Friday, July 3, 2020

five on friday

Five snaps taken today, after a rain. And a quick note:

If you are considering signing up for Disney+ for the sole purpose of seeing the Hamilton film - released today - I highly recommend it. Recorded during performances by the original Broadway cast in 2016.

It's an absolute gem.

Happy Independence Day.

Rise up!

Saturday, June 27, 2020


I'm sorry about the lack of posts in June, and I thank the folks who have touched base in one way or another. I appreciate it very much. We are okay here, but it's been a tough month.

As long-time readers know, I rarely mention politics on this blog, and I don't intend to change that - twitter is where I do "my politicking" (in the words of the old Davy Crockett theme song). But this past month has been a very dark time in America, and while I've resisted writing about it here, I've also found it impossible to write about cheerful things.

So I'm just going to say this.

As a Very Serious youngster, I cut my political teeth early: on the Nixon years and Viet Nam. Protests and Kent State. Watergate. One of my first public performances (did I ever mention that from the time I was about 15 I used to write music and carry a guitar everywhere?) was at a concert on a city Common, encouraging Latino voter registration. I was too young to vote, but I could sing. So I did.

One good thing about coming of age in such tumultous times was that it set my political frame of reference wide. When Nixon was reelected it threw me for a loop, but it also pretty much surprise-proofed me in terms of politics.

Until 2016.

I've never entirely agreed or disagreed with the actions of any President, even the ones I've been most inspired or most disturbed by. But prior to 2016, I never imagined experiencing another presidency as deeply flawed at that of Nixon. I thought I had lived through the worst American presidency of my lifetime.

Now, after more than three years of near-daily moving of the decency goalposts by the GOP, the list of transgressions by the current administration is too long for me to even begin to enumerate, nor do I wish to. The unimaginable has become our daily fare, and there is no bottom. There. is. no. bottom.

Sadly, it seems to me that the UK is on an alarmingly similar trajectory. Still behind the US, but not by very much, I'm sorry to say. Not anymore.

But what's all this in aid of, this grimmish blogpost that perhaps no one will read (which is understandable and perfectly fine)?

It's this: I'm trying to get myself over the hurdle of non-communication that began in my mind when protesters were tear-gassed for a photo-opp by a would-be dictator holding up a Bible.

A Bible.

As a citizen of the US, I have a responsibility to pay attention, to seek information from valid sources and make careful judgements and decisions - not to look away and throw my hands up and leave it all to someone else. I have a responsibility to do what I can, however little that may seem to be. That's how democracy works, isn't it? I believe it is.

But despite the horror of recent weeks and the likelihood that it may well get worse before it gets better, I am also trying to find enough peace in my own heart that I can return to writing and posting photographs here. I miss sharing the little miracles of ordinary life. I miss our conversations in the Comments and emails.

I wrote this tonight to try to find my way back. I hope I have.

And for anyone who is still reading, thank you.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

not my own words wednesday

'I can't believe THAT!' said Alice.
'Can't you?' the Queen said in a pitying tone. 'Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.'
Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said: 'one CAN'T believe impossible things.
''I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'

Through the Looking Glass 
Lewis Carroll


Friday, May 29, 2020

pictures from several walks

It's been hot lately. Over 80 every day.
I don't usually install my air conditioner in May, but I'm considering it.
Some nights have felt airless, even with a fan on.

One morning after very little sleep, I got a foolishly late start on chores.
By the time I came in, it was 84F in the shade and I was soaked with sweat.

Full disclosure: that doesn't mean I was working hard.
It doesn't take much physical activity to bring me to that state.
These days I break a sweat walking to the letterbox.
But that morning was hot.

I could say, "I just haven't adjusted to the hot weather yet,"
but there's no reason to think I will adjust to it. I never do.

One day I took Piper to the pond for our walk.
We haven't been going there lately, and we almost didn't go that day, because there were so many vehicles at both entrances I had hoped to use.
I can't take Piper off lead if there is anyone else on the trails.

Fortunately, there are other entrances, and other trails.

Generally, no matter where we walk, even on our own little road, there are more people and biting bugs about.
We just need to be out early and back early.
Piper is not really helping with this.
If she would just get up from her bed, jostle my elbow and look enthusiastic,
it would be much easier for me to fall out of bed - I do rely on gravity to help with this - and get moving, so we could go for a walk.

Instead, I'm the one doing the jostling and enthusing.
Piper is perfectly content to sleep in.
But once I've gotten her up, she is happy to go for a walk.

Warning: Introspective Moment 
It's a surprise to me that it's taking so much effort to reactivate a simple habit - getting up and out at dawn - that was a way of life for decades.
It's a surprise of the, "What? Am I not that person anymore? When did that happen?" variety. Hmmmm.
End of Introspective Moment

It doesn't matter, really.
All that matters is, I need to get up and out early.
Yesterday we started at 8, and walked less than a mile because it was very biting-buggy despite my herbal repellent spray, and as soon as the sun was high enough to come over the treetops and reach the was hot.
Today we started at 7:30 and although the bugs were horrible, it wasn't quite as hot. Humid though. Ugh. Tomorrow I'll try to get us out earlier.

Because this hound isn't going to walk herself.

Trust me. I asked her.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

thankful thursday

The tulips are planted in a small perennial bed by the barn paddock, where I pass them multiple times every day and very often stop to admire them. I've posted several photographs and sketches of the first tulips of the year.

You may recognize this one. It was the very first:

The first few tulips provided joy day after day after day, surviving very cold nights and even a snowstorm. The colors have surprised me by changing over time -
some becoming lighter, others deeper.

After the first week or so, I often considered putting them in a vase.

Three had reached the stage of being more open than closed in the evening,
when we got the multiple-storm and tornado warning.

 Thinking that strong winds would shred these very-open tulips, I finally cut the stems and put the flowers in a vase on the porch, where I could enjoy them. Considering that every paddock and garden is currently scattered with branches that came down in that storm, it was a good decision.

For several days, the tulips opened more and more.
Don't you love the way tulips stay beautiful even as they become fully "blown"?
They simply begin to look like a different flower, one with wide open petals.

But yesterday I turned the vase slightly,
and instantly most of the petals fell into my hand.

Imagine how fragile the connection must have become.