Thursday, October 31, 2013

Poem for Thursday and Meadowside Nature Center

Autumn Nightfall
By Rachel Barenblat

You mix the watercolors of the evening
like my son, swishing his brush
until the waters are black with paint.
The sky is streaked and dimming.

The sun wheels over the horizon
like a glowing penny falling into its slot.
Day is spent, and in its place: the changing moon,
the spatterdash of stars across the sky's expanse.

Every evening we tell ourselves the old story:
You cover over our sins, forgiveness
like a fleece blanket tucked around our ears.
When we cry out, You will hear.

Soothe my fear of life without enough light.
Rock me to sleep in the deepening dark.


Another by The Velveteen Rabbi.

Still catching up on lots of stuff. There was an early morning at my local CVS, which I took as a good enough reason not to run out today for mouthwash. Paul dropped off the van for routine maintenance and jogged home, then worked from home for the rest of the day, so I had company for lunch, which was nice. Adam decided that he wanted to attend the last cross country team spaghetti dinner for the season even though he isn't going to regionals, so he wasn't home much after school and practice, then he disappeared to make Halloween plans. We had our own spaghetti dinner without him and caught up on Elementary.

In all the chaos of the weekend, we seem to have waited too long to get a pumpkin to carve -- the fruit stand was completely out, as were two grocery stores and the garden store. I am not sure what we're going to do about that. Our neighborhood is having its annual Halloween party in the late afternoon but I think Adam (whose girlfriend is wearing a matching squid costume) may already be headed to hang out with her. I looked at the early decorations and saw several deer sniffing around them in the evening. We watched Nashville, then the Red Sox winning the World Series, so that's all good. Some Meadowside Nature Center pics from earlier in October:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Poem for Wedneday and Locust Grove Autumn

Autumn Poem (2012)
By Hoa Nguyen

Call capable
      a lemony
light & fragile

Time like a ball and elastic

so I can stop burning the pots

        wondering yes      electric stove

She is her   but I don't reme
mber                        remember
the ashes I obsess    She said

I was obsessed with
(not wanting to work with

     Mandible dream
    says the street
& ash work

             because the scorn
and ions long
there   I wor   I woke up
in the overlooked dark

            I work
do that warp    twistingly
wrap the dead

Black and white like the
long-dead     starved pet rodent
eating the basement
        curtains and peanut shells

   I walk   I wal
I walks down sometimes
why the advi

abide     the advice was

not "Fair better"
but "Fail better"

Auto dish soap
1/2 and 1/2
Coffee beans

Bake the golden things
Rust colors
Rust colors


Tuesday was a catch-up day for me. I had some work to get done, I had some shopping to get done, I had some laundry to get done, and it was all relatively successful, so I can't complain, though the Christmas stuff moving into the mall on shelves that should still have Halloween displays depresses me. I managed to get my Bath & Body Works freebies, at least.

While driving home from the mall I spotted some amazing trees behind the tennis courts at Cabin John Park, so I pulled into the parking lot at Locust Grove and ended up taking a walk in the woods there. It was cool and crisp and gorgeous, and since school hadn't let out, it was also nearly empty. I only had my phone so the pics aren't great but I needed to save them:

Since Agents of SHIELD was a rerun, we caught up on shows we missed while we were away, including Once Upon a Time (most sins forgiven because of the tall ships) and Masters of Sex (moving and superbly acted and providing the best line for memes I've heard all month: "Why won't my dick work? Fuck!"). I need to rewatch last week's Elementary -- I don't remember it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Poem for Tuesday, Memorial Service, Deer

From 'My Last Will'
By Walter Raleigh

When I am safely laid away,
Out of work and out of play,
Sheltered by the kindly ground
From the world of sight and sound,
One or two of those I leave
Will remember me and grieve.

Take the good that life can give
For the time you have to live.
Friends of yours and friends of mine
Surely will not let you pine.
If the Fates are kind to you,
Some will stay to see you through.

When at heart you shall be sad,
Pondering the joys we had,
Listen and keep very still.
If the lowing from the hill
Or the tolling of a bell
Do not serve to break the spell,
Listen; you may be allowed
To hear my laughter from a cloud.


An excerpt from a poem not by the Walter Raleigh to whom it is often credited, the knight and statesman, but this one (you can read the full poem at the link, too).

