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Showing posts from June, 2016

Know What You Are

It’s like this when you stand in the water and wait for the waves to do what they will.  You watch for pelicans and you wish you were them with wings instead of long legs that put you at odds with the rhythms of the ocean.  You jump, but you might glide.  You watch the clouds and your mind wanders when you might hunt.  You stand when you might float.  It’s like that.  

The ocean makes you feel small.   It is a good thing to remember what you are.

Small.

An elderly woman emerges from the water.  Her skin is a patchwork of freckles.  Long ago, her pale skin succumbed to the sun, accepting the tattoo of summer, living with the possibility of cancer.  That’s how it goes when you love the sun.  She walks with a cane.   She rinses her feet before I do.  She ignores me when I tell her which of the two foot showers works.  She leaves the beach with her fuscia and orange beach blanket folded with military precision and tucked under her arm.  She shows no signs of discomfort as she slips her damp f…

You Are Not Alone. You Are Here.

My day started with a conversation with a Marine mom who was the picture of love and vulnerability. As a mom, I thought about our conversation all day and wondered what it would be like to say good-bye to my child as she departed for who knows where to do who knows what in the name of the country whose values are at the core of our lives. My heart broke for this woman, whose courage I thoroughly admire. This reflection is for her and for all the people in my life who have served in the armed forces.
The Beach
After 1.75 miles of walking under the sun of a new day, a woman asks me, “Have you been here before?” She says she wants to know where she can get a nice piece of fish, but really she wants to talk about her son, a Marine who is about to be deployed.  He is “special operations,” she says, and she has no idea where he will be sent.  She knows that he has a close bond with the other guys, and they will see him through.  She reaches for her crucifix, her Italian horn, and the charm o…

Guns: Do You Love Democracy, or Don't You?

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On our way South for some summer on the beach, Adella and I passed a truck with this admonition painted on its back doors:  "Vote red in November, or be red in December."  We got the first "red" reference, but we had to think about the second one.  Embarrassed?  Communist?
We paused.  Is the owner of this truck still worried about communism?  Which candidate might be considered a communist?  What year is this?
The back doors of the truck made me think of a property owner in Woodbury, Connecticut, who sees fit to admonish the locals about the evils of the non-Republican world by painting slogans on a piece of plywood that he uses to decorate his front lawn.  Currently, the slogan, "Butterly, utterly, uttelry disappointing" with frownie faces assaults passersby on Main Street.  We don't know why he opposes the first selectman; there are no footnotes.
At a rest stop, I checked out Google News to find out that Paul Ryan would adjourn the house rather tha…

Stanmitz Concerto No., 3, or Why Music Is So Very Important

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Here is Adella performing Stanmitz's Concerto No. 3 at Nonnewaug's spring concert.  The kid does right by this piece of music, and her classmates do a lovely job of backing her up. That right there is why music is so cool:  musicians back each other up.  Musicians are working toward creating a work of art in sound; everything is "in the moment," as they say.  Everything counts.  And then it's all gone unless your dad or mom has the camera out.  Music is intimate and beautiful and humbling and stunning.   As the world goes crazy and school shootings multiply and political discourse dissolves into frat pranks, my money will be on the band geeks who fiddle while Rome burns.  The fiddling, after all, makes a new Rome possible.