Showing posts from January, 2010

Today's Flowers: A Timid Rose


One Single Impression: Blowing the Curve

I watch and love
Reaching for you

I anticipate
Which way
You will draw the line

And you draw the line

I watch
For the east and west
Of this conversation
And how far you will take it

But no

There's no way to know
If you will go

Left or right straight ahead both

And the line curves round me
Until it surrounds me


I step out of line
Blowing your curve

Step in. Step out.
Be where you will

In this
Undefined universe

We call love.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: What the Man Said

"We need to invest in the skills and education of our people. "
"We only reward success."
"The best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education."
"I do not accept second place for the United States of America."
Blog Your Blessings

Skywatch Friday: Sweet Dreams

Good night, Surf City. Standing on the boardwalk at the public park there and watching the day drift West, leaving me in the crisp winter air with cold fingers and quiet--was magic. There's nothing like a welcome solitude. Some days I just crave the peace. Most days, in fact. I love when I find it.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Forever


My World Tuesday: Fort Macon, North Carolina

I visited Fort Macon on the eastern end of Bogues Banks in Carteret County in North Carolina while on vacation during the Christmas break. Like Fort Trumbull in New London, Connecticut, Fort Macon is one of the 52 Third System Forts that comprised the coastal defensive system of the US after the War of 1812.
General Robert E. Lee was stationed at Fort Macon as a young Army officer. The scene of an significant Civil War Battle while occupied by Confederate troops, the fort was under a Union artillery siege from March 23 - April 26, 1862. Its fall into Union hands gave the Northern forces complete control of the entire North Carolina coast. It was re-garrisoned during the Spanish-American War and again during World War II.
Water faces three sides of this pentagonal fort, and the views from the top are pure heaven.
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Dreamin'


One Single Impression: Sunny Days

Sunshine Like water Finds its own level
Seeks its own place
Deep in the earth
And those rays like fingers
Reach inside to embrace the bulb or two The squirrels have not found This long, cold winter.
Through the wind and cold Through the sharp edges of mud That has not thawed completely
Emerge daffodils
That will take the weight Of snow and ice Should the weather turn again.
Sunshine like water Finds its own level.
Thanks to Mojo for the fantastic image.
One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: S.E. Hinton

The story: A young African American girl in a hick town in Western Oklahoma in the 1960s barely escapes three white men who taunt her by blocking her only exit from a drugstore where she has just bought a package of cigarettes. The scene is familiar to the drugstore owner, who knows this gang of white men and bails out the back of the store, leaving this girl on her own. Outside the store, another young white guy gets her to climb into his car, and he takes her back to her black neighborhood in this segregated, bigoted world. This young man does her no harm but tries to soothe her.
Still, when she gets home and a black man outside the car asks her what she wants him and the other black men to do to him, she replies, "Kill the white bastard."
Why did she say this about the guy who just helped her out? I asked my class of seventh graders.
"I don't know, but that would be the last time I'd do anything nice!" one kid--a boy--piped up.
Write it down. Write down why…

Skywatch Friday: Monticello

The latest trip to North Topsail Beach, North Carolina, included a stop at Thomas Jefferson's place in Virginia, and it was well worth it. A thinker, innovator, diplomat--visionary. His home--Monticello--and its dumb waiter for the wine bottles and ecclectic artwork and skylights gorgeous. It struck me as fitting that the man who largely shaped our nation in its early years had a clear vision of the beauty of life.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Tickled


My World Tuesday: North Topsail Beach, North Carolina

Here is heaven. A place where miracles happen. A beautiful, peaceful beach. I close my eyes and I hear the surf, imagine the morning sun, and dive with the pelicans...for whatever there is. I come up every time as a newly baptized believer in the power of nature to make the new day new without mercy or malice. I close my eyes and take my place among those grains of sand. And it's good.
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Passionate Fruit

Pomegranates: a symbol of suffering and resurrection or of sweetness and the heavenly kingdom if you're a Christian. In Islam, they are a symbol of paradise. In Hinduism, a symbol of prosperity and fertility.
Walking past this window in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, they seemed to me to be a symbol of extreme wealth. How else to consign three to the role of window dressing--along with some very lovely red berries?
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Chaos

From the formless void
The clean, sharp light of dawn
Circumscribes the sea

That once

Very nearly

Claimed my daughter and me
In one great swallow.

Now and again
I see that grey wall of water
Rising to engulf us.

I see my daughter
Opening her mouth to breathe
Only to claim water.

I watch her swim.
I swim with her.

I push her away
From the indifferent
Tumultuous sea

Toward something solid

All the while knowing
I have no say in the matter

The sea will claim what it will

This is a riptide

We are nothing.

But the sea spared her and me

And I see the line
Between here and now
And nothing.

I am on the right side
Of that line.
I am sure.

Blog Your Blessings: 'Did You Like It?'

