Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What do masa (as in tamales), polente, couche-couche, grits, cornpone, hominy, hush puppies, and cornmush have in common?

(Besides yum.)


Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Around the turn of the century, my parents still lived in south-central Louisiana. Dad saw some wee citrus trees for sale at a building supply store, and though he was no gardener, decided to plant some in the yard. He dug a hole for each of four trees, and left them alone.  Louisiana offered good soil and plentiful sun and rain. Within two years, the trees began to bear fruit. With nearly no effort, my parents soon had amazing yields of oranges and sparkling flavored grapefruit. The earth - bountiful planet that she is - provided plenty for my parents, and the squirrels, rabbits, snakes and birds who also resided in the yard. There were plenty to share with friends and family as well.

Monday, August 29, 2016


'My wife waits for a caterpillar
to crawl onto her palm so she
can carry it out of the street
and into the green subdivision
of a tree...'

from 'Found'
by Ron Koertge

Saturday, August 27, 2016

'Fill your heart with love and there is no room for anything else.'

quoted from a gravestone in San Marcos, Texas

Friday, August 26, 2016


part of life requires
and loop-de-loop
(sometimes we get lost doing this)

part of life
is straight, fast, & narrow
(sometimes we get tripped doing that)

it's a matter of timing
to reach one's destination
(should there be a destination) -

zig-zag and meander now;

Thursday, August 25, 2016

An interesting note regarding Adam and Eve is that they are not just characters in a story or a myth. They have a documented family tree: Genesis - chapter 5.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


What other species take dogs into their homes? Feed cats and turtles, monkeys and parakeets, deer and ponies? Hide frogs in the bathroom sink, build plastic tunnels for gerbils?

Humans cherish their pets, give them dear names, buy them toys and warm cushions, snacks and rhinestone collars.

Perhaps swans take in ducklings, and sows mother kittens. There are wolves known to feed abandoned human infants. Perhaps many creatures have space in their hearts and homes for the wandering stray struggling alone.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

quotes regarding music

'Music, to create harmony, must investigate discord.'
- Plutarch

'My music is best understood by children and animals.'
- Igor Stravinsky

'Music is well said to be the speech of angels'
- Thomas Carlyle

'Life can't be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven Piano Sonatas and listen to them for forty years.'
- William F. Buckley

Monday, August 22, 2016

science class '67

from middle school
science lessons
circa 1967 -

fact 1

the stars and planets
that we see
shine so bright.
the stars give light.
the planets
reflect light.

fact 2

our planet earth
and the planets we see
- such as Venus
and Saturn -
circle the same star.
we call that star the sun.

fact 3

many planets
have moons.
the dear and only moon
that circles around our earth
shines bright -

fact 4

is the sunlight we see
reflected off the
surface of the moon.

fact 5

earth's beautiful moon
also reflects
indirect sunlight,
that which is
reflected by the earth.
it's called
and glows
in faint
rich shades of blue.

fact 6

thus we on earth get to see ourselves,
our own sunlit planet's
lovely light,
mirrored by our moon.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Walt Whitman perhaps intimated that one can find a map of the universe in a blade of grass.

Friday, August 19, 2016


We humans show a preference for communicating with words. (Look at me here, typing words at the library.) Other species on our planet communicate as well, but with dance, stares, hand motion,songs, gifts and thoughts. Some, like one octopus to another, may model how to access something like food. Some make expressive patterns flying in the air or soaring through the water. We humans can do many of those things, we like the arts of painting and pottery, but still seem primarily to rely on words.

Sometimes, as a human myself (best as I can tell), it's quite an experience to learn something without words. We watch a sunset and experience wonder at the changes in the sky. We hum a lullaby to let our child know that all is well, it is safe to ease into sleep. Yesterday, through, I listened to a performer sing with nuanced vocal control, music that erupted with strength and passion. He was singing in a language I do not know, but I think in this case, my mind was more deeply affected by not knowing what the words meant.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

a grain of salt

If I were a school teacher, there is something I would like to teach regardless of what subject we were learning:  Not everything I teach you is true.

No matter how good your teacher is, or how logical the readings and lectures, nothing is 100 percent accurate.

Some of the facts passed down from generation to generation may be flawed, or may even be invented by a researcher who wanted some admiration back in 1717 or 2010. 

Don't assume the writer or teacher is always correct. They are humans, after all. There may be other ways to look at facts - different perspectives, different interpretations.

If you don't understand something, don't assume you are not smart. Some articles are written by reporters who don't understand the subject they are writing about; that may be why you don't understand the article. The article doesn't make sense to ANYBODY.

Just because there is a new discovery or understanding does not mean it is superior to the old.

Some teachers do not tolerate debate very well; they sincerely pass down what they have been taught, most of which is likely very useful, and do not expect to be challenged. The student doesn't have to question the teacher. Just keep an open mind about what you learn.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

This morning I found something in the shallow basin of a fountain. It's been raining of late, and the inch of water in the basin was rather murky, the color of rust. There were a few fallen leaves, but this one stood out. Its shape was swollen, cylindrical.

Being a bit of a scaredy cat, I was reluctant to pick it up. Yet it was something that was unlikely to survive under water. So I gently lifted it out, and sure enough, though its appearance was that of a furled leaf, no longer than two inches, its weight suggested something more. There was what looked to be a horn at one end, like that on some caterpillars. I've watched caterpillars go into metamorphosis, 'melting' into chrysalis or cocoon state, and this curled green object was similar in appearance. Though small and apparently motionless, its life felt much larger than its size. I placed the chrysalis amidst some moist shrubbery, in hope that it might complete its transformation.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

i had a piece
of polka dot cloth
that had no plans
so i folded it in half
and sewed a teddy bear.

i stuffed cloth scraps inside
and stitched some black eyes,
and a nose,
and some claws
on the bear's four paws.

the bear stared at me
and looked a tad bare
so i found another scrap
and made him a bow tie.
he was pleased.

now i stare at him
soul friend from mid-air,
friend from nowhere,
formed of cloth,
polka dots
and a smart bow tie.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

What is the top priority you have in mind for your business?
Money? Customer satisfaction? Quality of service and products? Providing jobs?

Twenty years from now, what will bring you happiness? Knowing you have a large number behind the dollar sign on your bank statement? Seeing how the high school kids who started at your company now have families and are contributing the work ethic, skills, and responsibility they picked up working for you? Seeing customers buy more and more flimsy or disposable items, or seeing a bicycle or coffee percolator or TV remote that is still in use 15 years after their purchase? Knowing your customers by name after all these years? Remembering how you have shared your products and services with those in need? Are you happier hearing your workers greet you when you arrive, or watching them quake?

Will you take great pleasure in knowing your town has grown more stable, enjoys greater abundance, with the long-time presence of your business? Or will you have sold you company for a profit to a distant corporation, and moved away?

Friday, August 12, 2016

regarding television

we humans rather innocently grow to trust the personalities and the authority of the voices on television more than we trust our own ears and eyes when we step outside of our homes.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


will there be
a room for me
at the end of the day?
will there be a bed
and a pillow for my head?
a tub to rinse
the heat and grime
from my hair?
a chair
to lift my feet
and sit away
from noisy trucks and
cars for a time?
i'll write a poem
i'll share my sandwich
i'll take the pitcher
and fill the glasses
water plants
wash the dishes -
will there be
a room for me
at the end of the day?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

one soul
many forms -
i've seen You