Remembering Maya Angelou

We lost her six years ago today, May 28, 2014.
I honor her wisdom, character, and resilient soul.

“A Woman in harmony with her spirit
is like a river flowing.
She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination
prepared to be herself
and only herself ”

― Maya Angelou

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Elaine Bayley Illustrations

 

Some Enchanted Evening

Since Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter are all in retrograde, it’s time for a little magic with Chanel and sparkles. All dressed up for an enchanted evening at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

And night after night,
As strange as it seems
The sound of her laughter
Will sing in your dreams.
This is THE song for me from South Pacific. Whose version do you like best?

 

Perry Como

 

 

Frank Sinatra

 

Paul Robeson, of course…

 

…and Willie Nelson! I met him a few years ago. He was so kind and I got a hug, can’t believe I was brazen to ask for one, lol.

 

An evolution of blue

Since I’m pretty much a (willing) prisoner here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells just like we’re all enduring stay-at-home orders,  I decided to create a positive mindset and find the beauty inside and outside these four walls and my infinite garden.

Today, the sky is blueblueblue with occasional puffy clouds so I thought I’d focus on blue.

Cerulean, ultramarine, the shade of a Ceylon sapphire.More like a periwinkle blue, but still BLUE.

The blue of agapanthus, also known as Lily of the Nile, from bud to flower.

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The Stolen Child

I was going to write a funny post about how my son is sometimes as childish as his four-year-old but then I saw this poem and magical picture from Ravenous Butterflies and thought I’d instead elevate my intellect with Yeats.

“Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
with a faery, hand in hand,
for the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand…”
W.B. Yeats

Romany Soup

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Here’s the entire poem:

 

The Stolen Child

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

W.B. Yeats

Infinite distance

 

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“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” Rainer Maria Rilke

Painting by Warwick Goble

From https://www.facebook.com/ravenous.butterflies/

After the caterpillar

May2020butterfly1The view from my kitchen window in the early morning light.

A perfectly symmetrical Monarch sunning herself on grape leaves.

Saturday.

 

(Taken with my Canon Rebel T3i)

Happy Birthday to MEEEEE!

Today blog is my not-so-humble brag about the original Angel Boy. I am so very proud of him.

I talk an awful lot about the second boy who stole my heart, AB 2.0, my curly haired free spirit/sprite, but there is still the one who owns MOST of my heart, his daddy…

fullsizeoutput_db0…WHO WROTE A BOOK THAT GOT PUBLISHED!!!

Here’s the deets:

Title: THE GEOLOGICAL UNCONSCIOUS
GERMAN LITERATURE AND THE MINERAL IMAGINARY

https://www.fordhampress.com/9780823288113/the-geological-unconscious/

From the author…

“Already in the nineteenth century, German-language writers were contending with the challenge of imagining and accounting for a planet whose volatility bore little resemblance to the images of the Earth then in circulation. The Geological Unconscious traces the withdrawal of the lithosphere as a reliable setting, unobtrusive backdrop, and stable point of reference for literature written well before the current climate breakdown.”

“Through a series of careful readings of romantic, realist, and modernist works by Tieck, Goethe, Stifter, Benjamin, and Brecht, Groves elaborates a geological unconscious—unthought and sometimes actively repressed geological knowledge—in European literature and environmental thought. This inhuman horizon of reading and interpretation offers a new literary history of the Anthropocene in a period before it was named.”

“These close readings show the entanglement of the human and the lithic in periods well before the geological turn of contemporary cultural studies. In those depictions of human-mineral encounters, the minerality of the human and the minerality of the imagination become apparent. In registering libidinal investments in the lithosphere that extend beyond Carboniferous deposits and beyond any carbon imaginary, The Geological Unconscious points toward alternative relations with, and less destructive mobilizations of, the geologic.”

It might take me as long to read it as it took him to write it ‘cos it’s definitely going to stretch all of my working brain cells which are more used to reading chicklit by Jennifer Weiner or Sophie Kinsella, but it’s IMPORTANT to read things that are outside our comfort zone. WAY OUT.

