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November 22, 2015

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.”

9:18 am cst | link 

November 21, 2015

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.

8:22 am cst | link 

November 20, 2015


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.


7:02 am cst | link 

November 19, 2015

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.”

9:47 am cst | link 

November 18, 2015


A haiku explains that...


November rain falls,

scars the perfect face of pond.

Winter in waiting.

7:21 am cst | link 

November 17, 2015


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.   

5:48 am cst | link 

November 16, 2015

I echo John Kerry’s words. “We stand with France.”

6:20 am cst | link 

November 15, 2015

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.

7:33 am cst | link 

November 14, 2015


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 intention.


As a people, we live apart from the pond. Forgetting it exists to teach us.

6:55 am cst | link 

November 13, 2015

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.

8:48 am cst | link 

November 12, 2015

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.

5:56 am cst | link 

November 11, 2015

The weather holds, we are still transplanting daisies, Irish eyes, rudbeckia and lilies. The yarrow and columbine have been planted.

6:34 am cst | link 

November 10, 2015


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.”

8:02 am cst | link 

November 9, 2015


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.

7:50 am cst | link 

November 8, 2015


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.

7:41 am cst | link 

November 7, 2015

Vagabonds. Wanderers with no specific home. But, they’re coming here. Soon!  And best of all, they’re bringing Davina!

6:32 am cst | link 

November 6, 2015


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.


7:03 am cst | link 

November 5, 2015


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.  

6:55 am cst | link 

November 4, 2015

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 brownies

7:47 am cst | link 

November 3, 2015


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.

5:48 am cst | link 

November 2, 2015


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

5:55 am cst | link 

November 1, 2015

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 today.


7:59 am cst | link 

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