Friday, February 27, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Unfortunately, by the time we were awake enough to realize the particular treats before us (we were up at 3 a.m.), my camera was out of reach, so I missed taking pictures until I went back to the Portland Airport on Friday. What you see here, then, is just some of the dozen+ works of art we saw in four different airports last week.
I know the path that tells Thy way
Through the cool eve of every day;
God, I can push the grass apart
And lay my finger on Thy heart!
The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,
-- No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
Vincent, as she liked to be called, was considered a free spirit. In her 20s she left rural Maine and went to live in Greenwich Village, New York City. You couldn't get farther away in lifestyle than these two places! Her independence, and her openness about relationships, made her a favorite for many years. Her skill as a writer brought her both popular and critical recognition, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Frost Award for her lifetime contribution to American poetry. Her best known poem is probably First Fig:
- My candle burns at both ends;
- It will not last the night;
- But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
- It gives a lovely light!
| And what are you that, wanting you,|
I should be kept awake
As many nights as there are days
With weeping for your sake?
And what are you that, missing you,
As many days as crawl
I should be listening to the wind
And looking at the wall?
I know a man that's a braver man
And twenty men as kind,
And what are you, that you should be
The one man in my mind?
Yet women's ways are witless ways,
As any sage will tell,—
And what am I, that I should love
So wisely and so well?
My favorite sonnet is a little cynical at first, but comes 'round in the end:
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
If you've never read Beryl's book, I highly recommend that you run to your nearest book vender (whatever that might mean...library, bookstore, internet, kindle) and get it. It is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. But then I love to fly, and Beryl Markham was a flyer, the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean from east to west, making the trip on September 4-5, 1936.
Born in England, Beryl grew up in Kenya where she was the first woman to earn a commercial pilot's license. She was also well-known as a bush pilot and often flew with Denys Finch-Hatton, beloved friend of my other favorite Kenyan writer Karen Blixon. West With the Night is her memoirs of her life in Kenya and the Atlantic flight, published in 1942 to great acclaim.
I think about her often when I am flying. I would so love to have flown back in those early days, when there was nothing between you and the clouds but the wind rushing through your hair. Flying the way she did in Africa, skimming the grasslands, with herds of zebra, antelope, giraffe, elephants grazing and running below you...I can think of nothing better.
Photos from Wikipedia and Encylopedia Britanica
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
A poem lovely as a tree
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray,
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair
Upon whose blossom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems were made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree.
~ Joyce Kilmer
Photo: a knobby tree across the street from my hotel in downtown Portland
Monday, February 16, 2009
I am in Portland, OR this week for admin- istrative meetings with principals and superintendents across the country. It's been good so far. I've seen a lot of old friends, including former students from my first days of teaching. One of them was the presenter at the last break-out I attended. It was really good. I kept being so pleased to know what she's doing with her life!
The pictures are of the view of the Cascades I have from my hotel room window. The last is Mt. Hood...lost in the clouds... We flew by it on our way in. I wish I'd taken a picture...it'll probably never be as clear from here as it was from there...
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Thirty years ago, the American Bald Eagle population in Massachusetts was down to eight. Today, the count is 80 and growing. Just north of where I live, on what is called the North Shore (Newburyport along the Merrimack River), is a large population of eagles. Every year, the Massachusetts Audobon Society hosts a family friendly festival.
These pictures (from the MA Audobon site) show what I missed, but I am determined to catch some shots myself soon. Meanwhile, I am packing to make like an eagle and fly to Portland, Oregon for a week of meetings (I leave at 6 tomorrow morning). Hopefully I'll see something interesting while I'm there...something besides the inside of the hotel and meeting rooms =)
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Friday, February 06, 2009
I have to admit, it's a bit distracting having the birds this close to where I'm trying to work, but they also take me away in moments of stress, for which I am thankful =)
I always thought of robins as one of the first harbingers of spring. But as I've said before, I've seen and heard robins all winter long , so that's not necessarily so this year. When I got home this afternoon, I caught this robin preening on the rooftop. Notice how brilliantly blue the sky is! It's been frigid today (cold enough to freeze the insides of my nose!), but it's supposed to warm up into the 50s over the weekend. I do hope that means spring is on its way!
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
First the female, then the male. I have a tail of a picture to prove that the male was there. He sat there for a couple of minutes and ate several seeds and even sang a few notes. The feeder is so close to where I sit that I could actually see him crunching the sunflower seeds and working the meat out of the husk. It was so cool! At first, I barely breathed, but slowly reached out for my camera and got a couple of shots. The angle I was shooting from, though, only yielded a tail. I simply must invest in a tripod!
I can't tell you, though, how exciting it is for me to finally have my own bird feeder with my own birds right in my own window! If only I could get beautiful pictures like all my blogging birder friends!
Monday, February 02, 2009
|Dust of Snow|
|by Robert Frost (1923)|
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
I have become a collector of bowls recently. I've found some beautiful bowls at Home Goods for next to nothing, literally, and since there's only one of me most of the time, been able to build a nice little collection for soups and salads.
The real bowling I meant to speak of tonight, though, was the Super Bowl. The truth is, I've watched many a Super Bowl, but have cared about very few of them. Football is not my favorite sport. I only learned it in the first place because I had a sophomore English class that was all boys my first year of teaching (in a boarding school in Michigan). I was desperate to find a way to reach them and discovered football worked. Every class period after a game, we'd talk about it first thing. That would buy me the rest of the class period for English! The weird thing was that every boy in the class liked a different team, none of them the Patriots!
All this to say that I'm doing lesson plans and editing my Alumni Newsletter tonight instead of watching the Super Bowl!