Friday, September 22, 2017

trim the table

I was inspired to create this, moved by the simple beauty of Claire Hitchin's "People Look East." I came across Claire's name this week while researching performers at Richmond's upcoming Folk Fest.  The schedule is out!  She is a former Jesuit Volunteer and seems a lovely individual.  Naturally ;).

There is something about the change of color and cooling of the world, the earlier evenings, that soothes my cold introvert heart.

Although the song is traditionally one of preparation for Christmas, there's something in the change of weather that's already gently inviting us to turn inward.  The cool beckons us to gather ourselves up, trim our hearths, attend to things closer to home.  

And it's September, PRACTICALLY CHRISTMAS, so I am sharing it here.

"People Look East" is #7:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

One thing I'm learning

I have been listening to Mom & Me & Mom, one of Maya Angelou's autobiographies, during my commute.  Although typically I have difficulty with the start-stop of listening to books on tape, I find her slow voice and particular style of enunciation captivating.  It seems ironic to listen to this measured, gravelly voice reflecting on a youth that includes what I perceive to be knee-jerk and foolhardy choices.  Although I'm slower to admit it, perhaps I am also surprised that this tempered persona became such by rough, sometimes violent interactions.

The VMFA provided a space for some quiet reflection one Sunday morning this summer.  What I mostly remember about this scene is wondering how the ladies sitting near me knew each other: 3 women with British accents appeared to be in their 40's to 50's, who clearly saw each other regularly as was deduced both by their conversation and by their silence.

"I use the word love, not so much meaning sentimentality, but a condition so strong that it may be that which holds the stars in their heavenly positions and that which causes the blood to flow orderly in our veins."  Maya Angelou

Thursday, August 24, 2017

penitence and the sea

"Break the rules and you go to prison. Break the prison rules and you go to Alcatraz."

Alcatraz served as a Federal Penitentiary from 1934 to 1963. Unlike a prison, the primary purpose of a penitentiary (root: "penitent") was to effect some signs of remorse and change in convicts who would stay for a period of time before returning to their prison of origin.  

Meals were taken in silence.

By good behavior, inmates could earn access to particular leisure pursuits.

After a 19-month occupation by Native Americans at the end of the 1960's, it became a national park.   

Today, in addition to welcoming tourists, the island functions as a bird sanctuary. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I recently read, Without You There Is No Us, by Suki Kim.

Suki chronicles her time as an undercover journalist, while also working as a teacher, in North Korea.  She teaches at PUST, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.  There, she teaches English to young adult males.

Through the book, Suki draws us into her universe where communication with the world outside the schoolyard walls is severely hampered.  She speaks of a sense of exhaustion that comes from being "on guard" throughout much of her waking hours.  

She describes the students as a few decades delayed in their knowledge of world events and pop culture.  For example, they know of Michael Jordan but not LeBron James.  They know the Beatles, but they have never read Harry Potter.  
It is very hard to picture that these scenes occur in 2011.

Class topics must be approved and private discussions are strictly monitored.
Rare field trips off campus are supervised and often are a charade performed by local townspeople.  The bus rides for long stretches, 90 miles, without passing another car.  

Along these routes, Suki notices young children occasionally sitting along the roadside.  
She realizes, these roads are their front porches.  
These roads are their town squares.  

I recommend the read.  

Monday, July 31, 2017

my precious

all that is gold does not glitter
not all that wander are lost

the road goes ever on and on 
down from the door where it began
now far ahead the road has gone,
and i must follow, if i can
pursuing it with eager feet,
until it joins some larger way
where many paths 
    and errands meet.
and whither then?  

cannot say

JRR tolkien

Sunday, July 16, 2017

what's brewing

batch #1: watermelon + hint of basil 
more fun to brew or create labels?

kombucha = fermented tea

Tidbits from Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life:

diamonds sparkle because light moves more slowly through them
everything with mass has a gravitational force: so New Zealand is pulling us right now, 
it is just that that its force is weak
rise in Earth's temperatures ->melting ice->oceans rise
but also because hot water takes up more space than cold water
it's not so much heat rises, but that cold (denser) sinks
heat something->atoms move faster

just as it's been peaking over 100*, conditions are right to try a little home brewing

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

in dependence

independence, in dependence.
no one wants to be dependent, and yet.

styling, an art form unto itself:
as healers, to what degree are we complicit in what the healed do?
are we responsible for only our moment in the assembly line, 
or can we be naive about the end product, what the healed hands will be used for?

"If it does not all combine to convey some general view of life, it is not education at all" 
- g.k. chesterton

the tipping point of dew a metaphor for incarnation
black tea on a rainy evening