Showing posts from July, 2016

Lawn Chairs

Lawn chairs for me are the vehicles of time travel: Plastic webbing, aluminum tubing, Space-Age curves The sound of crickets, the smell of pine, a setting sun And I am there in my grandmother’s backyard Happy. The pine trees came from Vermont years ago and she Planted them in the southeast corner to create privacy Because the neighbors were otherwise very close. When I looked up, I saw Vermont and pine cones and imagined snow And quiet and winter and another time completely Before I was born and therefore could not feel alone And inadequate and so much less than what they wanted. Two trees and their distant pine cones became my forest. By day my grandmother and I sat under those trees in summer To feel cool and faraway, and she lit incense She was sure would smell like pot to the neighbors. It was a small back yard, but it was old and the grass was thick That knew the bare feet of generations of my family. Give me a lawn chair, and I will tell you about a grandmother Who knew her sto…

America: Honesty, Hard Work, Helping Each Other Out

Click the image and listen to the speech.  Because Obama tries to be a good dad.  And he has  never quit.

Skywatch Friday: Turtles? There Is Your Sunshine

Take a look at this little painted turtle.  I carried him (her?) across a narrow bridge that s/he might see another day in North Carolina.  But look.  The turtle is beautiful.  A work of art.  The colors on the shell suggest dappled light, shadow, sunlight.  The turtle hissed when I picked her up:  "Put me down, damn it."
But how do you do that?  

Here is the source of that dappled light.  Here is the source interpreted by that little turtle into a work of art.
Can you do better?

Be humble.  A brighter day will come.

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: National Museum of the Marine Corps


My World Tuesday: Perspective

A few weeks ago, a storm rolled in while I was out for  a walk.  Nobody seemed to notice as the beach-chair sitting continued, children built castles, and the swimmers and surfers did their thing.
The rain came, the wind blew, and the storm passed.  A new day rolled in, and on we went.  This is our beautiful world where people are people and the clouds have the last word.

Our World Tuesday

The Bridge Over Troubled Water America Needs Right Now

Thank you, Paul Simon, for assuaging the fear that Trump fomented last week by singing this very beautiful song.

Corey Booker, Some Day I Will Vote for You for President

Here's what it means to be a public servant, not a self-servant.  Here's what it means to see that our issues "are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters" (Michele Obama).  Here's what it means to be a part of the "great American story" (Mrs. Obama, again).

Being stronger together does not mean being a socialist.  It means being a citizen.

"Being the President is about leaving something better for our kids" (Mrs. Obama).

Skywatch Friday: Angels Above


Key at the RNC


The Common Core, the People, and the Truth about Us

My family and I are about to turn the lights out after three mind-numbing hours of the Republican National Convention. To hear a commentator praise Scott Walker's speech for introducing a new chant to the crowd is to hear the new definition of the very bottom of political discourse.   (The highly trainable crowd picked up on the new chant after only about 10 long minutes of the speech.)

As I prepare to close the lights, I can't help but think of a TED video I almost watched about how Hitler rose to power.  I didn't watch it because I knew what would be on the TV tonight.

Among the luminaries speaking tonight was a bleach-blonde Florida woman whose husband stays home to home-school the kids because she will not submit them to the Common Core.  As if the Core were the iron maiden.  Honestly.

I am an English teacher, and I know the Core standards for English very well.  First and foremost among  them is the ability to cite evidence to support an idea.  Here are the first thre…

Just Lie There, and All Will Be Well


The Sea Turtles in North Carolina

My nephew Adam and I visited the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital on Topsail Island last week.  The place was hopping with visitors and turtles recovering from cold stunning or boat injuries or mystery ailments.  The hospital is staffed by volunteers and funded by contributions.  

In addition to caring for sick or injured turtles, the Hospital patrols the beach each morning for new nests, marks them when they find them, clears trash, and educates a curious public. So far this year, there are 103 nests on the island.  Last fall, the towns "nourished" the dunes by adding dredged sand.  This sand is more coarse than the talcum-like sand I have seen over the last decade or so.  This year, the ladies are making their nests higher on the dunes than on previous years.  Perhaps the quality of the sand is helping them nest higher up?   The turtle in the video below suffered an injury that makes it hard for him to dive.  The basket in his big tub is there to help him practice stayin…

Your Best Friend and the Turning of a Page

Here are my nephew Adam and my parents' mutt Buddy chilling under a ceiling fan on a hot day in North Carolina.  Adam is 14; Buddy is 17.  Buddy has been around for the growing up of three very lovely kids.  He has eaten their shoes and their parents' shoes.  In his younger days, he stalked them by walking along the top of the grandparents' couches.  He has challenged strange visitors to my parents' home.  He has engaged his world in the ways available to him:  barking, howling, digging, chasing, wagging, licking, loving, and scratching his back on the rug.

Buddy, a rescue, came to my parents by way of foster parents who checked out Buddy's future home and then followed up to make sure that high standards were for real rather than an illusion.

In his youth, Buddy required restraint when neighbors, squirrels, and chipmunks came.  In his old age, we forget that time and vigor have passed and restrain him anyway.  He doesn't mind.

In his old age, Buddy has requi…