Previous month:
March 2009
Next month:
May 2009

Easter Poem

Seven Stanzas at Easter

By John Updike

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that — pierced — died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

Texas Roadtrip - Part 2. Texas Painted Churches

See here for Texas Roadtrip Part 1 - Wildflowers.

We used Brenham as our base to explore Washington County for wildflowers, and other interesting treats - like Texas BBQ. We decided to take a break from wildflowers, and drive south from Brenham to Schulenburg to photograph the famous painted churches of the area. These churches were decorated by German and Czech immigrants who were homesick for the Fatherland. We didn't see all of them - just four.

The first church we stopped at was at High Hill. Decorated in a traditional European way. This church was Kevin's favorite.


The second church we visited was a church at Praha which was decorated by Czech immigrants, and my favorite.
I loved the theme and I thought that the plants depicted looked American/ New World instead of European.



The third church was at Dubina. We didn't have access to this church like with the others- it was gated, and Kevin and I had to contort to get our photographs. Decoration was predominantly blue with a noticeable use of stencil. Restoration of this occurred in 1983 as the original decor was painted over.



The fourth church was located at Ammansville - predominantly pink with almost all stenciling


And lastly this old church which is not on the Painted Church tour needs an honorable mention... even in ruin, if you peeked through the broken door you can see evidence of a piano.


Texas Roadtrip - Part 1: Texas Wildflowers

Kevin and I decided that end of March/ beginning April would be a perfect time to do a roadtrip down to Texas to photograph the wildflowers that usually bloom around this time.


We drove from Denver south I-25 to Raton NM, and then entered Texas from NM. The wildflower region is quite far south. So we only ended up being situated in the wildflower area by the second night, after about 1,000 miles of driving. This year the best wildflowers were located in Washington County, and we found that Brenham TX made a good base camp. On the way down to Brenham watch out for the famous Czech Bakery at West. Be warned there are long lines and an extensive wait.

As we approached Brenham we saw more and more wildflowers on the side of the highway. Mainly bluebonnets (in fact bluebonnets was the predominant flower on our trip.) The highway has high speed limits posted so we felt really nervous about pulling off the road to do any extensive photography. We located a hotel - a very comfortable, reasonably newly opened La Quinta. We always use AAA discounts (10% on hotel rooms.) We were charged with discount $116 exclu taxes for a non smoking King for one night, and because of the Roundtop Antique Fair that was currently happening any other days would be $132.
We ended up spending 4 nights in Brenham.

The La Quinta had right next to it a number of large fields that were just covered in bluebonnets, with  occasional paintbrush and primrose.


Our MO for the next 4 days - was each day select an area and route and drive off with our photography gear for some shooting. We didn't necessarily spend every day shooting flowers. Often the light - especially at midday is just not real good for great photographs. We did have other things that we wanted to see - The Monastery Miniature Horses (located just north east of Brenham) and we wanted to see the famous painted churches located around Schulenburg. Kevin also wanted to sample world famous BBQ.

Day One:

First day we concentrated East/ NE of Brenham. Just east of Brenham is the quaint and picturesque hamlet of Chappel Hill. We found some great flowers - We took Farm Road 1155 North, and then took the Dairy Farm Road.


Stopped at Washington on the Brazos State Park [historic park]. We ended up as far as Navasota at "The Filling Station" for lunch. After lunch we traveled to the Whitehall region as Kevin had read on the internet of some really good fields there. We found some farmer's fields that did not disappoint.


After a thorough photo session we headed south toward Hempstead and then Bellville. We found a lovely field of daisies on the 159 just before Nelsonville. We pulled off into a private road (a no-no) and took photos. At Nelsonville we took Farm Road 2502. That route had lots of gorgeous flowers. We took the 109 back to Brenham. We decided to try an Italian restaurant in Downtown Brenham that was advertising extended hours due to the Round Top Antique Fair. So dinner was at Volare Italian Restaurant, 102 Ross Str Brenham TX 77833 Tel # 979 836 1514. Kevin had spaghetti with Italian sausage, and I tried their eggplant parmiggiano. I have a weakness for eggplant - especially when it is done well. This one was - eggplant was cooked perfectly. I could have done without the fettucine. Tiramisu was also quite good - light and fluffy. After dinner we ambled around the shops in historic downtown, then back to our hotel to photograph the wild flowers in the fields right next to the hotel.

Second Day of Wildflowers:

Kevin wanted to try  famous Texas BBQ. So we drove West to Elgin to have BBQ at the Southside MArket and BBQ. Flowers - Explored FM 1155 and Kruger Road and surrounding. Good blooms. Also back to Dairy Farm road for a second look.

Third Day of Wildflowers:

Met photographer Allen Rokach who was on assignment to shoot wildflowers. Recommended a spot quite close by where he had received permission to shoot. Great field - with flowers stretching to the horizon.


We swapped notes on good flower spots. We decided this would be the day to see the painted churches. See separate blog post about that. We ended up at Allen's spot to photograph the sunset, and hopefully get some backlit Indian Paintbrush, blue bonnets and primrose. On the other side of the farm road a group of curious cows watched our activities.


We ended up having some dinner with Allen when we met up with him at the hotel. We had a pleasant time talking photography and other things over a Corona and some warm food.

See separate Blog posts for painted churches, the Golden Cheeked Warbler, and Miniature Horses. 

Washington County seemed much more affluent than other counties we explored. In fact we joked about the cattle ranches there - the seemed more like cow parks - beautifully manicured parks for cows. Below - some unusual Belted Galloways.