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Showing posts from June, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: A Hazy, Lazy Day in New London, Connecticut

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My World Tuesday: National Submarine Memorial

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The National Submarine Memorial in Groton, Connecticut, is a special place. It a modest, though dignified memorial that bears the names of all the submariners who perished while on active service during World War II. My uncle Laurence H. Isbell was one of those 3,000+ men. He was a legend. My grandmother talked about him often, and his images were plentiful in the family albums, so he never seemed to be far away.




These flags fly over the entrance to the memorial. I suppose lost at sea is the same as missing in action.


The memorial is shaped like the nose of a submarine putting out to sea down the Thames River in Connecticut.



I tried to capture my uncle's name with the conning tower that is part of the memorial in the reflection. (I got a bit of me in there, too.)


I suppose lost at sea is something like missing in action. My uncle's remains were never recovered. His mother never gave up hope that somehow, some way he might be found and he might come home. How does a mother stop be…

Today's Flowers: Queen Anne's Lace

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One Single Impression: Blue Rain

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Every day, fractions:
37 of the last 40,
39 of the last 45,
43 of the last 50...

The rain doesn't stop

Yet, somehow the blossoms open wide

To propogate their kindWith the help of those endlessly Hungry bees and bugs
And anyone else sensible
And sensuous enough
To fall into those flowers

Until he wears the magic And just keeps going

Even in the rain.

Day after day the sky darkens,
Midday looks like dusk,
And clouds surrender to
Some cosmic command
To let go and just keep on
And on and on Until we are exhausted.

So be it.

The flowers will blossom.

Fall into them

Take their magic with you

And then by all means

Forget the fractions And come inside With my bouquet.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Dunno...but I Keep Showing Up

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Over the past few days I have been thinking a bit about this post and have been stumped. What has this week had to offer, anyway?
That's bad.
These things should be obvious. I should see blessings for what they are right away. (Right? Help me, here....)
A week into summer vacation, I am trying to slip through the dull cracks that line the faces of Obvious and her best pal Oblivious, and as I disappear I just can't see the goodness for what it is anymore.
That's good.
That makes everything a blessing.
For instance.
My daughter has been at basketball camp this week. Very cool. She loves playing, and it gives us some time apart. Now, I could have dropped her off and dashed home and cleaned like a nutcase for two hours and then dash back and be a very accomplished over-achieving haus-frau. I did not. As my mother says, "It's only a problem if it bothers you, dear." No dust or--dare I say it--grime really bothers me these days. So I slung my camera on my back each day of…

Skywatch Friday: From the Top of Woodbury

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These clouds have the shape of an airplane, I think. I enjoyed watching them float my way once I got to the top of the fire tower last week. They were very beautiful, and the blue sky around them was an unfamiliar but very welcome sight after a week of rain.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Angels Watching

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>These angels preside at St. John's on the Green in Waterbury, Connecticut. They caught my eye while I was waiting for my daughter's choir to sing so I could make a video for its blog. They are very strong yet graceful. I want them on my team.

Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: The Fire Tower

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Despite my extreme discomfort with (dread of?) heights, I made it to the top of the fire tower in Woodbury on Friday evening.

I went up figuring I would take in the landscape at the close of spring, and I did exactly that--in addition to taking in this miniature art show. I love graffiti, and I was thrilled to find these pieces by "Melissa E." These ladies stand about six inches tall. (I will take these again when the sun is not shining on them.)





Ah, but look up! The other nature. Welcome to my world:

Today's Flowers: A Peony for Your Thoughts

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One Single Impression: Assimilation

A rustle:
The stripes of the garter
Are shaded from the June sun
By the leaves of ivy,
Dark and earthy and
Gleaming with the residue
Of a week's rain
So that it is hard at first
For me to see the frog
Alive and alert but still,
Protruding from the mouth
Of the snake.

A rustle:
The snake moves
To better do
What the snake will do:

Assimilate this frog
Who seems
Resigned to his
Immediate future
As the lifeblood
Of a snake.

Assimilation:
A slithering up from behind,
A consuming,
A wide-eyed, soundless
Disappearance.

There are no victims,
But it is difficult to watch,
All the same.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: My Gratitude to the Liberal White Bigot

She was so white she was blue. A teacher. A colleague of sorts from across town except that she worked up on the hill in a private school, and I worked in, as the children say, a ghetto school across that vast brown field called Waterbury. We sat within shouting distance of each other at a child's politically correct birthday party. I had said hello, and we exchanged pleasantries about where we worked and how many children we had at home and in our classrooms.

Upon hearing I worked at a public middle school across town from where she worked, she remarked, "I always wanted to work in the inner city--I studied social work and psychology--but I found a job at this [elite, upscale, very white, expensive, and did I say, private] school....."

Alas.

Social work. Psychology. Why, I wondered? To take notes on the way young, possibly neglected, urban life forms peel bananas?

"But we partner with [an alternative elementary school full of poor minority children], and it really is …

Skywatch Friday: Bending Over Backwards

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Wordless Wednesday: After the Rain, the Bright Light

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My World Tuesday: Wildly, Lusciously Overgrown

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Five days of rain gave way to an evening of sunshine and intense warmth on Friday. The grass was tall and beautiful. Mother Nature does marvelous things; I love when she is left to her own devices.

My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Reddy to Go

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The morning after I took this photo, all of these lovely red trumpets were lying on the ground. Everything happens in its time, I suppose.

Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Walls

I turn to the dictionary for walls:
Among other things, I find immure:
Shut up between walls.

Yeah, that:

As in imprisoned, or,
On a lighter note,

As in intramural sports.
Ready to play;
Not ready to compete.

Shut up
Shut in
Shut out

Shut?

I remember a friend--
A lover once--
Who used to say

Get shut of

He meant set free from,
And he usually meant of things that hurt,

"Get shut of it, San," he would say
Until I thought I could
Step through pain that boxed me in

That was what he meant.

He got shut of me.

A decade and a half later I receive his gift:

Somehow these things
That close in
Also set free.

I stop here.
I can work with this.

These words
And a glass of wine
Will sing me to sleep

What are walls?
I am shut of them.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Seeing it Through

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The school year is over. We have two half-days next week, and then we are free. Over the past week, I have had little parties for my classes. Even the classes for the evil children. (They exist.) This week, some of the kids stopped before they ate their cookies, candy, brownies, and chips to say grace.
"Wait. We can't eat until we say grace," one sixth-grader said.
"I don't do that. I'm a Christian," a classmate responded, and I damn near fell over laughing.
"I do."
"So do I. I'll say it. God is great/God is good,/Let us thank Him/for our food."
And they dove in.
The kids prayed without shame or second thought. That was cool. A good idea when faced with my brownies, too.
Later that 45-minute segment of time, I taught the beloveds how to make origami flowers. I suggested they give them to their house principals, and they did. It was really something to watch them become enthusiastic about gratitude. To see them respecting authority. To …

Skywatch Friday: Winchester, Connecticut

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Halftime during my daughter's last soccer game last Saturday in Winchester, Connecticut, had me daydreaming and taking in the views. To my right was this empty old factory, and to my left, a Roman Catholic Church. After a week of rain, everything was soft and clean--and the tall grass made a lovely cushion from which to enjoy the view--and nap in the sun during half time. The views stayed soft, but I emerged feeling crispy.

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Mother's Eyes

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These are the roots of a pine tree that is no more. These are the bears at Huntington Park in Redding. Their pals the wolves are in the post below. I love the wolves for making me look up and think of the mysterious interaction between animals and the heavens; I love the bears for the intense, piercing way they take in what is right here.
Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: Getting Your Howl on at Huntington Park

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Huntington Park, a gift to Connecticut from Archer M. and Anna Hyatt Huntington, is a nature preserve in Redding that I have enjoyed walking since I was a kid. Anna Huntington's sculpture of howling wolves and one of a mama bear and two cubs flank the main trail. To the left of that path are wonderful meadows, one of which is closed to human travel right now because the bobolinks are nesting.

Today's Flowers: Remembering

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One Single Impression: Intersections

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Shall we dance At the crossroads? Or should I say  Shall we dance At this crossroad  Now  And no worries
I don't need promises Don't need another time Don't need you to stay Too long
What I mean is this: Dance with me  Now
Our paths cross here Our ways are one way And we are here
Now
Keep time with me Move with me Touch me Now
And no worries.
One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: My Zombie

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This week's blessing is my beloved little zombie--my daughter, Adella. She sang and danced and read a few lines in the fifth grade musical this week. Her music teacher had written an original score celebrating the music of the 80s, so the production naturally included a rendition of that unnatural dude's "Thriller."
If you're going to dance like a zombie, you have to dress like one, too. Two days before the show I heard from the little voice in the backseat that a zombie costumer was needed. Two as in slightly more than one because the first version of the story was that the costume had to be ready the next day. So it was a mad dash--a frenetic scrounging--to get the stuff together to turn my healthy girl into a days-old dead thing back from the crypt.
"Two days' notice can't be right," as I hot glued torn strips of muslin to my daughter's white T-shirt and shorts. It wasn't adding up. "Don't tell the social worker I hot glued you…

Skywatch Friday: A Fast Talker from the Sky

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This talkative feathered dude had a lot to say on Saturday
when we were walking along this road at Topsmead.

He was still talking and taking to the air and talking and taking to the air on Tuesday. He found a girl and then he played hard to get--and seemed to lose the game. He'll learn!

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: The State of Education

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This schoolhouse sits in Beacon Falls, Connecticut. It is being used as a flop house though it is generously covered with "no trespassing" signs. Sleeping or finding refuge in this forgotten schoolhouse, despite the prohibitions, is an ironic idea to me because so many of the students with whom I work do exactly that on a daily basis. 
I always find myself bemused by these old buildings that are too venerable to knock down, yet undeserving of the attention they need to be preserved properly--like the relative who shows up for every family gathering though nobody seems to remember who they are or how, exactly, they are related.

Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: Topsmead Park, Litchfield, Connecticut

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Saturday found us at Topsmead, a beautiful Connecticut state park in Litchfield, Connecticut. I was at once taken by the expansive views that seemed to embrace the knowable, visible, wide world, and the intimate views--those lovely glimpses of what was in front of me, of what was small and beautiful, of what was everything. Beautiful things that were as tangible as they were mysterious, vibrating with unseen life. A walk in the woods on a May day is all it takes to know that wildflowers are happy beings.










The light shimmered through and warmed up every living thing. It is a pwreful and strange experience to stand and watch ferns and flowers respond to the sun. To watch bluebirds play. To smell life in the clean air. It's all good. Don't let anybody tell you different.

PS Here is a little video of Topsmead in full bloom.
My World Tuesday