This is the kind of book you need to read with a dictionary and Thesaurus very close by.

Sample page 121:

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Editorial Reviews:

“An impressive and accomplished study that delves deep into the layers of German mineralogical imagination from Goethe to Benjamin. Stones may not be able to speak, but they have found their spokesman. A pleasure to read.” (Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, University of British Columbia)

The Geological Unconscious offers subtle close readings of several canonical texts that receive provocative illumination from ecocriticism. The book’s focus on the instability of ground is insightfully paired with a consideration of how already in the nineteenth century literary style and narrative register geological time and planetary wounding.” (Catriona MacLeod, University of Chicago)

The author, Dr. Jason Groves, is Assistant Professor of Germanics at the University of Washington. He is cotranslator of Werner Hamacher’s Minima Philologica.

 

Moon Glow

I forgot how much I love to take pics; the May Flower Moon was the perfect time to get out my good camera. I don’t have the most expensive lens, but it’s still beyond cool how much detail can be seen 239,000 miles away.

Thanks to Angel Boy 2.0, I guess I’m an avid planet watcher now. He’s fascinated by astronauts and the sky. We often take him to the science center; he has a dozen books about the planets and the moon walk, and can recite all of the nine planets.

On those rare days when the sun and the moon are visible at the same time, it’s a treat to see how excited he gets. “Both of them, Grandma, at the SAME TIME!”

These pics were snapped with a Canon Rebel T3i; no tripod.

I thought the power lines added an artistic touch. The color was amazing; no filter or editing.

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The boy who is my heart

Update Mother’s Day 2020: I wrote this post about my son lightyears prior to Angel Boy 2.0. because without him, I wouldn’t be a mommy at all.

Since the birth of his baby sister, AB 2.0 and I repeat this conversation pretty much every single time we speak or we’re together. (A little needed reassurance about his place in the world.)

“Who’s my very favorite boy?”

“I am, Grandma!”

And who’s my second favorite boy?”

“DADDY IS. DADDY IS!”

“You’re right! Now…who’s my favorite GIRL?”

“CharChar is, right, Grandma?”

“You got it, T. And then who’s my second favorite girl?”

“MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY!”

Just keeping it straight for the second little boy who is my heart.

(P.S. My poem was published in Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream Volume 34 #4)

 

The Yellow Steamroller

So much depends
upon

a yellow
steamroller

buried
in the dirt
 
behind the shed
On one bitterly cold wintry afternoon, I embarked on a major yard cleanup project. I raked all the pine needles shaken loose during the fury of Alaska-borne winds that roared down the coast to Southern California.
Metal rake clanged against metal.
Then I saw it, a bright yellow igniting the dirt and pine needles, suffused with a gleaming radiance through the brown. 
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I threw down the rake, crouched on all fours, and with bare fingers dug through the wet fecund soil to uncover an abandoned yellow Matchbox toy from the spot where there once was a sandbox that my son’s dad  built for him when we first moved to this house in 1985.
I discovered in situ a three-inch wide artifact imbued with all the wonder of my perfect four-year-old child, the same age that my grandson is right now, thirty-five years later.
I gently brushed away decades of encrusted soil and sand.
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sandbox
I was engulfed in wave after wave of memory.
I was there. Really there. 1985. 
I saw him–my precious four-year-old son in this beautiful huge sandbox filled with fresh, clean sand.  
I watched him as I often watched him from the bay window in the kitchen overlooking the backyard where I would wash dishes and keep an eye on him, keeping him safe–always keeping him safe–as he played in the sand with his dump trucks and cherry pickers and this steam roller and his buckets and plastic cups and forks and sticks with his cats and dog always near, and the loveliness of the memory set me on my heels and I cried.
Happy tears for the exquisite soft rosy glow of healthy well-fed cheeks, the deep Imperial jade green eyes, the curls that were my curls, my boy, my angel love.
The boy whose every breath contains a whisper of the intangible all encompassing LOVE I possess for this being who was a part of me before he was a part of the earth and sun and sky and sand.
The boy who is — and always will be — my heart.
I shut my eyes tight to keep the pictures from disappearing, but the ephemeral/evanescent impressions floated away with the tears that spilled out for the remembering of the beauty of a luminous child playing in a sandbox, singing to himself and constructing sand sculptures of the future, or, in his case, building words and spinning thoughts and erratica.
Those grains of sand that between his fingers mashed and smashed into forts and tunnels were the detritus of the granite from whence his brain reformed them grain by grain into skyscrapers of words and sentences that flow like a path from the back door to the sandbox.

