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Showing posts from December, 2009

Skywatch Friday: My Colors

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I took the bottom photo first while I was walking around Waterbury on Christmas Eve. My daughter was practicing with her choir, and I was at a loose end, so I took myself out and about with the camera. The flames of the red in the bottom photo caught my eye. I was mesmerized as I watched the flag move in the winter breeze. It moves so gracefully and in its own time.
Skywatch Friday

Blog Your Blessings: North Topsail Beach, North Carolina

Thanks, mom and dad, for another excellent vacation in this very beautiful place.
Blog Your Blessings

Wordless Wednesday: 'This Book is my Life'

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This is my nephew Alex's book. I think it's impressive; if I were author Rick Riordan, I would be very pleased by the condition of this book. It seems to me we have less of a need for new things than a need for tape to preserve the things we have--and hold dear.
Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: The Eyes Have It

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These paintings decorate the side of a parking garage on the corner of Bank and Grand streets in Waterbury, Connecticut. The panels are a beautiful splash of color in a city that struggles against being run-down and weary. My World Tuesday

What Was, Was Good

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Walking around Waterbury before the Christmas Eve service at St. John's, I came across these vines on a building housing a law firm on Church Street. The vines seemed so graceful, so sensuous, to me. I am glad it was let be through the warm weather. Nature will have her place. I love it. Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Wanderlust

My world is flat.
There is a horizon,
And that is the end.

You go beyond that point
And you fall off.

Nobody claims you.

If,
Having fallen,
You find a way
To swing a leg over
And climb back into the deep
And swim your way home

Where the sand is soft and deep
And full of creatures who understand
Flat earth
Tides
And how to live
As if their center

Were the center

Of the universe

Because it is

You will be welcome.
I will make of you a legend
Because you had the courage
To test the limits

That are immutably there.

You had to go.
I had to stay.

Everything is as it should be.
We do what we have to do.

One Single Impression

Merry Christmas

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At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.
(William Shakespeare)

Skywatch Friday: So Shallow

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This is the rest of the tree in the photo I posted last week for Skywatch. The darkness flattens out the view so that the office windows are square ornaments and the elm trees in the background seem to be part of this tree.
Merry Christmas.

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: It's All Good When the Lights are Dim

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My World Tuesday: Dim Lights and Back There

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I spend a lot of my time at St. John's, where my daughter sings in the choir, where we attend church, and we're I meet a good friend to help him blog and do other things with his computer. It's a beautiful 19th century Episcopalian church, the mission of which is to take care of people. Period. No questions asked. On Sunday, I sat upstairs to take pictures of the choir. Because the church across the street was closed, some homeless folks came in to get out of the cold. They did what they could to participate, but they were also comfortable just sitting there and getting warm and, in one case, reading a child's novel. There's a basic idea at work at St. John's that you don't close your doors. Because people want to come in. Or they need to. There is the beautiful and the grand about the place, but the humble and ordinary make it great.
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Faded

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A gift of love, once. Such a love is no more, but the flower makes me happy. I look at it and see beauty, stopped. And it smells so good.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Junction

Truth is a pathless land
The teacher said.

Pathless, he said.

I am holding a
Hagstrom

Marveling at the intersections

Of this path
With that one
And how these several paths
Run like veins,
Feeding the life of this place

Thinking how much like our lives
This is

How meaning derives
From our meeting and touching

How meaning derives from a belief

That

Contact

Is

Good.

But truth is a pathless land.

So the man said

And I become curious
About that secret wilderness

Between you and me.

Oh, yes indeed.

I am curious.
(The teacher: Jiddu Krishnamurti)
One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: Night Watch, Advent

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Wordless Wednesday: Celebrate

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Life is good--and so much better than the alternative, as a good friend is fond of saying!

Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: Iced

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When I was young, my parents had my sister and me out on our boat in Long Island Sound every weekend, or so it seemed. We grew up with a healthy respect for the water. It seemed dad and mom had us wearing our gigantic, puffy, kapok-filled life jackets longer than any other kids around. We took swimming lessons for years--way longer than was necessary, or so my parents knew we thought because we said so. Being in and around water in all kinds of weather taught us the power of nature. (Water taught us that indifference can be a form of cruelty.) So many memories of growing up around water came to mind when I came across the leaf in the top photo when I was out for a walk on Saturday. It seemed caught between rising to the surface to catch a breeze back onto dry land and never again moving. The whole business of being a leaf in the water had been arrested by the water itself. There was the leaf, powerless, and the water, powerful. I caught my breath and held it for as long as I stood th…

Today's Flowers: Do Not Water

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This is one of the three wreaths the kids in my origami club created the flowers for this Christmas. This is a simple origami figure, but it confounded some of the children, nonetheless. They worked hard, though. And they got their, helping each other and occasionally crumpling a flower and tossing it aside. This group of eight or so sixth graders includes children with a wide range of abilities and attention spans. Helping them sort the flowers for the wreaths, I was struck by how their personalities came through their work. They we had a big pile of flowers to work with, each child emerged from the mass, individual and beautiful (and, in some cases, in need of a little repair). Merry Christmas.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Cobwebs

"There and there.
Be careful.
Cobwebs."

