Tuesday, May 24, 2011

After the Gale, Before the Volcano

The wind whipped around yesterday as if we were in the giant mixing bowl of some manic meringue maker. Now we have another cloud of volcanic dust maybe winging its way to us, but until I have to start vacuuming up some alien dust from the innards of the earth, I am enjoying the comparative calm. Despite the cold wind and the continuing peevishness of left over gust-lets, there is a warmth and a sweetness to the air after having been whipped into a frenzy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Treasures from the top of the hill and down the road.
The best treasures are the things you find when you are not looking. I was walking up the hill trying not to notice the slight heaviness that might be the beginning of an ache when I noticed my friend at the top of the hill outside with her granddaughter in a pram. So I walked down her road and then we were into the house, a cuppa, playing with her granddaughter and then back down the road with a bag full of books "for the reading". What a treasure. I'll write more about the books as I get into them. Needless to say with that treasure trove I did not think about my legs.
And a rhubarb bouquet the other day and today a couple stalks of rhubarb from a bit further down the road. I remember when rhubarb used to remind me of my grandmother and eating it was a once a year or so treat with a slice of rhubarb and strawberry pie from the Kosher deli on the south side of Indy.
I still eat singing to myself (usually) a little of the chorus from Prairie Home companion --"Be bop a roo bop, rhubarb pie," and I believe wholeheartedly that it "gives shy people the strength to carry on."

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A Familiar Face

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The nightmares have stopped: Dreaming that I am awake and can't remember where I am with an urgency that I need to be somewhere else and I can't know where else is until I know where here is.

But during the waking hours, names and faces on this side of the pond are conflated and muddled with names and faces from the other side of the pond and both time and place are jumbled. Thus, I struggle to put a surname to a given name and link a girl that I went to grade school with. That is both distracting and difficult to explain. And so I am back smiling a lot and avoiding conversations whenever I can.

And so my morning walks in my neighbourhood offered up an extra bonus when I could look this bonny flower in the bloom and say without hesitation--Caltha palustris. She nodded and smiled into my camera. Out of her hearing I can assert that she is no less beautiful for being rather common. I was surprised to learn that she is a native of the UK because she grew so nicely on the edges of my yard in Indiana where the ground was dampish. Sitting here in a wee Scottish burn, however, she is clearly at her best.

Monday, May 02, 2011

There and Back Again: Lessons from a Duck's Life

Sometimes the best to be said about a trip is that you went, did the best you could, and made it back again. I thought it a good idea to take a lesson from my sister's quackers.

They spend the night in the barn to avoid the critters for whom they look more like dinner than companions. They hurry in not because they are afraid of the critters that lurk in the night but because their food awaits them. They can't do much about all the things that go thump in the night, but they can have a nice dinner. Sometimes it is wisdom to think no further than your own tummy. And then when morning comes, they hurry to the pond for a frolic in the water and whatever ducks do all day.

See the quackers. See the quackers go. Go, quackers, go.

But not even idealized quackers have a perfect life.

The male quacker--in the lead in the photo below--is missing a few feathers on the back of his neck because a Great Dane puppy thought he looked like a plaything. Thus, Fate for a pampered duck took the form of a brief stint in the jaws of a giant. As in the epics of Gilgamesh or wily Odysseus, intercession allowed the quacker to see another round of pond-barn-pond and whatever dreams a duck may have.

Fate from time to time picks us up in its toothy jaws and gives us a good shake. It is difficult to have a balanced perspective dangling from a giant's maw, but if we are lucky enough to get one more round of paddling to and from the pond, then we need to take a lesson from the quackers and get on with it with as much gusto as we can with a cold breeze down the back of our neck where those feathers used to be.
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