Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Solstice!

Chasing sunsets, static, and full moons....

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Field Day

Three more days 'til summer vacation!!!

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Holy Curiosity : Satch Science

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.  - Albert Einstein

Cheers to dust clouds, homemade smoke bombs and cannons...




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Father's Day

Remembering the life of my own Dad, and sharing stories with his grandson.  How playful and funny and talented he was.  His made-up words like...scarenhemmelnemish.  Oh how I loved him.  How I miss him still.

Lenny Cook 1939-1988


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Friday, June 17, 2016

After School Pool : Ice Cream Social

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep....

"What you may need is a more curious and mysterious sweetness. 
A wilder, stronger sweetness. 
A sweetness that shatters illusions. " - Brezsny



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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Eleven : Night Swimming

remembering that night
September's coming soon
I'm pining for the moon
And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit around the fairest sun?
The bright tide forever drawn
Could not describe nightswimming...

This one laughing quietly
Underneath my breath

The photograph reflects
Every street light a reminder
Deserves a quiet night
Deserves a quiet night - R.E.M.

Pals swimming 'til sunset.  The whole pool to themselves.  All manner of floats.  Pizza and dirt cake.  Treats that pop.  Laughter and delight.



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Sunday, June 05, 2016

All the Upness : Fireflies & Wild Ponies

Of all the upness accessible to mortals, 
there is no upness comparable to the mountains.  - John Muir 

We drove to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park to see the Synchronous Fireflies.  It was so magical.  I had not the skills nor the equipment to photograph them in all their glory, and no one can do that better than Vince Brady anyway (see vid below).

In the afternoon, before our light show began, we wandered over to Cade's Cove and marveled in the wide open views and low hanging clouds.

On the way home we took a detour to Grayson Highlands in search of the wild ponies that graze the balds.  A short two mile hike to the peak and we were very lucky.  There are extreme weather changes up there and we experienced that too...the sudden chill, high winds and rain, but it didn't stop us and it was worth it.  We hiked back tripping over joy.

are not even a dime a dozen–
they are free,
and each floats and turns
among the branches of the oaks
and the swamp azaleas
looking for another
as, who doesn’t?
Oh, blessings
on the intimacy
inside fruition,
be it foxes
or the fireflies
or the dampness inside the petals
of a thousand flowers.
Though Eden is lost
its loveliness
remains in the heart
and the imagination;
he would take her
in a boat
over the dark water;
she would take him
to an island she knows
where the blue flag grows wild
and the grass is deep,
where the birds
perch together,
feather to feather,
on the bough.
And the fireflies,
blinking their little lights,
hurry toward one another.
And the world continues,
God willing.

- Mary Oliver

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Birthday Letters : Eleven

Dear Satchel,

You have officially made your 11th ride around the sun!  What an adventurous year it has been!

A month after your 10th birthday we hopped a train and went to Maine to spend a week with family in a magical cottage on the bay.  Your cousin took you in a kayak for the first time.  We had a bonfire on the beach, flew a kite and ate dinner on the porch while watching the seals.  It was the year you went to your first drive-in movie.  Your first meteor shower.   The year you got your very own kayak.  And the summer we read Moomins, Penderwicks and The Small Adventures of Popeye and Elvis.  It was the year I woke you up to watch the lunar eclipse.  The year you packed meals for the hungry and walked for the homeless.  The year you plunged neck deep into the balls at The Beach Exhibit.  The year we drove to New Jersey to have Thanksgiving dinner with all your cousins.  It was the year we had a blizzard and made ice cream from fresh snow.  The year you helped shovel your neighbor's sidewalk.  It was the year we had a moonlight bonfire on a snowbank with our neighbors.  The year you saw the art of Jenny Angus and found the ginormous Goliath Beetle.  It was the year that you created the funniest school photo ever.  The year that we drove all the way to Florida to visit your Great Uncle.  The year you saw palm trees and alligators.  The year you touched a dolphin, found a sea anemone and living sand dollar.  This is the year you met ancient trees that sprouted their roots hundred of years before you sprouted yours.  And there is still a whole lifetime of adventure still ahead of you.

You are delightful boy,  thoughtful and kind.  You surprise me with flowers when I join you at school for lunch on Fridays.  You remember to thank the cafeteria staff at your school and say good morning to your bus driver. 

You have a great sense of humor and enjoy making people laugh.

You are highly creative and skillful at a great many things like cartooning, origami and legos. 

You taught yourself how to make smoke bombs, a scythe, and a grappling hook. 

Your love of nature is deep and inspiring.  You have a gift for finding creatures and take great care in releasing them right where you found them.  Just this Spring you caught several toads, a turtle, a snake, a bullfrog tadpole and two newts!

One of the many things I love about being your mother is the way you infuse my life with wonder, curiosity and laughter.  Thank you for picking me to be your mother.  Thank you for the reciprocal gift of unconditional love and for the many ways you show it. 

On this anniversary of your birth, may you know how deeply loved and admired you are.  I celebrate you!

 (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

Happy 11th ride around the sun, Satchel.
Thank you for being my son.

All my love,

(Posted at the time of your birth)


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Sunday, May 15, 2016

In Praise of Air : And Kites

The maiden voyage of the pirate ship kite from his Great Uncle!

Let us bless the air,
Benefactor of breath,
Keeper of the fragile bridge
We breathe across.

Air waiting outside
The womb, to funnel
A first breath
That lets us begin
To be here,
Each moment
Drawn from
Its invisible stock.

Air: vast neighborhood
Of the invisible, where thought lives,
Entering to arise in us as our own,
Enabling us to put faces on things
That would otherwise stay strange
And leave us homeless here.

Air, home of memory where
Our vanished days secretly gather,
Receiving every glance, word and act
That fall from presence,
Taking all our unfolding in,
So that nothing is lost or forgotten.

Air: reservoir of the future
Out of which our days flow,
Ferrying their shadowed nights,
The invisible generosity, that brings us future friends
And sometimes stones of sorrow
On which our minds refine.

Air along whose unseen path
Presence builds its quiet procession;
Sometimes in waves of sound,
Voices that can persuade
Every door of the heart;
Often in tides of music
That absolve the cut of time.

Air: source of breath
That enables flowers to flourish,
And calls the dark, rooted trees
To ascend into blossom.

Air, perfect emptiness
For the mind of birds
To map with vanishings;
Womb of forms
That shapes embraces
To hold animal presence.

Air makes the distance kind,
Opening pathways to free the eye
To reach the affections of things,
Yet never lets its invisible geography
Come anywhere near though
Or the voyage-edges of the eye.

Air: kingdom of spirit
Where our departed dwell,
Nearer to us than ever,
Where the gods preside.

Let us bless the invigoration
Of clean, fresh air.
The gentleness of air
That holds and slows the rain,
Lets it fall down.

The shyness of air
That never shows its face.
The force of air
In wall after wall
Of straining wind.

In the name of the air,
The breeze,
And the wind,
May our souls
Stay in rhythm
With eternal

- John' O'Donohue

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Voice of the Rain

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hints of Gladness: Ancient White Oak

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world 
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,”
they say, “and you, too, have come
into the world to do this, to go easy,
to be filled with light, and to shine.” - Mary Oliver

On the way back from Monticello, we had a meeting with an "Ent".  In today's world of so many screens and so much busy, I find the I have to work harder at refueling the wonder-meter.   This White Oak was majestic and when I told my son that it took root more than 200 years before Jefferson was even born, well I think we were utterly enchanted. 

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