Cheryl asked me if I knew any appropriate poems for a funeral, so I sent her a bunch ranging from Shakespeare to Tagore to Frye, and she asked if I'd read the one above at her husband's memorial service, which of course I was happy to do. It was a lovely service -- the minister had known her husband since he was very young, four of his friends who had known him for many decades spoke, his cousin who once worked in his comic store played guitar and sang. There was lots of laughter and irreverence -- a former employee came in a Wonder Woman outfit, the pianist played the Superman theme, everyone discussed all the ways in which Cheryl's husband was a superhero.

We also got to meet her wonderful parents and extended family, whom I've been hearing about for a long time, plus lots of her husband's friends who have been amazing through his illness (one of them took us out to dinner Sunday night), and I got to catch up with some mutual friends who came to the service. The ladies of the church made lunch for everyone afterward downstairs in the fellowship hall (this is the same church where Cheryl got married) so we got to talk to a lot of the people we'd met the day before at the funeral home. Late in the afternoon I gave Cheryl one more big hug and we drove home to find and feed younger son and the cats. I'm pretty fried, so more tomorrow.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Placeholder for Monday

Out of town for visitation (Sunday) and memorial service (Monday), Adam and my parents are holding down the fort and feeding the cats at home. Cheryl says thank you for all the good wishes -- I had a late dinner with her and one of her husband's best friends and it was very good to see her. More soon.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Poem for Sunday and Black Hill Park

By Carl Adamshick

It is nice to be without answers
at the end of summer.
Wind lifting leaves from branches.

The moment laid down like something
in childhood and forgotten, until later,
when stumbled upon, we think:
this is where it was lost.

The sadness isn't their sadness.
The sadness is the way

they will never unpack the rucksack
of happiness again.

They'll never surface as divers rising
through leagues of joy, through sun
willowing through the bottom half of waves.

They'll never surface again.
Again and again,

they will never surface.


I'm on my last nerve, so will keep this brief. I didn't have a bad day: Adam went to cross country practice running along the C&O Canal, then needed to be picked up and wanted to go to Tyson's Buffet with friends from the team, so we drove them, stayed and had Chinese food for lunch. Then we dragged Adam away from his friends and took him to Black Hill Regional Park, not for serious hiking (he'd done lots of exercising, I was exhausted) than to see the leaves turning. There were some geese and lots of little birds, so it was very nice.

Again I couldn't tell you what was on TV except that Graham Norton had a very funny Chris Hemsworth batting eyelashes at Paul McCartney and now the Red Sox have a tied game in the top of the 8th. Will be at a memorial service tomorrow so I'm not sure I'll be posting tomorrow night; hope everyone is having a peaceful weekend and will try to catch up with things next week.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Poem for Saturday, Sad Autumn, The Darkness & the Light

Sonnet XXX
By William Shakespeare

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear times' waste;
Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor'd and sorrows end.


My good friend's husband passed away on Thursday. She is devastated and I am hurting for her -- I will not be around much this weekend, though I got done my review of Deep Space Nine's "The Darkness and the Light" and I had dinner with my family and parents. I believe our TV was tuned to Dracula tonight and Elementary last night, though I couldn't tell you a thing about the episodes.

I do want to say thank you to a couple of people -- you know who you are. Here are a couple of photos of the gorgeous autumn photos last weekend at the historic overlook above the city of Frederick and at Gambrill State Park:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Placeholder for Friday

My day has been awful, I am hurting for someone close to me, and I have a blinding headache. Here are some adorable neighborhood deer from before the leaves started turning:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Poem for Thursday and National Honor Society

Lost and Found
By Ron Padgett

Man has lost his gods.
If he loses his dignity,
it's all over.

I said that.

What did I mean?
First, that the belief
in divinity has almost

By dignity
I meant mutual
self-respect, the sense
that we have some right
to be here and that
there is value in it.
(Values are where
the gods went
when they died.)

My dog Susie doesn't seem
to have any values, but she does
have Pat and me, gods
she gets to play with and bark at.


I had a very nice Wednesday except that a good friend is dealing with a terrifying situation and I have been worried about her entire family. Paul worked from home because we knew we had a bunch of things to do involving Adam, though dropping off Adam's forgotten lunch yet again was not initially on the list. I half-watched the comings and goings from the royal christening while working on various projects on the computer, had lunch with Paul, and took an early walk in the cooler but still gorgeous fall weather.

