31 May 2009

the success of jed

i was standing four deep in the checkout line of a supermarket in a nearby town, holding my basket of 15-items-or-less and reading the covers of magazines. it was hard not to notice our cashier, a pleasant young man, as he smiled and greeted each customer, one by name even, making small talk about their purchases as he rang them through: how old is your baby? what kind of cat do you have? i love the way this smells, don't you? in each instance, he made eye contact, smiled, and drew the customer out with questions so they were fully engaged in conversation by the time he bagged their groceries. only as i came closer did i see his name tag and make the connection - this was jed, a first grader in my class so long ago. jed, a sullen and quirky child, a difficult student, the kind i worried about as i time after time tried and failed to reach him. precisely the sort of student a teacher might think would never find success in life. never get good grades. never go to college. never move away. yet here he was, in the fifth year of a job he loved and was good at, he told me. he shared an apartment with a friend. he had nieces and nephews and cousins. he had a cat. and he was happy. he was a careful and conscientious worker and his pleasant demeanor made people's days richer. i walked away smiling, knowing that, in his own way, jed certainly had found success.

30 May 2009


a rouge clump of forget-me-nots, seeded from goodness-knows-where to an obscure graveled spot close to the granite foundation. if i hadn't gone to that side of the house, i never would have even known they were there.

29 May 2009

yellow jacket

today i wore yellow. normally i wear black, tan, sometimes brown, with a little red thrown in from time to time for novelty's sake. but today i felt compelled to wear yellow. it was our third day of rain and turn-on-the-heat cold. it was the end of a short but very long and trying week at work. it was the kind of day you long to stay home and do quiet things like read. so today i wore yellow, to brighten at least my own day. coincidentally, i was also dressed to babysit tonight. yellow, perhaps because of its brilliance, is first color the baby girl has learned.

28 May 2009

kindle envy

tonight i was online investigating audiobooks for children when, at the amazon site, i again read about kindles. i have looked at these and wondered about them - how it would feel in the hand, what a page would look like, how cool it would it be to try one of these, should i consider buying one? i had been rolling these kindle notions around in my head when, wonder of wonders, i got an email from a contact saying she had just purchased one! not unlike the free samples i try at her house, now i'll be able to try out her kindle. see? life is indeed serendipitous.

27 May 2009

a soggy mess

rain, rain, and more rain in the forecast and it will surely bring an abrupt end to lilac season. still looking for the ultimate lilac shot, i venture out in drizzle to try for a photo. these soggy lilacs are nothing but that - all wet. luckily for me they still smell heavenly. too bad i can't photograph a fragrance!

23 May 2009

nature's sculpture

a pine at the edge of the yard of a friend.
isn't it fascinating that something so dead can look so artistic and majestic?

20 May 2009

apple blossom time

from a tiny apple tree i pass by quite often, this morning awash with the vibrant pink of these beautiful blossoms.

18 May 2009

read street

this is the house i lived in as a very small child. a duplex, and we lived on the left. my family was there only a few years, moving on when i was about six. so how is it that i have such strong memories that go back to this locale and time in my life? i remember sitting on the concrete steps and waiting for the ice cream man to come in his pick up truck, the one with the little house on the back. walking to the corner store to get cigarettes, bread, and milk. watching from the window as a town bus detoured down our street when a hurricane laid a tree across the main road. dirigibles floating above the marsh beyond the dead end. hearing morning reveille and evening taps from the military fort nearby. dashing down the street before breakfast to wake up my friends. walking atop concrete walls and feeling so brave to be up so high. i am feeling older today, rightly so because i am. and i just cannot grasp how so many years have passed from a long ago time that i recall so very well.

16 May 2009

tomato man

this is the third such promotional gimmick i've seen in as many weeks. first a dancing bear, then a sandwich complete with lettuce edges, and today - this grinning tomato. seeing them has made me wonder what the people inside the costumes must be thinking as they stand there hour after hour waving at passing cars. their body language is saying "come on in and try our ice cream/sub sandwiches/pizza!" but in their minds are they thinking about going home and doing laundry? or remembering a song they heard this morning on the radio? or wishing they could have a coke or a beer? or are they muttering inside their costume heads, cursing those drivers who do not return the wave, who pass by with nary a glance in their direction? which leads to yet another question: how can they see who reacts and who doesn't? i mean, where are their eyes?

11 May 2009

violet blues

violets peppering the front yard, a sign that it's time for the first mowing. as the mower starts i gather as many flowers as i can, but i soon give up. these are the tiny variety, the sort that, when cut, don't last very long in water anyway. i sit on the step and watch as they are cut down, the heady smell of newly mown grass filling the air. in a few moment's time, this year's violets, along with the grass clippings, have become the start of next year's compost.

10 May 2009

3 chilly saints

in these parts, folks don't usually plant until after the full flower moon in may, when the likelihood of frost is past. but this year the full moon has come early in the month, yesterday, and i have been fighting the urge to plant this weekend. i'm anxious to get in my potted herbs and windowboxes, but i'll wait. another may warning (courtesy of the olde farmer's almanac) is the days of the three chilly saints:
Mamertus, Pancras, and Gervais were three early Christian saints. Because their feast days, on May 11, 12, and 13, respectively, are traditionally cold, they have come to be known as the Three Chilly Saints. An old French saying goes: "St. Mamertus, St. Pancras, and St. Gervais do not pass without a frost."

...and frost i don't need. even though nighttime temperatures are forecasted to be in the thirties and forties, it couldn't hurt to wait until next weekend to plant. right?

09 May 2009

the power of music

two diverse music events today each memorable in its own right. first, all the songs and dancing with the baby girl paid off when, at her first live concert, she spent the afternoon intently studying the musicians and bouncing and dancing with each song. for two hours, she was enthralled and entertained - and her grammie was blessed. then later in the day at church, as the congregation sang the alleluia, i heard my father's voice, clear and strong. his singing stopped me cold; it was as if he were alive and standing behind me. i fought the impulse to turn and look and just stood, listening, until the psalm ended. i never found the source, and did not hear his voice again with the rest of the hymns. but for just a few moments during mass, my father's daughter was blessed.

04 May 2009

trillium at the stone wall

down the road there's a spot where trillium grow profusely between the road and a neighboring house, bloominng at the base of trees and stone walls, sprouting in crevices in the rocks, popping up randomly in the grass. and if that weren't enough, white bloodroot is sprinkled into the mix. it's hard to pass by the place this time of year without stopping to marvel at the beauty of spring in all her quiet splendor.

03 May 2009

montage o' fern

into the woods once more today, not so much for the ferns fotos but for content for this technological toy i have been meaning to try. interesting effect, taking all those photos and making it into one - and this is the first time i have ever uploaded a blog photo in "large" size as opposed to small (usually) and medium (from time to time). tech toy aside, i was pretty happy with the fern fotos, taken with the cheesy macro while holding the camera in front of the subject and blindly shooting - with no idea whether things were focused or even framed well.

02 May 2009

into the woods

a short walk this morning looking for signs of spring growth. no flowers out there yet, but ferns have emerged, tall and unfurling, their tiny leaves exact miniatures of the full grown fronds they will be in a few weeks time.