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Showing posts from October, 2010

LeBron: All that Truth Makes me Crave Some Basketball

LeBron James is not your grandma's golden calf. With smarts and style, Lebron the Idol steps off your pedestal by naming all the junk that's been said about him since his move from Cleveland to Miami.

I love this ad. So often we--the free world wherein everyone can be great and everyone else can simultaneously deny your greatness by finding the fatal flaw with which we identify--hoist people onto pedestals perhaps only for the thrill of knocking them down and then ripping them apart. We vaunt our human rights and how good and right it is to be human, and then we tear apart our most favored children for being human.

Nowadays heroes carry a heavy load that is very different from the one they used to carry. In our time, they carry all that we hate in ourselves where once they carried the virtues we might celebrate.

LeBron James's Nike ad speaks to that with so much honesty and grace that you just want to see this marvelous athlete stop talking and speak to that beauty we …

Today's Flowers: We Play with our Food Here in Connecticut

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Here's an ear of corn the stalk of which created part of the maze my daughter and her friends and cousin traveled on Saturday to mark her 12th birthday. The day was soft and dull, and the only sunlight came from the corn itself.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Fancy

You know those got-nothing moments when that is the absolute truth and you step straight into it without question and you realize there is nothing to want even in the cold because

Things are so uncertain:
Seventy degrees and sunny today
Fifty-five and pelting rain tomorrow
And you're not ready for it
We know this by your thin jacket
And the summer shoes
You just won't put away

But you know if you forget about it
And stand there in the puddle and think

"I am barefoot,"

It all

Becomes

So very good

Because you're up to your knees in water
In fact you have become the tall grass
That takes what little the sun has to offer
Through that grey mess of autumn sky
And you make of it a song and dance
You are lithe, beautiful

Drinking light
Dancing

Never moving,
Either

And shocking the neighbors
By the indecent honesty and openness
(My God, we can all see you there)
With which you live in your body
With which you dance in the light
With which you turn the swamp

Into a song.

M…

Skywatch Friday: Surf City and North Topsail Beach

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So. My lens is never free of at least one grain of sand. I'm a slob. I love my camera. I respect it. I clean it. Constantly. Still. The dirt. It clings to my life. Maybe that's why I love so much to step into the water, walk way out, and let the ocean wash it all away. I never feel cleaner, happier, more peaceful, more alive. Dust aside, though, the top photo gets me for the shadows on the boardwalk. The angle and the intensity, given the light and the clouds....The second one? "Take your shoes off. Come in." The water always says that.
Skywatch Friday

Ways for Just Sayin'

I love this for what it says in itself and what it says about language and our need for language--any kind--to say what the heart must say. Rives is a genius.


President Obama Says You're Invited....

What: Moving America Forward Rally with
President Barack Obama
Where: The Arena at Harbor Yard 600 Main St. Bridgeport, CT 06604
When: Saturday, October 30th Doors Open: 1:00 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required, but an RSVP is encouraged. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For security reasons, please avoid bringing bags to the rally if at all possible -- you should expect airport-like security. No signs, banners, or laptops are permitted.

Wordless Wednesday: Aglow

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My World Tuesday: Halloween Magic in Woodbury

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Woodbury honored the season with a spirit-filled cemetery walk in the center of town on Saturday. There, men, women, children, witches, and criminals who shaped the town's history came back to tell their stories. Miller Jonathan Hurd told his story, a decapitated Revolutionary War soldier pulled himself together to tell his, merchant Jabez Bacon mentioned how he grew his wealth by accepting farms as collateral for cash loans until he became Connecticut's first millionaire....And the Rev. John Marshall recounted his troubles as an Anglican priest in a rebel town during the Revolution. Ultimately, he and his colleagues sent the Rev. Seabury to England to become consecrated as a bishop so that he could return to Connecticut and do his own consecrating of clergy in the new United States. Thus was born in Woodbury, Connecticut, the Episcopal Church of the United States. The Glebe House did a wonderful job of bringing to life the history of our town with colorful stories, humor, and…

Today's Flowers: The Sublime, Ephemeral Cosmo

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I made these pictures at Harkness Memorial Park in New London, Connecticut, with my daughter a few weeks ago. It was a mild day in early autumn, and we came to the beautiful gardens there from behind a building that wasn't the mansion. As we walked, I had the feeling of someone who had crept in the back gate, and I found myself admiring the flowers from behind. As I took pictures, I felt I was tapping them on the shoulder. It was a quiet, personal, afternoon on the Sound. Beyond, "My battery is dead, mom," and "Use my other camera," my daughter and I spoke very little there. It was too beautiful. Today's Flowers

Meet J.R.

