City in the Sky

avilaWildlfowers bloom in springtime outside the medieval walled city of Ávila. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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9 Responses to City in the Sky

  1. Beth July 16, 2013 at 11:33 #

    Those poppies are stunning! What a colour!

  2. Mike Randolph July 16, 2013 at 11:39 #

    Yeah. I think poppies must take the prize for the most intense and perfect red in the flower world.

  3. julvic July 16, 2013 at 19:39 #

    I love these flowers, they are a landscape of their own. Almost as powerful as the walls!
    Besides de evocative poppies,the mauve flowers are Malvaceae (not to be confused with he Malvasia grape) or Malva, or many other names as wikipedia says: “The Malvaceae, or the mallows, are a family of flowering plants containing over 200 genera with close to 2,300 species. Well-known members of this family include okra, cotton, and cacao”…. one of these strains reign in the spanish landscape amongst many other flowers. Oh well, I am getting too academic.

    What is important here is this photo. So nice, you can see every minute detail in the foreground flowers, the wild wheat, the grasses, the expired poppies, the new buds, the mini daisies, all very dainty ballet. Then your eyes go up to the imposing walls sitting like a rock and then your eye goes up to the fluffy cotton-candy clouds extending far into the sky. It is really amazing!

    Mike this is what I see but I am not a photographer, so I would really appreciate your professional input or comment on what I should look for in this picture.

    Thanks!

  4. Mike Randolph July 16, 2013 at 19:46 #

    Wow, thanks for that comment, julvic. And as a matter of fact, I was wondering what the purple flowers were. Now I know. Thanks for the kind words.

  5. Marta July 17, 2013 at 00:41 #

    Here, when someone is dead we say that “está criando malvas”, similar to your “pushing up daisies”. These flowers grow abundantly in cemeteries or at least it was so time ago. Nowadays the cemeteries are not the same, especially in the cities. Really, Mike, your photos are superb!!!

  6. Mike Randolph July 17, 2013 at 12:39 #

    Thank you Marta. This is getting really interesting! In addition to daisies and malvas the image of course also shows poppies, another symbol of death. To take a page from julvic’s, a quote from Wikipedia: “Poppies have long been used as a symbol of sleep, peace, and death: sleep because of the opium extracted from them, and death because of the common blood-red color of the red poppy in particular. In Greek and Roman myths, poppies were used as offerings to the dead.”

    Certainly a different feeling than I got from this scene–a vibrant celebration of life. But fascinating, for sure. I’d be interested in looking deeper into the connection. Thank you both.

    • julvic July 17, 2013 at 20:25 #

      I can only see the beauty, but here’s more symbolism: Wheat. It tends to symbolize home and hearth. In some religions it is also a sign of love and affection. It can sometimes be associated with feasting and being prosperous as well. The kernel is symbolic of birth, a sign of hope and the future. The ear of wheat is an emblem of spring, of nature that is awakening…

  7. Rachel August 21, 2013 at 09:35 #

    Glorious, such colour. The red and vivid blue contrasting with the dried grass and stone walls. (I’d take out the Mallow though, red and purple don’t go!)

  8. Kinloch Macgregor April 22, 2016 at 14:50 #

    The poppy, made from silk or other material, is worn widely in the Commonwealth, particularly the UK and Canada on Remembrance Day as a memorial symbol for soldiers fallen in combat. It is also used in the United States on Memorial Day for the same reason. This tradition stems from the well known poem written in 1915 following the battle of Ypres by Canadian war-time physician Lt. Col. John Macrae, In Flanders Fields. I know it may be getting a bit off topic but I thought the poem was worth reproducing here:

    In Flanders fields the poppies grow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

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