October 31, 2015
7:39 am cdt | link
Last night was the annual Trivia Bee contest held
at the Grand to benefit the Northfield Public Library. It was well attended by enthusiastic trivia players and supporters.
Our unofficial team of five, in spite of only doing so so, had a great time. There were holiday questions tossed in among
the standard trivia questions such as the following.
What percent of people claim to have seen a ghost? Twenty two percent
of candy in a trick or treater’s bag is chocolate? Seventy percent
What vegetable was carved at Halloween
before we carved pumpkins? Turnips
One constantly learns things. Did you know that the place in the human body where the
most gold can be found, other than in one’s teeth, is the big toe? Happy, Halloween!
October 30, 2015
8:27 am cdt | link
Looking out my window I count 57 reddish leaves remaining
on the maple beside the patio. It is a tree that has, over the summer, been the perch for hundreds of red-winged black birds,
numerous starlings, and the occasional robin, finch and blue jay. It is a tree that today, is the on and off resting spot
for sparrows too many to number.
The wild grasses surrounding the pond turn browner and drier each day. And the swallows, so many
in the summer, no longer dip for insects on the pond’s metallic looking surface. Everything that lives outside is telling
us the meaning of our past and of our future. The way of it. The sameness and the change.
October 29, 2015
7:35 am cdt | link
Much of this week’s New Yorker, the
issue with a drawing on the cover of a man sitting in an incredibly equipped kitchen eating what looks to be takeout food,
is devoted to articles about dining out, restaurants and food. I particularly enjoyed an article on barbecue written by Calvin
Trillin. As a child eating in my mother’s Swedish leaning kitchen, barbecue was not on the menu. I don’t recall
having barbecue until I went away to college and dined, on special occasions, at a restaurant called Holiday House with friends
from my dorm. My friend Mary, being the most knowledgeable because her father was involved in the meat packing industry, became
my authority on barbecue.
Another New Yorker article described a salad served in the restaurant Sweetgreen in Nolita.
The salad, according to the article, is called “wastED” salad and consists almost entirely of carrot peels, broccoli
stalks, roasted bread heels, cabbage cores and other ingredients that are ordinarily tossed out. Many wouldn’t consider
this salad as food at all. But it is, according to the article, healthy, inexpensive and tasty. It is also served with a lime-cilantro
or spicy pesto vinaigrette.
October 28, 2015
6:47 am cdt | link
A windy, rainy day is predicted for Napatree
but the temperature will rise into the low sixties. Warm weather lingers.
wind at 9 mph
high tide at
October 27, 2015
6:07 am cdt | link
Waiting in a car parked next to a car adorned with
stickers, I decided to jot a few of the sticker sentiments down. How much will I learn about the driver of the car, the owner
of the car, by words attached to bumpers, trunk and back window?
“Be kind to animals, don’t eat them.”
“I support the Key.”
“Be Green, keep the earth.”
Dogs for the Blind”
And my favorite, “Dogs against Romney."
I wasn’t able to finish
noting all the stickers before a young man in a knit cap and horned rimmed glasses got into the car and pulled away. He looked
like someone who liked music and knew his bands. He looked like someone I might like.
October 26, 2015
9:01 am cdt | link
Someone I know and care about intimated, by a social
network posting, fear of the current mass immigration situation upon American and European culture and on the Christian religion.
Posted was a video, referred to as shocking, that tossed about statistics on the birth rate of white babies in comparison
to the birth rates of babies with darker skins. This video stated that many countries, France being the first, were very soon
to lose their cultural identity and become dominated by Muslims.
I was appalled by the video, appalled that my friend
would post it and pass it on.
I am no predictor of anything, have no wise insights into what might or will happen. I do know
that things move along, that we live with constant change. Today I carefully looked at a home in the neighborhood, a home
where an immigrant family has recently taken up residence. In the driveway of this home is a newly erected basketball hoop.
