victorian Lady in Jenks for a wonderful visit.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Life of Roses

 Pink-Eyed Roses
 Fresh from the greenhouse. Bright and willful,
 Wrapped in buttery yellow parchment,
 Ready to please
 Soften with age in a few swift-passing days,
 Yet beautiful and joyful with life
 Begin to mellow, to lose intensity
 Unfurling, gradually losing their grip on life 
 Softly saying their farewells
 Holding still the fragrance of all they know
Fragile and sweet to the end.