Friday, August 25, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: Awe and Awful (times three)

Home alone (at the lake) for a bit. It has its pluses and minuses. First thing on the plus side, I captured Lizzie unaware and so an early departure was successful. As I mentioned to some of you, I could practically hear her go "Curses! Foiled again!" The minus? The weather is awful!

As I was headed to the lake, I listened to an interesting interview on NPR's "On Point" series about awe, and how wonderful it is to incorporate into our lives. They discussed the idea of awe and how it is different for everyone. Viewers had phoned in their "awe" experiences" and it got me thinking about some of mine. In no particular order, here are a few of them.

Sainte Chapelle

The first time I walked into this magnificent church, I came up from the basement area (the area where we entered and where the servants worshipped), climbing a steep, narrow winding staircase. When we got to the top, the world turned from dark, cement gray to technicolor. The tall windows were ablaze with color and I don't know that I'd ever seen anything so beautiful in my life. Awe.

That awe continued when we attended a concert there a few days later. This time we arrived before sunset, with the windows bright. But as the concert continued, the sun went down and the only light was the dim light from within. It equally inspired awe but in a quieter way.

The Lion King

I don't have a photo from the Lion King but to set the stage (pun only somewhat intended), I had been given a free ticket for a seat on the aisle when it came to our university. As the lights darkened, the music began with the primal call that begins "The Circle of Life." The stage grew hot and orange and soon the animal puppets entered from the wings. And then -- and then! The other "animals" came down the aisle -- an enormous elephant, dazzling white "birds." Awe. (You can see it for yourself here. The "elephant" comes up from the aisle at about 2:20.)


Leonardo's The Madonna and Saint Anne

I had graduated from college, an art history minor, and one of my favorite paintings from that course was Leonardo DaVinci's "The Madonna and Saint Anne," which is at the National Gallery in London. That fall, I had my first trip to that city and one of the must-see things was this "cartoon" or study for a painting. I couldn't stop staring at it -- right in front of me. I could have touched it. Awe. (I've seen it since. I still love it.)

Zion National Park

I'm pretty used to nature's beauty and by and large I am not in awe of it anymore. Well, not always. I think it's gorgeous, I appreciate it, but it's not quite the same as that "big gasp" awe moment. I thought the Grand Canyon and Yosemite were pretty amazing. But I didn't really feel awe; I felt somewhat removed from what was in front of me. But when Rick and I visited Zion National Park in Utah (quite by accident -- our plans to visit my cousin were canceled due to an illness), I was stopped in my tracks. We were walking a path and all around me everything was so big. And I was so small. The lighting was perfect. It was a stop-in-your-tracks moment. Awe.

Brice Canyon

I didn't hike in Brice Canyon, but Rick did. I had a book and waited at the car park. But I spent a lot of that time just staring at the magnificent landscape with its rocky pillars. And yes, with the first glance, awe.


Our First Grand

I had never held a baby before -- not one so freshly popped. Carson, our oldest grand, was born the night of the La La Land/Moonlight Oscars. (I never saw the Best Picture announcement till the next day!). We got the call to head to the hospital close to midnight and three hours later we were meeting our first grand -- and the smallest thing I have ever seen. Just holding him felt unbelievable. (And our similar intro to the second was just as sweet!) Awe.

Immersive Klimt in Paris

On our last trip to Paris we visited the Atelier des Lumineres to see the Gustav Klimt video experience. It remains to this day, my all-time favorite art experience. Non-stop projections of Klimt's work, moving from one to another seamlessly with a brilliant soundtrack. I wrote about it here with video. But here's a photo look. Awe.

 The Grand Illumination

In another serendipitous accident, Rick and I happened to be on Martha's Vineyard on the one weekend in the year where the Island hosts "The Grand Illumination." We had no idea what it was but everyone said we must go. So, off we went to Oak Bluffs' campground (a compound of many beautifully restored Victorian "cottages") and to the pavillion, where we first enjoyed one of those marvelous old-time singalongs with the songs you are born knowing (and haven't heard in decades). As darkness fell, the lights were dimmed and at a certain point the campground was illuminated with wonderful lanterns. 

