Friday, October 28, 2016


Not wild swans at all, and not at Coole. I photographed these at Stourhead,
a National Trust estate in Wiltshire, England. The year was 1984.
It had just started to rain, and a drop on my lens blurred the mama swan.

It was January 1962, the second semester of my Sophomore year at college, and after taking a half-year course in Chaucer, Middle English language lab a requirement for that, I started the second half of the year with a course on Yeats. There should have been a “language lab” in the wild and wonderful, for that’s how I found Yeats’ poetry. This one has been one of my favorites since then. (And why, I’ve wanted to know for ages, don’t we pronounce Yeats as Yeets, or Keats as Kates?)

The Wild Swans at Coole

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


This morning, Atlas Obscura, that daily compendium of the strange and unusual that comes to my inbox every day, has this article about turning corpses into light. It is the future of death.

Constellation Park lights up the East River through pods containing decomposing biomass — the cemetery of the future. COURTESY OF COLUMBIA DEATHLAB

This is a wonderful idea. It would be lovely to think I could end my physical presence on this earth by decaying as a source of light. Do read the full article.

Friday, October 21, 2016


Alice and Maggie
1988 - Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum 

Awaiting the arrival of our first grandchild

This is really Alice, lovingly known to me as Alice From Our Palace Big Job New Yorker. She is Alice to us, her parents, and to most of her family, but to the rest of the world, including her husband and children, she is known as Maggie.

When she moved to Massachusetts, one of her new roommates said “you’re not an Alice, you’re a Maggie!” and Maggie it was from then on as she was introduced into her new community and workplace.

The New Yorker lives in Texas now. I Love both of her.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


(This is an article I wrote for this month's community magazine here at Sun City Carolina Lakes. Many of our residents are from the north and hardly realize the important role of the south in the American Revolution. History has become more interesting for a lot of us.)
They'll be firing the big guns today

… of the midnight ride of Paul Revere? No! You shall hear of the end of it all and that it was on this day, October 19, 1781, 235 years ago, that the British General Charles Cornwallis officially surrendered his troops to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, effectively ending the Revolutionary War.

“On the eighteenth of April in Seventy-five”, the British were planning to attack on the colonists in Massachusetts, but it wasn’t known how they would proceed. It finally was “two if by sea,” and Revere rode out to warn the people in Lexington and Concord and other Middlesex towns. Paul Revere’s Ride was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow some eighty-five years later. This poem, along with the one that relates the story “the shot heard round the world”, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Concord Hymn, written in 1837, added to a vague recollection of the Boston Tea Party and the burdensome taxes imposed on the colonists, and they often constitute the only idea many adults have of our Revolutionary War history.

Though “the shot heard round the world” was hardly that, the first shot at Concord marked the beginning of our formal break with the mother country.
To many of us, especially those from the northeast states, all we remember of the Revolution are those first battles and, perhaps, George Washington crossing the Delaware. But if it wasn’t for the south, the Carolinas and Virginia, we’d all be British.

Though the primary action of the opening years of the war was in the north, at the same time the persistent southern forces were handling British actions in Charleston and eastern Florida, and nagging at the British and Loyalists whenever they could. The North began to get help from the French, and in the last major battle there they defeated the British at Saratoga in 1777. Still the British remained a large presence in the north, harrying and engaging the forces in a series of smaller battles. 

The same year as Saratoga, the southerners did lose Savannah, their biggest city, to the British. Then Charleston went, and the Americans retreated in defeat to the Carolinas. There they met the British in several engagements: one of them was the Battle of the Waxhaws. For about a year it didn’t look good for the American cause, but then the tide turned and they won at Kings Mountain and Cowpens.

The British kept at it, winning some battles, but at great cost to themselves. King George III, who even thought of abdicating, lost control of Parliament to the factions within his own country who were disgusted with the loss of live and the expenditures, and sued for peace with the Americans. Finally the American southern, northern, and naval forces came together in Yorktown to defeat the British and accept their surrender. And that, in a nutshell, was that.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016


Earlier this month (and before all the latest revelations of several of his more salacious, remarks) …

In an awkward debate moment, she had said Trump was 'absolutely' a role model for children.

I'm surmising that an idiom like this begins when a person first uses it and someone else understands what was meant. Then that person who understood it uses it again, and again. Walk back - why not just say retracted? No wonder people from other countries can’t understand a word we say.

Senator Ayotte didn’t use the idiom, Politico did. But anyone who thought, even for a moment, that Donald Trump was a role model for children has, to use a popular idiom, a screw loose.

Friday, October 14, 2016



I had to smile when I read about my Canadian friend feeding her resident chipmunk. I do miss the chipmunks we had in when we lived on a few rural acres in upstate New York. Chipmunks are such precious things. Needless to say, we couldn't tell one from another when there was a bunch of them out under the bird feeder, but there was one we always knew - we called him Chop because he'd lost most of his tail. For over twenty years we usually had a Chop in residence. Then we had Chip, Cheeks, and Chuck. If there were any more than four we gave up.

I miss the woodland noises, chipmunk chucks included. Twenty years in relative silence spoiled us. I did have a quiet walk this past Saturday morning, since there was no weekday traffic out on the main road.  It’s over half a mile away, but there is usually some modern age noise, traffic, train whistles, emergency sirens, to interfere with the silence. Every once in a while, if I’m out really early, I’ll hear the hoot of an owl, but here the sounds of nature that were once every-day to us are rare. I miss the hoot of an owl or the scream of a hawk or a bobcat, the mad fluttering escape of a startled grouse (we were both scared!), the chuck and chip of the chipmunks, and the chittering of the squirrels and the songs of the birds, and, on fall days like these, the sound of the katydids. Katy did - Katy didn’t. I’m sure there is some variety of them here in Indian Land, but I’ve yet to hear them.

Katy did. Katy didn't!

If you listened every night, you recognized that the slower the made their calls, the colder the temperatures were getting. They sang of the coming arrival of winter.  

Friday, October 7, 2016



Image result for whale tail

A whale breaches and that elegant tail fin slowly sinks beneath the waves

A baby laughs

A dragonfly lands on a reed

Take a break, get comfortable, and close your eyes and think about all the different things that could be happening in the universe -

     Where are you?

           Make something happen – mundane or marvelous

                Let your mind roam outward from your daily self

                       Keep the feeling with you the rest of the day