November 22, 2015
9:18 am cst | link
A cartoon in this week’s New Yorker, the one with drawings of virtual music groups on the
cover, made me smile. A driving teacher is pictured in a car with a driving school sign on the top. Holding a cup of coffee
in his hand, the instructor is saying this to the pictured, teen-age student driver: “Think of it as a video game where
you get points for responsible driving.”
November 21, 2015
8:22 am cst | link
Today, November 21st, no ripples worry the water’s surface. Last night’s temperatures dipped giving us the remembered taste
of winter. The pond is frozen.
November 20, 2015
7:02 am cst | link
When we first moved to Minnesota it was late December
and one of the first things I noticed was the wind. The strong wind, the constant wind. I remember thinking why aren’t
people talking about this? Why does every one seem oblivious to the wind?
Yesterday the Noodinoon was coming from the
Ninggabeun. It stirred up waves on the pond and set the hanging bird feeders dancing. It was strong and cold and a harbinger
of winter. It was Chinoodem.
November 19, 2015
9:47 am cst | link
Since the terrorist killings in Paris, a word
I don’t know the meaning of has been appearing in news broadcasts. I have heard the word spoken more than I have seen
it written out. By association and use, remember your English teacher telling you to put the unfamiliar word in context when
reading, I thought I had the right meaning. Just to be sure, I made a point of looking it up. The word is caliphate. “A
caliphate is a form of Islamic government led by a caliph – a person considered a political and religious successor
to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.”
November 18, 2015
7:21 am cst | link
A haiku explains that...
November rain falls,
perfect face of pond.
Winter in waiting.
November 17, 2015
5:48 am cst | link
Today from Pinterest, possible topics I might like:
Christmas door decorations, thumb print cookies, food and gifts...and glocks. Glocks, like in guns? Yes.
My association with Pinterest has to do with a bride asking
me to look at pictures of wedding flowers that they like. Bouquets usual and less usual. Doing so is helpful in making their
bouquets. But that is as far as my involvement with Pinterest goes. I did not follow up on today’s food and gifts, the
Christmas door decorations or last week’s bridesmaid dresses and Thanksgiving mantel arrangements. But I did follow
up on the glocks which had several thousand viewers. I followed up only because I could not believe my eyes. Yoga pants
with a pocket, kidney or appendix, for conceal and carry. Yoga pants?
Last night’s news began with a clip of three men clutching guns. A frightening
photograph. It ended with the peace sign, designed in 1922, as a symbol for British disarmament. The center of the peace symbol
had been turned into, on homemade signs and chalk drawings, the Eiffel Tower.
November 16, 2015
6:20 am cst | link
I echo John Kerry’s words. “We stand
November 15, 2015
7:33 am cst | link
There are envelopes one might not enjoy seeing
in their mailbox. A summons to serve upon the Grand Jury in District Court for Rice County, Minnesota may be, or may not be,
one of them.
November 14, 2015
6:55 am cst | link
As a people, we are pretty good at messing things
up. Prejudice, greed, hatred, intolerance and the type of evil that last night befell Paris, are so much, too much, a part
of our lives.
Here at the pond, though, things go on as usual. Recent rains have brought the water levels up and
the two tiny ponds adjacent to the larger pond, are becoming each day more visible as the weeds and grasses die back. Two
pairs of ducks are busy being ducks and the muskrats spend their days doing what muskrats do. The geese fly overhead with
As a people, we live apart from the pond. Forgetting it exists to teach us.
November 13, 2015
8:48 am cst | link
Last night I had dinner in the Bon
Appetite restaurant at St. Olaf where, sitting near the bakery case, I came to some conclusions. When a student is studying
for a test, when they have just received a grade from a test, when a paper is due, when he didn’t text or she didn’t
answer, when it is cold and windy, when you feel a sore throat coming on and what you really feel is homesick, you need a
giant cookie. A chocolate chip cookie.
November 12, 2015
5:56 am cst | link
Plump, sweaty palmed, anxious, bad complexion,
shy, tall, big-eared. Words used in a writing description of a first ever date. Timmy, Jack, another Timmy, Nick, Wayne and
Todd. The name Todd trumped the name Wayne, the name Nick trumped the name Todd. We can wonder, how they might describe us.
November 11, 2015
6:34 am cst | link
The weather holds, we are still transplanting
daisies, Irish eyes, rudbeckia and lilies. The yarrow and columbine have been planted.
