Posts

Showing posts from April, 2009

Skywatch Friday: Topsail Island, North Carolina

Image
This is my home away from home, also known as heaven. When I am on this beach, I imagine walking straight into a breeze and flying up to the clouds to return as rain and do it al over  again. There's no good reason to be any place else.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: The Ferry, New York

Image

My World Tuesday: Mississippi Monument, Gettysburg, PA

Image
Last week I posted images of the Louisiana monument at Gettysburg Military Park. That monument fuses the horror of war in the person of a dead young soldier with the mythic, suggesting that the sacrifice of life in battle is a spiritual phenomenon that transcends this world and makes this world transcendent. People fight with their lives for what they feel is the quality of their lives. Cool.

The Mississippi monument just yards away does not go there. It is here and now capturing the rage of war. Of course, this fellow is about to bash somebody with a rifle butt (Me, because I'm standing in front of him?) to vindicate his fallen comrade. The monument stays in that moment. I walked away for it struck and stung by the nature of war and a warrior's nature.

My World Tuesday

Weekend Snapshot: Church of the Transfiguration

Image
Last Sunday my daughter and her choir sang at the Church of the Transfiguration in New York City. this beautiful Episcoplean church, which is about a century and a half old, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was a well-known stop on the Underground Railroad, and many an African American sought shelter there during the draft riots during the Civil War.

This high church congregation (smells and bells and loads of formality) managed to set the fire alarm off as a result of its abundant use of incense, but nobody was fazed. These things happen. The window above is in the church's sanctuary. There are more images of this church here, Here's a bootleg video of the kids singing.

Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Word

Image
Be
Is an action word,
A verb

Just like
Run
Play
Explore
Discover
Struggle
Love
Take
Eat
Know

To understand this
Is not necessary.

To accept it is to live

Is to believe
Is to be able to say
I am

Is to know you are

The Word that was
In the beginning
And will always beEver and always:
Be.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Cherry Blossoms

Image
Cherry blossoms. Delicately splendid, sweetly scented cherry blossoms are this week's blessing. After Dell and I awoke in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, last week, we stepped into a world filled with cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms festooned the street like a spring party and tinted the otherwise dull morning a soft pink.

After we came back to Connecticut, we stepped into our old familiar city and there found streets lined with cherry blossoms. Their ephemeral beauty makes my heart ache somehow. I wish they would stay around longer.They were pretty. A pretty world, even for a short while, is more than enough blessing for me.

(The building in the photo above is the public library in Gettysbury, PA.)

Skywatch Friday: A Beginning

Image

Wordless Wednesday: Gettysburg Windows

Image

My World Tuesday: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Image
Here is a Louisiana memorial at Gettysburg. This dead young man is clutching the Stars and Bars as this angel flies above him, the very real, very earth harbinger of death carried below her but above the soldier.

My daughter and I came to this memorial at the end of our self-guided audio tour last week. We were led along by Dude (so we called him), the little old man stuck inside our very old cassette recorder (Remember those?) whose voice was fresh when half the intersections through which we crossed were controlled by stop signs rather than lights. Dude got us there but he did not tell us in whose behalf this angel with the incredible abs and thighs but woefully masculine face sailed in. Luckily, virtualgettysburg.com filled in the gap.

My daughter was enthralled by Gettysburg. I had not expected her to respond with such enthusiasm. She was all over that battlefield, reading to me from history books as we made the rounds. It's a strange thing that we mark our history by our blood…

Weekend Snapshot: USS North Carolina

Image
While on vacation in North Carolina last week, my daughter and I took a tour of the USS North Carolina, which is in Wilmington, North Carolina. My daughter didn't much like it, and I felt bad about that at first. Then I thought, why on earth should anybody like a battleship? That's about the last thing anybody should do. Be awed, be impressed, be intimidated, be horrified, but don't actually like it. "Take it in," I told her. "Take it all in, even if you don't like it. Because you're here."

After the tour was over and we bought our bogus souvenir photos (We stood in front of the green screen though it looks for all the world like we stood in front of a plane.) and got instructions from the cashier on how to get to the nearest cinema (to see the Hannah Montana movie), I asked my daughter what she didn't like.

