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Posts from October 2009

Face-to-face with our psychic integrity


I like the idea of Halloween serving a “more spiritually useful purpose” rather than being a confluence of gluttony and consumerism / New Jersey / Oct. 2009

“In my ideal version of Halloween, we wouldn't scare ourselves with images of ghoulish skeletons, eyeballs floating in cauldrons, and hissing, three-headed snakes. Rather, we'd confront more realistic fears, like the possibility that the effects we have on the world are different from our intentions . . . or that we have not yet reached our potential . . . or that people we like might completely misread and misunderstand us. Then Halloween would serve a more spiritually useful purpose. It would bring us face-to-face with actual dangers to our psychic integrity, whereupon we could summon our brilliant courage and exorcize the hell out of them. Costume suggestion: exorcist. (Begin by exorcising yourself.)”

~ Rob Brezney

Inhale, listen, observe


The new screened-in side porch transports you to a calmer and simpler place; inhale the fresh air, listen to the street sounds, observe the movement of the sun / New Jersey / Oct. 2009

“As you simplify life,
     the laws of the universe will be simpler.”

~ Henry David Thoreau



The colorful scarf I've been working on; piecing together a collection of woven fabrics / New Jersey / Oct. 2009

The spiders have been busy in my house. I keep coming across tiny cobwebs, spun like the finest of silk in odd places, usually only when the light happens to hit them right. A cobweb is really a masterpiece of design and weaving — a network of fine threads spun by a spider. I think of some of the beautiful fabrics that I have been working with — all designed then woven, too. At this time of year some people decorate their houses with fake cobwebs. It occurs to me that perhaps my delicate, woven cobwebs are not a sign of insufficient housekeeping, but rather they are “seasonal decoration” not to mention works of art and design. I resolve to leave them undisturbed. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

The heat braced without burning


The angle of the fine October sun makes colors glow and warms the face; so different from the burning sun of July and August / Beach Haven, NJ / October 2009

“... and the sun was back on its throne like an absolute monarch ... The heat braced without burning, the light domineered but let colors live; from the soil cautiously sprouted clover and mint, and on faces appeared diffident hopes.”

~ describing October 1860; from The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa

The silence between the stories


The beach at night / Beach Haven, NJ / Oct. 2009

Imagine that you had a dishcloth
Bigger than the one mothers put on the bread
To slow its cooling, that you could spread
Over the whole kitchen floor to bring up its face
As clearly as the features on the cake.

You’d have a print you could lift up
To the light and examine for individual traces
Of people who came to swap yarns, and sit on
Sugan chairs that bit into the bare floor, leaving
Unique signatures on concrete that creased
Over time into a map you could look at and

Imagine what those amateur cartographers
Were thinking when their eyes fell, in the silence
Between the stories, that was broken only by
The sound of the fire and whatever it was that
Was calling in the night outside.

~ Mapping the Interior by Irish poet Eugene O'Connell

To my friend


An energetic send-off for Anita, riding to the cemetery on the back of Luis' bike with German flag / New Jersey / Oct. 6, 2009

Anita was my friend.

When I think of Anita, I think of beauty. Her beautiful smile. Her voice greeting me - the special way she said my name, Leeesa. Her affectionate hugs. Her laugh. Her enthusiasm. Her energy. The way she would say, Hey, check it out.

I think of the beautiful garments that she knitted. The way I got to know Anita is through our knitting group. Anna and Anita knit using the German style which is fast and efficient. I knit in the clunkier American way - slower and not so efficient. I remember watching Anita knit socks with four double pointed needles and marveling how she always knew which needle to go to.

She was also a skilled seamstress. She could fix things that were torn or needed to be hemmed or alter something to make it fit. And she created beautiful objects with her sewing machine. One year for our Christmas knitting party she made us sturdy tote bags from laminated pieces of paper that she had sewn together. It is a real work of art - and beautiful, both inside and out.

Anita surrounded herself with beauty. Her house is filled with beautiful, interesting objects and collections. She created a magical atmosphere in her backyard for her summer parties - hundreds of tiny white lights strung across the whole backyard, little seating nooks everywhere with couches and tables, candles all around including under the long tables. The atmosphere transported you from New Jersey to a German beer garden.

When I came out of the hospital last week and got in the car, Twist and Shout was playing on the radio and it reminded me of Anita's 60s parties. I loved watching Luis and Anita dance at those parties. They could salsa like crazy - Paulo and I would get Luis to teach us the moves, but we didn't have that hip action … the two of them were really something to watch.

Anita surrounded herself with beautiful things. She created beautiful things. She was a beautiful person inside and out.
Anita adorned and beautified the world.
And she adorned and beautified my life by being my friend.

Whisper to a breeze


Sometimes the tree has done all its work / New Jersey

“May I be a great big tree
so big I can’t see those taking shelter under me,
a deep green conical figure wrapped in serenity
Just as I dangle my bare feet in the water
may my roots joyfully draw
from an unknown subterranean current

May I be such a great big tree
that those who look at me
will naturally feel peace and repose

Yet may my luxuriating branches and leaves
whisper to a breeze like stray hair
May they awaken before anyone else in the rosy glow of morning
May their blue shadows be cast on earth
spreading like a trailing lace skirt
May my thoughts be kind
May my thoughts be refreshing
The tree will not move
The tree will not speak
yet may it be a ladder heavenly children ascend and descend

If someone comes and rests by me at the height of day
I will provide deep shadow and infinite comfort

On a stormy day
I will be even greater, more stalwart
I will firmly anchor my roots in the great earth and will not sway
Yet my sap will flow smoothly
even my incised wounds will issue forth a refreshing scent
Soon I will whisper a smiling song
When night arrives I will dissolve into darkness
unbeknownst to people
may the song alone become invisible ripples”

~ A Great Big Tree by Kiyoko Nagase