Friday, June 14, 2024

reading between the flowers

I think teenager Cass makes a terrific point in The Bee Sting when she is irritated with the ubiquitous nature themes in poetry: “You go to class and discuss famous poems. The poems are full of swans, gorse, blackberries, leopards, elderflowers, mountains, orchards, moonlight, wolves, nightingales, cherry blossoms, bog oak, lily-pads, honeybees. Even the brand-new ones are jam-packed with nature. It’s like the poets are not living in the same world as you. You put up your hand and say isn’t it weird that poets just keep going around noticing nature and not ever noticing that nature is shrinking? To read these poems you would think the world was as full of nature as it ever was even though in the last forty years so many animals and habitats have been wiped out. How come they don’t notice that? How come they don’t notice everything that’s been annihilated? If they’re so into noticing things? I look around and all I see is the world being ruined. If poems were true they’d just be about walking through a giant graveyard or a garbage dump. The only place you find nature is in poems, it’s total bullshit." 

And I think of the message Mohamed Hussein in Gaza put out this morning: "This flower has bloomed next to my tent as if to tell me not to lose hope, that tomorrow the war will end, and everything will become beautiful. Life will surely blossom again."

And I think that's why. That's the answer to Cass. Hope enters our lives and stays as long there is a single bloom.

Pic: These flowers have bloomed next to our house as if to tell me...

Thursday, June 13, 2024

people to be joyous about:

* a colleague on a committee who took a gentle, but necessary, suggestion like a champ and acted on it. No pique, no passive-aggressive resentment, no defensiveness. Just beautiful.

* a kid who asked for something non-phone related on our "Buy Nothing" group... not just for themselves but for their two siblings as well.

* three students who want to do summer projects. I may bristle about committee work over the summer since we have no summer salary, but I love, love, love working with students. It all seems so pure: my students aren't doing it for the grades, I'm not doing it for pay.

* all the friends at the sleepovers Nu has been having. I'm glad to be that mom with the locked liquor cabinet and pallets of (Costco) snacks if it means I can hear Nu and their friends, two rooms over, laughing into the wee hours. 

*Pic: Nu. Who doesn't always look like this :) (and with whom I have the most amazing two-hour long discussions about Plath, Whitman, and life). Happy June 13th, I guess. I gave the teenagers something to laugh about when I walked in to say goodnight and visibly jumped at the sight of Nu's made up face.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Things I rescued today:

* a groundhog. Max is swift and silent when he gives chase. Nothing but the jingle of his tags gives him away. I rescued the groundhog by repeatedly panic-screaming Max's name and grabbing his collar and giving the groundhog room and time to waddle away. I didn't realize how ridiculously slow groundhogs are (and almost cartoonishly silly looking with their overbite and all). It's not Nicole's bear adventure, but it was already too much for me. 

* a volunteer oak sapling that had grown almost as tall as the house but had come unrooted in the high winds... I'm rooting for it, I hope it will root too.

* a chapter that almost died from all the cuts I made last week. I'm hoping I can stitch it together tomorrow.

* my office plants, who were happy to see me despite not having been watered in two weeks.

* some bland black bean burgers with a splash of Bitchin' Sauce. So much protein, and my family didn't even realize dinner was vegan. 

* myself from the slow burn of anxiety. It was almost grad-school level anxiety... I realized it was because the book I randomly picked via Kindle Unlimited (Ruth Ware's The It Girl) is set in one of my grad school locations. The murder's not helping, that's for sure.

Pic: Big A, Max, Huck (and me) on our evening walk. Huck just trots along happily. Max wants to chase everything that moves (and that includes falling leaves).

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

kindness-torture and polite-fights

I was walking back home to dinner (which I wasn't making BTW, it was Nu's Boss Day and we were getting Pok√®) when I started getting inundated with texts asking where I was, if I was ok, did I need a ride back, etc. etc. So many texts! Ooof. I wasn't late to dinner or asking for help. Tamils would call this anbu thollai--kindness-torture. (Vaguely related to that other oxymoronic term the East Asian polite-fight.) I probably do this too... but sometimes you just... gotta let people be. (Or perhaps I'd miss it if it went away? IDK!)

Pic: Max and Huck (the fuzzy brown blur by the back door) exploring the yard after Big A completed the first mow of the year (there'll be another one around the start of fall). The plantings around the pond are beginning to come in nicely, but not fast enough for me. 

Monday, June 10, 2024

an early start

I don't want to die
I want to keep on
opening 

wide as a song
wide as a wound

someday I'll learn
to tell the difference
between

my quiet body
my silenced body

know the future meant 
to be for me--I'll get 
there yet
___________
Note: I'm not sick, just thinking about death because of last week's losses.
Pic: The deer are out there eating all my flowers, so I planted some annuals in these birdbaths, tugged some moss over the shallow roots like a blankie, clipped some craft birds onto the chains, and hung these constructions up in the tea garden to enjoy.

Sunday, June 09, 2024

mama's beach day

The girlfriends and I took off to Saugatuck for the day. I was so excited about this trip to the beach that I didn't get a wink of sleep last night!

I guess I hadn't been to the beach "by myself" since grade school--it has always been with family and kids. And I'll do that again this summer, because I love that... But there was something very freeing about heading out by myself. I didn't have to check on anyone or their water bottles, sunscreen, Epi-Pens, or pack extras of anything, prep meals and allergen-free snacks. I had my sunglasses and hat... and I was gone.

It was lovely. We talked all the way to the beach, had brunch, did a couple of garden tours, blissed out in the sand for hours, wandered the little boutiques for hours (we picked up a little present for BOL who couldn't go at the last moment), and had dinner before we headed home.

This next week is the one with deadlines and work meetings, and today was the perfect way to prepare for it. 

Pic: Lake Michigan is beautiful and fierce. 

Saturday, June 08, 2024

contentment, panic, alarm, and a chuckle

Nu headed off to a friend's graduation open house, Big A took off for the Cow Pie Classic (what a weird concatenation of words), and my girlfriends' hang got postponed due to rain. So I contentedly puttered around the house, watered the zillion plants, and cleaned everything.

Then I wandered into a discussion about the rising cases of bird flu and how a bird flu pandemic could make Covid look like "a walk in the park." It made me panic a bit, so I took myself off for a long walk. I think I will order some masks and stockpile some beans and bleach though. Just in case. 

Alarmingly, Noam Chomsky's health is reportedly in sharp decline. Also, the U.S. disguised its participating troops as a humanitarian aid convoy (a war crime) instead of actually pursuing meaningful diplomacy for hostages. Why do we favor this kind of military charlatanism over rapprochement? 

Pic: Our flipsy-flopsy Maxie. This puppy makes me chuckle. He's snuggled into my side, his head and front legs are completely hanging off the sofa, his back legs and paws are torpedoed into our long-suffering Huck. And somehow he's fast asleep in this weird position. 

reading between the flowers

I think teenager Cass makes a terrific point in  The Bee Sting  when she is irritated with the ubiquitous nature themes in poetry:  “You go ...