A pink bike with training wheels is parked on the side of the house and an array of pumpkins is arranged on the front
steps. On a door leading into the garage hangs a metal emblem of an American eagle. Old Glory flies from a flagpole in the
October 25, 2015
8:58 am cdt | link
I walk, I am a walker. I rarely look forward
to walking, often thinking of it as an obligation I must fulfil, something I should do for my well-being. But when I start,
I don’t want to stop. I like walking on the cusp of a day when my shadow is long enough to almost cross the street,
when the light is only part way and briefly one-sided. It is at the cusp of a day when animals stir and sounds are muffled.
When there is the possibility, of seeing a hawk.
October 24, 2015
6:49 am cdt | link
Yesterday came news of new baby. A healthy baby
girl born to parents, and an extended family, who’d been waiting for her to come into their lives, Born to a family
who had been waiting to love her. She is a lucky baby, her parents and grandparents lucky, too. There is no nicer news than
that of a new baby.
October 23, 2015
6:15 am cdt | link
Money can’t buy happiness but money can,
on occasion, buy something that makes you happy. Or makes the birds happy if birds can be happy which I, personally, think
they can be. Yesterday we bought a bird bath. A really handsome, less usual bird bath. A wine-colored ceramic bird bath, two
pieces, about twenty inches in height designed to sit on the ground or on a table which is where it is. It looks, I think,
Italian. So we filled the bird bath and minutes later, just minutes later, a sparrow, then another sparrow, took the plunge.
There have been, since its installation, a steady stream of thirsty birds or birds feeling in need of a clean-up, at the Italian
looking bird bath. And watching them, I am happy.
October 22, 2015
6:05 am cdt | link
On my desk, to my right and in front of a lamp,
is a small gourd given to me by a Connecticut friend. She gave me this gourd because she likes gourds, grows gourds. She has
hollowed this gourd out, decorated the outside with etched-in designs and cut off the top part so it appears to have a little
hat. Inside, on a small folded paper, she has written this. “Gourds make perfect keepers for hopes, desires and dreams.
Jot down and date, then fold your wishes on tiny scraps of paper to fit within the gourd. Act upon them when the time is right.”
Every day I look at the gourd; I haven’t yet written for the gourd. Though, maybe, I will.
October 21, 2015
7:53 am cdt | link
My friend has long worked for gun control. Tirelessly
she has lobbied, written, spoken out. Her efforts have always, had my support. Yesterday a man who lives in a handsome house
two short blocks from where I live, caused schools to go into lockdown, neighbors to lock and shutter their homes, sent helicopters
into the sky and police cars to block off streets, because he kept, and yesterday armed himself, with an arsenal of guns which
included an automatic weapon. A man, with a wife and children, who for reasons I don’t know, lost control, on a sunny
October Tuesday afternoon, of his senses.
I don’t know the facts of this story. I do know
about the anxiety I felt when I became aware of the school lockdowns, the anxiety I felt when I could not drive out of my
neighborhood or leave my house. My friend, the one dedicated to gun control, has my appreciation, my thanks and my ongoing
October 20, 2015
7:19 am cdt | link
Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home, your house is on
fire and your children shall burn.
Ladybug, ladybug fly away home, your house is on fire and your children are gone.
one and her name is Ann, and she hid under the baking pan.
The ladybugs are amassing, as they do in the fall, on the sunny windows. Ladybugs are
thought to be a symbol of good luck. Rhymes that have ladybugs associated with fire originated because ladybugs attack and
eat aphids which are the bane of gardeners; gardeners used smoke, still use smoke, to attack aphids. The old nursery rhyme
was recited to give the ladybugs, Coccinellidae, fair warning of a smoke-out.
October 19, 2015
6:12 am cdt | link
We know that money can’t buy it. It is what
we wish for ourselves and for others. It is what we tell our children we want for them, the word we write on holiday and birthday
cards. Happiness. Who has it and why? If it eludes us, how do we find and hold on to it?
