Beijing, 20 March 2014

It’s the first day of Spring! The day of the vernal equinox! The moment in the year when, after a slow climb out of the short days and long nights of the winter solstice, night equals day. From now on, the days will get longer and the nights shorter, until the summer solstice in the month of June is reached and the cycle reverses.


And actually, apart from cold astronomical considerations, today in Beijing it really was a spring day! A beautiful, sunny spring day! When I walked out of the apartment building this morning, the sun shone out of a blue, unclouded sky, but there was a chill in the air. When I left the office as evening drew in, the sky was still an unclouded blue, but now there was a soft breath of warm air on my cheek. Verily, I felt like Boticelli’s Venus stepping off her shell, with the zephyrs blowing over me

birth of venus

although I will admit that she has a considerably better body than mine.

Humming quietly to myself, I made my way home, pausing for a moment under the willow trees on which the zephyr’s warm breath had worked its magic, covering the branches with a light green furze.

greening willows

Nature awakes from its winter sleep. Venus walks the land. Flora, goddess of flowers and Spring, follows in her wake.



Equinox: http://www.imd-corp.com/figures/ARIX0020.jpg [in http://www.imd-corp.com/formx_ind_display_flexible_getmethod.php?category=name&fname=%%5D
Birth of Venus: http://www.artble.com/imgs/9/b/3/416525/birth_of_venus.jpg [in http://www.artble.com/artists/sandro_botticelli/paintings/primavera%5D
Greening willows: my picture
Primavera: http://www.artble.com/imgs/6/c/a/616543/primavera.jpg [in http://www.artble.com/artists/sandro_botticelli/paintings/primavera%5D

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I like writing, but I’ve spent most of my life writing about things that don’t particularly interest me. Finally, as I neared the age of 60, I decided to change that. I wanted to write about things that interested me. What really interests me is beauty. So I’ve focused this blog on beautiful things. I could be writing about a formally beautiful object in a museum. But it could also be something sitting quietly on a shelf. Or it could be just a fleeting view that's caught my eye, or a momentary splash of colour-on-colour at the turn of the road. Or it could be a piece of music I've just heard. Or a piece of poetry. Or food. And I’m sure I’ve missed things. But I’ll also write about interesting things that I hear or read about. Isn't there a beauty about things pleasing to the mind? I started just writing, but my wife quickly persuaded me to include photos. I tried it and I liked it. So my posts are now a mix of words and pictures, most of which I find on the internet. What else about me? When I first started this blog, my wife and I lived in Beijing where I was head of the regional office of the UN Agency I worked for. So at the beginning I wrote a lot about things Chinese. Then we moved to Bangkok, where again I headed up my Agency's regional office. So for a period I wrote about Thailand and South-East Asia more generally. But we had lived in Austria for many years before moving to China, and anyway we both come from Europe my wife is Italian while I'm half English, half French - so I often write about things European. Now I'm retired and we've moved back to Europe, so I suppose I will be writing a lot more about the Old Continent, interspersed with posts we have gone to visit. What else? We have two grown children, who had already left the nest when we moved to China, but they still figure from time to time in my posts. I’ll let my readers figure out more about me from reading what I've written. As these readers will discover, I really like trees. So I chose a tree - an apple tree, painted by the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt - as my gravatar. And I chose Abellio as my name because he is the Celtic God of the apple tree. I hope you enjoy my posts. http://ipaintingsforsale.com/UploadPic/Gustav Klimt/big/Apple Tree I.jpg

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