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Posts from January 2008

The task at hand


Edna hanging clothes in the backyard / Baltimore, MD / circa 1951

Seeing this picture prompted Auntie Mary to write:
    Grandmom hanging clothes in the back yard on Edmondson Avenue awakened many memories. On the coldest of days, Grandmom hung the laundry out of doors (no clothes dryers then). I can see her blowing on her hands preparing to hang the next item. In her house dress pockets or jacket were the clothes pins. The clothes line was propped up with clothes props. In winter the clothes would freeze on the line. Most noticeable was the sheets. They would be stiff because they were frozen when Grandmom brought them in. What happened with the sheets then, I think they were laid or hung by the furnace. When the weather was good, there wasn't anything sweeter smelling than to get into bed with fresh sheets that were dried in the fresh air.

“The posture itself is satori.”

    ~ Taisen Deshimaru

Satori means “understanding” and is a Japanese Buddhist term for enlightenment. It is said that satori can be reached by devoting oneself completely to the task at hand.

Catch a train


Doors to Nashville's Union Station that opened in 1900; now a hotel / Nashville, TN / Jan. 2007

“The only way of catching a train I ever discovered
    is to miss the train before.”

    ~ G.K. Chesterton (English writer
    of the early 20th century)

“Chesterton often forgot where he was supposed to be going and would miss the train that was supposed to take him there. It is reported that on several occasions he sent a telegram to his wife from some distant (and incorrect) location, writing such things as 'Am at Market Harborough. Where ought I to be?' to which she would reply, 'Home.'” (wikipedia)

City of brotherly love


Free hugs in the city of brotherly love / Walnut Street at Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA / Jan. 2008

William Penn gave Philadelphia its name -- from the greek word for  “brotherly love” (Φιλαδέλφεια).

“By creating Pennsylvania, Penn set an enormously important example for liberty. He showed that people who are courageous enough, persistent enough, and resourceful enough can live free.  ...  He showed how individuals of different races and religions can live together peacefully when they mind their own business. He affirmed the resilient optimism of free people.”

~ William Penn: America's First Great Champion for Liberty and Peace by Jim Powell

The rock is still rolling


“I'm a rollin' a rock up a steep-steep hill. When I reach the top it comes right back down. I meet Sisyphus when I hit the top. And we stroll back down together slowly.” -- lyrics from the band Hot Chip / New Jersey / Jan. 2008

“The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.  ...  I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

~ Albert Camus, in his 1942 essay The Myth of Sisyphus

Continue reading "The rock is still rolling" »

With confidence and hope


Start of a top-down sweater on circular needles / New Jersey / Jan. 2008

"Properly practiced,
knitting soothes the troubled spirit,
and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit, either."

~ Elizabeth Zimmerman

Zimmerman was an early advocate for using flexible circular needles that produce seamless garments and make intricate patterns easier. Her motto was: "Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises."

Sister Rosetta

Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Choir, Down by the Riverside, circa 1960s / Today is “Sister Rosetta Tharpe Day” in Pennsylvania; she is buried in Philadelphia's Northwood Cemetery

“In 1951, more than 20,000 fans paid good money to attend her wedding at a baseball stadium in Washington, DC, where she entertained the crowd by playing electric guitar in her wedding finery.”

“Sister Rosetta Tharpe was gospel’s first national superstar: the musician who, beginning in the late 1930s, took the sounds of the 'Good News' music then developing in black churches to popular stages and Saturday-night audiences. Rosetta Tharpe had honed her skills as a singer-guitarist on the southern Pentecostal tent-meeting circuit, which she traveled with her mother, the evangelist Katie Bell Nubin, but her ebullient personality and masterful showmanship translated well to such prestigious New York nightspots as the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom. Her defiance of church strictures against engaging with the 'wordly' world made her an outcast in some Christian circles, but it also made her a trailblazer and the most important popularizer of gospel before Mahalia Jackson.”

~ Gayle F. Ward in the Beacon Broadside

Right this country


Knowledge is Power / Ljubljana, Slovenia / May 2005

Yesterday on the radio
A man from New Hampshire said that
He was voting for Hillary Clinton because
What we need to right this country is
An earth mother

The art of words


Winter view from the kitchen window / New Jersey / Jan. 2007

“. . . don't you think, it's as interesting and as difficult to say a thing well as to paint a thing. There's the art of lines and colors, but there's the art of words that will last just the same.”

~ Vincent van Gogh in a letter to Emile Bernard, Arles 19 April 1888