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Showing posts from November, 2010

Aging Ills Reversed in Mice - WSJ.com

My World Tuesday: Rockefeller Center at Christmas

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My World Tuesday has my mind drifting back to Rockefeller Center and the Christmas decorations on display and the Christmas tree not quite ready to be displayed last week. It rose like a skyscraper under construction alongside the skating rink. Workers brought branches up and down the tree in a bucket they raised and lowered with a rope on a pulley. The whole business seemed as backwoodsy as it seemed very urban. No doubt, the perfect tree will be lighted this week--regardless of whatever way nature constituted that perfection in the first place.


I remained in the black on Black Friday, deleting all the enticing offers to spend money and staying well out of town. The decorations and the spirit do it for me. I like to buy what I think is right for the people I love based on who they are and what I know about them. So I was perfectly calm and happy as I took some long walks to watch the trees being driven up and down the road on the tops of trucks or stuffed into the backseats of cars dr…

Today's Flowers: A Thanksgiving Walk

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After Thanksgiving supper, I went for a walk. I left the football to the football people and the creative work to the Creative One and took myself off to the quiet.


I love holiday quiet in the cold weather. (There is no quiet on major holidays in the warm weather. There are too many things to ignite or to sing about or what have you when the air is warm and the days are long.)


This time of year, though, there is a safe and serene place that the cold and dark offer together.


On Thanksgiving, the quiet is palpable. It slows the pulse. It stills the air. The landscape slips under the covers of winter for a good rest. The faded flowers of summer stand sentinel to happy memories.  Everything is good.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Meld

Meld:
To melt and weld
As in, perhaps,
Putting the silver coating on
This cheap necklace I wear almost every day;

(It is a turtle emerging from a shell,
Crawling to the sea of my throat.)

My chemistry
Has worn away the thin layer of silver
Fused to this base metal
To create the illusion

Of something sterling.

This lackluster turtle reminds
Me life itself began

Once

Began in the face
Of wildly ridiculous odds
Began as a turtle by being there

(So the stories go)

When a divine innocent fell
(Was pushed in anger, actually)
Through a hole in the heavens

To an earth that lifts you up
Because it can

Because it can transform
Danger and anger into--
(Pretty dreams, I would like to say)
And it will

Because
(and we may never understand this)
That is what it is; it must.

Scratch beneath the surface;

Find that the turtle is the turtle.

Begin.

One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: Good Night, Woodbury

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Here's a view of the sun slipping away as we watched it while we stood in the mud of the Pomperaug River in Woodbury on Saturday. That time of day at the park is very nice because it is full of people who like dogs and like being outside. So there are strangers up and down the path talking to each other about their dogs and saying, "Have a nice weekend," and it is very nice. Except for the guy who said, "My dog is not friendly; you might want to put yours on a leash." But you always get one. (Clyde didn't want a piece of that German Shepherd, anyway!)
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Zeus, Rockefeller Center

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My World Tuesday: The Christmas Show, Radio City Music Hall

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We went to New York City on Sunday to take in the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. The day was a dream. The music, dancing, sets, and 3-D display were outstanding. The day was beautiful from start to finish--the sun shone, the day warmed up, the train conductors and theater ushers were in great moods, the people who sat around us were in the spirit of the show.


The Voice from Beyond who welcomed us to the theater prohibited flash photography, so I didn't use a flash to take a few photos of this splendid show. When I set the camera on sepia, I felt like a time traveler watching the show through the screen on the camera. The show was as immediate as it was outside of time then.  Everything good felt dreamy and beautiful and possible. The show left me with the feeling, "Why say, 'Why?' when you can say, 'Why not?'" (I am quoting Santa.)
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: What Remains

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Here is some of what's left of leaf life at Three Rivers Park in Woodbury, Connecticut. These days I'm calling it Clyde's Park because that's where he likes to spend his free time roaming, checking out other dogs of all sizes, and tempting us into the thickets as he makes his way for the chilly waters of the Pomperaug River. The light is low and soft, and the ground is sleepy this time of year, but the air smells very, very good.
Today's Flowers

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Watching Harry Potter and his friends take on the enigmatic challenge of the Deathly Hallows Part One on Friday was exciting, rewarding and satisfying—like watching your old friends do good and do it well.
I confess I have never read any of the books. Instead, I have gone for the ride each time a movie has come out, and I have been totally blown away by the acting and by the special effects of these movies. In Deathly Hallows Part One, I was struck by how clearly the special effects work in the service of the story and the acting, not in place of either. I was als—again—struck by how beautifully the actors performed. Where the actors could not say what a text could, gesture and movement conveyed the depth of feeling and complexity of meaning that carried the theme of how human nature complicate what might otherwise be a clear and direct conversation between good and evil.

