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Showing posts from July, 2010

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg

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On our way through Pennsylvania on Friday, we stopped at the Evergreen Cemetery, where President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address to consecrate graves of so many men from the North and South who fought for an idea of sovereignty, the political discussion of which ocurred worlds away from where they lived their lives.

Our tour of this National Cemetery was a quick one. No pets allowed. On a mercifully cool day, we locked Clyde in his cage in the car with the windows wide open and had a quick look at this hallowed place.

The burial ground is remarkable for its modesty. Just across the street are monuments to the great military minds who led boys into battle. They are gigantic men on horseback, and they are overpowering. Here, in contrast, are curved row after row of graves of unknown soldiers marked with numbers. Above them stands some goddess or other (She is another powerless being in the face of all that anonymous loss. I didn't try to figure out who she was, tho…

One Single Impression: Coccoon

Everything here
Begins as a loving embrace
Of itself.

Look around:
The skunk cabbage
The wild carrot
The daisy
The milk pod
The water lily

Also the Canada geese
Curled tight once in their shells
The butterflies
And the muskrat and beaver
Inside their warm mothers

You and I
We began that way,
Too.

The same is true
When we begin again:

A few steps
Perhaps flight
Perhaps a swim
Perhaps standing still--
Our faces in the sun
For as long as the sun
Will shine.

You love yourself,
You love the world.

It is the only way.

One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: Clean Your Lens, Sandy

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In summer, the song sings itself. (William Carlos Williams)
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: The Pomperaug River in the Rain

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My World Tuesday: Tierney Preserve

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A colleague who also hikes asked me if there were any views when I told her about her about the Brian Tierney Preserve in Roxbury, Connecticut. Views. I had to think. "There are no vistas, no wide open spaces, but there are views," I said. Really, that's half of what hiking is to me: what I see. The other half is the breathing. Unlike visiting museums and historical sites, hiking makes me aware that I am a part of what is rather than an observer of what was. Moving the dancing light and shadows of a place like the Tierney Preserve, you dance, too, even as you climb.
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Feeling Blue at Topsmead

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Topsmead is a gem of a park in Litchfield, Connecticut. I have been there many times, but it is always new and always gorgeous. Blue is a very good thing there.

Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Angels

The devil rushes in
Where angels fear to tread.

I have heard this
Ever since I was a child.

The idea is
I think
That angels are cautious
Or at least more cautious
Than the devil.

Which I don't get.

Who needs a fearful angel?

Now when I lead children
Down the hall
And they laugh
Because I tell them
I am four times their age
And they have no excuse
For falling behind
At my walking pace
Which is damned quick

I think

Live

Move

Run if you must

But catch up

This lingering in the hallway

Does no good.

We must move.

We must love.

We must breathe life.

At every turn

We must rush in
And love
Even if we are wrong.
One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Batman's New Cave

Something was up: every kid in line looked like the cat that ate the canary as they stood outside my classroom.
"Miss, where's Batman?"
"Don't know. Is he here today?"
"Oh, yes. He's here."
Two of the best girls in the summer program giggled even as they stood straight as the guards outside Buckingham Palace. A noise came from the locker behind them.
"You put him in the locker." I grinned. I so wanted to laugh. But I grinned because there's no better boy to stick in a locker than Batman. Good judgment, girls. Bad idea. As Disney a moment as it was, I couldn't go there. So I smiled every so slightly. I waited.
The two girls looked at each other: "We shouldn't have done that." Like clockwork, they told Batman to come out of his new cave; it was over.
I watched him straighten out his folded wings and walk into the classroom as if nothing happened even if we all know it did but shouldn't have.
I didn't have to say…

Skywatch Friday: Sky? What Sky?

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Get up early enough, and you find out there really isn't a sky. It's all water. The water gets lighter and lighter, higher and thinner--but it's all water. It's a beautiful thing. When the sun rises and the water evaporates, you're back at Day One all over again. I am looking forward to getting up early and going to heaven. Walking into this miracle, I realize whoever wrote Genesis was singing a love song to life itself.

