Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, April 12, 2021

Hemingway - Loving Key West


The three evenings we recently spent watching the Hemingway documentary by Ken Burns reminded me of our many journeys to Key West, Florida. On several occasions, we visited 
"In the Hemingway Garden"
Key West Museum of Art & History at the Custom House, where there are numerous displays and videos depicting the life of Ernest Hemingway when he lived in Key West. The Custom House exhibits inspired us to explore the Hemingway House where the famed author lived and wrote and where we saw the descendants of his special six-toed cats.
Hemingway "Look Alike" Festival ©Sikes
On one visit to Key West, we encountered the Hemingway "Look Alike" Festival which was quite interesting. Looking at photos from it, 
"Six-toed Cat" ©MMSikes
the resemblance of the participants to the actual man is quite incredible. The photo I took was a location in front of the famous Sloppy Joe's bar that Hemingway enjoyed so much.
While we were in the Custom House Museum, we were fortunate to see many amazing sculptures by Seward Johnson. They sparked such an interest for us that every time we visit Key West, we have to stop by the museum to see the different works by Johnson.

In Johnson's "Mona Lisa" ©Sikes

"Olen and Marilyn" ©Sikes

Our journeys to Key West have always been memorable. No wonder Ernest Hemingway was fascinated by the southernmost destination in our country. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Marshland Magic

Bright sunshine cast the sharp, dark shadows of leaf-barren trees across the landscape, but the warm air hinted of spring. I pulled a long yellow legal pad from a book shelf, picked up a pen, and headed out to stand on our sprawling redwood deck.

The narrow creek was higher than usual. I could see pine trees from the other side reflected in the still waters. I often wondered if this was one of the creeks branching off the York and Mattaponi Rivers that Captain John Smith explored by barge long ago, soon after the settlement of Jamestown. Pocahontas and her friends might have played in our woods that edge the creek. I wondered about that, too.

Something compelled me to step down from the deck and hurry to my spot where I often study and photograph the marsh. Drawings and paintings have resulted from those studies. Angels live in the marshland. I am sure of that.

"Angel of the Marshland"
©Mary Montague Sikes

Angel of the Marshland

Angel of the Marshland, your colors amaze me

And you have such a vibrant glow.

Like lost among the brown grasses

You’ve changed the colors to suit you.


I love the trees and waters of the marsh.

Do you hide there often?

                                                                                                                 I will look for you next time I go.

                                                                Then, I’ll touch your golden hair.

                                                                                 ©Mary Montague Sikes

This is a painting that resulted from my visit to the hill overlooking the marshland that day. The poem (there are two more verses) came to me later. I could sense the presence of this angel standing near a tree soon to come alive with bright green leaves. The dogwood would have flowers as well. 

My painting and poem became part of my very special book, Artful Angels. This is a book filled with spiritual beauty and poetic wealth, designed to heal the body and the mind with its mystery and magic.

Barnes & Noble

Monday, March 1, 2021