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December 2008
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Posts from January 2009

Slightly scary, and vital

Boats (like postings) on the Adriatic getting ready to voyage / Malinska, Croatia / May 2005

“. . . I often think of my postings as little paper boats. I launch them when I click 'publish,' and then they float off, beyond my control, perhaps to capsize or disintegrate. I find this loss of control only slightly scary, and vital.”
~ Leah Hager Cohen on blogging (NYTimes Book Review)

For me, blogging helps me to “pay attention” to the world and all the little details that might go by unnoticed. It also serves as a meditation of sorts.


Mosaic wall or deadly bombs dropping over an azure blue sea and pale sandy beach in crowded Gaza? / Philadelphia, PA / July 2007

Why do you die on TV?  The BBC World Today asked two writers, one Palestinian and one Israeli, to write an essay on the situation in Gaza:

“Silly children why do you die? Why do you die on TV? We took out our settlers, put a wall around you, locked you in, and still you are ungrateful. Can't you understand our need to bomb you? Why do you die on TV? The world is all against us, it always will be, why can't you help us a little, why do you die on TV?”

~ Israeli writer Daphna Baram

“I stood looking out at an azure blue sea, waves gently lapping against the shore in languid succession. The sky was clear blue as far as the eye could see and the pale sandy beach sloped gracefully into the water. It was a view from the best travel brochure, the perfect beach holiday. Only this was no Riviera — this was Gaza, one of the poorest, most crowded places on earth. ... Now Gaza is a prison, surrounded by fences, fitted with sensors and watchtowers, cut off. The psychological effects of isolation can be imagined.”

~ Palestinian writer Ghada Karmi


The Jersey landscape going north / New Jersey / Jan. 2008

This morning driving north to central Jersey where the landscape changes. A slow climb through gentle hills. Long vistas of trees and fields. An old barn with sheep grazing in the cold morning air. A funeral for the father of an old college friend, Jane's father. A modern church with floor-to-ceiling windows at each corner that invite the Jersey landscape inside. Even the gray winter views are comforting and lovely. A family with four young children sit beside me and immediately one wants to know, Where is God? I later learn that they are neighbors who visited frequently; the children loved to play with the buttons that controlled the hospital bed and were an energetic and welcome counterpoint to the inactivity of a man who suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease. The priest reads the well-known quote from Lou Gehrig's farewell speech (“today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth”). But then he continues reading from the speech: “When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed — that's the finest I know.” An accurate description of Jane's mother and how she has cared for her husband for seven years. As the mass closes the pianist begins to play the 2nd movement of Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 (New World Symphony). It is the only piece of music that I distinctly remember from a music class that Jane and I took in college — we sat in carrels in the music building listening through heavy earphones. The music seems to hang in the air above us and then drift out slowly and easily across the barren fields.

To be happily surprised

A joyful tree with bright red berries in the midst of a bleak landscape; with good wishes for 2009 and a year of happy surprises / Philadelphia, PA / Dec. 2008

“To be joyful in the universe is a brave and reckless act. The courage for joy springs not from the certainty of human experience, but the surprise. Our astonishment at being loved, our bold willingness to love in return — these wonders promise the possibility of joyfulness, no matter how often and how harshly love seems to be lost.
Therefore, despite the world's sorrows, we give thanks for our loves, for our joys and for the continued courage to be happily surprised.”

~ Molly Fumia