Thursday, December 31, 2020

Poem for Thursday and Last Spring's Flowers

The Tuft of Flowers
By Robert Frost

I went to turn the grass once after one
Who mowed it in the dew before the sun.
The dew was gone that made his blade so keen
Before I came to view the levelled scene.
I looked for him behind an isle of trees;
I listened for his whetstone on the breeze.
But he had gone his way, the grass all mown,
And I must be, as he had been,—alone,
‘As all must be,’ I said within my heart,
‘Whether they work together or apart.’
But as I said it, swift there passed me by
On noiseless wing a ‘wildered butterfly,
Seeking with memories grown dim o’er night
Some resting flower of yesterday’s delight.
And once I marked his flight go round and round,
As where some flower lay withering on the ground.
And then he flew as far as eye could see,
And then on tremulous wing came back to me.
I thought of questions that have no reply,
And would have turned to toss the grass to dry;
But he turned first, and led my eye to look
At a tall tuft of flowers beside a brook,
A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared
Beside a reedy brook the scythe had bared.
I left my place to know them by their name,
Finding them butterfly weed when I came.
The mower in the dew had loved them thus,
By leaving them to flourish, not for us,
Nor yet to draw one thought of ours to him.
But from sheer morning gladness at the brim.
The butterfly and I had lit upon,
Nevertheless, a message from the dawn,
That made me hear the wakening birds around,
And hear his long scythe whispering to the ground,
And feel a spirit kindred to my own;
So that henceforth I worked no more alone;
But glad with him, I worked as with his aid,
And weary, sought at noon with him the shade;
And dreaming, as it were, held brotherly speech
With one whose thought I had not hoped to reach.
‘Men work together,’ I told him from the heart,
‘Whether they work together or apart.’


Wednesday was another chilly day, so I spent it mostly indoors doing end-of-year things like uploading photos to 2020 albums before I need to start 2021 albums and backing up files. We had on the Duke's Mayo Bowl, a brand and a football competition I never heard of before this year, but Wisconsin was playing in it (and indeed they won). Son again had a lot of work, but we took a walk anyway around the neighborhood to see the birds and squirrels. 

We watched the first half of The Midnight Sky -- I will wait to say anything about it until I see the ending -- and the first three episodes of Sanditon, which so far I'm liking better than Bridgerton though I know everyone hated the ending. I wanted a reminder of happy days for my last set of photos for the year, so these go all the way back to Brookside Gardens in February when the greenhouse was open and spring was encouraged to come early:








Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Poem for Wednesday and Chatham Manor

The Desplaines Forest
By Edgar Lee Masters

The sun has sunk below the level plain,
And yet above the forest’s leafy gloom
The glory of the evening lightens still.
Smooth as a mirror is the river’s face
With Heaven’s light, and all its radiant clouds
And shadows which against the river’s shore
Already are as night. From some retreat
Obscure and lonely, evening’s saddest bird
Whistles, and beyond the water comes
The musical reply, and silence reigns—
Save for the noisy chorus of the frogs,
And undistinguished sounds of faint portent
That night has come. There is a rustic bridge
Which spans the stream, from which we look below
At Heaven above, till revery reclaims
The mind from hurried thought and merges it
Into the universal mind which broods
O’er such a scene. Strange quietude o’erspreads
The restless flame of being, and the soul
Beholds its source and destiny and feels
Not sorrowful to sink into the breast
Of that large life whereof it is a part.
What are we? But the question is not solved
Here in the presence of intensest thought,
Where nature stills the clamor of the world,
And leaves us in communion with ourselves.
Hence to the strivings of the clear-eyed day
What take we that shall mitigate the pangs
That each soul is alone, and that all friends
Gentle and wise and good can never soothe
The ache of that sub-consciousness which is
Something unfathomed and unmedicined?
Yet this it is which keeps us in the path
Of some ambition cherished or pursued;
The still, small voice that is not quieted
By disregard, but ever speaks to us
It mandates while we wake or sleep, and asks
A closer harmony with that great scheme
Which is the music of the universe.

So as the cherubim of Heaven defend
The realms of the unknown with flaming swords,
Thence are we driven to the world which is
Ours to be known through Art, who beckons us
To excellence, and in her rarer moods
Casts shadowy glances of serener lands,
Where all the serious gods, removed from stress
And interruption, build, as we conceive,
In fellowship that knows not that reserve
Which clouds the heart of those who wish to life
As they, in that large realm of perfect mind.


My Tuesday was chilly and mostly uneventful. Son had a lot of work so I hardly saw him; we ended up taking a walk without him because he couldn't get away, just in the neighborhood but one of the bunnies put in an appearance. I folded laundry and did other exciting chores. We had poutine and spicy chick'n sandwiches for dinner. 

