Peter Sis, Mary Poppins, and Miss Rumphius

The Magnificents: Peter Sis, Katherine Tillotson, Joan Vigliotta (and, just to the right, Jane Wattenberg and Bev Hock....were that my iphone had a fish-eye lens, and could capture all of youse!) auch: the magnificents always also include Andrew Ogus und Margaret Simpson
"In a world where there are few possessions, where nobody answers questions, where nobody explains--I say this with joy, not sorrow!--children must build a life for themselves."

Please, please, please: if you read nothing else this year, read "The Wall."  Peter Sis has created a masterpiece.

Then, when you are done reading that masterpiece, go on to another one:  you can get "Pipers at the Gates of Dawn," (long out of print, but you know where to get it, and if you don't, email me)...the quote, above, is from "Only Connect," by P. L. Travers ("Mary Poppins") and is cited in "Pipers...." by the amazing Jonathan Cott.

Later, I will fill everyone in on how Miss Rumphius entered the picture (Katherine, are your ears buzzing?)....


Sitting Here

....it's all right here
and will be, that
world is wonder,

being simply beyond us,
patience its savor,
and to keep moving,

we love what we love,
what we have,
what we have to.

I don't know--
This fact of time spinning,
days, weeks, months, years....

"Sitting Here" by Robert Creeley
from Jonathan Cott's wonderful book, "The Roses Race Around Her Name: Poems from Fathers to Daughters"

Posthaste to Laurie...

Look's like the evidence is mounting:  maintaining a broad network of friends and companions is one of the best things you can do for your health.

I'd like to send my utmost appreciation to a friend who has been a veritable beacon of light (thanks, in large part, to her extraordinary compassion and awe-inspiring intelligence, which I mentioned in passing to her two hours ago over coffee.. the embodiment of non-ego, she continually brushes aside all compliments, and laughs...thank God): a dear and trusted companion who is a most magnificent human being.

{The new louis is very good indeed: pure art. The grill can wait: old Volvo's rock with or without hardware.}


Weimar: "Where else can you find so many good things in such a small space?"....Goethe

"There is no past, to which one may look back, there is only eternal newness, which shapes itself from the broadening elements of the past." 


Salt: Soup, Attitude, and the Meaning of Life

Have just connected this to linkedin, and--on the very off chance that anyone scrolls this far down, clicks, and finds themselves looking at this blog--I humbly request your patience. This is all rather new to me: I hope to be adding a few bells and whistles (but not too many) in the near future, but I'm still learning.

That being said, the long-term goal of this little blog is to create something worth coming back to--some "thing" that is visually appealing, some words that are worth your time...some idea that sticks, whether it's for your home or your life or your next two and a half minutes.

In a nutshell:

I believe that life is wonderful and good and grand, but it is not easy. All that "wonderful and good and grand" is salted with moments (and sometimes months or years) of difficulty. I find myself (again, for it seems to be a recurring theme in anything I write) comparing life to soup. Tasty soup almost always has salt in it, doesn't it? In life, the salt may be of tears or sweat or the ocean behind our little house in Haliewa (circa 1961).

Salted with difficulty, life is not easier, but--if we allow it to be--it is tastier.

It would be quite nice to deliver, in this blog, good "soup" as often as possible. Yummy, worth waiting for; sweet, salty, memorable...worth coming back for. Blog soup that might add--even if in the most infinitesimal way--a little more meaning to life.

On that note...

Have been reading Viktor Frankl's book, "Man's Search for Meaning," again. In one chapter, he writes of a young woman--a fellow prisoner at the concentration camp--and the meaning she found, during her last days, in the lone branch of a chestnut tree outside her window. The entire section (entire book, really) is wonderful...a bit of it follows:

"An active life serves the purpose of giving man the opportunity to realize values in creative work, while a passive life of enjoyment affords him the opportunity to obtain fulfillment in experiencing beauty, art, or nature.

But there is also purpose to that life which is almost barren of both creation and enjoyment and which admits of but one possibility of high moral behavior: namely, in man's attitude to his existence, an existence restricted by external forces...

The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails...gives him ample opportunity...to add a deeper meaning to his life. {One} may remain brave, dignified and unselfish...man {has the chance to} either make use of or forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him."

What of the chestnut tree?

On the lone branch--the one thing the young woman could see through her window--were two blossoms. She often conversed with the tree--"the only friend I have in my loneliness." Frankl, anxious for her, and concerned that she was hallucinating, asked her if the tree talked back to her.


It is in the tree's answer that I find hope: brave, dignified, unselfish hope.

The salt from tears. The ocean in our backyard. Two blossoms on a chestnut tree. A good bowl of soup. Hope.

The answer from the chestnut tree? "I am here--I am here--I am life..."