Sunday, November 19, 2017

Lights in Dark Places

The glory of full Autumn is past but a few trees are still holding to their bright leaves -- and they are spectacular as they flare up amidst the gray trunks and dark bare branches of the woods.

How far that little candle throws its beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

It's a naughty world, all right. Maybe we all, not just Boy Scouts, should try to do a good deed every day.

Call a Congressman, volunteer, smile at a stranger, help someone somehow, support a charity, pick up a piece of litter,
put the shopping buggy back thoughtfully, be patient with someone who makes you impatient, make something for someone . . . there are so many good deeds waiting to be done . . .  waiting to make our world shine bright.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

On the Way

Sometimes I take a slightly different route to the grocery store . . . wild and crazy me!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Dream Houses

I could live in a cottage by a brook
With a tiny bridge and a winding path,
Green door and shutters beneath a curving tile roof,
And wake to the beat of swans' wings
And the honey  fragrance of blooming flowers.

I could live in a house behind a wall
Where peacocks pace amid strange blooms
And tall trees like lilac clouds soar above the chimneys.
From the three little attic windows, I can see everything
And hear the peacocks' cries.

I could live in a happy yellow house
With gables and dormers and a vine growing up the side.
When snow lies on the roof, I will imagine
The purple of the wisteria against the yellow wall in Spring.

I could live in a house with many-paned windows,
Chimneys and odd finials and a balustered wall.
When the moon sinks low and the snow grows deep,
I will wrap a red muffler round the poor statue,
Shivering in its icy niche.

I could live in a witchy house, tall and brooding,
With a shop on the bottom floor. 
 Here will I sell herbs and simples,
Potions and lotions for the villagers
Who visit me only by night.

I came across this site HERE that features vintage shelter magazine covers and fell in love with these illustrations.  I don't know who the artist is (or if there are several artists) but my imagination took wing. You should really zoom in on each one to see all the charming details.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I Am 6 Months Old!

Josie and her parents were at the beach  last week. How much she has changed in that short time! Much more vocal, much more interested in her surroundings, wanting to grab things, trying to put CoryCat's tail in her mouth. She gets up on hands and knees, rocks back and forth, then lunges forward after whatever it is she wants. But she can tell you about her day . . . 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Kittehs Work On Their Life List

A rare sighting at the bedroom window . . .

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Last Ballad

A kind friend sent me a copy of Cash's latest and I have to admit that the first couple of pages had me hesitant about continuing on, in spite of my trust in my friend's recommendations.  It wasn't the writing -- the writing is beautiful -- but the subject matter -- millworkers in 1929 North Carolina, the deplorable conditions they endured, and their fight to unionize. This is going to be grim, I thought.

But I kept reading, caught up in Ella May's story and the compelling depiction of her struggle to feed her children. It is those hungry children and the hope of something better than nine dollars a week for a  six day, twelve-hour nightshift that nudges her into the dangerous union movement. And there she becomes something of a star -- a ballad singing crowd pleaser.

I was hooked. I finished the book in a day.

Cash's focus is Ella May Wiggins (who was a real person,) but he interposes her story with that of others both in the midst of and on the periphery of the main action. And all of these characters are fully fleshed with stories of their own in which the reader becomes invested. 

It's a beautifully detailed look at a certain time and place -- but as a blurb by Ben Fountain says: "In an era when American workers are besieged as they haven't been since the Great Depression, I can think of no more relevant novel for our times than The Last Ballad."

Highly recommended.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Observed . . .

Fall poplars aflame;
Yellow torches in the mist,
Lighting Winter's way.

Matches flaring up
In the auditorium
Before the last act.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran's Day Wish

Veterans Day and we honor those who served their country in the military. As we should. Those who voluntarily put themselves in harm's way are worthy of our respect. 

But I wish that there were some sort of universal requirement for service in order to be a full citizen with the right to vote and run for office -- say, a two year stint of service to the country. This service would not be limited to the military but would include all sorts of areas: conservation, infrastructure work, education, social services, etc. Kinda like some of the programs of the Depression era. But in my vision, work would be found even for folks with disabilities.  

Ideally this service would occur as soon as an individual left school or attained voting age -- but would be available at any time in later life if a person decided voting privileges were worth the sacrifice.

Said service would employ and teach a trade to many and perhaps steer others toward a profession, or give them experience in the field they'd been studying.

There would be those who didn't care about voting and that's fine with me -- they'd be better out of the voting pool. But that group who have other priorities, say, making money, but still want to be elected to office -- well, we could do without them too.

I first encountered this idea many years ago in Heinlein's Starship Troopers (don't judge) and it still makes sense to me. 

Over at Stonekettle Station, Jim Wright also has Heinlein on his mind this Veteran's Day. Jim writes an excellent essay. And he, unlike me, is a vet. Go HERE to read his thoughts on serving in the military.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fading Glory

Several days of rain, fog, and mist -- and the trees are dropping their leaves. 

Some color remains -- and it pops against the gray.

Staghorn Sumac's bright banners . . .

A shout of yellow  in the pasture

 Oak leaves in transition . . .

Kieffer Pear 

The ubiquitous, invasive Burning Bush. So beautiful this time of year .. . but we are really going to have to Take Measures . . .

More Sumac . . .

The old pig pen . . . with Burning Bush . . .

And more B.B.