November 10, 2015
8:02 am cst | link
Recently I was looking for rivers with Native American
names. The two states I was looking at, Connecticut and New Jersey, each had several. These are just a few starting with the
letter “P.” Patchoque, Pequabuck, Pattagansett, Papakating, Passack, Penuannock. Saying them aloud is right up
there with trying to say, “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”
November 9, 2015
7:50 am cst | link
Living in the moment is the ideal. We are told that
being completely present makes us happy. We are also told it is beneficial to our physical health. Some tasks, like following
complex directions, require that we are very present to what is at hand. But advertising and commerce like to push us into
the future. Last week, the first week in November, I received a seed catalogue.
November 8, 2015
7:41 am cst | link
It’s November and we’re transplanting
flowers: columbine, rudbeckia, Shasta daisies, Irish eyes and yarrows in pinks, peach, lavender and a maroon shade. Becca
plowed so we dug and hauled and put plants in new places pulling out clover, quack grass and thistle from their roots as we
resettled them. When we were done I cut a bouquet of calendula to bring home and put on my kitchen counter. In
November 7, 2015
6:32 am cst | link
Vagabonds. Wanderers with no specific home. But,
they’re coming here. Soon! And best of all, they’re bringing Davina!
November 6, 2015
7:03 am cst | link
Today, November 6th, we can celebrate two holidays. It is, officially, Marooned
Without a Compass Day and Saxophone Day.
It might be hard to truly celebrate the former as our cars, phones, watches and pretty much all the other devices we
are attached to, tell us in which direction we’re headed. Which we hope is a good direction. As for Saxophone Day, we
can certainly give a nod to John Coltrane and Stan Getz and applaud all those thousands of fifth grade beginning sax players
who have just picked up the instrument. And remind their parents, that not everyone sticks with the sax.
November 5, 2015
6:55 am cst | link
It’s November. Only days ago it was October
when leaves still hung on the trees, the daylight hours were longer and Halloween waited for us at the end of the month. Now,
the water on the pond is colorless, like the sky, like the sparrows that gather around the feeder. Now, stores are stocking
up on cranberries and pumpkin pie filling, sweet potatoes for mashing and onions for serving in a cream sauce. It’s
November. Warn clothes have reentered the closet, mittens are contemplated when walking. And Deb and Dean, have taken their
places on the glass topped table.
November 4, 2015
7:47 am cst | link
I need a dessert. I said I would bring a dessert.
The sun is up, the clock is ticking there’s no time, well almost no time, to make a dessert. No time for a pie, which
takes time for the crust and the peeling of the apples or the cooking of the butterscotch filling, no time for a cake which
has to cool before it is iced and no time for cookies which might necessitate chocolate chips or coconut, ingredients I don’t
have on hand. I am desperate. I will do what one does when there is no time even to run to the bakery or store. I will make
the fall back dessert. The first dessert I learned to make, the dessert stirred up in dorm kitchens everywhere, the dessert
my mother dusted with confectioner’s sugar or, for special occasions, frosted with pink peppermint icing. I will make
November 3, 2015
5:48 am cst | link
Last night we had dinner while watching the PBS News
Hour. World news, at dinner, probably should be avoided. Because the pond is a steady sort of place, though never without
its struggles, I can look out of my window or walk out my door and feel removed. Here, the muskrats leave silvery wakes as
they circle in smooth water. Here, the ducks are constantly landing and taking off. But watching and listening to news of
war, and terror and strife, I am reminded of the words of German artist Kathe Kolllwitz. “Every war already carries
within it the war which will answer it. Every war is answered by a new war, until everything, everything is smashed.”
I am reminded that it is difficult for us to give thought to these words, to get it right.
November 2, 2015
5:55 am cst | link
I was walking on Maple Street, heading south, when
I heard a loud, rapping sound. A very loud rapping sound, an unusual sound. Walking, at that moment, alongside a thin and
scraggly stretch of woods, I decided to stop and listen. I decided I would walk into the wooded area the sound was coming
from which I did. On quiet feet. To my great pleasure I happened on a pileated woodpecker, shoulder high on a rotted tree,
little more than an arm’s length from where I was standing. I suppose it was because I was quiet, and he was noisy,
that I was able to get so close. I studied him without moving, without breathing. I took in his brilliant red and pointed
crest, the way he moved his head and the way he held his feet. I admired his black with white markings, his shiny eye. Encountering
a pileated woodpecker is the perfect way to start a day
November 1, 2015
7:59 am cst | link
I received word yesterday that a former elementary
school principal in South Glastonbury, Connecticut, a man who had immigrated to Israel several years ago with his wife and
children, had been stabbed and shot while a passenger on a bus. Richard Lakin was a man, in his son’s words, who had
dedicated his entire life to the education of children and the co-existence of cultures and religions. He had worked, for
years, on peace and understanding between Palestine and Israel through his work with children, all children. His leaving for
Israel, when he did, was a loss for our South Glastonbury community. His death is a tragic loss for both Israel and Palestine
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