Yesterday I caught the last
part of a radio show on happiness, its secret. The psychologist and the monk both said this. The more grateful we are and
the more we live in the moment, the happier we will be. It is the practice of gratitude, not a new home, car, winning lottery
ticket or vacation to Paris, that will bring us happiness.
October 18, 2015
7:17 am cdt | link
April has it written beneath the counter in her
art store which seems an appropriate place. George Patton, said it. “If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t
October 17, 2015
8:01 am cdt | link
October 16, 2015
7:24 am cdt | link
The waitress at the restaurant tells us, apropos
of nothing, that she recently saw the Pope. Four times, she says, twice in Washington, D.C., and twice in Philadelphia. One
of the times, she tells us, beaming, she was no further away from him than the length of the table where we are sitting. She
adds that he has a very kind face and an air of serenity. To see her telling us that she saw, and was so close to, the leader
of the Catholic Church was wonderful, beautiful. The happiness in her face better than our, seeing the Pope.
October 15, 2015
8:07 am cdt | link
The chalkboard sign outside of Carleton’s
Gould Library, on an October day so warm and bright that it enticed students to form a pick-up band, study under a tree and
abandon their jackets, said this. “It is a universal truth that if you have a rough draft, you need the Carleton Writing
October 14, 2015
7:27 am cdt | link
It is early and the air is still. There are seven
mallard ducks on the pond, five males with shiny green heads and two, drab-colored, brown females. The goose suffering from
what I have diagnosed, with help from the internet, as Angel Disease, has been two days absent. Close to where I am standing
quietly are two ducks of a variety I’ve not seen before. They are small and neat and look common. They do not mingle
with the mallards and stay together as a pair. I think, they are blue-winged teal. Overhead, ragged strings of geese fly parallel
to the earth. I am rich in this place of many birds.
October 13, 2015
7:09 am cdt | link
One day it was summer. The sky cloudless, the
sun intense, the temperature 87 degrees. Kids were playing outside without shoes, babies were being strolled and there were
ice cream lines at Hogan Bros. The next day, the very next day, the grasses around the pond had turned brown. The wind had
turned blustery and so strong that dozens of geese, unable to manage it, had to hunker down in a field. The temperature, in
24 hours, had dropped over 40 degrees. The erratic weather had been predicted, we knew the change would happen. But in spite
of this, some of us still were unprepared.
October 12, 2015
6:46 am cdt | link
The lone and damaged looking goose on the pond is
not, as I had earlier thought, a victim of injury or accident. I happened on the description of his condition when researching
information on the diet of geese. The wild bird with a distorted wing is suffering from a condition called angel wing, a disease
that affects geese and swans.
The disease, except when found in young, more domesticated birds, is fatal because the goose is
unable to fly. It is thought to occur because of a wrong or inadequate diet. It mainly affects males and usually it is the
left wing that is involved. Knowing that maybe the goose is not in pain, even though he will die, is somehow comforting.
October 11, 2015
8:01 am cdt | link
I am a person
who does not remember jokes. Jokes fly out of my head as soon as I hear them. Last week my young, six-year-old friend told
me this, soon-to-be forgotten, one.
“Why was six scared of seven? Because seven “ate” nine.
October 10, 2015
6:26 am cdt | link
Easy on my feet, I don’t think of, or appreciate
enough, things like wheelchair ramps, extra hand rails and playgrounds that are accessible to children who might have a hard
time managing regular playground equipment. I was walking by the Everybody’s Playground near the soccer fields when
I observed a mother with her three young children. Two of the children, who looked to be about three years old, happily scampered
toward the playground equipment. The third child, maybe four, was being pushed from the car to the equipment in a wheelchair.
I slowed my pace and watched the mother lift her child from his wheelchair into a special swing and begin pushing him. He
shouted, with delight.
October 9, 2015
5:53 am cdt | link
I have a little story about tofu which we dined on,
last night, at an Asian restaurant.
