Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Alligator in the Avocado

We see many alligator lizards around here and I've posted about these reptiles before.   This is the first time I have seen one in a tree.   It is a little hard to spot, but this alligator lizard has kind of wrapped itself on the limb of an avocado tree. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

July 4th -- America the Beautiful

In 1893, poet and Wellesley College professor, Katharine Bates, came west to teach summer school at Colorado College.   The young professor was inspired by her train trip from New England, a trek to the top of Pikes Peak and by the fertile expanse of this country.   She penned a poem that first appeared in the Congregationalist magazine to commemorate July 4, 1895.  Bates continued to revise the work and, in 1911, arrived at the  final version of the lyrics to America the Beautiful.

Bates continued writing and teaching and passed away in 1929.   After it was published, her poem was quickly put to music and became enormously popular across the country.   Through her life, the professor, gave free permission "hundreds and thousands" of times to  use her American the Beautiful lyrics.   Later in life, she reflected on her poem's enduring popularity.   She wrote that the “hold as it has upon our people, is clearly due to the fact that Americans are at heart idealists, with a fundamental faith in human brotherhood.

America the Beautiful 

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine!

O Beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!