The lanterns hung on porches, from rooftops, some displays elaborate, others simple. That moment they all came on at once -- Wow. Big awe. Actually, the whole evening was filled with awe -- a good thousand people or more singing together, the lights, walking around seeing all the homes. I wrote about it here. I'd love to go back.

Do you have moments of awe? A sighting in nature you never expected? Amazement at a work of art, music, or theatre? A personal moment? Be sure to include it in the comments.

And Now for the Awful

First, thanks for the comments on the art in the last post. Here are some close-ups to lighten up the recent frustrating (aka "awful") events of my recent days!

Awful Number One: As you know, I went home last week in part for doc appointments. Part of that exam was a routine chest X-ray. Yes, I've been coughing a lot this summer but no more than I would expect with my lung disease. Happily, I left town, crabby cat in tow and a few hours later at the lake the doc called. Yup. Pneumonia. They don't know yet the type of pneumonia, which affects the treatment and whether it is oral or IV. I did labs to figure that out and will hopefully know by Monday. Meanwhile, keep your fingers crossed. I don't really feel bad. But you don't mess with pneumonia!

Another awful -- awfully sad to me, anyway -- after thinking long and hard, Kate and I decided not to have art camp this year. It was a combination of things. She's tested negative as of this writing, but now I'm sick. And we were running out of time here at the lake between scheduled appointments and some weekend travel for me next month, along with travel for her as well. She's still really tired and weather gets a little dicey and cold which makes holding a brush a bit harder! All good reasons. All disappointing.

And the third awful? The weather. Here at the lake it's just a little gloomy (and actually the sun came out and it warmed up later today). But last night at home, Lansing had a terrible storm -- 80 mile winds, tons of rain and lightning and even a tornado in a neighboring town. The photos on my FB feed are terrible -- so many trees and power lines down and several dead.  Almost everyone I know is without power and many have downed trees. Another friend was in the tornado path. They are OK but property is a mess. My house? I probably have water in the basement but nothing I can do for it from here. My neighbor said our street has power.

I leave you with Harry North. He and the other Harry often make the "awe" list!

 When you've gotta go, you've gotta go.

Sharing with:   Love Your Creativity    /   Encouraging Hearts and Home  


Yvonne said...

I'm so sorry for your awful moments, but take care with the pneumonia. I had it once, and had to follow the doctors instructions to the letter to keep myself out of the hospital. I love that snowy night with the trees painting. You've had quite a few awe moments in your life to look back upon. I traveled through Brice Canyon at night :( but we did drive through Capital Reef National Park during the daytime, and it was simular to your photo.

DeniseinVA said...

So many events to be in awe of Jeanie , and oh my word, the most being your sweet grand. Adorable photo! I am going to have to come back again to take another look. Happy weekend!

roentare said...

The stained glass in church is so colourful. The Zion landscape is incredible. Congratulations on the first gran!

Tracy said...

I have just looked at your original post from when you visited Martha's Vineyard. Wow! That really is an exquisite community event and looks such fun. Take care of yourself - a dose of pneumonia is not a good way to end the summer. I hope your doctor can send it packing, pronto!

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Loved seeing and hearing about your Awe experiences, Jeanie! I have been fortunate to have many of those same and share the joy. Awe moments visit me often and usually involve nature or music.
I do hope you recover from pneumonia ASAP! Take care.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

This is going to sound corny as hell but it is no less true. I experience awe every single day, without exception. If I walk out the door this morning and there is a bee on the cup plant that’s already my first shot of awe for the day. And it just keeps happening. Miriam just came downstairs, and that’s pretty awesome too, corny as that may be, but it’s true. Awful? It happens but I don’t dwell on it so I can’t come up with something right now.

Mae Travels said...

Your moments of awe make a wonderful essay. I enjoyed reading about them and remembering the ones for which I share memories, such as La Sainte Chapelle and Zion N.P. I think the awe is somewhat disrupted if the baby is yours (i.e. you just gave birth). At least that is how I remember it.
best… mae at

Marilyn Miller said...