Harry Potter has been a part and parcel of my daughter and her two cousins’ childhoods for the past decade. He has…

Raising Ethical Children

One Single Impression: Apprentice

To apprehend:
To seize with the mind.

An apprentice?
One who does that.

I am mud wrestling with this metaphor.

It has me in what I hope is an illegal hold
And I hope that someone in authority is watching
And will blow the whistle
That I might remove my face from the mud
Draw back the filth from my eyes
Shake off this thing

I am trying to imagine my mind seizing
Laying claim to
Calling its own

Anything at all.

Blow the whistle on me:
I am going too far with this.

To apprehend
Means to understand.

Forget the strange and violent history of the word
As you perceive it.

It is a simple thing: understanding.
Apprentice: one who will understand.

Back to that game in the mud, though:
What you don't apprehend
Holds you

And will
Until you do.

You will apprehend.
You will plunder your life for the truth.

Call it air.
You will come up to find it.

One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: A Reach

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This beautiful sycamore tree reaches across Jack's Brook at the Tierney Preserve. It seems to me trees embody grace in the ways they grow through, around, and even beyond each other to get to the light.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: The Waiting

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I passed a roofing place across the street from the phone company garage in a part of my hometown that was once farmland. That farmland surrendered to sprawl in my childhood. Sprawl often offers glimpses of strange taste. The perimeter of the roofing place's parking lot was marked by plastic palm tree trunks topped by (How to describe?) palm tree fronds fashioned from what seemed to be the discarded branches of artificial (green) Christmas trees. This was multicultural, interdisciplinary landscaping at its very worst. Such things are inexcusable without a miniature golf range in sight. Just plain wrong. But there it was in my little town.
I was not overcome by sentiment as I sped by and planned my next trip into the woods, where I would encounter these leaves and imagine them soon shivering under the weight and cold of the first New England snow. How I love walking in the woods after that first snow. Always, these leaves glow like beacons. There is a strange and peaceful silence …

Swimming

I just love the way he talks about swimming and the way swimming feels as I watch this incredible video. Enjoy.

My World Tuesday: Brian Tierney Preserve, Roxbury

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We had a nice walk around the Brian Tierney Preserve in Roxbury, Connecticut, over the weekend.  The trail is clearly marked (except where it isn't), and it winds around some pretty steep ledges around this beautiful land that was sculpted into the earth by glaciers thousands upon thousands of years ago.  It's a strange and wonderful thing to walk along the edges and observe the steep drops; the time of creation seems not so long ago, yet.... The morning light was really spectacular, and the water coming down the Cascades, glorious.
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Berries in the Quiet of Roxbury on Veterans' Day

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Hiking with my daughter in the Brian Tierney Preserve in Roxbury on Veterans' Day, we noticed how noisy the walk seemed at the higher altitudes where the path was covered with newly fallen, crisp oak leaves and how quiet it was along the water, where the leaves had been walked into small pieces and silence. Along the quiet part of the trail, we came across these berries where a hedge had once demarcated the end of someone's farm.
Today's Flowers

Quiet

Quiet.

This is my art.

I say nothing
Offer nothing give nothing
Leave nothing behind

There is nothing

But quiet

Where I am

Where I have been.

It is not a gift.

Understand this.

I am not having a conversation with you.
I am not in the least interested in your response.
I am not waiting for your big moment of

I don't know what.

I don't care.

Quiet.

This is my art.

I say nothing
So you can take what you need
And walk away

Without the slightest thougth of me.

It is better that way.

For both of us.

Quiet is my art.

The gift?
You.