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Taking Care of Your Friends

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My World Tuesday: The Bronx Zoo

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My sister and I visited the Bronx Zoo on Friday with her sons and my daughter. The zoo is a wonderful place for people though perhaps it is a nightmare for animals. However well cared for, these animals are not at home; they are less than what they could be. They are our pets. Because we have captured them and can study them and learn about the wild places from which they come, these animals are worlds away from their own habitats and the natural world to which they are entitled. Not ambassadors of but hostages from the wild, their presence in the Bronx begs us to love the world, to be kind to it, to let it be that they might be.

My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: By the Strange Light of Good Night

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Daisies at Topsmead
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Preponderance

All day I pondered These words of Thoreau:
Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.
In dreams awake, I saw the heron Take flight In response to my footfall, Watched the sun Fade behind weakened Rain clouds, Heard the muskrat Break the surface Of the water in the ravine, Felt the breeze Brush past me to dance With the cattails, Saw the day end Beautifully.
These dreams Spread themselves Like a pretty dress On the bed of my hopes.
I will put them on, Stand straight, And step into the day--
A dream, A life,
Alive.
One Single Impression

Divinely Organized

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So divinely is the world organized that every one of us,in our place and time, is in balance with everything else.
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Skywatch Friday: Steep Rock, Washington, Connecticut

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The Shepaug River actually had water in it when we visited it at Steep Rock Preserve in Washington, Connecticut, last Sunday morning. Along the way, we came across a little girl capturing tiny frogs that were pretty bouncy but not as fast as she was, even if she did have to go to the bathroom, as she said. The view above is from a suspension bridge that links that path system to the road where the more genteel folk drive in their hike and call it good just to play in the water. It's all good.
Here are a few more pictures, including a view of the Litchfield Hills, though they don't do justice to this beautiful place. Go there if you can.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Here, Now: I Love You.

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No better time to say it.

These votives are at the entrance of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City. People write their messages or prayers with Sharpies and then light them. When we were there, Della and her friend walked around them for a long time. Despite being surrounded by some pretty incredible ecclesiastical art, these candles and their homespun messages captivated them. What gets me about them is that they are messages to us as well as the departed. Whatever the writing, the candle says, "Love me. Please." How not to?
Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: The Quassy Carousel

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The carousel at Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, Connecticut, is very beautiful. Recently this guy caught my eye. The tamest ride in that little trolley park, it is more an adventure for the imagination than the body. See more of it here.

My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Butterfly Bush? Butterfly

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Around suppertime Friday, I watched this critter get himself good and drunk on these blossoms at Topsmead in Litchfield, Connecticut. I was envious as he drank his fill and basked in the intensely bright sunlight at the end of the day. When I got home and had a look at my (mostly bad) photos, I wondered what it was like to be this blossom and to feel the power of this delicate creature's embrace. A beautiful give and take.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Overt

You've cleared the table of I love you I'm sorry Please I need you Look at where we've been
They lie on the floor with You mean everything to me I love you (that again) Give our friendship time
And those summery blue Ideas of destiny Those roads that led us here Broken roads Broken us
And the grace that mends wounds Feeds the soul Restores those tattered people Into a whole man and a whole woman
Who realize Where one ends, The other begins
Who say in all honesty I love you Just the way you are Because you are you
And you are me And we are in it together.
Life is beautiful. Your happiness is my dream.
Is love stronger than anger?
I'd say so.
Though nothing is left, Your happiness is my dream.
One Single Impression

The Butt of My Students' Joke--My Butt

An entire class of my kids laughed at my butt today. Sure was something. I was bringing them to my classroom, which is at the other end of the known universe from the other classes, and I was walking in the usual way--quickly
Until I heard the laughter. Then I turned around and asked what the joke was. They giggled and covered their mouths. I couldn't imagine. I turned and walked on, but the laughter continued. I turned and saw the kids watching my rear end. So I asked if there were something on the back of my pants I needed to know about. (Our building is as dirty as a subway station; anything could have been going on back there.) Finally, one of the girls said, "No, Miss. It's the way you walk. Why do you walk like that?"
Alrighty, then. I had no answer. So I pulled the teacher face and told them very seriously to walk to the next hallway. I watched the tallest girl, the one who had just enlightened me, walk.
I returned to the head of the line. "I think I can do…