Wow! Jeanie! What emotions just reading this post of both up's and down's. So sorry for the bad storm and pneumonia too. Then sorry you couldn't have your annual art camp. Oh, I do remember your post on the lanterns. I wanted to go there immediately. And I remember your post on Gustav Klimt and again I wanted to go. Just the smell of a newborn and getting to hold them in your arms the first time is precious beyond words. Nature and art always touches my heart too. There is nothing like a live show and Lion King would have been amazing. St.Chapelle is one of my awe's too and the concert just sublime. What a fun post to think about.

For me nature often gives me pause and awe. Driving over the mountains and then the first glimpse of the ocean always gives me awe. Seeing my newborn grandson for the first time and also getting to hold him in my arms was precious. Now I will be thinking and remembering more times of "awe". Thanks!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,
What a great theme for your post, I enjoyed all your AWE moments.
I loved Bryce and Zion national parks. It is like walking around a fairyland on the trails in Bryce. Love your fish and tree art work! Sending you well wishes and healing prayers, pneumonia can be scary. Take care, have a happy weekend.

My name is Erika. said...

I don't think your awful are awful Jeanie, but the best thing is we all get to pick and chose. I actually quite like that snowfall painting and think it's one of your better ones. But to each our own-right? I remember going to Bryce Canyon. I was wondering what the fuss was about and then we stopped at the hoodoo's and that was an awe moment. I like to find awe moments. They really become memorable. Nice post, and nice theme to it also. Enjoy your lake time. hugs-Erika

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Interesting things on your 'awe' list. My top two - watching the wolves play at dawn in Yellowstone park, and the magnificence of Notre Dame in Paris before it burned. Hope your weather improves!

La Table De Nana said...

I have Awe and awfuls too..So happy the awes soothe the awfuls:) I don't get people that don't awe.And I have met many.
Take care!

Valerie-Jael said...

Lovely post today, and I can see what you meant about my
African journal page! There are so many things which fill me with awe, too many to relate here. But sunrise, sunset, beautiful churches, music which moves me, rainbows - just little things, but they are priceless. And yes, holding a new born baby is a wonderful experience, I cried buckets when I held my baby for the first time, I was so happy!
I hope your pneumonia will go away soon, don't let it get chronic. Be good and take all your tablets! Hugs, Vslerie
Have you heard from Rick?

Anonymous said...

Your awes are awesome. Just gorgeous so sorry that you have some awful’s in there. Hope all is well.

Anvilcloud said...

I am impressed by people who can follow a theme like you have, weaving in different elements from different times. I pretty well have to blog about one thing that is happening at the moment.

DUTA said...

My list of Awe moments is quite long. I'll mention but a few:
at the Dead Sea (before it got invaded by hotels), at the Wailing Wall (Jerusalem), The Loch Ness lake in Scotland (the 90 year old mysterY of the lochness monster is again in the news; a new exploration of the lake); Spinalonga islet in Crete - former leper colony ; the Kremlin, The Novovodevici Moscow cemetery.

Steve Reed said...

Moments of awe. I'll have to think about that one. Some of North America's national parks could make the cut -- Glacier, Banff. Sunset in the Ivory Coast. Snorkeling in Madagascar. Lots of travel-related awe!

I didn't hear about those Michigan storms -- I was just reading your blog to Dave, whose parents live near Detroit. We'll give them a call.

Fundy Blue said...

What an awesome post, Jeanie! I really enjoyed hearing about your moments of awe. I'm sorry about the awful, though. I've had pneumonia a number of times, and it's really important for you to rest and take care of yourself. I hope that when you arrive home you find no water in your basement or damage to your house. I remember your art camp post from last year, and it's sad that you can't have it this year. I've had a number of awe-inspiring moments connected with the night sky: the magnificent Milky Way so brilliant in sky in my grandmother's back yard when I was a child, the first time I saw the northern lights up north in Lansdowne House, the first time I heard the northern lights crackling and buzzing in Lac Seul, a star party I attended on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where I saw the moons of Jupiter ~ I could go on, because I love the stars. I think I'll stop here, because I'm going to do a blog post on it! I love your idea so much! I hope you don't mind! Hugs to you! Get well soon.

Fundy Blue said...

buy, I love your trees against a dark blue sky!

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

I felt in awe looking at everything you shared! Now, you have me thinking that maybe I should make my own list- Love the idea! and very cute how you also did a little awe-fun

Pat said...

