Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Walking into the place was like a trip back in time. Several people were smoking in the dim brown light. The walls were plain wood with various rooster items hung on them. We sat down at a dark-red-oilcloth-covered square table. Most of the other tables were full; there was one waitress and one sub-waitress who brought your drinks and cleaned off the tables. She also filled the pepper shaker, after I removed the lid and set both shaker and lid artfully on the edge of the table. A heavy woman helped a man with a damaged left side to a table. A teen with a funny haircut, like a cartoon baby with a curl on the top of his head, was eating dinner with his parents. He held his mouth about an inch above the plate. Lots of ordinary people, just like us, chewed and swallowed. I was quite comfortable. It made me think of the video I saw today about the Mad Magazine artist, Rick Tulka, who sketches every day in a cafe in Paris. He was comfortable in that cafe, even though it was famous, in Paris, and the former haunt of famous writers like Hemingway and Henry Miller, it was comfortable to him. He rode his bicycle there every day at the same time and often found that he had already drawn all the patrons of that hour. I wished I could sketch, invisibly. And then I drove home through the rain and looked at the clouds.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The day was perfectly sunny and crisp. The highlight for me was Palm Warbler, which I have only seen once before on a birdwalk at Point Reyes. Lots of warblers are on the move. The palm warblers seemed to be traveling with a flock of American goldfinches. They flew before the advancing birders and then began to flit in and out of the first two rows of corn nearest the path when we came to a field of standing corn. Someone said he thought they could find bugs in the tassels.
We also had good scope views of migrating Sandhill Cranes hunting in a mown field. It was quite a long walk, and we sort of rested up all afternoon.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Inspired in part by Ted Kooser's tales of thrift stores and garage sales, we stopped at Challenge Mountain on the way into town. I found a clear heavy pressed glass pitcher to use for water on the dinner table; I had been wishing I had one. Also toys for granddaughters and even a toy for myself, in the form of a stuffed muslin rabbit in pinafore that looks like the child of the one I got from my daughter's garage sale. They sit together now on top of the living room bookcase. It's a nice distraction from politics. Sigh, as Charlie Brown used to say. Sigh.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Today, I've been going through saved papers and magazines from several summers. I have to move them from the table they were stacked on so we can move it to have the windows washed.
I read a lovely book of short poems by Ted Kooser before starting--this was to give me courage. I cannot recommend his poems too highly. They are just the ticket (remember that ticket?) for almost anyone. He sent one each day to Jim Harrison (another favorite writer) on a postcard. Because Kooser was recovering from cancer surgery and radiation and had been forbidden sunlight, he took a two mile walk each morning before the sun came up! The book is called Winter Morning Walks; postcards to Jim Harrison. Still in print, you can get it now! It costs less than most fast food meals, and is WAY more nourishing.
Monday, September 22, 2008
They are good autumnal quotes for this turn of the season, I think.
1. The fairest thing I leave behind is sunlight,
the shining stars and the full moon’s face,
and also ripe cucumbers, and apples and pears.
2. Yet they never persuaded your heart.
3. Learning from the tales of Admetos, my friend, love the brave
but avoid cowards, knowing the gratitude of cowards is small.
4. Watch for a scorpion, my friend, under every stone.
5. You who look lovely from the windows--
a virgin face, but newly wed below.
This graceful arrangement on the sand reminded me of life and death at the same time. My essay's still not finished. Today we did some power-washing on the deck. . .
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I tried to imagine how I would use these dried thistles if I bought some. They had handsome deep yellow yarrow, too, but I was having trouble making an arrangement in my mind.
Bill's Farm Market is the one place I have found where I can get a few of my beloved Macintosh apples every year. The apples of my childhood, they are the apples that truly taste like apples should taste! Crisp, and just faintly sour, or acid. S says they are too sour, but he doesn't have a childhood apple. The Fuji apple seems too sweet to me, and the texture is too grainy. I admit they keep well, ship well and are very crisp, but I hope to have a bag of Macintosh apples every season as long as I can chew!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Today a short ride to the farm market, where we got some squash, some corn and some hard peaches. It'a a great market and folks come from near and far.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tonight an image of something that is (was) TRULY DIGESTIBLE, since I am about to launch on an essay really too long for this space. Here goes:
An Essay on Juxtaposition
This morning I woke early and there was enough light coming through the window to read, so that is what I did. While S and the dogs slept soundly, I picked up the Pushcart Prize XXX anthology I started reading just before we left here last year. I began at the book mark. I had decided to read straight through this ponderous volume, so I would know where I was—with literary magazines, I often skip around, usually reading the essays first, then the poetry, and then the fiction--(if I have time before something else crowds out that particular periodical.) Pat Shelley used to mark the table of contents in her literary journals, she had a system of checks to indicate the pieces she thought were especially fine. I am often reminded of her and her ways, even though she has been dead now for ten years.
