Friday, June 10, 2011

Treasures and Pleasures Close to Home

I like walking around my new neighborhood, gaining familiarity, discovering new things. So many treasures and pleasures. Among them are the beautiful flowers that bloom in profusion: iris, poppies, roses, peonies, in wonderful variety and colors, some delicate as veils, others sturdy as metal. Every house, every building and yard, has something blooming, perennials flourishing and annuals tastefully filling in around them. Just like in Starobelsk, and Luba's and Natalia's gardens.

Sylvania is not only green, it’s also red, thanks to the foresight of early civic leaders who planted lots of red maples. Beautiful trees. Main Street and the neighborhoods around it are lined with them, graceful deep red leaves swaying in the breezes against blue skies.

Sylvania is noted as well for its many small businesses that beckon us to “shop locally.” Antique stores and home furnishing shops predominate, chock full of lovely things and sweet-smelling candles and incense. Other favorites are the Angel Store and Harmony in Life, where you can buy treasures for the soul, an angel for your walls, take a yoga class, get a massage, inhale and exhale, relax and enjoy.

There’s a variety of nice restaurants, too: the Dragonfly Tea Room, a pretty Victorian haven for lunch, brunch , or tea; Chandler’s, J&G’s and Jenna’s, inside or outside, great for lunch and informal meals. Treo’s with it’s white tablecloths, candles and flowers, for more fancy dinners. Outdoor tables and chairs along the street and in front of shops welcome guests and provide resting places and public spaces for chatting with neighbors and shoppers.

The town’s recent ”paint a planter” competition has resulted in brightly painted large flower pots along Main Street, complementing the painted benches, adding to the ambience. It’s like a touch of Mexico, full of color and charm.

Recently I discovered some new attractions: The Limelight, for gifts; First Impressions for homemade art cards, invitations and notes for every occasion; and the grounds of the Historical Museum and village, behind the historic house. A gazebo graces a lovely garden, a favorite site for birds and rabbits as well as human visitors.

Today the Historical village hosted the annual Art Festival, with over 30 tables and booths featuring arts and crafts by local artists. I stopped by, bought a piece of outdoor art for our little garden, took a tour of the historic house (the former home of Dr. Cooke and his family), and met several board members. I plan to go back for programs and learn more about Sylvania history. (I also noticed that the House's papers are contained in several files, and it would probably be good to digitize the collection, to preserve it for posterity, but I didn't say much).

Life’s s simple pleasures here, as in Starobelsk, my village in Ukraine, feed the spirit, restore the soul. It doesn’t matter where you are, if you are fully present where your feet are planted. Life is good!

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