Because sometimes you just need to see that (and because it cracks me up every time):
Remember that one of my goals for the year was to “give people the benefit of the doubt“? I didn’t elaborate much, but this sums up what I mean pretty well. It’s David Foster Wallace, from a commencement speech he gave in 2005 (found via BoingBoing):
But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends what you what to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.
Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it.
Over the long weekend I finished and wore the Tory Burch-knockoff tunic, so we can all cross that off the list:
In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly.
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
1. If you can’t tell from the lateness of this post, I have the day off (and Toby let me sleep in!). There will be plant shopping and hiking and sewing and pergola-sitting-under-ing galore in the next four days.
2. It’s Bob Dylan’s birthday today, whose songs make both my inner hippie and my inner poet happy. I’d pick one to feature but there are just too many: early Bob with “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues” early-middle Bob, with “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Visions of Johanna,” or later Bob with “Not Dark Yet” or “Most of the Time.” Happy 73rd birthday, Bob!
I’m thinking about the horse-and-alpacpa-and-goat ranch/yoga retreat/organic farm I want to retire on lately, and, since it’s me, I’m also thinking, “What does one wear on the imaginary ranch?” Good thing My Friend Flicka can tell us what Nell wears:
When Nell walked up to the stables she was dressed in well-cut jodhpurs made of carefully softened and faded blue-jean denim…A darker blue jersey polo shirt with very short sleeves left her brown arms bare; she wore pigskin gloves, a round blue linen hat with a narrow brim to pull down over her eyes and stick on against the Wyoming winds…and on her feet, under the straps of her trousers, soft tan jodhpur boots.
As I’ve mentioned, my dad has an encyclopedic memory of old songs but usually just sings parts of them. When I was growing up, after he’d helped me open a jar or make a household repair, he’d sing a phrase “It’s so nice to have a man around the house.”* I’ve adopted that now that I live alone, but I change it to, “It’s so nice to have a cat around the house.”
Yes, it’s nice to have a cat around the house.
*Writing this post, I just looked up and listened to the full song, which was first performed by Dinah Shore. And, um, the lyrics are a little bleak (“even though he may be someone else’s spouse…you’ll wind up with a louse”). Obviously my cat version is better.
Two former coworkers and one current coworker have babies coming soon, and I think knitting in the round is really soothing, so it’s time for more fruit hats. I have leftover green yarn so this one will be a pea. Or a green tomato. Or a tomatillo.
More knitting…and more tragedy, this time in Oklahoma. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make an automatic $10 donation or go right here. (Also, this has been helping me not to cry when I see the photos; it might help you.)
This reminds me of Neruda a little bit, it has birds in it, and I went to yoga instead of for a hike this weekend, so here it is:
Fishing in the Keep of Silence
by Linda Gregg
There is a hush now while the hills rise up
and God is going to sleep. He trusts the ship
of Heaven to take over and proceed beautifully
as he lies dreaming in the lap of the world.
He knows the owls will guard the sweetness
of the soul in their massive keep of silence,
looking out with eyes open or closed over
the length of Tomales Bay that the egrets
conform to, whitely broad in flight, white
and slim in standing. God, who thinks about
poetry all the time, breathes happily as He
repeats to Himself: there are fish in the net,
lots of fish this time in the net of the heart.