Years ago our friend, a young father in his thirties, was very ill. The prognosis,
grave. He underwent both chemo therapy and radiation in hopes of shrinking an inoperable tumor. During the course of his treatment
he also began to exercise and he radically changed his diet. Often my husband and I went out with our friend and his
wife for dinner. But now we were eating at health food restaurants and Japanese restaurants where our friend could order the
food that he felt was the best for him. The good-for-him-food included tofu. So my husband and I started eating tofu. Tofu
prepared well by those skilled at preparing it.
Tofu is not a regular in my kitchen but I enjoy it when we eat out. It always puts
me in mind of our friend who is alive, and very healthy, today.
October 8, 2015
6:49 am cdt | link
A lone goose moves slowly on the surface of the
still pond. But it is not a perfect picture. One of the bird’s wings is torn apart and drags rakishly on the water.
A very jarring sight. I imagine the injured goose, unable to fly, aware of his kind who travel regularly overhead. I do not
love this goose but I am connected to this pond, I am one of all that are living here. By belonging, I am affected by
the suffering of a wild bird.
October 7, 2015
6:46 am cdt | link
A few years ago someone who knows I love anything
having to do with fibers and textiles, sewing and knitting, gave me on old sewing basket she found at an estate sale. A round
woven basket, painted pink, with a smooth flat cover. On the cover is a large, peeling in places, decal of roses and delphiniums.
This particular basket is not one that would make it to a spot-on at "The Antique Road Show" but inside the basket,
a treasure. Eighty-three wooden spools of vintage, Corticelli silk thread. In all colors. Incredible colors. Shining purples
and pinks, greens and yellows. Colors filled with life.
The old thread is not strong enough to use in a sewing machine but it works beautifully
for hand sewing. And sometimes I take spools of it out and arrange them on a shelf just because they are gorgeous and I like
looking at them. Some of the spools had been used when I received them, others not. I wonder, by whom? Who sewed with silk
thread and how is it that they had so many spools? There is always a story.
October 6, 2015
7:47 am cdt | link
A Doctors without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan
was bombed killing 22 innocent people. I know little more about this terrible tragedy: how it happened, why it happened,
who is really responsible, etc., than what I read or hear on the news. But listening to an account I was struck by this phrase:
“Bombing of such a hospital is against the rules of war.” Rules of war, war has rules? Of course war has rules.
About torture, about killing innocent civilians, about treatment of prisoners of war. But somehow, it seems, rules apply to
soccer games and driving, not war. Rules belong in classrooms and on tennis courts. There might not be enough rules for war:
wise rules, strong rules, enforced rules because rules imply a game. And war, so senseless, and so horrific, so destructive,
is not a game.
October 5, 2015
5:54 am cdt | link
Good things are happening at our library. Walk
by, ride by, see for yourself.
October 4, 2015
6:18 am cdt | link
Lucky in love, lucky with neighbors. Going back to
childhood and the Evenson family and Mr. and Mrs. Trudeau.
With the exception of Mrs. Seward, who complained about our English setter which she
had a perfect right to do because our dog liked to stand in point under her bird feeder, I have been lucky with neighbors.
Old neighbors, new neighbors, Last night I came home to find a beautiful wooden pen and tiny glass jar for holding ink, hanging,
in a bag from a Boston bookstore, on my door knob. A thank you gift for watering plants, from my neighbor.
October 3, 2015
8:27 am cdt | link
The Twins. Do we really think, they can do it?
October 2, 2015
6:28 am cdt | link
The right place at the right time. Last evening around
6:30, as the setting sun made my shadow so long it lengthened out into the neighbor’s yard, a flock of geese, maybe
fifty in number, flew directly over where I was standing. And behind the fifty another string and then another and another until
hundreds of migrating birds, moving the way they do and have always done, followed the directions they had been given.
It was the right place at the right time. And I was there.
October 1, 2015
7:00 am cdt | link
I am watching little duck who has recently mastered
the skill of flying. She has seconds ago landed on the pond and now paddles into the tall weeds. I watch her with great pleasure
though about her, I know almost nothing.
Biophilia: a hypothetical human tendency to interact or be closely associated with
other forms of life in nature.
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