Nice lovely (awe) moments. Interesting but the awful moments were sad. I saw some pictures of damage (Rice property) but didn’t hear much else. Being in Georgia no news, only on FB Where was the hardest area hit? Sorry lives were lost😥.
Sad to hear you are battling pneumonia again. Hope you get better quickly ❤️. Heal fast. Glad you have Lizzie for company.
Take care of you🥰❤️

Mary Rose's said...

Oh my Jeanie!
You've written some truly awamzing, thoughtful, beautiful blogposts in the past but this one on Awe is spectacular. Thank you a million times for sharing such moments with us and encouraging us to lift up our eyes, open our hearts.

(Okay, so this old lady has never seen LION KING before, and is wiping away tears as she writes this.)

I share your desolation at the pneumonia diagnosis, art camp cancellation, and a freakin' tornado in Lansing, for cryin' out loud. Any one of those would have been enough. The

You are due for a fresh wave of awe and happiness, my friend. Hang on.

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

I think we all have awe and awful moments in our lives. I have visited Zion and Bryce Canyon. They are spectacular. Holding your first child, grandchild and great-grandchild is pretty awesome. So sorry you have pneumonia, wishing you a speedy recovery.

Bill said...

Wonderful examples of awe. The stained glass is incredible and beautiful. One if my awe moments was being in Denali National Park and seeing the mountain up close. Great post, Jeanie and have a nice weekend.

Joanne Huffman said...

Boo on crappy weather, pneumonia, and no art camp! I enjoyed your moments of awe - the moment of awe the first comes to mind is in 1966, I was outside of Florence, Italy, sitting on a hillside, watching a beautiful sunset. As it darkened, I could not distinguish a border between the stars and the lights of Florence; they merged into each others. It was truly awesome and is engraved in my memory.

Red Rose Alley said...

Jeanie, first, I'm so sorry to hear of the terrible storm that caused damage and even death, that's terrible. Also, so sorry you have pneumonia, that's not good. I hope you get the proper treatment and feel better soon. Thanks for sharing some of your "awe" moments with us. That painting is beautiful, and did you know that Mary's Mother's name was Anne? The first grand is certainly an awe moment, and I will be having an awe moment soon when Jess' baby is born. The stage and costumes at The Lion King were very cool. So many colors swirling around the theatre. Those lanterns are beautiful also. I love when lights are lit up, and I can see why you were in awe of them.

Take care, Jeanie, and feel better. : )


shoreacres said...

I have a somewhat different view of awe; I understand it as unpredictable, uncommon (if not rare) and fleeting. Unlike NPR, I don't believe 'awe' can be incorporated into our lives, like an exercise routine or new diet. If it comes, it only can be celebrated, and then remembered. That's not to say we can't live with the sort of receptive and open attitudes that make such experiences available to us, and your examples are splendid.

As for the awful -- goodness me.The health issues would have been enough, but adding the storm on top is the proverbial insult to injury. It's good to know you have power. Would the storm have affected Rick's extended ride? I always worry about him a bit when he takes off like that. Of course, there are ways for a bicyclist to get out of bad weather, but still: that would be no fun at all.

Good luck on Monday. I'll hope for pills, and an early recovery!

acorn hollow said...

I am so sorry about your pneumonia I hope you get the meds soon.
Sorry about the canceled art class but best to be safe than sorry
Boy oh boy do you have awe things to inspire you.

Linda Sue said...

the seriousness of pneumonia is one to be reckoned with! SERIOUSLY!
In Mom-mode- get plenty of rest and sleep as much as you can. Nip it in the bud!
This post has me going all over the place, in AWE!!

Pam said... have been busy. Holding babes are so nice when they are not crying. They cry, I give back to their moms! Used to I was the one that rocked them and calmed them down, not anymore. Thank you for the thoughts of wanting me well. I want that also! lol.....Nope, COVID did not cause my stone. My stone has been around since 2016. Started out as the size of a pin head, the doc and I thought at some point it would move from the kidney. YIKES.....I forgot about and I did not pass it, it started to grow. It is way to big to move out on its own so surgery is it. Next time, if ever, I need to remember these things are going on and keep an eye on th growth.