"Miss, miss! You know my brother? He in your other class?"
"Yes. I know your brother. Knew him last year, too."
"He say you only like me because you like him. That ain't true, is it, miss?"
I smiled. That sweet-faced, trouble-making wunderkind told me so much in just a little more than 25 words.
I laughed. "Your brother would say that, but it's not true."
"You don't like me?" She was playing.
"You know I do. Because you're you. So get to work."
Same day, different hour:
I step into the hall to round up the little gypsy who just isn't where he is supposed to be: at his desk. I am tired of telling this kid to come into the classroom and sit down. So I don't say a word but hold up my arms to ask, "What are you doing out here?" I am frustrated.
"Oh, hi, Miss Carlson," he says, and he gives me a hug, goes inside, and sits down. (Sometimes I get what I needed but didn't ask for.)
After school:

Skywatch Friday: A-Mote-ing One Solitary Day

Down the hill and around the corner...she wondered where her lens cloth was....
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Dreamy Weaving

These are handicrafts I saw through shop windows in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a few weeks ago.
Wordless Weaving

My World Tuesday: Haunted, Gettysburg

Here's part of a mural in the museum at the Gettysburg Visitors Center. I stopped twice in this small town on the southern border of Pennsylvania when I made my most recent trip to North Carolina. The spirits of all who fought there pervade the area. There is a tranquility, a calm, that embraces me every time I am there. This pilgrimage of sorts has me looking closely, carefully, at all that makes my country. We have an obligation to love it well.

The photo below captures a montage of images of Union soldiers who served at Gettysburg. Beside it was a montage of photos of Confederate soldiers.

This is the Gettysburg train station, from which point President Lincoln walked without bodyguards to David Wills's home when the battlefield was consecrated as a resting place in November, 1863.

Wills's home is the brick building in the left of the next photo. Wills oversaw the creation of the National Cemetery in Gettysburg. Will's hosted the President, who stayed in the room i…

Today's Flowers: Alive and Duning Well

These hardy leaves were enduring the winter quite well on the dunes of North Topsail Beach--minus a leaf or two. The dunes looked like giant sheets of ice cream cake. They were smooth as could be and very hard.
Though there was no snow in North Carolina, Christina Rossetti's hymn "In the Bleak Midwinter" came to mind while I was on the beach:
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Sing on and you find marvelous wonders emerge from that bleakness.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Indurated

A teacher asks: Why stop your car Why get out Why move the turtles? Let them be In the road And if they make it, They make it. Why interfere With things?
Let the universe unfold, The teacher says.
I have a reply That cannot be an answer, Though it is all I have:
Inside their shells Are hearts that break And bleed Under the weight Of what happens On these roads.
I have seen it On these roads.
The universe is Mine And theirs To unfold.
We own it.
Note: Indurated, meaning hardened, got me thinking of turtle shells and how evolution has deemed this external hardness to be a useful survival tool. Thinking of turtles got me to thinking of all the turtles I scoot across the road in springtime. And how I hate seeing them dead in the road. Once I mentioned this little survival game project to a friend and he asked why. There was a point to the question, of course. The point was to get me to the conclusion I came to here--that we shape our lives, that life does not simply happen to us, that we can choose to be kind and…

Blog Your Blessings: Knowing When to Fold 'Em

How children play. Especially those children whose parents don't speak much English. And how they touch my heart. I run an origami club at school, and the only condition of membership is that the kids have a ride home promptly at 3:30 p.m. so I can get home to my daughter. On average, 9 kids show up every week. The going home is the hard part.

A few weeks back, one boy who recently immigrated here from Puerto Rico by way of the South Bronx did not have a ride. He just wanted to be here. We dialed every number in his official file until someone came. "Didn't you ask your mother?" I asked, annoyed as heck. "She signed the permission slip, miss." Yeah. "Does she speak English?" "No, miss." Does she know she needs to be here now?" Yeah. "I told her this morning." Yeah. "Did she hear you?" Of course: "I don't know, miss." Never again, I told him. Don't come if you don't have a ride....Yes, miss...…

Skywatch Friday: Good Morning, Topsail

A few sunrises after Christmas found me in my sneakers and on North Topsail Beach taking in the sensuous, breezy splendor of a new day. For this Yankee, the weather was downright mild. I had almost achieved the can't-quite-bend-at-the-elbows level of layering before I stepped out of the house, though. So I unbuttoned, unzipped, and unwrapped--and I felt what I think butterflies must feel when it's time to break out of a cocoon. The free feeling of being stripped down to just three layers was wonderful. For me, there is nothing quite like North Topsail Beach for the peace, the poetry, and the possibilities these bring. It's all downright wonderful.

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Do You See What I See?


My World Tuesday: The National Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

I was in Gettysburg the day after Christmas, when I was en route to North Carolina. The weather was sad and quietly, strangely, peacefully haunting. I did not go into the cemetery but paid my respects from a dry distance. (More images are here.) In Wilmington, North Carolina, I stopped at a National Cemetery, where Union soldiers were interred after the Civil War. The cemetery was segregated until the 1940s. The stones of African American soldiers are marked "CLD TR" for "colored troops." The 6" X 6" stones indicate unknown soldiers.)
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Wonderful in Winter

The early morning sunlight was making it's way under the front steps to this lovely (you Southerners tell me what it is, please) flower one day last week in North Carolina. I discovered I like winter sunrises because I can manage to get up for them; they set well with my lazy soul.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Wings

The taste and weight
Of salt—
Your salt your weight—
Are in the air
And therefore on my tongue.
I am a kite and there is the sea
Air currents are my breath and pulse
I dance
When you flick your wrist
I respond
To your every whim
I feel
The weight of your desire
The heft of your life
As you tug on the string that threads
Through the air and through me
That makes of my dance and your touch
A dialogue of life in the cold.
I know
The weight and taste
Of this dance
By the salt on my tongue.
You know the dance?
You make it so?
Believe it if you must.
Without me you are a dream.
Without me your touch is nothing.
I am the kite.
The string is mine.
I struggled with the wings theme this week. The closest I could come to wings was a tethered flier. After a good few days in North Carolina, I came up with this, too.

One Single Impression

Happy New Year

My resolution: to move forward happily. I wish you the best of everything in every moment.