Sunday, December 30, 2007

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend. —Henri L.

It just happened—that is I stared up at the pine branches and noted the small droplets poised ready to let go. The droplets became a metaphor for the passage of time—and who doesn't think of time, past and present when the year is about to alter its numerics. 2007 becomes 2008 causing us to think about the past year and the future year. Exaggerated resolutions—the hyperbolae of New Year's Day grasps the imagination.

It's akin to the start of the school year—new notebooks, no words on any page, but we know that isn't quite true. Despite that there's the anticipation, the pristine pages not yet filled. How many hopes, promises, resolutions are scrawled out or uttered?

And the giddiness of the prospect is intoxicating. Why not? It's a gift. It's a time to stop and reflect and throw a lasso out to capture some wild dreams and maybe even actualize a few.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


This December we were catapulted into deep winter. Snow, ice, sleet, and the resultant ice dams. Our upstairs' closet dripped water for thirty-five hours. Water cascaded down the walls and into the carpet. We've been like mad women calling insurance agents and ServPro, a water extractor company, and the trustees. There are phone calls and emails.

And how did I get to a photo of a flower? I needed to think of spring, of April showers, of no ice dams, no rotted wood, no wet sopping installation.

The only flowers in sight were in a bottle filled with an oily liquid. The flowers maintain their color, float as if in space, and never wilt.

For a brief time I delighted in taking photos of huge icicles and frigid ponds—but that all changed when I fell on the ice and then water invaded our space.

ServPro came, took down wall board, ripped out soaking wet installation, and left us with two enormous machines—a dehumidifier and a water extractor. I look at the flowers and know that it is written— spring always arrives.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Snow Sea

My grippers are now attached to my shoes —almost as permanent fixtures.

But nothing is really permanent. Shorelines alter with time and storms, dunes change their positions, shift with the winds. Mountains, over time,change contours. Read a book and then reread it five years later, ten years after that and what once seemed like a strong ending now has flaws. Or perhaps it now opens up new vistas—philosophical openings.

Relationships—love, friendship— mired in sameness wither. Think a relationship is permanent and forget about it and it will turn and shrink. The life blood will dim.

But some things stay almost the same—I've been eating cold cereal forever—or at least since I lived in the Bronx and listened to Snap, Krackle and Pop when I added milk to a bowl of Rice Krispies. Over time I changed my allegiances—now I'm into healthy cold cereal.

Now I know things change—I just heard the news about the Nativity scene at the Vatican.It seems that this year the scene will include "His father's workshop." —I believe they are referring to Joseph.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What is True?

Walk down Harvard Street in Brookline, look up and read the word—True. How often do you walk down an urban street and come face to face with a philosophical conundrum?

What is true? Look around and see the inequality of wealth. Yesterday I heard an interview with A-Rod. The interviewer noted that by the time A-Rod's contract with the Yankees is finished he will have earned five hundred million dollars. How can someone be worth that amount of money?

And there are people who don't eat in order to pay rent—and there are people who can't afford the basic necessities of life.

What is true? We haven't figured out how to stop violence on an individual basis or among nations. Bullying exists on all levels—

What is true?
“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”


Day After

Last year the snow amounts were minuscule. No shoveling, no real deep freeze. So far this year we've had two inches more snow than all last year—and it isn't even January. Yesterday's snow, sleet and ice left a glaze and icicles.

I immediately put grippers on my shoes before leaving the house today. The most treacherous place —my own front stoop and steps. We missed the boat and left out our welcome mat which is now securely covered with a thick padding of ice. Even dropping those guaranteed to melt ice granules on the puffed up mat didn't induce a melting.

This photo has a sinister look—translucent pointed spikes. But the sun did arrive sometime during the morning and by the time I returned at dusk the sun had softened the needle tips.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Gone South

I took this photo last week before the temperatures plummeted and the snow filled up all the crevices. Now the geese have all migrated south.

When I look outside at the mirror of ice and hear the meteorologists predict gloom and doom —regarding the frigid temperatures—I take out my ice grippers and an extra sweater. I hunt for the gloves that promise warm fingers.

Natural Brush Painting

It started snowing late last night and continued for part of the day before turning to sleet and then to an icy rain. When I look outside all I see is a slick thick coating of ice on the walks and a sheen on the snow.

I took this photo earlier when we went out to shovel and "broom" the snow off the cars. Looking at this photo reminded me of Chinese leaves painted with black ink on rice paper.

This is my third year of Chinese Brush Painting instruction and I'm not sure if I'm really progressing or holding tight to the same spot.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Suppose we read the words on the wall
Suppose we find some words to erase

Who are the artists,
perhaps vandals,
maybe poets
Who hasn't carved a name on a tree,
written with a ball point pen on a desk

I am here, I exist, read my name—

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Tea Cup, Chinese Bowl, Two Maj Jong Tiles

—or perhaps those are fringes on a lampshade
—or a delicate porcelain vase
—or my mother's tea cup

My mother collected tea cups. Actually her collection was rather small because China tea cups and saucers were expensive. Her collection —limited to about seven sets—occupied a prominent place on the mahogany armoire in the living room. Two faux Chinese bowls flanked the cups.

Growing up I thought the collection and the bowls showed a distinct lack of sensibility regarding modern design—add to those my mother's only antique—a maroon glass piece shaped like a shell.

"The small crack," my mother said, "was caused by age rather than neglect and carelessness." And because of the slight imperfection she owned this art deco piece for half of its purported value.

When she died, three months before her first great-grandchild was born, I took a few pieces: a cup and saucer, a Chinese bowl, and several maj jong tiles. The cup has a place on a bookcase—near a wood whale and a brass singing bowl. The Chinese bowl is a container for a potted philodendron. My mother bought me the plant twenty-five years ago.

"Every house needs a green plant."

I think it likes being repotted every ten years and the bowl is a perfect outer container. It, too, stays on the top of a bookcase sharing space with a radio and a small bell.

The maj jong tiles found a place in an old New England type box. Sometimes I think about my mother and her friends in the living room playing the game and calling out mysterious names: "Bam." "Dot".

So many memories from a cup, saucer, bowl and two tiles.