Rita C at Panoply said...

Ugh, Jeanie, I hate to hear you have pneumonia. Is that the 2nd time this year, or was it bronchitis before? We had a crazy storm yesterday which dumped 2.5" rain in less than 30 minutes. Totally NOT on the weather people's forecast.
Thank goodness for awe in our lives. We just have to recognize it. We love Bryce.

Karen said...

I heard that NPR program about AWE. It was an inspiring program!
Weather has been rather grey here too, though the sun poked out for a visit late afternoon. The nights sure are getting nippy though. I'll be dragging the lemon trees indoors at night now.

Sami said...

So sorry to hear about your pneumonia Jeanie, rest a lot and take your meds.
It's sad you will be missing your Art Camp, I know how much you enjoy them.
I had never thought of awe moments, but I've had many mostly related to my travels, but a simple one would be a beautiful red and purple sky at sunset!
Take care Jeanie.

Jenn Jilks said...

I am so sorry for your awful moments. Being ill is terrible.
I really enjoyed your awesome moments. Terrific idea for a topic!

Jim and Barb's Adventures said...

I am with you on the churches and Zion. We have never been to Bryce but hear it too is beautiful!

Pam Richardson said...

I am sorry about the hard moments, Jeanie. Pneumonia is terrible, take care of yourself, friend. The awe moments are fabulous!

Debra@CommonGround said...

This is an "awe"mazing post, Jeanie. You've traveled so much and had so many fabulous trips and wonderful experiences. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Carol @ The Red Painted Cottage said...

Jeanie, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve got pneumonia! Please follow doctors order to the “T”, and get plenty of rest! We had tornadoes nearby and around us. One hit in our old neighborhood. We never lost power, but we did lose our internet. Apparently we were the only one in our condos, so Monday morning they’re supposed to send out a technician. Thank goodness we have it at our cottage. Unfortunately, one of our neighbors at the cottage, her son lives on a busy road and the time of all the tornadoes, there was a collision in front of his house and he saw the bodies of a mother, her one year old and three year old. He been really traumatized from these images. I love your awes! The only one that comes to my mind right away was seeing the Northern Lights while camping on the shores of Lake Michigan in Pentwater. We were both mesmerized by it! A lot of my awes have been with nature. P.S. I hope Rick is safe, wherever he is.

Jenny Woolf said...

What a shame you had to cancel the art camp. I loved your idea of thinking about things that fill you with awe. I am often in awe of landscapes and natural features, a beautiful valley, for instance. Or if I am lying flat on the ground with a loop, looking at the tiny landscape there. I was awed by a remote old temple in Japan whose stones almost seemed to speak. The last sense of awe I had was in Ireland at what seemed like a huge embroidery all over the rocks of seaweeds and shells in all kinds of patterns.

Lowcarb team member said...

So sorry to read about your awful moments, hope you recover soon from pneumonia.

But a joy to read and see your awe moments.

Take care, sending lots of good, and healing, wishes.

All the best Jan

Ricki Treleaven said...

I'm sorry you're sick, and I hope you feel better soon. I enjoyed your awe-inspiring post!

Prims By The Water said...

Hope you feel better soon. I would have been in awe entering that church too! Magnificent stained glass. Janice

Sherry's Pickings said...

oh dear hope you feel better soon. Yes awe and gratitude are so important to reflect on each day.

Veronica Lee said...

Congrats on the first gran!
I enjoyed reading about your Awe moments.
Sorry to hear about the storm and pneumonia.

Hope you feel better soon, Jeanie.

Hugs and blessings

Nancy said...

I'm so sorry for your pneumonia Hopefully you can get the correct meds very soon! As for the weather... Ugh!
But I will say your awes were tremendous! It's the awes that keep us going!
Feel better sweet friend!

roughterrain crane said...

Thank you for showing the beautiful lanterns.
The fishes are stunning.

R's Rue said...

Feel better. I thought of you when i heard of your awful weather. Glad you’re okay. Love to you.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Your awe moments are filled with immersion in a visual, sometimes auditory experience. I loved all of them. Klimt is a painter who calls to me with his intimate and colorful people.

Linda P said...