The smell. The dampness. The heat. The metal floors that weren't solid that she could see through. The steep and narrow ladders.

She g…

One Single Impression: One Word

Image
There are times
I cannot take the picture
Cannot ask the camera
And my own weak eye
To copy perfection

I give up
I forget about me
And the story
I would tell
If I could
As if it were mine
To tell

Of the curl of the wave
That moment when the
Top of the wave emerges from its body
Before it dives head first
Into its own great self
Before the shattering
Before the mess of white foam
Before the noise

In this moment
The wave is only the wave--
Not rock or sand or sound or sea or air

My heart stops
And I won't breathe

Until the moment repeats itself

Even as the noise and the foam engulf me.

The "one word" of this poem is wave, of course. Last week as I stood on the beach over and over again, I watched the waves roll in. It seemed to me there is some magic that shapes each wave out of the vast and mysterious, endlessly moving, and richly alive ocean. I played a game with my camera, trying to capture the precise moment the wave seemed to have a mind of its own and consciously decide to return to the sea--a…

Blog Your Blessings: Plenty

Image
This week I've had the opportunity to take a vacation with my daughter. We've spent most of the week on Topsail Island, North Carolina. Along the way we stopped at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to take in some US history, too. The variety of landscapes, the richness of color, the fulness of the beauty wherever we turn was clear to us every step of the way. I'm glad to have a job that, however challenging, rewards me with enough money to afford some time away with the kiddo. And I'm grateful to my generous parents, who let us use their beautiful house on the island as our home away from home. We had a great time. We saw plenty, relaxed plenty, laughed plenty, felt plenty, through and through. It's all good.

Blog Your Blessings

Skywatch Friday: The Voodoo That You Do

Image
I wanted to capture the way this sycamore tree went on and on and on to claim vast acres of the sky; instead, I captured a giganti voodoo doll looming over this mere mortal who will never look at this tree the same way again! Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Seeing the Light

Image

My World Tuesday: The Light Dawns, The Eagle Flies

Image
Dusty and faded, Waterbury, Connecticut, has a patina that makes it familiar, down home, and somehow lovable. Here are some images of the light dawning on the old and venerable (tired?).






Funny enough, by lowing my sights I found myself admiring this eagle on a monument to the soldiers of all our wars. I have never seen a bird with knees like this bird's knees.



My World Tuesday

Weekend Snapshot: Happy Easter

Image
The pain turned to music, and the music softened into warm rain, so gentle that once you were wet you couldn't feel it as something different than what you were. And the thirsty flowers opened and their scent became the sky. The work was done, and what there had been to give was given. (From The Monk Upstairs by Tim Farrington)

Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Live Water

Image
April is about water.
It is about the submerging of all things
For thirty days and nights

About soaking up every bit of life
Becoming water itself

April water claims this river
Sweeps away trees
Whose ancient hold on this earth
Its has loosed

Water takes away
The ground
On which these trees and I
Once stood sure

April is about water
Racing like a messenger
On a life-or-death mission
Except that water
Has no mission;

Water is a state of being.

Water is life.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: The Perfect Life is the one you Live

Monday offered a splendid moment that fueled my entire week with pure happiness. I had an eighth-grade class read a New York Times article (yes, the illiterati can do this) about a drug scientists are developing that can enhance and erase memory. An injection of this stuff and that pesky addition to drugs is gone. That memory of a terrible crime is erased. The Bad Day file cabinet gets dumped on the fire. Conversely, the drug might be used to improve learning and therefore improve the quality of life.

We discussed the pros and cons. Right away the boys thought of all those CIA operatives who could be medicated instead of eliminated. They thought of rape victims whose peace of mind could be restored. They thought of how well they might do in school with a shot of this stuff.
We could become designer people. So the children realized.

My mind shot back to a story I read a few years ago in the Atlantic that discussed IVF clients who seek out the just right young ladies--Ivy League students w…

Skywatch Friday: Angels--or Something--in the Architecture

Image
While I was moseying around the Waterbury Green on Sunday morning, I noticed these cloth-draped urns at the top of the Roman Catholic church there. I couldn't stop staring because the faLL of the fabric seemed to create the image of a face. Somebody shouted, "Hey lady, stop taking pictures of our church," which I thought was about as ridiculous as my trying to capture an image of a hallucination. Oh well. Welcome to Waterbury.