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If you have a few minutes, I hope you'll have a look at this video on the TED blog. J.R. is a Parisian artist whose canvas is life, whose gallery is the world. (J.R. is the recipient of the 2011 TED prize.) To my mind, his art is about the transformative power of graffiti when graffiti is at its finest--which is to say raw, honest, open, and very big. 
Watch this, please. It'll make you feel good.

One Single Impression: Grace

This morning,
At the bottom
Of the last page
Of the third section
Of the local paper

Came this cosmic
Pronouncement:

Today will be a four-star day.
Let your mind rock and roll.
You are full of energy and excitement.
Honor changes with openness.
Tonight: Let your creativity flourish.

Thus read my horoscope

Like a poem

Full of grace.

Grace:

When the stars come together
Just so
And invite you

To dance among them

Any way you can.

And you honor change with openness.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: 'I Have to Tell You Something About Your Turtles'

"Miss Carlson, I have to tell you something about your turtles." This was my best student whispering to me at the beginning of a test--which test began just after I explained how important it would be to stay quiet and focused. 
"Tell me after your test, hon."
But he wouldn't be put off.
"I have to tell you. I read it this morning."  This from a kid who is the picture of good manners. Just the Awesome Child you want in your classroom because the interaction is always good. He was insisting on telling me something about My Turtles during a test. I had to love that, and I did. Rebellion that takes this form is an embrace that doesn't let go.
"What about them?" I asked.
"They've been around since the time of the dinosaurs," he said. He had read it this moring in Weird but True. And he had to tell me. 
Even as he held that test (on which he would earn a perfect score), his mind was wandering among dinosaurs and turtles on a beautiful…

Skywatch Friday: You'll Never Guess

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(Just more of the same from predictable me. Topsail. Paradise. Heaven. There, in my dreams. Here, in my heart.)

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Sail On

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My World Tuesday: Peaking, Peeking

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We took a walk at Southford Falls in Southbury on Saturday afternoon to take in the colors of what has been designated the peak color weekend for leaf peepers. We were out and among them and glad to be there, for sure. The day was windy, cold, strong, and beautiful.  (More here.)

My World Tuesday

Review: American Moderns at the Wadsworth

American Moderns on Paper at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford is an exciting, intimate show of more than 100 works by major American modern artists from 1910 to 1960.
My daughter and I liked the Hoppers the best. We like the bright light, the clear lines, the clearly delineated geometric shapes that come together to create a home, a coal shed, a lighthouse, a church on a New England street rising from the midst of homes that at once protect it and obscure it. We liked getting up close and seeing the lines of the original sketch visible below the clean and clear watercolors. We know that light. We live in it. And Hopper gets it right--the feeling of being alone yet with somebody (more like alongside somebody in that exquisite solitude) in a place that whispers in such a commandiing way that silence can be the only response.
And there was O'Keeffe, Charles Burchfield, John Marin, Ben Shahn....and so many others.
We are like children out for ice cream when we go to the museum--we ha…

Today's Flowers: Orange You Lovely

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Here are a few blossoms from the gardens of Harkness Memorial Park, where Della and I passed several languid, lovely hours a few weekends ago. As the cold air and wind have come our way, we have thought of hot chocolate and snow and warm blankets on early nights. Time moves swiftly.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Champion

For walking,
Off road is better,
Always quiet and soft
To the touch,
Grass and earth lift the foot
And whisper in time with each step

Even on a cold morning,
Off road is better.

Always.

On the morning of the first frost
You step deep into a field
(The sign says, "No Trespassing!
Keep Off!" but you are immune
To shouting at this hour.)
You hear only the whisper of grass
And you walk on

And then when you stop
And the sun lifts her head
And blows across the field
Kisses in yellow light

That climb up your body

You feel
Through your sneakers and socks
Moisture that would have been dew
The warm day before.

You imagine you hear the trickle
That is the expired breath of grass
As it soaks through you

And sends you reaching and climbing
Like a wild vine
Into a new day.

One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: Hear the Sun Shine

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Here is a Topsail morning. I remember it. I remember the sun being ahead of me and my pushing it off to the side and the surf. There is a subtlety to the tide, to the right moment for swimming. This past summer, 11 a.m. was the golden hour for the most beautiful of times to interact with the tide. There. For me. The rest of the day and night was for watching. Every morning, I would walk to the pier and back, and when I was alone, I liked to put the camera down, turn left, and step into that water....and let it be. So beautiful. So easy. Where else to be? Honestly, I don't know, and I have yet to hear a compelling argument for or from anywhere else. Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Rendezvous

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A place for night swimming, a place to love the morning.
Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: First Frost

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I woke up to a chilly morning on Sunday, and when I went for an early walk, I discovered that we had had our first frost. It's nice to see the way the frost melts in response to the rising sun but stays put in the shadows. The corn and the hay have been harvested, and the fields seemed so very quiet. I like the first frost. It gives me permission to dive into that first bag of candy corn, think about Halloween costumes, warm pajamas, Thanksgiving.... It's a wonderful, cozy time of year, and the light is beautiful. It's good to see, too, that some flowers thrive despite the cold.

