Thursday, September 30, 2021

A Simple Mystery

Every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light.
~Mary Oliver

I made this post backwards today. I started with photos that I took while walking Preston and I looked around to see if there was a poem to go with them. Mary Oliver came through.

Mysteries, Four of the Simple Ones
by Mary Oliver

How does the seed-grain feel
when it is just beginning to be wheat?

And how does the catbird feel
when the blue eggs break and become little catbirds?

Maybe on midsummer night’s eve,
and without fanfare?

And how does the turtle feel as she covers her eggs
with the sweep of her feet,
then leaves them for the world to take care of?

Does she know her accomplishment?

And when the blue heron, breaking his long breast feathers,
sees one feather fall, does he know I will find it?

read the rest here


I've only heard this once, walking around the pond at night, and it was incredibly startling to hear in the dark:

P.S. When I play this video, Preston thinks someone is barking and he gets all bark-y himself.

Reading to the Core has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Catherine!

In the Small Hours

Sleep opens within us an inn for phantoms. In the morning we must sweep out the shadows.
~Gaston Bachelard

For Art Thursday, George Clausen and his lovely "In the Small Hours":

In the Small Hours, 1911
by George Clausen

The person who shared this identified the bright object in the sky as Venus.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Ah, good news

If society collapsed, we’d just rebuild it better. I know this, because it’s happened before.
~Jason Pargin

An excerpt from What we do and don't know about kindness by Claudia Hammond, BBC:
One morning, people walking down a street in the Canadian city of Vancouver were asked to take part in an experiment run by the American psychologist Elizabeth Dunn. They were given an envelope containing either a $5 or $20 note. Half the people were instructed to spend the money on themselves. The other half were instructed to use the money to buy a present for someone else or to donate the money to charity. In both cases, they had until 17:00 that day to spend the money...

Whether they had $5 or $20 made no difference, nor did what they bought. What mattered was who they spent their money on. The people who had spent it on someone else felt significantly happier than those who treated themselves.

...In [another] study, a researcher is hanging up washing, but then runs out of pegs. Meanwhile, it's been arranged that the toddler playing nearby opens a box, finding either another peg, a marble to use in their own game or a useless piece of plastic. Digital analysis of their body language showed that on the whole they were just as delighted to find the peg for the researcher as they were at finding the marble for themselves.

I can imagine the pleasure of the children who found a peg in their box, can see their surprised faces.

Also, here's Stop Telling Me Humanity Is Doomed by Jason Pargin (note: there is cussing.)

Monday, September 27, 2021

Hada Ghareeb

My soul loves yours. It does. But this lifetime, my body won’t get on board.
~Molly Ringle

I am prone to sharing old songs for Music Monday, but here's one that was released this month. Jordanian singer Issam Alnajjar & Palestinian-Chilean singer Elyanna present “Hada Ghareeb,” (“Stranger To Me”) which is about "having deeper feelings but being afraid of sharing them because of the possibility of ruining the friendship."

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Big Invisible Pieces of Ourselves

The Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us.
~Karl Paulnack

Linda shared Welcome Address to freshman parents at Boston Conservatory, given by Karl Paulnack, pianist and director of music division at Ithaca College this week on Facebook and it is a long, moving read that goes well with today's poem. I encourage you not to miss it!

The Art Room
By Shara McCallum
for my sisters
Because we did not have threads
of turquoise, silver, and gold,
we could not sew a sun nor sky.
And our hands became balls of fire.
And our arms spread open like wings.

Because we had no chalk or pastels,
no toad, forest, or morning-grass slats
of paper, we had no colour...

read the rest here


"10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2021" from Americans for the Arts

Small Reads for Brighter Days has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Laura!

Audubon Mural Project

When the bird and the book disagree, believe the bird.
~John James Audubon

More birds, y'all. I can't help it -- they're so captivating. I had kind of a Shirley Jackson/E.A. Poe short story experience with my backyard crows this summer, but no hard feelings. For Art Thursday, here's the Audubon Mural Project.

AMP is a public art initiative spotlighting birds who are threatened by climate change. The 93 murals are (or were, in a few cases) located in New York City, clustered in a several-block radius from where Audubon once lived and is buried. The photos are by Mike Fernandez/Audubon.

Black-capped Vireo
by George Boorujy
A small, cartoon-like bird, the Black-capped Vireo is limited to oak scrubland in South Texas, Oklahoma, and Mexico. Audubon's climate models show that while the species may expand its range to include a small portion of New Mexico, if warming continues apace, it will lose 87 percent of its existing summer habitat, much of it in Mexico and Texas. It also faces threats that will compound its climate vulnerability, such as increased drought, fire, spring heat waves, and urbanization.