After Pokemon spotlight hour, I watched Voyager's very good Oppenheimer episode "Jetrel" with my Tuesday fan group. Afterward, my family finished watching Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which remains excellent, followed by some of the Alamo Bowl, which was pretty one-sided. From Fredericksburg's Chatham Manor last weekend: 

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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Greetings from Cabin John Park

Monday was surprisingly warm and pretty out. I did a bunch of chores and we watched some Bridgerton spread out around loads of laundry, lunch, cleaning up after cats, and a walk in Cabin John Park, then another walk with Adam when he finished work for the day (lots of phone conferences). We saw a kingfisher, which we have not seen there before, and ice under the trees though the creek was moving. 

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After dinner we watched the first half of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which we all love, then the end of this season of Bridgerton, about which I might have a bunch of critical things to say if I had not turned off my brain about 20 minutes in and if online commentary was not so annoying. I love Charlotte, Marina, Eloise, Daphne; I dislike Anthony, to a large degree Simon, and especially hate Penelope! 


Monday, December 28, 2020

Greetings from Hanover

We headed up to Hanover on Sunday morning with Adam to see Paul's parents for a late, socially distanced Christmas. Our plan had been to stay mostly outside, which is why we put off going up on Friday -- they got more snow than we did, though it's mostly in small patches on the grass now -- but they were cold so we wound up inside wearing our masks, with them in the kitchen and us in the sunroom so we could eat cookies and talk. We also Skyped with Daniel and Kayla. 

It was a chilly late afternoon when we left under a pretty sky, stopping at Roots Market on the way because they had vegetarian ham roast (we got the last one!) and vegetarian lox (we got the last two!), plus Paul's brother Dave's Outstanding Foods vegan pork rinds. We got BGR burgers and shakes delivered for dinner, then we watched Spider-Man: Far From Home, which I've only seen a couple of times and like a lot, followed by a couple of episodes of the addictive Bridgerton

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Sunday, December 27, 2020

Greetings from Fredericksburg

We had an early lunch Saturday so we could drive to Falmouth to meet Katherine, her parents, and Adam and Katherine's dog at a park complex near the historic district. We walked around John Lee Pratt and Saint Clair Brooks Parks so Pepper could get some exercise and we could all converse, then we walked over to Chatham Manor, the 1770s Georgian manor with spectacular views of the Rappahannock River, site of a slave rebellion, used as a Union hospital during the march to Richmond and now part of Fredericksburg's national military park. 

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We came home for dinner -- pumpkin ravioli and sausage -- then Adam had plans to watch movies with his high school friends group, though since they can't get together, they watch on Netflix, and since it was Adam's turn to pick the film, he picked The Death of Stalin because they hadn't seen it and we suspected they would like it. So we watched with Adam and overheard some of the discussion, which was very amusing. Then I watched the first episode of Bridgerton, which is the delightful crack Katherine and everyone else told us it was! 


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Poem for Saturday and Christmas Day

By Shel Silverstein

No one’s hangin’ stockin’s up,
No one’s bakin’ pie,
No one’s lookin’ up to see
A new star in the sky.
No one’s talkin’ brotherhood,
No one’s givin’ gifts,
And no one loves a Christmas tree
On March the twenty-fifth.


We woke to Christmas snow, though it flurried for about an hour, then stopped without anything sticking. We had bought stollen a couple of weeks ago from World Market, so we had that for brunch with eggs and veggie sausage, then we went to Great Falls, which did not have a lot of people and did have several ducks, herons, and a pair of squirrels building a nest in a tree. My parents ordered food from Grand Fusion, so we had dinner down their basement and Skyped Daniel, who was having dinner with his girlfriend and her family. 


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Since we'd done the Chinese food part of Jewish Christmas, we came home and watched WW84, whose last hour I enjoyed more than Wonder Woman's -- the big action sequence at the end has more talk, less onscreen violence -- but I'm disappointed that it's so much about what men want and how much women want them. The franchise had to deal with Steve after the shit with Batman shaming Diana for never getting over him, but I really wish they'd let Barbara's crush on Diana develop instead of twisting it into uncompelling villainy.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Greetings for Christmas

We had rain all day Thursday, coming down in buckets at times, so we did not venture out at all! Again Adam worked all day, Paul baked more cookies, I did a bunch of chores, the cats took turns trying to make son let them take over his bed. We had sandwiches for lunch and ate leftovers for dinner. 

Our Spider-verse was up to Spider-Man: Homecoming, aka Iron Man 4, which I really love, and afterward when Adam went up to Skype Katherine, we watched a couple of episodes of His Dark Materials, which I'm still not loving but it is beautifully filmed. Merry Christmas, everyone celebrating!

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