That is the conversation
In the woods
When it is warm.

We are not worried
About the spiders

But the art
The symmetry
The balance
The beauty of the
Completeness
Of the web

And the thin lines
That keep this delicate
Universe
Intact.

It is not ours to take.

Humbly,
We bow our heads
And make our way
Around
The webs.

The completeness
Of the thing

Is part of our day.

We want it.
One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Snow Day

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King Moonraiser is explaining that there is no place for Rudolph and his friends on the Island of Misfit Toys, that they really must return to the land of the living and make a go of it, and my daughter says, "Can you leave this on? I like it in the background."
Bedtime on a snow day a little more than two weeks before Christmas, and the miracle and the magic of the run up to that holy day are tucked in with the sleepy child, the better to dream and feel the peace of the routine of Christmas.
Our snow day gave us the chance to enjoy all of that. Together, Dell and I watched Miracle on 34th Street, The Grinch, and Rudolph and listened to three or four CDs' worth of music. And none of this junked-up contemporary hooey for us. We invoke the dead at Christmas: Burl Ives. Bing. Mitch Miller. There is only one way for the "Little Drummer Boy" to sound (because it is a song about humility, not about Alicia Keyes....). No rock stars here. (OK. Cheryl Crowe, but we don…

Skywatch Friday: We Do Tacky Real Good

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Wordless Wednesday: Guardian Angel from 'The Book of Deer'

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My World Tuesday: Bookish People Looking after Their Own

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A friend thinks it's strange that I want to live in Waterbury, where I spend most of my life anyway. People are violent--they beat each other for food stamps, babies roll out 3rd-floor windows--and there is a madness about the place we can attribute only to the water. There are brown fields everywhere. This is a wasteland.



I like to think of the place as idiosyncratic. It is to rich in too many ways to simply be mad. I mean, consider the quirky Christmas decorations above. Idiosyncratic, right?
Richness. Look below: In the center display window of a bookshop on Grand Street is a request for food for people who don't have enough this time of year. Here we go putting the other guy first without the slightest danger of personal gain. Yes, I like it here, where people like the woman below are not going to the aiport or train station with their luggage but to the next safe place with everything they own in tow. The people at the bookstore noticed that, obviously. And they're appe…

Today's Flowers: May Christmas Decorate Itself for You

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The pine cone is to Christmastime what the rose is to Valentine's Day--but you don't have to wait for them to come your way; they are there for the taking. Which is part of why I love them. Love and be loved. And may Christmas decorate itself for you. Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Lighthouse

The lighthouses along the Sound
Looked the same

And taught the same lesson
To fisherman, seafarers,
Children in small boats, and us:

Behind me is the harbor you seek
But first:

Worse than the tumult of waves,
The still and silent blaze of the sun,
The lonely cries of grey skies
And thirst

Are rocks that will rip you apart
If you are careless
If you look away
If you forget where you are.

Between here and home
Is your greatest danger.

Bow your head.
Watch where you pass

Or be taken down
Between the rolling grandeur of the sea
And the hard earth that
Stops the melody
With a clap
That embraces
What it does not kill.
One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: A Twisted Life

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Blog Your Blessings: The Wreath That Is Not

Today, when I was feeling very low, one of the boys in my origami club lifted me right into the clouds.

Before Thanksgiving, I had given him a pile of paper to fold into poinsettias that will form the wreath that the Origami Club has been making for the school. I was counting on him to fold us right into Almost Done--he's as compulsive as I am.

But today he smiled and said: "Ms. Carlson, is it ok that I gave those flowers to my family in Thanksgiving?"

He wasn't really asking me; he got it; I knew he got it; he knew I knew he got it. I laughed. "It's perfect. Perfect."

At the ripe age of right now, it seems to me it really is all about right now and who's in front of you and what's in your heart. There's no tomorrow. Our wreath that is not a wreath is kindness finding its way home round and round and round.

Blog Your Blessings

Wordless Wednesday: A Primary Need to Relax

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