Wonderful images. Uplifting and pleasing to have such memories. I hope you feel better soon.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I hope your labs come back today so you can get on the right drugs! I am so sorry to hear about the pneumonia dx! :( Your other woes are not good, either. I feared we would have strong storms last week when we had such ridiculous high temps/humidity. But nothing came about.

Your awe list is wonderful, though. I definitely had some awe moments on my trip to Banff, especially when we went to Lake Louise! Seeing the Eiffel Tower light up while on a boat ride on the Seine was another awe moment!!

Divers and Sundry said...

I encourage awe even in the little things, but your photos are definitely awe-inspiring :)

But pneumonia! Scary :( I hope you get it treated soon and recover quickly {hug}

Iris Flavia said...

Thank you, Jeanie, this was truly "awe" some. It makes one feel humble.
Fingers and toes crossed you feel better soon!
And that you can make up for the missed event, if only private....
Weather. Just yesterday they showed horrible scenes of a village in Bavaria in the news. Hail, big as fists, so much destruction and then too much water on top. Nature strikes back. Hope you have a dry cellar - Ingo´s apartment back then drowned twice - the smell... apart from all the work and loss...
To Harry/Harries!

gigi-hawaii said...

Take care of that pneumonia. My cousin had 8 bouts of it and had 1/3 of his lung removed because of it. Love your pictures of the stained glass accompanied by music. That would be awesome for me, too. I loved seeing my children being born. The Circle of Life keeps going.

Barb said...

I love your awe moments, Jeanie. I have a few similar ones. I hate hearing that you have pneumonia. I hope you can heal with oral meds. We've been having "weather" here at high altitude too. Last night we thought lightning had struck the house - the thunder clap felt like it was right over us. We're always worried about wildfire with lightning strikes, but luckily we also got copious amounts of rain/hail. Feel better soon!

Joanne said...

I hope your pneumonia doesn't get any worse before they can get you on the right path for treatment! I wouldn't have been able to come up with nearly as many awe moments until I had read your list and it jogged my memory. Standing in Notre Dame cathedral, seeing the Mona Lisa in person, the birth of my babies, etc.

Danielle L Zecher said...

Oh, no! I hope your pneumonia clears up soon and you don't start feeling bad from it. And I hope you don't need IV meds for it. I hate needles.

It's interesting to think about the difference between being highly impressed and being in awe. Hmm, I think things that inspire awe for me include:

The show Cats. I've seen it twice now, once as a child and once in April of this year. Everything from the dancing, to the music, to the costuming, to the way people manage to project cats so well leaves me in awe. I think I'd feel the same way even if I got to see it every year.

The ocean. My aunt has said if you're born at the beach (which I was) the ocean is in your blood, and maybe that's true. We go every year, and every year, that first time on the beach leaves me in awe.

That's all I can think of for now. said...

I so enjoyed this post Jeanie, you have had some amazing AWE moments! Stunning photos! As for the awful, so sorry about your illness and the damaging storm~ and I know you're disappointed about not doing art camp too...please take care~

anno said...

What a great post, Jeanie -- there's so much here to absorb, lots to respond to. Wouldn't mind chatting about all of this over a cup of coffee (or an enchilada!).... I'm so sorry to hear about the pneumonia and the canceled art camp (any chance of rescheduling it as an autumn retreat?). And the weather, too. Honestly, between a chilly start, Canadian smoke, and a series of devastating storms, the easy buoyancy I expect to find in summer has never really materialized. Best wishes to your friend whose home was damaged in the latest storm -- good luck with your basement.

Important, then, to hold onto those moments of awe you mentioned. Seeing all those lanterns lighting up all at once on Martha's Vineyard sounds breathtaking as does that Gustav Klimt experience. Babies? Well, of course. (And maybe especially for the grandparents.) Hope you're feeling that again when Rick returns home -- what magic is there in these people who knows us well and keep coming back!

Hope you quickly recover from the pneumonia, and looking forward to enjoying company again soon!

Anca said...

I loved the pictures. I'm sorry to hear about your house and the nearby destruction. It's so sad. I hope you will recover soon. Sending virtual hugs. xx

William Kendall said...

Harry looks stoic.

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