And what eventually happened to the steamroller? It’s still here in the garden, living a new life helping another curly haired, green eyed little boy weave his own stories…

In a way, a sort of homage to…
The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams
so much depends
upon
a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens.

“I swear, Grandma!” More chat with the world’s most brilliant human

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Four going on thirteen. That’s Angel Boy 2.0.

I have no idea where he gets that precocious attitude. Well, yes I do, but that’s another story.

Since the pandemic has eliminated all of our in-person visits, T-boy and I have been chatting on the phone a lot, sometimes several times a day.

If he sees my favorite breed of dog walk by his house, he likes to call me and say, “Grandma, I just saw a Border Collie, you love Border Collies, don’t you?”

Or he’ll call and flip the camera around to show me his weather, “It’s supposed to rain today but right now there’s some blue sky and clouds.” “What’s your weather like today at your house, Grandma?”

He likes to call me after dinner when Mom is giving baby a bath and putting her to bed and before his bath and bed routine. Dad is usually working in the garden and I’ll get a call.

“Hello, my special friend! How was your day? ”

“GOOOD. I’m outside with Daddy. You know what, Grandma? I had to call you. I swear. Daddy went on a skateboard and didn’t wear his helmet again. I swear. I told Daddy you want him to wear his helmet but he doesn’t. He wears it on his bicycle but not when he’s skating with me. I wear my helmet, Grandma.”

“Thank you for telling me about Daddy. And I’m so proud of you for making good choices and wearing YOUR helmet. Well done!”

“Thank you.”

“Let me talk to Daddy, OK?”

“OK, Grandma.”

And then I hear…

“Dad? Daddy? Jay? Jas? JASON NATHANIEL!! Grandma wants to talk with you. I told her about the helmet situation.”

It cracks me up every single time I hear T call his daddy by his other names using the same exact inflection that he’s heard. Pretty adorable.

“Oh you did, huh? Hello, Grandma.” Says the original boy who stole my heart so many years ago.

“DADDY, I was just informed that you are still not wearing your helmet when you skate with T. You do not need to be told about traumatic brain injuries, you know all about that. Who will take care of your babies when you are incapacitated?”

“Geez, he’s a tattletale haha. I wear it sometimes.”

“Dad, did you hear what Grandma said?”

“Hey, T, I have an idea. Tell Daddy that I won’t allow him to go surfing the next time you guys come to visit if he doesn’t make good choices and wear his helmet.”

I hear him yelling at the top of his lungs, “DAD! GRANDMA SAID YOU CAN’T GO SURFING IF YOU DON’T WEAR YOUR HELMET!”

Then I hear Dad, “OK, tell Grandma I will.”

“Grandma, did you hear that? Daddy said he would wear his helmet.”

“Awesome job, T. We love Daddy and we want him to be safe just like we want you to be safe, right?”

“Right, Grandma. Hey, look at me jump! Grandma, I can jump so high! Grandma, did you send me a box of presents? Did you send The Borrowers Aloft?”

“I did, you’ll get the box in a couple of days.”

“DAD!!! JAY!!! I swear, I told you Grandma sent the second Borrower’s book! I knew she did. I told you not to buy it, I remember Grandma said she was going to send it.”

“OK Grandma, I’m going to go now. I’m going to have a bath. High five, Grandma.”

He likes to “high five” the phone.

“Bye, T. I love you.”

“Bye Grandma, love you, too. I’m going to hit the red button now.”

And he’s gone.