Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Poem for Wednesday and Hurricane Isaias

After The Storm
By Boris Pasternak
Translated by Lydia Pasternak Slater

The air is full of after-thunder freshness,
And everything rejoices and revives.
With the whole outburst of its purple clusters
The lilac drinks the air of paradise.

The gutters overflow; the change of weather
Makes all you see appear alive and new.
Meanwhile the shades of sky are growing lighter,
Beyond the blackest cloud the height is blue.

An artist's hand, with mastery still greater
Wipes dirt and dust off objects in his path.
Reality and life, the past and present,
Emerge transformed out of his colour-bath.

The memory of over half a lifetime
Like swiftly passing thunder dies away.
The century is no more under wardship:
High time to let the future have its say.

It is not revolutions and upheavals
That clear the road to new and better days,
But revelations, lavishness and torments
Of someone's soul, inspired and ablaze.

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We made no plans for Tuesday because we knew that Hurricane Isaias was coming, and indeed the storm had made landfall before I went to bed Monday night, but it largely spared our area -- the problems in Maryland were mostly south and east of us, including a couple of tornadoes and some bad flooding, and I have friends in New York and Connecticut who lost their power, but we only had hard rain here in the early morning hours that turned into late morning drizzle and then a partly cloudly, muggy afternoon.

So most of the news I ended up watching was about the tragedy in Beirut and the couple of primaries taking place Tuesday, plus the arguments about whether Black Widow, like Mulan, will debut streaming for $30 (I very much hope so, I don't want it to be delayed again and I also don't want to risk my health in a movie theater). We watched Stargirl while the Orioles were in a rain delay, then the Orioles while the Nationals were in a rain delay; the former lost, the latter won. After the storm:

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2020-08-03 17.52.05

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Poem for Tuesday and Brookside Butterflies

Hurricane
By Mary Oliver

It didn’t behave
like anything you had
ever imagined. The wind
tore at the trees, the rain
fell for days slant and hard.
The back of the hand
to everything. I watched
the trees bow and their leaves fall
and crawl back into the earth.
As though, that was that.
This was one hurricane
I lived through, the other one
was of a different sort, and
lasted longer. Then
I felt my own leaves giving up and
falling. The back of the hand to
everything. But listen now to what happened
to the actual trees;
toward the end of that summer they
pushed new leaves from their stubbed limbs.
It was the wrong season, yes,
but they couldn’t stop. They
looked like telephone poles and didn’t
care. And after the leaves came
blossoms. For some things
there are no wrong seasons.
Which is what I dream of for me.

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It was a quiet Monday around here apart from accidentally flooding the laundry room because I didn't realize the filter over the drainpipe from the washing machine to the sink had gotten jammed from having to wash the rug from the bathroom with the litterboxes. So the laundry is done but not folded, the floor is mopped but has no rug, and Effie, who hides down there when there are storms, is angry that someone else was poking around her space while there was thunder.

Otherwise, we spent the day following news of the hurricane creeping up the coast, with breaks for watching baseball and Antiques Roadshow, plus burgers for dinner. Brookside Gardens had to cancel its annual Wings of Fancy butterfly show, but whether because July was so hot or the pollution is so low with fewer people around, this has been a spectacular summer for butterflies, swallowtails in particular, so here are some of the ones we saw outdoors at Brookside on Saturday:

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Monday, August 03, 2020

Greetings from Glenstone

Sunday was hot but ended up being a gorgeous day. We had tickets to go to Glenstone, where the main pavilion is open again though with strict rules about where people can walk and when; we visited a couple of the huge installations, like Robert Gober's huge forest mural room with running water, but mostly we walked around the water court with its water lilies and plants (we could hear frogs but we didn't manage to see any, though there were butterflies and grasshoppers both in the water court and all through the meadow. Now I've seen Split-Rocker in three seasons and we have tickets to go back in October for the fall.

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2020-06-28 15.23.42

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I got home a bit late but still managed to chat with several fannish friends on Zoom for over an hour. We had dinner with my parents -- they had Greek food delivered from Trapezaria, which was delicious -- then came home in time for Perry Mason, which I am enjoying so much more now that it's more a courtroom drama with investigative aspects and not constant violence and bloody corpses, though the overall treatment of women is pretty horrifying and they better not do anything terrible to Tatiana Maslany's Sister Alice or there will be a lengthy rant here next week. Now John Oliver is being appropriately bitter about the state of things.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Greetings from Brookside Gardens

Saturday was a warm but beautiful day -- we didn't get the predicted rain until late, and then much less than the warnings claimed -- so after lunch we went to Brookside Gardens, where the greenhouse and visitor center are closed but they planted lots of butterfly bushes to make up for the canceled Wings of Fancy show, and there were swallowtail butterflies everywhere, plus turtles, frogs, cardinals, a heron, and so many flowers!

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We were going to watch a movie, but we talked to Adam about work stuff (some of his mail came here because his address never got changed so I scanned it for him), the Orioles game went into extra innings (and they won!), and my in-laws called, so instead we watched some of Zac Efron's Down to Earth and then I watched the end of Austenland, which was $5 on Vudu last week and I put on last night after the end of The Island.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Poem for Saturday and Pesky Squirrels

The Squirrel
By John B. Tabb

Who combs you, little Squirrel?
And do you twist and twirl
When some one puts the papers on
To keep your tail in curl?

And must you see the dentist
For every tooth you break?
And are you apt from eating nuts
To get the stomach-ache?

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My Friday was pretty good for quarantine era. I slept late, I got a couple of household items and did a bit of organizing, I had a lunchtime chat with two of my three best friends from high school, then we ate the leftover Ethiopian food for lunch. It rained a bit in the afternoon but we went for a walk in the drizzle and saw some bunnies.

We just watched the NT Live production of The Deep Blue Sea with Helen McCrory, which has excellent performances though there are aspects of the script that seem very dated. (I have never seen the movie, do I need to see Weisz and Hiddleston as much as Wilton and Firth?) Here are some of the squirrels who've been driving our cats crazy this summer:

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2020-07-30 11.58.56

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