Sunday, November 30, 2014
Friday, November 28, 2014
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Monday, November 24, 2014
Sunday, November 23, 2014
My bags tumbled off the airport carousel at 11:15 on Thursday night. I pulled my hat down over ears, zipped my down jacket to chin and braved the North Dakota wind to load my bags aboard my sweet black and white chariot that carried me to a warm Minot Quality Inn bed.
Sleep came after a warm greeting from my dearest partner. In the morning with no traffic on Broadway, we slipped out of town and headed the eighty miles to Frackelton in northwestern North Dakota. Home is a welcome retreat. This entire day I have basked in a brilliant dawn soon overwhelmed with prairie cloud cover.
Just being here feels comfy - returning to routine has its perks!
And then I discovered that today is J.F.K Day..and so I offer you his wise commentary on education: my own first love...and wish you remembrances of all that was Camelot once in our world when Kennedy reigned in Washington.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend."
Naomi Shihab Nye was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1952. Her father was a Palestinian refugee and her mother an American of German and Swiss descent, and Nye spent her adolescence in both Jerusalem and San Antonio, Texas. Her experience of both cultural difference and different cultures has influenced much of her work.
Monday, November 17, 2014
I am not a bird watcher. However, I am a bird enjoyer. I keep bird feeders outside my living room window to attract any number of fascinating sparrows and gold finches. The children of the neighborhood stop over for a cookie and a glass of milk and the use of my binoculars so they can see really up close the beauties who stop in for a seed or seventeen.
One day as I walked out across the slough on my daily round of exercise, I noted a bald eagle perched above me in a gigantic ash tree. I stopped to see what s/he would do. Ah, the attention of the huge white headed bird was on the flock of Canada geese that were gathering to head southwest to the Columbia River basin from our corner of North Dakota. As they took wing, s/he followed not far behind. Some poor slacker would be dinner that evening, I suspect. However, Canada geese are large birds too...and one wonders.
I often winter mid-continent in Australia. There it is the Butcher Bird, the Kookaburra, and the Fig Bird who catch my attention.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Thursday, November 13, 2014
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Monday, November 10, 2014
If so, you understand the process of time travel, of moving from one reality into another so quickly and simply that you cannot stop yourself.
It is this sort of a book that engages me. I mean, it is a book whose story is engrossing to the point that I am mesmerized, transformed, carried away by that I love most. And there is no one genre that does that for me. I love Neuromancer, I have been lost in GoldFinch. Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a story of a Mumbai undercity, transported me. Number 9 Dream left me breathless, sometimes confused, always in the midst of a city I have never visited in real life. I couldn't put Reamde down, all 900 plus pages of that story carried me across the Pacific as Cryptomicon carried me through the ages. Psalms and Rumi delight my imagination, capture my sense of what is right and wrong and convince me that words are often what matter most in life - for the have the power of creation.
I do hope you feel the same... for, if you do, we are of a kind!
Sunday, November 09, 2014
Saturday, November 08, 2014
Friday, November 07, 2014
Queensland's Great Dividing Range shadows behind The Flinders Corridor Range west of Brisbane.
A great spot for trekking in the spring or autumn when temperatures are more moderate. A well watered landscape which includes Mt. Goolman and Ivory's Rock — home to my good 'bush' dwelling friends.
On my birthday in 2011 we took a long walk through the green, across abandoned properties, dry stream beds, luxuriant eucalypt forests...
Laura poured our tea after swirling the teapot round-about a couple of times on the tiny dessert table. “I worked as a wholesale buyer for a large health food corporation based in Edinburgh.”
“I don’t believe it. I owned a health food store for thirteen years before coming to Australia. Can you believe it?” I asked.
Laura looked a bit confused. “I thought you said you were a high school English teacher?”
“Well, yes, I was. Busy women, we Americans, running away from the throes of our childhood. We are determined to keep the interior doubts at bay, you know.” I poured two teaspoons of sugar into a Lady Grey.
As our conversation continued, we learned that both of us revitalized in wilderness. Gardens were important. Animals were essential. We saw beauty in the places in which we lived; we delighted in our observation of the spiritual aspects of nature; we took sustenance from a wild flower, saw harmony in the grey green aspect of southern Queensland.
“And loneliness, Laura? Are you ever lonely?” I asked as I finished off a double white- chocolate tart.”
Sierra Sunrise: A Travel Adventure
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Thursday, November 06, 2014
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
who is today the world's best high school librarian.
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
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Monday, November 03, 2014
Saturday, November 01, 2014
Perhaps the essence of the Liberal / Political outlook could be summed up in a new decalogue, not intended to replace the old one but only to supplement it. The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:
- Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
- Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
- Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
- When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
- Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
- Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
- Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
- Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
- Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
- Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.