We had dinner early because in the evening, Adam was inducted into the National Honor Society. He has done a lot of work for this (not just grades but five recommendations and a lot of letters concerning volunteer work and extracurricular activities are required) -- I did not realize that only 17 students out of the entire school had been admitted. My mom came with us and it was a lovely ceremony, mostly involving student speeches about the pillars of the National Honor Society (leadership, scholarship, service and character).

And after the ceremony there were dessert trays. When we came home we watched Nashville though I was hardly paying attention since various scary things were happening elsewhere. Now I am watching a terrifying North Carolina Republican racist on The Daily Show which is doing nothing to make me feel better before bed. Krauthammer won't help.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Poem for Wednesday and Lake Needwood Park

Ground Birds in Open Country
By Stanley Plumly

They fly up in front of you so suddenly,
tossed, like gravel, by the handful,
kicked like snow or dead leaves into life.
Or if it's spring they break back and forth
like schools of fish silver at the surface,
like the swifts I saw in the hundreds
over the red tile roofs of Assisi—
they made shadows, they changed sunlight,
and at evening, before vespers,
waved back to the blackbird nuns.
My life list is one bird at a time long,
what Roethke calls looking. The eye,
particular for color, remembers when
a treeful would go gray with applause,
in the middle of nowhere, in a one-oak field.
I clapped my hands just for the company.
As one lonely morning, green under glass,
a redwing flew straight at me, its shoulders
slick with rain that hadn't fallen yet.
In the birdbook there, where the names are,
it's always May, and the thing so fixed
we can see it—Cerulean, Blackpoll, Pine.
The time one got into the schoolroom
we didn't know what it was, but it sang,
it sailed along the ceiling on all sides,
and blew back out, wild, still lost,
before any of us, stunned, could shout
it down. And in a hallway once,
a bird went mad, window by locked window,
the hollow echo length of a building.
I picked it up closed inside my hand.
I picked it up and tried to let it go.
They fly up so quickly in front of you,
without names, in the slurred shapes of wings.
Scatter as if shot from twelve-gauge guns.
Or they fly from room to room, from memory
past the future, having already gathered
                in great numbers on the ground.


Once again I am behind because I was reading son's college essays which are done now, huzzah, and then was talking to a friend who has really been through the wringer this month, so this will be short. My morning and early afternoon were all about work and chores anyway -- laundry is done, article is half-done, messed-up Google Docs files are relabeled and organized. It was gorgeous out yet again, and yet again I am so glad the leaves are taking their time to fall!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn't bad this week, but I'm just not feeling much love for any of the main characters, even Coulson, and I feel like there's too much talking down to the audience. My fun evening screen-viewing was watching Deception via long distance with Cara Chapel (she for Ewan, me for Hugh, though we are both willing to discuss how much happier their characters would be together). Some photos from Rock Creek Park a few days back:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Poem for Tuesday and Caprikorn Goats

Wild Rose
By Bryher

O wild rose, bend above my face!
There is no world--
Only the beat of your throat against my eyes.

White moss is harsh
Against these soft white petals of your feet.
It is hard to dream you have followed the wild goats
Aslant the perilous hills.

I have only the fire of my heart to offer you,
O peach-red lily of my love!


I am loving this autumn weather -- today it was low 60s, clear, sunny, gorgeous. I threw in laundries and went out to do chores at local stores, where I was horrified to discover that Halloween merchandise is already being pulled to put Christmas stuff on the shelves. I could understand if it was Chanukah stuff, given that Chanukah this year arrives on Thanksgiving so we have to do our shopping long before Black Friday, but as much as I like North Pole penguins entertaining Santa...okay, never mind, there is too much Christmas merchandise, period. And I love Halloween; I love having a fall celebration of the imagination.

Adam is pretty much finished with all his early applications and got a high school captain's lanyard since he is now a captain of the cross country team, plus my parents got him some ultra-slim fit shirts while outlet shopping over the weekend, so he had a very good day. Mine was not very eventful apart from the chores and enjoying the weather -- I can't tell if we have fewer bunnies or they are just harder to spot among the leaves. Since Sleepy Hollow was a rerun, we watched Beauty and the Beast, which was much better than last week's. Here are some pictures of us having fun with Caprikorn Farm's goats: