January 6, 2017
Christmas, decorations, Epiphany, lights, photos
. . . it’s time to start taking down the ornaments. We had a unique ornament for the top of our tree this year.
Is it a star? Is it an angel? Maybe it’s both.
This year we also decided, after many years of having no lights outside, to join local tradition and put out luminarias.
Thanks to son Jack for getting them properly staked among the rocks. It was quite a job to get them in, and today, on the twelfth and last day of Christmas, it was another job to get them out.
Today begins the season of Epiphany – the light coming into the world – and we are watching for light coming sooner in the mornings.
November 27, 2016
Bali, offerings, photos, religion
A broken hip and rehab are part of the reason it has been so long between posts. I still have a good number of thoughts about and pictures of my visit to Bali which I hope to share.
Rather than eat breakfast at the restaurant at my hotel, I read about several coffee shop type places a few blocks away. This gave me a chance to learn something about the neighborhood as I walked out and back each morning. I found that religion, mostly Hinduism, is omnipresent.
There are temples in the middle of town, enclosed and not open to foreigners.
More intimately, households often have shrines and put out offerings in small paper “dishes.” In one case these offerings were made to a statue of Buddha.
Some households or shops have Hindu shrines where offerings are set out.
Sometimes offerings like these are placed on the sidewalk in front of a door. One must pay attention to where one walks – however the unevenness of sidewalks already made this necessary. Construction sites and debris also made the route I took less than elegant. I learned that “Ati Ati” means danger, as in “danger: construction zone”. The Balinese script is found in some museums, but has elsewhere been replaced by the western alphabet.
In a shop at another site, the offering was placed on top of fruit for sale, making it safe from missteps by passers-by.
These offerings must fade quickly but I rarely saw one that looked bedraggled. They are clearly important to their makers.
October 16, 2016
Bali, photos, reflections, travel
I have been back from Bali for over a month and am still sorting photos and impressions.
It is a place of lush growth and smooth beaches and lots of people. There are many impressions for which I have no photos. One is the traffic. Streets always crowded, more motor bikes than cars, but not a lot of horns. Drivers take turns at intersections. People are generally considerate. (This trait makes them good at hospitality, and tourism seems to be the main industry.)
One common activity for both locals and tourists is visiting temples at sunset. We went to Tanah Lot, which stands on a promontory a short distance from the shore.
We were fortunate to arrive there at low tide. Beyond this entrance one walks down over water-worn rocks to see the temple rising above. (Temples, being active worship sites, are not open to foreigners.)
Afterward, we tourists go back and up the hill to buy drinks and watch the tide come in and the sun go down.
There were few tourists and a long row of shops with tables and chairs offering a good view.
This describes one late afternoon in a seven day visit. A very short time, and there was much we did not see, but watch for more installments of what we did see. As I said, I am still sorting my impressions.
October 12, 2016
Egypt, Ibis Head Review, online journal, poetry, publication
I have three poems in a brand new online journal, the Ibis Head Review
The three poems, “Burned” “Pulled” and “Congruent” are poems I want to include in a book manuscript which includes some very personal poems about my childhood, education and parenting. (These three fit that later section.)
“Pulled” for example begins,
Tulips are intractable, the wedding florist
says, “They bend as they please,
don’t use them.”
The poem describes the years of a couple largely, not entirely, like my own marriage, and ends:
Fingerprints washed from door sills,
the wall reattached to the flooring, she
discovers they bend toward each other.
I have a second reason for liking this publication. The masthead for Ibis Head Review uses the Egyptian hieroglyph of an ibis (not, fortunately, just his head). I have a fondness for all things pertaining to ancient Egypt.
Have a look.
August 27, 2016
desert, native plants
The monsoon rains have brought green to my back yard.
Of course, with rains come roof problems. We hope those are over for now.
These are different greens from the shades we find in the northeast, but it is unquestionably green.
July 18, 2016
Maine, native plants
Pictures from a walk through Scott’s Landing Preserve.
Ferns are lush. Some of the trees mark an old road from the landing.
Thank goodness volunteers from the Island Heritage Trust maintain the trails. They would soon be lost in the dense growth that now covers an old homestead.
A closeup of one of a small stand of iris almost crowded out by the brambles. It was a splendid day for a short hike.
June 11, 2016
Damnificados, fiction, imagination, JJ Amaworo Wilson, magical realism
Damnificados is a novel published this year by JJ Amaworo Wilson.
I would never have read this book if I hadn’t met the author, a well-traveled and gentle person who now is part of the writing world of southern New Mexico. I don’t find time to read a lot of novels, and when I come across terms like magical realism I wonder what that means.
If that’s what this book is, I’m a fan. The writing is rich, the story is lively, the characters are fascinating, the action ranges from mundane to mythic. Though based on an actual event in Venezuela, the story soon expands the location into a city that is nowhere and everywhere – the names of the slums around the city come from many different languages, as do the names of the people.
“Damnificados” are people of the slums. It’s an ugly world; I don’t think I’d like to see a movie of this story – too much trash – but the characters are people worth knowing, and so are the animals, who take several interesting roles in the action. But the main character is the high abandoned tower in which a whole community is created by the desperate people who move in. And the ground on which it is built.
The book is a delightful carnival ride of the imagination. I’ll be looking for more by this author.