Monday, April 29, 2013

Nature's Design Shop

You have to admire this Wood Duck's Beauty and he doesn't even use Pinterest. I haven't found him on Twitter, either, alas. I will miss him, and his dainty wife, when I spend actual time away from this wooded canal in Idaho. Preparing for the trip to Michigan will take almost all my focus for the next two-plus weeks. Today we picked up Sammi after her operation for what the vet thinks is a melanoma on her back! (I didn't know dogs got them.) She has to wear that plastic collar to keep her away from the incision and about eight staples; she doesn't like it much. Staples after surgery may be a great idea, but seem rough after the tidy stitching of my youth.

Memory thread on stitching: On a bus trip to visit ancestral sites with the descendants of Mormon pioneer John Lowe Butler, Mom (in her later eighties) rushed through a door (the bus was loading after lunch!) to the rest room without the advance knowledge that it was down a flight of stairs. She broke her leg and tore the skin off a long part of her shin. At the hospital, the doctors planned to send her home for a skin graft. A younger doctor (I cannot remember if he was an intern) was assigned to put on some temporary dressing for the transfer. He was from India. He began to clean the wound and look at the remnants of skin, which had coiled into tubelike lengths. "I think this one has a little blood supply," he said. And he began to clean, straighten, and stitch the wounds, and reattach the strips of skin, one after another. Eventually, he repaired it well enough that she didn't need a skin graft. Isn't that a great stitching story? The works of memory always please me. It was my brother, who wrote stories about his life as he was fighting cancer, who told me he remembered what had seem forgotten like pulling at the end of a little string, and as more and more parts of the memory returned, you pulled on the string some more. That is why I call this blog the Memory Thread.

I meant to put Gu Cheng back in the bookcase! But here he is, still by my chair! This poem is called

Child's Play

was that yesterday? or the day before?
let's just say it's the past
we wrapped a stone in a handkerchief
and hurled them both into the blue sky--

we suffered vertigo
heaven and earth turned head over heels
we let go of each other's feverish hands
expecting God's stern sentence

but no thunder clapped, no lightning flashed
the stone dropped quietly back to earth
and the handkerchief that traveled with it?
it's just hanging from the top of an old tree

since then, we have not seen each other
it seems farther away every day
all that remains is a faithful stone
that still misses its lovely companion

from Selected Poems of Gu Cheng, page 25. Translated by David Wakefield and Su Kuichun.

The tenor on Sirius Met Opera Radio is just now squeezing the ultimate salt-stained drop from "Una Furtiva Lagrima" by holding the last phrases so long you think he will run out of sweet breath! And now the audience explodes with clapping and shouts! Speaking of applause, I'm patting myself on the back and in danger of dislocating my arm a day early--dear faithful readers, thanks for your interest!--after tomorrow's post, I will have set a personal best of everyday posting for FOUR FULL MONTHS! No other New Year's Resolutions are very operational at this point. Sleep well, dream about your childhood tree or creek, and write me a poem!
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