The poem I read first is by Ted Kooser.
I don't think he will mind if I tell you the whole poem:
WILD PLUMS IN BLOSSOM
In a light, cold rain, at the edge of the woods,
a line of brides is waiting, hand in hand.
Their perfume carries far across the fields.
They have been brought here from the east
to marry farmers, and were left on the platform.
The dark old depot of the woods is locked
and no one has come for them but me.
Well, this was a pleasant start! Then came an 8-page story “Ackerman in Eden” by Donald Hays. It dealt with reality and fantasy in the life of a man who escapes from a mental hospital. I was not familiar with the author, but I very much liked the way he used so many ancient place names to convey the mental state of Ackerman. It gave the story a richness and resonance.
Alas, this tale of mine will go on much longer. This is only the beginning of this stream of thought, so you will understand the more interesting part. More tomorrow, unless I goof up again.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
This week, I started a new Moleskine to carry with me. On a trip to town yesterday, I found these two wannabees: top, at the dollar store $1--lined pages of ordinary paper, glued binding that seems very strong, pink elastic closing, no bookmark; middle, Office Max, $6.99, made in China, laminated leather cover with edge stitching, sewn binding, black elastic closing, ribbon bookmark, expandable envelope inside back cover. I got the graph paper one, since I have been wanting to play with graph paper. I haven't measured the squares, but they look very small, and maybe metric. The paper is not heavy like a real Moleskine.
At the bottom: my real classic Moleskine for comparison.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF GOOD IDEAS! You cannot keep it to yourself.
Monday, September 15, 2008
And where were you in World War Two???
It doesn't seem that long ago really, although most people you meet now weren't even born then.
I started two new notebooks today, a small Moleskine for my purse and a larger (book-sized) lavendar colored blank book which has enough room to revise haiku as I am working on them. I like to number the pages when I begin a new book and then paste the season word lists on the inside front covers of the haiku workbook. Then I leave a title page and a page or two for a table of contents to fill in as I go. The last few pages are for lists of reminders, contact or web site information, titles of books and music I want to get and questions to look up answers for. It works fairly well for me. But I am having a much harder time integrating much drawing or sketching into this established system and may have to keep another notebook for that. I hope not. We shall see.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I hope to go back on Tuesday with different cameras and see what I can get. Unless it rains heavily.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
It's been a good day. The boys are back home for a short visit and we all had dinner together. Afterwards, we played SORRY and I won easily. It's the only board game I know the rules to, and I play it with all my grandchildren, but I don't often have such a decisive win.
Tonight the boys heard, then saw, a meadowlark, singing on a post. For the past few days, a couple of bluebirds have been catching bugs in our meadow, along with a pair of flickers, a kingbird, and a flock of starlings. I can't tell what kind of bugs they are catching, but I wish they would catch the paper wasps that are bginning to build near the porch. I'm imagining we are in the midst of bird migration. These cranes were not our local Famkily of Four, but a group of 18 that, for some days, have been in the stubble field from rye that our neighbor planted this year. I sat in the car to take the pictures, because they start to ease away from the road when you get out of the car.
Today, an unexpected letter with some pictures from about 20 years ago. Nice pictures, a very nice surprise.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
My granddaughter, age three, called me up for Grandparent's Day, a new commercial holiday that I only heard of recently and immediately forgot. She and I had a lovely chat-- it is getting quite easy to understand her on the phone. She said she had to eat five bites of her carrot salad before she could call. Her family had stayed in our
house on a recent short trip. In the middle of the call, she suddenly stopped, "Where ARE you?," she cried out, having expected us to be at home, and being used to more frequent visits from us when we are living nearby.
"MIchigan." didn't convey a lot of meaning to her. It's right on the cusp of autumn now. We came close to a frost last night.
in his evening flight
the crow’s swift certitude
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
When I picked up the book I got on digital infrared and saw how beautifully white sunflowers were, I ran right out and our two volunteers (bird seed?) were just ready to shoot. Here is the largest of the beauties.
Heard from someone I have known since the late 1940s today. I sent her a scanned picture of a group of us in about 1948 or 1949. I sent it in 2004. She asked me a question about one of the people. When I finally remembered the name, I wrote back in 2007. When another friend complained by phone that she hadn't answered email she looked at an old Juno account that she thought she had cancelled. It had 6000 messages in it, one of them my answer.
So, she's just answered my answer and maybe we'll keep it up. Email makes these things possible. People can ask questions (or tell you they love you) that it would be embarrassing to waste a stamp on. Good night, lovely sunflower, and good night, all my lovely friends.