Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Snippets: First Day of September!

--Can it really be the first day of September?  In my ongoing quest to wring as much summer joy as I can out of the weeks of summer weather left to us, I have a blueberry coffee cake cooling.  I've bought melons of all kinds, and we'll grill some more this holiday week-end.  I have corn on the cob ready for eating this week-end too.

--Yesterday on my way to the grocery store, I stopped to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic.  It was the kind of scene that if I painted it, you'd accuse me of being over the top, with the reflective clouds and the intensity of colors:  purples and greys on the outer edges of the horizon, a rippled gold closer to the sun that would rise in 5 minutes, smoky whites to provide depth.  It was hard to tear myself away to attend to the mundane tasks of food.

--So I didn't tear myself away.  I watched the light change.  And I think I saw a dolphin.  The runners were talking about the dolphins they'd seen, and everyone was looking to the southeast.  So, I watched too, and I saw a curved back.

--Was it a curved back or a wave?  I'm almost sure it was a dolphin.

--Later in the day, we saw a manatee in the Intracoastal Waterway.  We had walked to the end of our street, which took us to the Intracoastal.  A young, heavily tattooed couple was fishing when the manatee surfaced.  She jumped back.  We raced over to confirm what we'd seen.

--Yes, a manatee!  What a strange creature.  It's either travelled early or never travelled back north when they usually do.  We usually don't see manatees down here until it's colder up north.

--When we first moved down here, we rode our bikes to a state park.  We heard a guy calling "Manatees!"  We went to the bridge where we saw a mother manatee and her baby.  We'd been here less than a month.  We took it as a sign from the universe that we were meant to be here, that all the risks were worth it.

--Similarly my marine animal sightings yesterday have affected me the same way.

--And yet, I feel somewhat guilty too.  Why am I blessed in this way?  I know so many people who are wrestling with so many serious issues.  Why is my life relatively trouble-free right now?

--I know, I know, my life has had downturns, and will have again.  I'm trying to be grateful for the calm and not look over my shoulder too much.

--I'm also going to let my gratitude affect my generosity.  When the old house sells, by which I mean when the deal is done and we have cash in our bank accounts, I'll be sending some charity dollars to those groups who help the people who don't have houses.

--Here we are at Labor Day week-end.  In a past age, we'd have been putting away our sandals and our summer whites.  We don't live in that age anymore.  For most of us, it's far too early to put away the lightweight cloth.  Many of us can wear sandals 9 months a year.  How quickly our planet is changing!

--I'm listening to the great NPR show On Being as I write, a show that has a great interview with Natalia Batalha, a scientist of planets and deeper space (go here to listen or to read the transcript or to enjoy the other resources).  She's talked about the changes that happened on earth when life moved from the seas to the land and she wonders what changes we'll see as earthly life moves to space.  

--She also talks about the scientific method and discovery:  " . . . it's a testament to the scientific method. We have human biases. We have human perspectives and they bias the way we look at the universe. But if we stick to the facts, if we stick to the observations, it's a method of removing that human perspective and, when we do so, amazing things happen. We stumble upon something that's even more wonderful."

--Can we apply the same thing to writing?

--I've been thinking I should say something about the death of Seamus Heaney, but everything I've thought about seems so trivial.  Happily, there are other writers out there who have written wonderful essays.  Beth over at The Cassandra Pages has written my favorite; go here to read it.

--Here are the words I longed to say; I've grateful to Beth for articulating it so well:  "I can't even describe what his poetry meant to me: it often moved me deeply, and has given me unforgettable images, but his work is also one of very few high-water marks of English language usage written in my own lifetime: he is, for me, the contemporary Shakespeare, Yeats, Joyce, Eliot with whom I feel an immediate and personal connection."

--I've been writing poetry again, sketching out an idea for a short story, sending out packets of poetry into the world.  Sometimes it seems such a stupid waste of time.  Why does it really matter?  But the distress that we still feel when we lose creative people reminds me that it is important in ways we can't know when we're doing it.

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