My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Autumn

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Tagging along on a geo-caching expedition, I found myself waylaid more than once by the dead and dying flora of autumn. That's what optimism looks like this time of year around these parts. Basically it's all comes down to this: it's all so very good. I say it every day. I breathe it. I believe it. Sometimes I look back and words for what was come to me; I catch them if I can--like so many swirling leaves that rest on the earth--or let them go. They are blessings and artifacts, remnants that form the fiber of truth. I honor them and let them go.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Lonely

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Lonely

The outlier
Descendant of

All one:

From many, the singular,
Whole, complete,

Everything.

So how did it come to this
Over time?
What change
Turned everything

Into almost nothing--

In fact, one--

Lost and looking out
Reaching for the rest of its story?

How did I forget you?
How did you forget me?

Why do we refuse to open our eyes
Why do we agree to this solitude?

You touched me once.
Touch me again.

Turn on the light and let me find you.

We are all one.

Note: Thinking on some Hemingway I have read recently...and thinking of how language can turn itself inside out sometimes. In this case the movement from all one to lonely is revealing, so plain in its obvious truth. The word startled me this week. This is a poem about language. Love is something else.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Origami

Origami club started up at school this week. We are not a sport; I am not a coach, and I therefore  do not get paid. But folding is awesome, there are kids who are not jocks who have some kind of affinity for the beautiful and what is possible when you create it, and I share their hope.
We folded flowers, and two kids brought a bouquet to the school secretary. Then all the kids folded a flower to take home. On to the--
"Miss, I want to show them the swan."
That was Ramon, a beautiful little puppy of a seventh-grader who learned it from me last year, knew it, and wanted to have a go at being the teacher. 
"Go for it, buddy."
He got to the second step and turned to me and said, "God, Miss. I'm nervous!"
"You're doing great."
He went on. Then, he and the two other boys who had folded with me last year moved among the kids to help them get it right.  They were gracious and sweet.  I could have cried just watching the older kids help the younger kid…

Skywatch Friday: Meet me in the Long Grass

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Another Topsail moment, a warm evening alone on the beach with a sunset to die for--or should I say to wake up for and wait for and be there for and do it again for. It asks nothing, gives everything, shows up faithfully. Love it.

Skwatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Moss

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My World Tuesday: Another Kid

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Often I get my current events from our custodian who raises the flag every morning. The days he stops the flag half way up the pole, I'll ask, "Who now?"
"Another kid in [name someplace]," is always the answer.
It's tough to pass through the front doors and head up the stairs knowing a percentage of the kids who sit in my classroom could become cannon fodder. Indeed, many of the boys who have been in my classes have expressed a desire to serve in the military. I think that's great when it's the best of a lot of choices and not the only real choice. Our flag in mourning makes me work harder to educate these kids straight into the genuine freedom of choice.
(The above shots are from Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The first image captures the graves of unknown soldiers.)
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Summer's End, Harkness Memorial Park

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Here is a flower blooming happily at Harkness Memorial Park last Saturday. In the distance: Long Island Sound. This is a beautiful place. Our timing was perfect. After a week of wind and rain, I somehow doubt we'd see tomorrow what we saw a week ago. Every minute counts. Thank God.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Try

Try

The etymology dictionary tells me

Means

To sort
(By examination)

Which I think means (though I am not looking and will not look)

To take the good
And cleave to it
Like the last and only lover
(Or should I say "love"?)
Like the one true thing
Like your last hope

Even if it is a small thing

Even if it is trying to get away.

Hold it
Claim it
Make it yours

Just try.

See what happens.

It could be a good thing.

Hold on.

Try

For a change.

It seems to me we make such a virtue of letting go, of embracing openness to the point of emptiness. I get that "if you want to be here, you'll stay" stuff, but there's nothing quite like the sound and feel of "I want you" (here, with me, beside me,now). A big embrace feels so much better than a good-natured wave good-bye. 
One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Immigration, My Little Town

Reading that focused on immigration for the past few weeks culminated over the past few days with writing an expository paragraph about the effect of immigration on each student's neighborhood.

Before they began writing, the kids brainstormed the effects of immigration on the people, the music, the food in their neighborhoods. A child from Albania wrote that one effect of immigration on his neighborhood was that McDonald's and Taco Bell were right there.
"But those are American restaurants," I remarked. 
"But, Miss, if all the people who work there are Albanian, isn't it an Albanian restaurant?"
****
I think my kids are brilliant.