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Showing posts from May, 2009

Weekend Snapshot: The Shape and Color of Love

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I love that rhododendrons are weeds to some and prized possessions to others. Seems to be lot each of us has inherited. When they bloom each May, I realize all over again that if you're beautiful, you're beautiful. That's all there is to it without any help or explanation. And if you're not, that's all there is to it. But I am comforted and pleased that so much in this world is beautiful.
Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Denouement

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A miracle of circumstance Like a great cosmic hand Pulls together  Earth and air Light and water To transform dust Into a blossom
You are a wild thing
And you are beautiful-- The sun at the center of a Great green cosmos
Until some child comes along Yanks you up in one pull Says some nonsense And it's off with your head
Though you are a miracle.
You go to seed
Another child takes you in hand You hear wishes-- Something for herself-- And she blows your seed  Across the universe
If the stars you have become Scatter in just the right way Her dream comes true
That is all we know


One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Life in Turtle Time

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You stop the car and jump out. You lift him and carry him across the street. You place him near the water. He goes on. Again and again and again.

Because this world has more than its fair share of self-absorbed jerks who won't look, who won't care, who won't give a damn if they kill these guys.

Turtles are everywhere right now, and they are looking for partners to continue their bloodline. They have been here since the earliest of times, they have survived every circumstance Mother Nature has delivered, and now all they need to do is cross the road to keep on.

To survive, they must compete with the self -absorbed fools who will drive at top speeds in their shiny pick-up trucks to impress their girlfriends they are not afraid of the speeding ticket, the pedestrian, the geese, the turtles.

I spent a lot of last weekend helping turtles cross the road.

I spent a lot of last weekend thinking on the one turtle I helped cross the road but could not keep alive. Some brute in a silver p…

Skywatch Friday: Calm Evening

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Just an ordinary evening at the bottom of the hill. Here's where I wait for the geese and the turtles and the frogs, watch the fishermen, make a phone call or two, watch the flag take shape in the breeze, and listen for the insects that say night is here. I like ordinary. A lot.

Before I got to my piece of heaven last week, I enjoyed this view of the sky along the way:

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Soft, Soft

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I was experimenting with my new camera and took these photos. They're far from great--I was at the end of my run learning new things for the evening when the geese caught my attention yet again--but I liked it for the softness they capture. Truly, they are beautiful babies, beautiful creatures.

Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: Southford Falls, Southbury, Connecticut

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Weekend Snapshot: Happy Memorial Day

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"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things.The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelingwhich thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse."(John Stuart Mill)
Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Dropped

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Silence falls in drops like rain: A sprinkle, a shower, a fall, Then a deluge That sweeps me away In the vast and merciless Mystery of itself No up or down, No daylight or dark In this secret space.
So it is.
Silence is a watery death.
What do you say to, for, about A drowned man A young man A loved man A beautiful man Who died at sea
Riveted to his battle station And believing above all else In the mother who sent out his Christmas cards
Because he was too busy Having fun
Before that last patrol?
Silence is a watery death.
I'd go there for the answer-- What was it like to be you, to be there,  To do this thing?--
But I'd want to come back
And tell it over and over
Again.

The photo above is my great-grandfather, Harvey Isbell (left), and his fourth child, Laurence Isbell. Laurence served on the USS Herring and was lost at sea when the Japanese sank his submarine. My Uncle Bud (Allan Isbell) took this photo in my great-grandfather's backyard before Uncle Laurence left home for his last tour in 1944.