Blackburnian Warbler and Yellow-throated Warbler
by George Boorujy
A fiery little warbler, the Blackburnian stands to lose 99 percent of its existing breeding range across the northern United States and Canada; nearly half of that could be saved by limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Although it may push north into New York and New England, the Yellow-throated Warbler, meanwhile, may lose 92 percent of its current breeding range as climate change alters its preferred pine- and sycamore-filled landscapes.

Evening Grosbeak and Black-headed Grosbeak
by Ouizi
They share a last name based on their most prominent feature, but Evening Grosbeak and Black-headed Grosbeak are not at all related. Both evolved massive beaks to feast on large, crunchy fare. Evening Grosbeaks live in the north woods and eat seeds and buds, while Black-headed Grosbeaks are western and munch many insects as well. Audubon’s climate models predict that both will lose habitat as forests are damaged by rising temperatures.

Greater Sage-Grouse
by George Boorujy
This bombastic bird commands attention in the northwestern United States with its stunning appearance and mating display. It’s also the symbol of the sagebrush steppe, an ecosystem threatened by fossil-fuel extraction and other development. According to Audubon's climate models, the Greater Sage-Grouse stands to lose almost all of its current range, owing to changes in the sagebrush ecosystem, if rising temperatures are not brought under control.

Baird's Sparrow
by Ralph Serrano
Grassland birds are feeling the squeeze from climate change, and the Baird's Sparrow is no different. While the species has a high threshold for adaptability, its staple prairie habitat is quickly disappearing. According to Audubon’s analysis, it stands to lose 100 percent of both its summer and winter ranges if global temperatures rise to 3 degrees Celsius. Keeping warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would help them retain a foothold in Canada.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Salut d'Amour

He enjoyed football, supporting Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C., for whom he composed an anthem, "He Banged the Leather for Goal."
~Wikipedia on Edward Elgar

I went down such a rabbit hole once I decided I wanted to feature "Salut d'Amour" by Edward Elgar (1857-1934) for Music Monday! I listened to so many versions, trying to decide which I liked best. It made me very relaxed! I hope you find this piece relaxing, too. Elgar dedicated it to his wife as an engagement present.

Salut d'Amour Op.12 (Arr. for Trumpet and Piano), performed by Ketil Christensen and Jørgen Andersen:

Cellist. SaYA Lee (Celloya):

Saturday, September 18, 2021


One can study a caterpillar forever and never be able to predict a butterfly.
~R. Buckminster Fuller

I missed Poetry Friday because I was off celebrating my dad's birthday. Here's a photo I took while I was there:

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Landscape with a Sunlit Stream

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
~Galileo Galilei

Toni Bernhard, author of How to Be Sick and How to Wake Up, posted this on Facebook and I liked it so much I couldn't resist sharing it for Art Thursday:

Landscape with a Sunlit Stream
by Charles-François Daubigny

Monday, September 13, 2021

A classic

One of the most played, arranged, and rearranged pieces in blues history.
~Gérard Herzhaft about Baby, Please Don't Go

Muddy Waters:

AC/DC's version

Monday, September 6, 2021

Stevie and Kenny

I always want to call you "Friend"
~Kenny Loggins

I made it in time for Music Monday! I was singing this song while making dinner...Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks:

Thursday, September 2, 2021


The heart's regulation of the pulse fashions the body into a musical microcosm keeping time with the rhythms of the universe.
~Bruce W. Holsinger

My uncanny, well-read daughter Ariana sent me this poem on a postcard.

Chinese Foot Chart
by Kay Ryan

Every part of us
alerts another part.
Press a spot in
the tender arch and
feel the scalp
twitch. We are no
match for ourselves
but our own release...

read the rest here

(If you haven't heard of reflexology, would you still get this poem?)


* The postcard arrived right after my heart had an odd knock...A rib injury over my heart made me feel like my heart had rather literally cracked open. I did some speedy healing and am much better now.

My Juicy Little Universe has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Heidi!

Grasset's Beautiful Garden

When you plant something, you invest in a beautiful future amidst a stressful, chaotic and, at times, downright appalling world.
~Monty Don

September is one of my favorite months. Lots of birthdays, beautiful weather. September 2021 got off to a humdinger of a start, though...I hope the rest of it is a bit more "hydrangea" and a little less "urgent care."*

La Belle Jardiniere – Septembre
by Eugène Grasset

* (I'm fine, we were there for Dash's knee, which is not fine. Meniscus tear? Update: It was a large bone contusion and lateral corner injury. Painful but nothing torn!!)