Step in and claim what you will.

It's all I can do.

One Single Impression: Echo

Air across the water:
A wave.

Voice across time:
An echo.

Stillness, silence:
No story,
No conversation
Between then and now.

Troubled waters are a blessing;
They lap against cold stillness to say

We are here. We are alive.

We are alive.

Breath across water:

Call it a beginning
Call it a story

Perhaps a new

Word. A new word:

Yours. Mine.

Feel your pulse.
Feel the echo.

One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: Veterans' Day

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Veterans' Day. I think in the United States, where we prize our opinions more than just about anything most days, it takes a special a person to put opinion aside and offer up life itself in service of a bunch of ideas that take their life and breath from some imaginative and clear thinkers along with a rag-tag bunch of rebels a few centuries ago. It's not the way we're made. Love takes many shapes, many forms. That kind of patriotism is one of them.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Scalped

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The reenactor is holding the scalp of a white man that is mounted on a ring and painted red to indicate the former owner had been an officer and finished with a black dot to indicate he had been shot. As gruesome as it was telling. Souvenirs take many forms.  (By the way, the sash around this man's waist indicates that he is an officer. Had he been wounded in battle, his men would have unfurled the sash to use it as a stretcher.  Officers were worth saving.)
Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: Connecticut's Valley Forge Comes to Life

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My daughter and her cousins visited Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding/Bethel, Connecticut, on Saturday to take in a reenactment of a skirmish for food on the 232nd anniversary of the Revolutionary War camps on this site. The reenactors enlisted two of the three children to participate in a children's muster and drill. Before they knew it, they were taking orders to march, fire on the enemy, and then run away as fast as they could in proper military style. Many of the kids fell right into the spirit of the thing and fell in action right on Company Street, which marks the road on which enlisted soldiers built huts where they wintered more than two centuries ago.
In addition to the great information from the fabulous men and women reenactors, the brochure tells us: "In November of 1778, the main part of Washington's Continental Army was ordered to winter quarters. The winter encampments formed a crescent around the British Army in New York City, from Middlebrook, NJ, to R…

Today's Flowers: Reflection, Remembrance

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Here are a few shots from Harkness Memorial Park. I warm up and remember summer when I look at these photos. The top photo is an image of trees reflected on the windows of the dining room of the mansion, the ceiling of which is painted with foliage representing the four seasons. The bottom is the boxwood garden, one in a network of gardens surrounding this fabulous place .Walk around the boxwoods to the koi fountain, make your wish, turn around, and there is the Atlantic as it quietly pulses between Connecticut and Long Island. Dreams come true. Breathe deep and know it.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Pause

Moments on this road

Stop me

The glare of the evening light on the wet road
Suggests a daylight that passed me by
I don't know when

But shows itself
When I am too late

This is goodbye....

Moments on this road
Stop me

And I do what I can.

 I watch the sun set.

One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: Corn

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A corn maze full of children heedless of the befuddled adults scratching their heads and not sure what to do next, Lyman Orchards's 14-acre corn maze nevertheless felt like a quiet agricultural paradise all to ourselves, somehow. Maybe that's just the power of my imagination. I don't know--though I do know it was beautiful and that, looking up in those moments when I trailed behind so I could play with my camera showed me the perfect world I had been seeking all along. It's right here and all around us. Each of us is the center of a beautiful universe. Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Summer, Haunting

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My World Tuesday: Children in the Corn

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After a fabulous pizza lunch at the First & Last Tavern in Middletown, Dell and her friends had a go at the 14-acre corn maze at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield.





While the correct course through the corn was probably as clear as day for the aliens who took this picture of UConn Women's Coach Geno Auriemma, it was not so clear to our crowd of little navigators.





What started out as good fun soon became a bit disturbing. And not for us alone. It was quite something to pass and pass again people who started when we did and note the deepening frownies, the darkening brows, the hurried pace as panic set in. The corn seemed to taunt us. One of the Lyman's employees on one of the bridges did too; he told us the food drops were every Tuesday, not to worry....




The sky grew dark.



And then the way somehow became clear (we followed the voices), and out we came, back again among the living in the free world. We had a great time.

My World Tuesday