Napatree

In my mind I am often on Napatree. You're welcome to come along.

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October 31, 2015

 

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

What percentage 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!

 

7:39 am cdt | link 

October 30, 2015

 

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.

 

8:27 am cdt | link 

October 29, 2015

 

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.

 

7:35 am cdt | link 

October 28, 2015

A windy, rainy day is predicted for Napatree but the temperature will rise into the low sixties. Warm weather lingers.

Currently:

partly cloudy 

47 degrees

91% humidity

wind at 9 mph

high tide at 9:34 a.m. 

 

6:47 am cdt | link 

October 27, 2015

 

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.”

“Beach House”

“Transit Gal”

“Talk Demonic”

“Radio Head”

“Shawty Arabia”

“Kill your TV.”

“I support the Key.”

“Det Vent”

“Be Green, keep the earth.”

"CVRO"

“Guide Dogs for the Blind”

“SUBPOP”

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.

 

6:07 am cdt | link 

October 26, 2015

 

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 yard.

9:01 am cdt | link 

October 25, 2015

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.

8:58 am cdt | link 

October 24, 2015

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.

6:49 am cdt | link 

October 23, 2015

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.   

6:15 am cdt | link 

October 22, 2015

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.

6:05 am cdt | link 

October 21, 2015

 

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 support.

 

7:53 am cdt | link 

October 20, 2015

 

Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home, your house is on fire and your children shall burn.

Or…

Ladybug, ladybug fly away home, your house is on fire and your children are gone.

All except 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.

 

7:19 am cdt | link 

October 19, 2015

 

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.

 

 

6:12 am cdt | link 

October 18, 2015

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 thinking.”

7:17 am cdt | link 

October 17, 2015

Thank you, Lynx!

8:01 am cdt | link 

October 16, 2015

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.

7:24 am cdt | link 

October 15, 2015

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 Center.” 

8:07 am cdt | link 

October 14, 2015

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.

7:27 am cdt | link 

October 13, 2015

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.  

7:09 am cdt | link 

October 12, 2015

 

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. 

 

6:46 am cdt | link 

October 11, 2015

 

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.

 

 

 

8:01 am cdt | link 

October 10, 2015

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. 

6:26 am cdt | link 

October 9, 2015

 

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.

 

5:53 am cdt | link 

October 8, 2015

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. 

6:49 am cdt | link 

October 7, 2015

 

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.

 


6:46 am cdt | link 

October 6, 2015

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.  

 

7:47 am cdt | link 

October 5, 2015

Good things are happening at our library. Walk by, ride by, see for yourself.

 

5:54 am cdt | link 

October 4, 2015

 

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.

 

6:18 am cdt | link 

October 3, 2015

The Twins. Do we really think, they can do it?

 

8:27 am cdt | link 

October 2, 2015

 

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. 

 


6:28 am cdt | link 

October 1, 2015

 

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.

 

7:00 am cdt | link 


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