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Showing posts from June, 2012

Today's Flowers: A Flower for One

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From June 27, 2012From June 27, 2012
I came across this hungry bee breakfasting al fresco the other morning, and I was pleased by how I captured none of his attention. He was as hungry as he was busy, and the flower was none the worse for wear.
Today's Flowers

Skywatch Friday: Clyde saw it, too

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From June 27, 2012
Yesterday, I looked over my shoulder out the back window around 8:20 and the world bathed in pink light--the piers, the water, the islands, Camp Lejeune and the big cloud emanating therefrom--and I took my camera to the back deck to claim it for myself. As I played with exposure, Clyde tiptoed out after me. He took a quick look, made a general inspection of the premises, and let Adella know it was time to go out again. His inner poet was trumped yet again by the business side of himself--or he knows, like the wisest among us, that being there is everything. Even if it's a business trip. 


P.S. The Sierra Club just launched a powerful new web tool called My Piece ofAmerica that allows you to share a photo of your favorite place outdoors and take action to protect America's wild places. I wanted to share mine with you here. After you've looked at my photo, you can share yours and learn more about how to protect America's wild places.

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Meet Gregor Samsa

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New Regulations Could Help Turtles Survive Shrimpers' Nets

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From Oceana:

New regulations would give turtles an escape from deadly shrimp nets


Tens of thousands of turtles are caught in fishing gear every year. Trapped underwater for more than an hour, many of these turtles die by drowning.
But there is an alternative. Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) provide an "escape hatch" for turtles caught in shrimp nets, but not all fishermen have been required to use them. Meanwhile, turtles in the Gulf are dying. All six sea turtle species in the U.S are threatened or endangered, and every loss counts.
But a new proposed regulation will require all shrimp trawlers in the Gulf and southeast Atlantic to use TEDs. This new rule will save lives—if it goes through. Sign TODAY to tell the National Marine Fisheries Service that you support new regulations to protect turtles from shrimp nets.
Click here to support this regulation.

Our World Tuesday: Clyde Tastes Freedom

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You think you see snowball flowers, and you do.
From June 23, 2012 What you might not see is the dog who sees you from behind those flowers and leaves. From June 23, 2012 This was uncharted territory for Clyde, who is usually on his leash at my parents'. This is because he used to have an unsettling predilection for finding escape hatches along the fence. Restoring Clyde to the end of his leash is a nightmare once he's found his freedom--and the neighbor's horse, and the squirrels taunting him from the Japanese maples, and the chipmunk who shares the same coloration. Freedom is as beguiling as it is frightening to the onlookers who can't always catch up on their much longer two legs. So Clyde has not been off leash at my parents' for a long time. A little older and wiser, he enjoyed himself and the thrills of being the kind of the pachysandra, of bouncing past the garden gnomes, of rolling in the grass. From June 23, 2012From June 23, 2012 On the way home, Cl…

One Single Impression: Crystal

A hundred million years of evolution
Have made crystal clear
The vision of the osprey
Who can see from the sky
The fish that will feed their young.
Their eyes put back together all that
Refracted light.
They see through rainbows
And shimmering sunlight
And shadow.
They see supper.

A hundred million years
Have taught the osprey to see.

A hundred million years
Have taught the fish
The folly of flight.

One Single Impression

Today's Flowers: Sated

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From June 10, 2012

From June 9, 2012The bee in the first shot went about knocking the petals off many a flower as he bopped around the wildflower buffet at Three Rivers last weekend. In his own small way, he was making a huge mess. The garden-variety fly on the daisy was doing his thing without any bother on the same day. (The album dates do not correspond to the dates I took the pictures. Just my excellent and unique filing skills skewing things around her just a bit.) Down South, many folks assume summer in Connecticut must be a cool and refreshing thing. The truth is, though, that the humidity that makes our humid subtropical climate a four-season adventure is every bit as intense as anything down there. Ever since that summer 14 years ago when I was great (gigantic) with child, no amount of heat bothers me. I'm grateful for that season for many reasons, including for conditioning me so that I could, as the Boss says, "smell the deep green of summer" and enjoy …

