Sunday, April 5, 2020

Tu Fu Is My Go To

Dawn Over the Mountains

The city is silent,
Sound drains away,
Buildings vanish in the light of dawn,
Cold sunlight comes on the highest peak,
The thick dust of night
Clings to the hills,
The earth opens,
The river boats are vague,
The still sky--
The sound of falling leaves.
A huge doe comes to the garden gate,
Lost from the herd,
Seeking its fellows.
                        Tu Fu (translation Kenneth Rexroth) 

Tu Fu lived in the T'ang Dynasty (713-770) but his poems, as translated by Rexroth, still speak to me. I've had the little paperback  One Hundred Poems from the Chinese of Rexroth's translations since a student loaned me a copy about fifty years ago, when I was teaching at Berkeley Prep and wearing heels and pantyhose everyday. Those are gone, thank goodness, but the poems stay at my bedside.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Josie Update -- Keeping Meema and Grumpy Busy

Meema and Grumpy don't get out much so they depend on me for entertainment. I work hard to keep them busy. Sometimes I keep Meema so busy that she needs a nap. I lie down too to keep her company.

The bottom shelf of the corner cupboard is for my stuff. But with my little chair, I can reach the next shelf up. So I moved all my stuff up there to be safe.

Grumpy was just sitting around reading so I got him to come help me with my building blocks.

This is a house with a front door and a bathroom on the back. I am putting a chimney on top.

Now I am making a very tall tower. When it gets too high for me to reach, Grumpy will help. I try to keep him involved.

This is precision work.

Hmm. I think I will knock it down so we can do it again.

That is fun. 

 Meema and I are back in the room. I get out lots of my stuff and put it all over the floor. Bending down to pick it up is good exercise for Meema.

I read a story to Dolly. This is the story. Once upon a time there were three little bears. And Goldilocks. But they were on a spaceship. And then there were farm animals. The End.

Meema says but there is no plot. I say yes there is, but it was on a different spaceship.

I take pictures with Meema's camera. Those are Meema's feet and her witch socks.

And this is Dolly who doesn't want to close her eyes even though it's nap time. 

I will have to think up more ways of keeping Meema and Grumpy entertained.

Goodbye for now from me, Josie.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Eating the Strawberry

On these beautiful days, in isolation on the mountain, as the 
pandemic grows and the economy shrinks, I find myself remembering this koan based on a parable the Buddha told:

A man crossing a field encountered a tiger. He ran and the tiger bounded after him. Soon the man came to the edge of a steep cliff. With no other way to escape, he grabbed a vine that hung there and leaped over the edge.  Then he swung there, halfway down.

Above him, the tiger watched and pawed at the vine. The man shuddered and looked down. At the base of the cliff paced another tiger.

Two mice, one black and one white began to nibble at the vine. Looking up, looking down, the man saw a little strawberry plant growing out of the cliff beside him. Its berries were ripe red and fragrant. He reached out a hand and picked one.

How sweet it tasted! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Miss Birdie and the Virus

Why, look who's here! Come on up on the porch and git you a chair--that one at yon end. I'll set here on this end and we'll holler at one another. I was just settin here admiring that redbud--it busted into bloom full on yesterday.

You uns doin all right? If you're in need of aught, you know my canning house and freezers is full of food. I always put by more than I need and I always keep a little ahead on other things -- like that commode paper folks has gone so crazy over. And my chickens is laying good.

Oh, this virus thing is worrisome, I'll not deny it. Dor'thy pitched a fit when I told her I was staying right here and I didn't need her comng over-- you know she drops by right often but I told her to stay where she is-- she don't have no business getting out neither. 

I thank you for the offer but Bernice's boy has said he would bring me groceries or everwhat I needed. Aside from a gallon of milk and some chicken feed he brung me the other day, I ain't needed nothing.  

I feel awful bad for those who are out of work and for those poor somebodies without homes--I seen them in Asheville one time when me and Dor'thy was ridin around. And then I feel a little shame-faced at how ordinary-like things is going along for me.

It's something like the Great Depression. Here in our county, folks was already poor and used to making it on what they could raise--there  was plenty what said later times didn't change none for them.

Yes, I know this virus is hitting the old folks the hardest. Reckon at my age I ought to be a-feared. But, honey, I tell you what it is--at my age, I ain't afraid to go. Still, I ain't in no hurry. And I reckon every Spring that I see as a joyful blessing and that makes each flower and blooming tree a special gift.

And every time I see the Spring, it's like in that old song--Lord, spare me over for another year -- to see the redbud bloom again.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

New on the Farm!

Seven guineas have been added to  our critters.

It's been many years since we had any and I'm delighted to be able to enjoy their strange chatter and dinosaur-like appearance once more,

They are very good at pest control and act as watchdogs, setting up a great cry at any disturbance in the force.

Their eggs are small but rich -- if you can find them. They make nests wherever they like. And they roost, not in the chicken house, but in nearby trees.

We got them on a whim because a friend had a good deal on a bunch of them them and offered to share and to deliver them.

Long may they roam our fields!