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: 95 Years Old, Dolly Goes to School

Image
My daughter's social studies assignment requires her to find a bit of family history, get the scoop on it, be prepared to talk about it, write an essay on this "hidden treasure," and provide a visual aid to accompany the written report. She chose my grandmother's porcelain doll as her treasure. For years this doll sat inside a paper bag in a desk at my parents'. Last year, I took the doll to an expert and learned that this dirty old toy had a cash value of $900. That was interesting to me but essentially meaningless because the value of the thing was that it had been Gram's. The woman who evaluated it helpd me clean it, gave her a new wig, added a hand, repaired the joints, and hugged her over and over again when she gave her back to me. That's the way it is with dolls. Clean and respectable, Dolly is going to school sometime soon--sometime after my daughter writes her bio.

Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: Views from the Waterbury Green

Image
Here are some views from the Green and thereabouts in Waterbury, Connecticut. The architect Cass Gilbert designed City Hall (second picture), which is not on the green but close to it. The building is being renovated, which is a good thing. It's a gem.

I've been taking so many macro shots that I thought I would stand back and have a look. I love this odd little city. But I missed getting close to the good stuff. So next week.

My World Tuesday

Weekend Snapshot: A Good Morning

Image
The birds pick up where the alarm leaves off on the weekends. Sometimes I wish they wouldn't, but then again, they get me up and out to see the soft beauty of early light. It's worth it, ultimately. The days are cool and brisk yet, and I like them. As I walk quickly to stay warm, I realize it's no mystery why people from these parts are always in a hurry. It's a survival skill.

In other news, ths evening the sun slipped into the river and night came to her rescue. They slept well.


Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Listening

Image
I leave the universe of silence
When I open my eyes
Take in the dawn
Light and listen

For those cues that say
It is time; come outside.

I listen for the moment:
A woodpecker taps breakfast
From a rotting tree
One blue jay scolds another
Just because he does
A crow announces a death
Warm and compliant in the road.

I go. I walk. I watch. I listen.

Sound carries me a mile from bed
To a swamp vibrating with the voices

Of red winged blackbirds
And Canada geese.

None of this is music.

It is the language of the treetops and sky.

It shapes my life,
Takes my walk,
Sends me back again

Though I hardly understand.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Moldy, Moldy Me

Some days I think I should wear a label on my forehead marked "unstable material." The ideas that come out of my skull are sometimes--I don't know. Ridiculous.

For example, this week I was grateful as heck for the allergies that have made me feel drowsy whenever I have been in my wee humble abode--surrounded, as it is, by a zillion mold-bearing, alive and lovely trees.

I have loved the drowsiness. Anyone peeking in the windows after I got home from work would swear I was a narcoleptic. I fell asleep over and over again. I woke up just long enough to say, "I need to sleep." Bye, baby.

The allergies were not so severe that I became a wretched and bleary eyed Bugger Queen. Not this time. They were just enough to slip me into a deep and enduring sleep. I did not wake up to fret over the future criminals in some of my sixth grade class and how to keep them amused and occupied. I did not think of how to get the word "weed" out of the eighth graders' poem w…

Skywatch Friday: Roxbury Tangle

Image
I haven't left the boneyard yet. There was plenty to see and enjoy there. Color me morbid, but I love these places were the trees get a bit of a break and grow as they please for as long as they can. These graceful limbs captured my imagination. It seemed to me they were responding to the same music as they grew.

Skywatch Friday

All That Waiting

Image
April showers...May flowers
All that from childhood
Floods over me this
April Fool's evening

All that about waiting and waiting
The goodness will come

The robins know
So do countless treetop others
And the squirrels
They're all talking about it
And I am listening...

All that from childhood
About waiting.
It's a good thing.
Beauty comes.

Right now it presses
With everthing it has and is
Through the mud
That it might be
Soon.

Just wait.