Skywatch Friday: What's Old is New

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It was a hot afternoon; old lady that I am, I had to sit down. And look up. I noticed the tree was growing around this part of The Cloisters the way trees grow around each other, though in this case the tree was accepting a right angle turn as part of what you do when you're a tree. In summertime, I like to sit back and see how trees curve round each other, giving each other room to--I don't know--be trees. Here was this happening in New York in an interaction between a tree and some stones rearranged from Europe. I loved seeing this. I wish I could be this way.
Skywatch Friday

Batman Comes to Waterbury

The first day of summer school began with a bizarre game of shuffleboard yesterday when I scooted a dead bat out of my classroom and across the hall and--oops!--under the door of the room opposite me.
When I let the custodian know about the body in the next room, he said, "He won't be bothering anybody if he's dead." Then he shrugged: "At least the live ones get rid of the flies."
It's funny what doesn't bother you after a while.
Later that morning, I was walking a class through what I had thought was a wildlife-free zone up a flight of stairs and into my classroom when one of the boys straggled behind, fascinated by a bat hanging from the wall above the stairwell. "Miss, there's a bat," he said.
"Alive or dead?" I asked.
"Alive."
"Good for him. He's doing better than the one I found this morning."
"Miss. I want that bat. Can you get him for me? Miss. I want to kill it."
"You can't do th…

Wordless Wednesday: Getting This Camera to Talk to Me

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Not easy. But what is? All I know is lately, things feel like this. The girl with the camera; she never actually has to do anything. Except get the picture. (Meet me there.)
Wordless Wednesday

Blog Your Blessings: Swimming Sideways

Last summer Della and I swam the swim of our lives at North Topsail Beach in North Carolina. We were caught in a rip tide, and for what felt like forever, we swam and swam and swam. Sideways. Because my dad told us to. After what felt like forever, we were able to stand just as an elderly gentleman in a Speedo and swim cap was mounting his board to come get us. I loved that man even though we didn't need him after all. I was so thrilled we could stand.
I remember he and a younger fella were laughing as we found our feet. I wondered then if we had swum harder than we had needed to or whether they were simply relieved we hadn't drowned. Drownings do take the shine off a summer afternoon, after all.
There are moments I still see that gray wall of water rising (imagine a wall rising, please) and leaning and crashing over us and my screaming to my daughter to swim and to watch. She was so annoyed with me for shouting. (I tell her I am the embarrassing relative, but that argument has…

Wordless Wednesday: Solstice Light, Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

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Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: House of Pain?

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I'd love to live for a year near the Cathedral of St. John the Divine just so I could stare at the thing and take pictures every day. I marvel at the various styles of the carvings and the intense detail. I was struck this last visit by the agony in the faces of some of the figures. Maybe it's right that these figures are on the outside; the feeling inside is one of peace and hope and the sublime joy that comes with these. The Christian version of Chaos and Confusion, maybe. While I am intrigued by what's on the outside, I so want what is on the inside.
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Lily's Back

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Wordless Wednesday: Aflutter

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One Single Impression: Roads

What was a trolley track Is a cinder path A walkway A straight and rigid line Melting into the curves That are the destiny Of this landscape
Driving to work, I often see a fox on that path Coy, not furtive, in the dawn light And the geese Like feathered lords Of the landscape And deer Stopping, strangely,
On that cinder path
The birds and squirrels Of course
The warm touch Of their bodies Presses the road
Into memory
Before the high-stepping Power walkers Bear down on this bit of history As if it were their birthright.
But those who were first up Know the story And how it will end.
It will: Happily.

One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: Hazy Hudson Saturday

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