Skywatch Friday: Evening

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From June 16, 2012The big, dark cloud made me think of a sea turtle, so I took the photo last week on Topsail.  The thick clouds had broken after a long, gray day, and it was very beautiful.  I took this photo a day or two before coming back to Connecticut.  As much as I love my home state, it was hard to leave this beautiful place that has been like a good friend to me in many ways:  it's always present, it keeps my secrets, it tells its own story without telling too much, and it leaves me feeling good.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Getting There

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From June 16, 2012*From June 10, 2012**Wordless Wednesday

*This view is a common one on the Carolina roads.  Something about 20 or 30 pine trees being hauled off by one guy in a big truck seems wonderfully contrary to our do-it-in-bulk world.  I wonder, "Did you leave the rest of the forest alone, or do you like doing this in small trips?"  I hope it's the former.  The prettiest pine trees I've ever seen are in North Carolina.
**This is the GW, which bridge can make your day or break your heart depending on how many people are on it at one time.  The day we were on it, a young man from Jersey had "plunged to his death"  on the other side, and nobody was moving.  There was no crisis on our side, so we did all the loop-de-looping it takes to get over to the other side.

Challenge the Laws of Change

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Our World Tuesday: In the Garden

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From June 16, 2012 I spent Friday last week in the garden watching the ivy grow. Someone has to take note of these things.

From June 16, 2012 Then this dragonfly caught my attention. Every time I had the camera ready to take his portrait, he moved to some other leaf. Our game of hide-and-seek lasted a good few minutes before he smiled and said, "cheese."

From June 16, 2012 Clyde, who loves cheese, has no problem with the word; and he gave me one of his best grins. He appreciates the leafy greens, too. They keep him cool and out of the sunshine. The boy has a winning smile, that's for sure. My world is small, but I like it. 
Our World Tuesday

One Single Impression: Waiting

To fill the waiting time
Between the dialing and the answering,
The mother of one of my most placid students
Would play a spiritual song
About my getting in the groove
Putting my hands together
Praising Jesus
And feeling the spirit.

Thus,
Jesus the Sex Therapist
Occupied my time during the wait,
After which I would answer this woman
Who would begin the conversation with,
"OK, what he do now?"
With the predictable,
"Nothing.  That's why I am calling."

But I was a liar.
He did plenty:
He lifted weights, took his vitamins,
Painted,
Tended his garden,
Ran down the hall like a lunatic, and,
I am told,
Had sex with his girlfriend
In the bathroom,
Though I'm not sure which one.
(That got him a few days out-of-school suspension,
And more time in his garden.)

I hated making those calls.
I hated the wait time and feeling embarrassed
Somehow for being white and not having a groove
And anyhow having no truck with the Spirit
That keeps the time that
Makes the groove po…

Today's Flowers: A Few for tea

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From June 9, 2012You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.
           -- James A. FroudeToday's Flowers

Book Review: 'The Glass Castle' by Jeannette Walls

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The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Reading Jeannette Walls's memoir The Glass Castle brought me back to the 1970s and growing up not rich in material things (We did not ski in Aspen; we sledded at the junior high up the hill from the house.) but rich in story.
That point hit home last weekend, when mom and I narrated the stories behind the photos in several very thick albums for my beautiful and patient daughter, who seemed happy to know why we are the way we are.
I came to Walls's memoir by way of a colleague with whom I had been discussing Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson--another 70s memoir of a woman whose life was more like The Beverly Hillbillies than The Brady Bunch.
As writers, these women have created a genre that presents memoir as a cross between family story, the Waltons, and Everyone Loves Raymond. Which is to say these are compelling books that make you think, make you feel good, make you take another look at your family and say, "Da…

Skywatch Friday: On a Wing

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From June 8, 2012 Sunset slips off the edge of the wing that brought me along the second leg of my trip to Connecticut last week. I was in Charlotte in a plane that was shaped very much like a long cigarette. When the grandma sitting behind me with her three grandson said for the world to hear that she was having a panic attack, I had to laugh at myself. She was saying what I wasn't. The little girl sitting with her dad across the aisle from me so enjoyed the view and the city lights that magically became Christmas lights as we climbed into the night was so happy--she was giggling and clapping--that I decided there and then to catch myself on and enjoy the damned flight even if it killed me. And I did even though it didn't.     From May 26, 2012 Sunsets back at the ranch these days are looking a lot like this one over the Intracoastal. Talking with some colleagues this week about how we came to be in this area, I learned that we agree this view and the sounds of the ocean…

Wordless Wednesday: Hanging on

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Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road?