One S…

Blog Your Blessings: Six Things that Make me Happy

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I came across a meme asking participants to name six unimportant things that make them happy. I thought about that for a minute or two and then realized nothing that makes me happy is unimportant to me. That got me thinking of the ordinary things that make me happy just because they are there.
1. Remembering my Grandmother. She was a lovely, lovely lady. She loved me and accepted me when I was a teenager. I was a misfit and felt it to the bone, but it didn't matter when I was with her. She was good to me. We'd play cards, drive around, stroll the grocery store. It didn't matter. Her company was a treasure to me. She helped  me feel good about myself when nothing else did.
2. Boxwood. The fragrance of a boxwood tree makes me think of my grandmother. One of her great gifts was a family history. She would tell me about her cousins and aunts and uncles and siblings and parents and neighbors. She had a boxwood under a living room window, and the fragrance would fill the living ro…

Skywatch Friday: Good Night, Baby

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This was the view from my daughter's (dirty) bedroom window last week. I like these late sunsets. Some days I wonder who will fall first--me or the night. It feels good this time of year to be tired from being outside for hours of taking in the flowers and the wildlife and the peace of a cool end of the day.

The trees are very close to the house, and they have been like old friends as my daughter has grown up. When she was tiny and I'd put her into her crib, I'd stand still and take in those trees while I waited her to fall into a deep sleep. At the time, her floor creaked very badly, and one false move would undo the sometimes very hard work of helping her to nod off. I wasn't a risk-taker in those days.

We have watched and admired the snowfall and rain and the comings and goings of the blue jays and squirrels through these trees. These trees have always softened the afternoon sunlight in her room and created a sense of a safe and secret place all her own.  I love '…

Wordless Wednesday: The Lotus Position

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I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may - light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful. (John Constable)

Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: What's Good for the Goose

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The geese are up and about and giving me heart palpitations lately. I live near a broad, wide road that borders a swamp where they do their swimming and fine dining. There is water on either side of the road, and these rascals tend to go to and fro very much like they own the place, which I think they do. But don't tell that to the self-important idiots driving at crazy speeds to get from one end of the road to the other. The same fools will honk their car horns in attempt to rush these animals who won't be rushed. People are crazy.

If I'm out for a walk and see the geese in the road, I stand in the middle and play crossing guard. I am a bigger target for the nut cases, but killing me might come with a jail term (or not--I am after all fool enough to stand in the middle of the road), so they might slow down. 
Am I Mother Goose or just a crazy lady with a camera? Call me what you want; just go easy around my birds!

Every day we do things, we are things that have to do with pea…

Weekend Snapshot: Loving Family

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One Single Impression: Tolerance

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Years ago  I lived on a hill near the sea Where strong winds And grey skies were steadfast
And I taught myself To walk straight up and open Without feeling cold
To let the wind pass through me
To stop resisting the wind
And I was warm. 
Walking into the wind And breathing Making of the wind my breath My life My way My life
Transformed the cold Into here and now Into my pulse
It was good.
One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: The Sweet Smell of Spring

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Honeysuckle. Lilac. Magnolia. Daffodil. Tulips. Hyacinths....

Just thinking of the wonderful fragrances of spring and working my way back to the beginning of the season. Lately the honeysuckle has been in bloom. There's a stretch of highway along which honeysuckle blooms in a soft white haze of subtle blossoms rich in perfume that drenches the air so that the interstate might as well be a country road. 

I think it's one of the best parts of spring--stepping out the front door and taking in all those ephemeral, magical perfumes that make spring so thoroughly beautiful.

Blog Your Blessings

Skywatch Friday: Pattern

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Wordless Wednesday: A Fluid Idea

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My World Tuesday: The Nature of Protest

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I came across these ribbons attached to a fence around a church in Manhattan a few Sundays ago.
I took a look up to get a sense of where I was. The answer: New York. It's all big in New York.

I moved along to find this message inside a marquis at the corner of the Dutch Reformed church.



So I spent a few more minutes taking in these ribbons. And I walked away thinking this message on this signpost outside this church I will never enter says exactly what I have come to think about that war, the lives of good people who serve well, and how we pursue the truth, honor life, and eschew the kind of propaganda--from whatever side--that cheapens everything. My World Tuesday

Weekend Snapshot: A Rose of a Day

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I took a break from the housework on Friday afternoon when I noticed the sunlight--a novel and welcome sight at the end of a rainy week--illuminating these rose petals. Sometimes the little things are celebrations all by themselves. 

Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: What's That Like?

You add  To the immense  Vocabulary of love A drop of deceit
It trickles down the page Taking with it In its darkening course Passion, purpose, truth An unclothed soul vulnerable To the vast and holy secrets Of passion, purpose, truth
Every permutation  Of I love you Runs 
One drop reduces The immense vocabulary of love To a sequence of letters on a page
Symbols become scribbles
Then dissolve in a puddle That eats the page.
One drop And it's all gone.
What's that like?

OK, dark mood here. A friend pointed out to me that this was an angry piece. "Angry?" I thought. It was just a question. Indeed, for me it is. I do wonder what it's like to tear heart and hope from another person so that she goes through life looking behind every word as if it were a boulder shielding a sniper. What's it like to kill language, that lifeline to the heart? To destroy trust? 

Emerging from this nightmare into the light of day brings this: here.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: From Baghdad with Love

This week's blessing is the best book I've read in a very long time that shed some light ona situation I have never quite understood....

It's no small task to build suspense--and maintain it until the last page--after you've spilled the beans. But that's exactly what Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman does in his 2006 international bestseller From Baghdad with Love.

Kopelman's memoir is set in Fallujah, Iraq, during the 2004 US-led invasion. Though the story advertises its happy ending before it begins, the setting alone is enough to tell you getting there is going to be a bumpy, bumpy ride. There's no way of knowing what's around the corner; only that there is a corner to turn.
When Marines enter an abandoned house, they hear a strange noise and are ready to open fire. Instead, they find a fiesty puppy who makes his home in their hearts and sets Kopelman and his buddies on an obstacle course that doesn't end until Lava--the Marines name the dog after the…

Skywatch Friday: Riverside Girl is Back to Point the Way

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OK. I'm obsessive. I had to add yet another picture of this monument this week. From this perspective, the stone on which she writes "he shall live" reflects the heavens on a warm spring day. Heaven, indeed. And oh, so alive.

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Life is Just a Mirror

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Life is just a mirror, and what you see out there, you must first see inside of you. (Wally 'Famous' Amos)
Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: Riverside Girl

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This is my favorite memorial statute at Riverside Cemetery in Waterbury, Connecticut. She is so vibrant, so sensual, so alive. So young. So sad. I love the way she unselfconsciously insists on life, is life. 
My World Tuesday

Weekend Snapshot: The Little Things

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We experienced a heat wave early last week that surged through the veins of spring so that we were surrounded by gentle spring blossoms high and low. I took the low road and was satisfied.

Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Tactile

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A soft touch
I am one
I have one
You will know me
I swear it
By my soft touch
Though you are anything but
A soft touch yourself.
Hold me in your hand long enough
And you will take my shape
Loosen your hold
Feel
What I am
Whatever I am
I will warm to your touch
You will warm to mine
You are soft
You will say
I won't argue
Won't say a word
You are soft;
I know everything about you
I have become you.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Pennsylvania

I am always looking for stuff I think my students might like to read. I have found good material in The New York Times, Wikipedia, movie reviews, print news stories, travel brochures....If it's there to be read and it's interesting, it's fair game.  I want my students to latch onto the fact that reading is a real world activity and that reading everything they can will enrich their lives. 
While my daughter and I were in Pennsylvania, I grabbed a copy of a 146th Gettysburg reenactment newspaper because it was full of stories about life in the 1840s. I looked forward to horrifying my students with the news that there could be a 30-year age difference between a husband and a wife. Or that some women dressed in drag to fight in the Civil War, that Lincoln was neither the first nor the only speaker at the commemoration of the battlefield when he delivered his address..
I was delighted when my students read the Department of the Interior's brochure on Gettysburg and discovere…