After dinner this evening I picked up an MK Newsletter that had arrived this weekend and started flipping through. Once I had read only a few of the items in one rather lengthy article, I started chuckling. Then, since Lou had looked up from his own readings, and seemed curious enough—and since we were all still lingering there around the table—I began to read out loud. But suddenly, unexpectedly, my laughter had turned to tears. Here are a few of the truisms that stuck out to me: some because of how true they are to my own experience, some simply because they made me laugh, and some because they are as beautiful as the land about which they are written:
“You know you are from Africa when . . .”
• No running water for a day is just another ordinary thing.
• It doesn’t seem right to pay the asking price on anything without bargaining first.
• Someone asks you how much your sister costs.
• You miss rain on a corrugated iron roof where it’s so loud you have to shout to be heard.
• You visit your grandparents and take your passport—just in case you have to evacuate.
• American corn isn’t hard enough for you.
• You expect people to tell you they’re fine before you ask them.
• As a girl, you’ve been proposed to while walking down the street.
• You can lead a 20-minute conversation starting with “Walleponaua!” and keep it going by replying “ehh” in numerous different tone levels for the next half an hour! (and have the other person understand exactly what you’re saying!)
• Something that would normally take half and hour in the Western world takes a few days or weeks.
• Your journey is interrupted by herds of cows and goats on the road.
• You can smell the rain before it comes.
• The only thing you throw away are avocado stones, and even then you wonder if you should save them and plant a tree.
• You know that an umbrella is useless during the rainy season and simply accept the fact that you’ll be wet for 3 months . . . and really don’t mind.
• Your bed doesn’t seem right without a mosquito net.
• Tears well up in your eyes as you read this list, wishing you were back in Africa.

[adapted from “I’d rather be in Africa” ]


When I first spotted this fuzzy family, huddled together, mother sheltering little ones, I kicked myself for not having my camera on me. It being first thing in the morning, I assumed that they would be long gone by the time I returned. So later, around midday, when I came back with my camera . . . just in case . . . I was thrilled to find them still out, still braving the cold of the rain and wind. And I cheered them on in their lonely trek out towards the middle of the lake :-)

Well tonight, at least, he clearly had places to go . . . chicks to see [?]. So I stopped my car and let him cross. Then I got out, Lauryn Hill still grooving out my car stereo, and snapped this shot of him. I mean, who wouldn’t pass up the chance to document the real-life happening of such an age-old, burning question? :-)

no hare there

April 30, 2010

It was a delightfully different day today than it was yesterday–snow turned to sunshine. So taking advantage of the evening light while dining with a friend, we walked out to her backyard where I had been admiring the shed. I chuckled at the name of it, upon which she mentioned that it was falling down . . . I was slightly embarrassed to admit that I actually thought it was intended to be slanted like that :-) Either way, the effect is all quite picturesque, even though it no longer houses its original, intended inhabitants. And I did like her choice of a paint job for the barn–what rabbit wouldn’t be proud to be raised in a pink and purple abode?

Having been on a significantly long road trip for the past 3 days, I have had a slight bit more time than usual to “smell the flowers” along the way. To be more precise, however, I have been “watching the trees.” For some reason, I have never before taken such notice of the Springtime Colours. Fall, for sure: that season is a given for me, so far as being awed by nature’s colours. But this year, I see so many varieties of green that I have ended up pointing constantly to name a new hue that appears. No doubt Mel has had enough of it and is ready to be out of a car with me :-) Finally today I requested a stop to take a few photos of them, so here is the resulting pick–not particularly exciting so far as photo ops go, but hopefully it illustrates a little bit of what I’ve been seeing . . .

mystery plants?

April 20, 2010

When I caught a glimpse of these little curiosities the other day, I knew I would be returning with my camera. After doing so, today, I mentioned my intriguing photo subject to my friend, showing her the picture. I should have expected as much, considering how knowledgeable she is about all things local–but I still found myself duly impressed when she spouted off the name and spoke of what folks do with them . . .
And so I ask you all: anyone out there in blog-land know
1. What the common name is? and
2. What can be done with them?
The first correct responder just might win a prize :-)

the professional angle

April 18, 2010

It wasn’t until right before I left today’s Spring Fair that I realized I had a young sidekick. As I was crooning to the corn snake draped upon my arm, this little fellow, in a noticeably adult-like tone, asked me if I was a photographer. Looking down, I recognized him as the same youngster who had looked on at another child’s artwork when I was snapping photos of him and his father, engrossed in the task of painting a fabric grocery bag. At the time I assumed he was just another child enjoying the artwork activities. But when he appeared by my side minutes later . . . and again shortly thereafter, I figured I must have captured his interest.
Realizing this, I quickly clarified my initial response that yes, I was somewhat of a photographer: Mind you, I added, this is not really professional work, to be holding my Nikon in one hand as I snap a shot of the snake holding the other: but sometimes, you just do what the moment requires :-)

tulips, take 2

April 13, 2010

After my last post, one faithful blog follower kindly made a request . . . asking for a follow-up photo of those tulips once they were fully bloomed. Well, here at Full of Grace, we aim to please :-) With the near-blinding intensity of the hues, I was tempted to, of all things, mute the colour. But I thought better of that and, instead, decided to give you the pure, “unadulterated” photo. So here they are: Mom’s tulips, fully a-bloom. Do you doubt my word as to her “greenest thumb?”

the greenest thumb

April 11, 2010

As I prepared to leave her house this evening, my mother looked up from her Sunday School lesson planning, peered over her reading glasses, and reminded me, “You really should look at those tulips as you head out.” I have learned the lesson, many times over, to do what mom says, even when she says it in the most off-handedly distracted sort of way. So I sidestepped into the garden and poked around until I found this little gem . . . and then I ran back into the house to thank mom for being so motherishly all-knowing. And thankfully, I had my camera to capture its rosy twilight glow.

by any other name

April 9, 2010

Ever since they bloomed, about a week ago, I have been intrigued by these oddly-hued blossoms in my mother’s garden. They are not the sort of flower I would normally swoon over but I just kept returning to look for new shades [white, lavender, even pale green among the current ones]. So tonight I finally thought to ask her what kind they were. Her response made me smile to myself, amused at my own mental workings, as I suddenly realized the true reason for my interest: it is their name. Lenten Rose. It is a striking sort of name, befitting a strikingly homely sort of bloom . . . and I think I have fallen for its unassuming loveliness :-)