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Why did the turtle cross the road\?  To start a family.  Back home in Connecticut the DEEP (Department of Energy and Environmmental Protection) has suggested that if it's safe, help turtles cross the road.
Thanks, boys.  I've been doing that for years.
Respect your elders, people.  Help the turtles cross the road.  Running them over is like running over your grandmother.  Get a grip on your heart and help the turtles.  Allow yourself to be blessed by these marvelous creatures.  Be a fully participating member of your planet and feel good about yourself.  Please.
Here's the story from the Hartford Courant.    
Across the state, hundreds of female turtles are crawling out of swampy areas in search of a place to lay their eggs. But busy highways are not a good place for turtles, whose agility in dodging speeding cars is not their strongpoint.
Some turtles roam more than others. The box turtle is known to be more terrestrial than others, and its travels often bring it into a …

Our World Tuesday: Have Your Dog Tags?

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Adella and I were out enjoying the morning with Clyde on Sunday.

From June 10, 2012
The air was filled with the fragrance of wild flowers, the moving water of the Pomperaug River, and everything green. It was a bright, warm, slightly muggy day; on these days green is a perfume as much as a color. We had it all, the three of us.
From June 10, 2012From June 10, 2012
Then we had it all, the five of us. Two lovely and loving spaniels came out of nowhere and shared the path with us a while. Then they moved on to larger companions--a Basset hound and a big black-haired, water-loving dude the likes of which I had never before seen.


By the time our walk was finished, our little buddies were back at our heels. No human companion appeared for them, so Della checked the tags for a phone number, and we got Luke and Jack a ride home.

Their humans were a little awkward on arrival--the dad was obviously relieved and angry with the anger that is the residue of fear--and the little girl who had let…

Keep Shell Out of the Arctic

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Keep Shell Out of the Arctic!: Thank You - Take Action!: NRDC's Save BioGems
President Obama supports Arctic drilling. I want to puke. I can sleep in on election day this year because neither slug running for office will be worth the time it would take to vote. I didn't expect beans on the environment from a Republican candidate, but I did expect more from a Democrat. Silly me.

One Single Impression: Wanting

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From June 9, 2012Stop Carrying your heartLike an empty bowl.
Stop Doubting your heart.Love what you love.
Go To that unchartered place.Love without permission.
Go.Feast on flowers.
I have taken this week's prompt of wanting in a contrary way--as in, stop wanting.  It seems to me in so many ways we make a virtue of going without what we want.  That makes sense in the context of saving up for what we want, earning what we want, being ready for what we want.  Quiet desperation for its own sake is not a virtue, though; it is a cop-out.  
So often people go without what they want for the sake of others.  So often people like to think they are denying themselves for the sake of others--as in, if what will make me happy will make you unhappy, I won't do it.  This is cowardice:  people deny themselves because they are comfortable where they are; they are unwilling to step into a discomfort zone, if there is such a thing.
Our Declaration of Independence refers to our right to pursue  happine…

Today's Flowers: Purely Beautiful

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From June 8, 2012From June 8, 2012From June 8, 2012"When I would recreate myself, I seek the darkest wood, the thickest and most impenetrable and to the citizen, most dismal, swamp. I enter a swamp as a sacred place, a sanctum sanctorum." (Henry David Thoreau)Today's Flowers

Skywatch Friday: The Real World

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From May 26, 2012 There is the real world, and there is the real world.  So often I hear folks referring to the real world as that place where life is hard and lonely and dreams can't come true because the economy stinks and people want, need, expect, are entitled to this, that, the other thing but don't get it and probably shouldn't because this is the real world.

So often I hear folks talking way too much.

I think the real world is what is right in front of you.  What did you put there?  What did you turn away from?  I think the "real world" talk has something to do with being a victim of circumstances rather than a maker of them.  I think it's so much easier to draw up lists of what might go wrong if we dare to dream and do and to justify the safety that dark and empty spaces provide than to get out there and take what we damn well want.  
Which is not to say hurrah for me and to hell with you. But I think we have to go, move, do and geniunely be ourselves…

(Wordless for Some People) Wednesday: Pelicans are my Dudes

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From June 3, 2012From June 3, 2012From June 3, 2012From June 3, 2012From June 3, 2012
I know: bad photos and not exactly new to here. How many times can she take the same photos and call them different? 
Answers: I could take essentially the same photos from now until doomsday and not feel the slightest inkling of "something's wrong with me."  My best friends attribute this to some form of mental illness identified with three capital letters. My mere acquaintances (whom I actually like better) don't attribute it to anything more than the fact that I like pelicans. 
In fact, I adore pelicans.  They are to me in North Carolina what Canada geese are to me in Connecticut. Because these guys smile like the bird that ate the cat that ate the canary--because they just might have. 
These modest photos actually represent a small success for me with my new Canon PowerShot that I take everywhere. (I am a firm believer in carrying a Canon PowerShot everywhere and at all ti…

Book Review: 'Let's Pretend This Never Happened' by Jenny Lawson

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Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson


Blogger Jenny Lawson's memoir Let's Pretend This Never Happened really burned me up.
Literally. I was so entertained by this collection of memories of this hilariously honest woman whose not-quite-ordinary family takes the meaning of not-quite-ordinary to a place my oddball relatives couldn't imagine in their wildest dreams that I let myself bake without basting under the Carolina sun last Sunday to the point that I am no longer a white girl but a pink one with very unattractive blisters that want concealing.
There's that dramatic old saying that your best friends are just that because they know where you buried the bodies (because they helped you bury them). Check. Got that. On a less dramatic note, your best friends are the ones you can invite to the family picnic.
We've all got that aunt or uncle or sister who defies explanation. Our best friends get it because they have a set of…

Our World Tuesday: Swansboro

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A few weeks ago when mom and dad were down, we went over to Swansboro for lunch at the Icehouse. The village is at the mouth of the Oak River, and there are fishing and shrimping and pleasure boats up and down the river.


From May 12, 2012 Outside the restaurant we came across a pirate--there are plenty of those around here--who was swashbuckling the sunny day away. From May 12, 2012 Mom and I checked out the shops after lunch, and we came across this gentleman, who was jaywalking with his lady and not caring in the least. Nobody else minded, either. From May 12, 2012 Back at the ranch, I had my parents'd dog (the night watchman) out for a walk along the dunes. Buddy declined the photo op, so I caught a picture of the flowers in the sand. From May 12, 2012Our World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Toxic Beauty

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From May 20, 2012
I love the way the oleander comes and goes all year. Mom and dad have three varieties guarding the perimeter of the house. The colors--and the tenacity of the plants--remind me of the colors of rhododendron. It's hard not to love pink around here. 
Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death. (Anais Nin)

Today's Flowers

For the Birds

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We’re for the birds around here. We could sit around for hours and watch them cruise in and out of the holly bushes, on and off the gutters and the porch rails, across and beyond the dunes. Every morning, I wake up before first light to the strangely gentle music of the ospreys on their perch. It is magical.  It is pure love.

When dawn comes, the pelicans glide in and out like the kings of the breeze, and the song continues in a different register.

That's birds being poems for you.

So when my daughter made a pelican in wood shop a few years ago, I was extra thrilled.

It was enough that my kid could operate a jigsaw; it was that again that she created my favorite bird out of plywood and put together a very cool mobile. So down here in North Carolina, I thought I would hang the bird in the family room. This meant displacing dad’s (roadside stand) parrot, who has always kind of kept his back to us in an “I’m so much better than a velvet painting of Elvis” roadside stand way, th…

One Single Impression: Fickle

Change is the tongue
That licked this pup to life
Cleaned the fur
Stirred the heart
Led the way to warm milk
And in no time
Said, move on;
Look back when you dare
Or don't.

What has happened
Has brought you here:
Accidents or choices--
Perhaps both--
You made them happen
Or you showed up for them,
And they are you.

The point is,
You are,
And you are here.

Raise your head to the wind,
Savor its tang,
Remember everything
As you cling to nothing
And move on.

The point is,
You are.

Raise your head.
Move on.

One Single Impression