Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ode to the bookstore

Yesterday was Luke's first competitive badminton tournament:

When they say competitive, that is what they mean, he lost all four games:)
I have been reading a lot about building resiliency in kids and this author talks about the importance of failure and how we have been protecting them too much from real world consequences. Happily, the world of competitive badminton does not offer that protection:)

It was a long day, with a lot of down time. Luckily, I remembered that one of the best bookstores in the state was right down the road from the playing venue. Big shout out to New England Mobile
Book fair.

I had about an hour, and no plan. Since I am doing research for a book, I headed to the education section and picked up "my kid's an honor student, your kid's a loser" and Robert Coles "the secular mind". Then, onto philosophy for "the death of character" and "om at home".

Finally, poetry for "the best of contemporary Irish poetry".

No time for history, fiction, or art which saved me some money. It was a ninja strike on borrowed time.

Did I mention all these books are used? I know buying used books is not a joy my children will have, so my new philosophy is to buy double and let them shop our bookshelves some day:)

Finally, I will share a quote from the first book from my haul I am reading:

Again and again our professor would make that distinction for us:  the world of action , the world of reflection --and ask us, always, whether the latter qualified as the former.

Robert Coles commenting on a seminar he took at Harvard with theologian Paul Tillich

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Poem of the day

On top

All this new stuff goes on top
turn it over, turn it over
wait and water down
from the dark bottom
turn it inside out
let it spread through
Sift down even.
Watch it sprout.

A mind like compost.
            --Gary Snyder

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Guild

Sometimes, I get in over my head. Could be on the slopes, at work, committing my son to a Dungeon and dragons tournament without asking him( sorry about that on so many levels). This week, it was agreeing to attend the local Artist's guild meeting, a group composed primarily of working fine artists.

My daughter's art teacher is such a gentle soul. He and I worked together a few years ago trying to establish a non profit art council in town with other like minded folks. It didn't go but he is always working on getting artists together.

So, cut to Monday night. I'm sitting in a room of working artists, mean age about 60 and they are the real deal. The facilitator of the meeting lays art supplies on the table and encourages us to draw like Van Gogh.

My table mates kept waiting for my rough sketch to flesh out. Some of their pieces were more Van Gogh than his were. My husband asked me why I was drawing gunslinger gumbys. Imagine my joy when we had to stand up and do a "walkabout". Painful and humbling.

Now, a week later, I have a different take on the whole experience. As we get older, we follow along the ruts we have created for ourselves because they are familiar and seemingly keep the wagon on the trail. It takes courage to veer off and create a new path, even for a night. But I think we have to. I think we have to expose ourselves and continue to reach for what we might become.

What is an artist? Some one who creates something new. And you can't say gunslinging gumbys are not new. Especially ones on Mars.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Make a little music for the earth beneath your foot

Today, it is a sunny 35 degrees but you can feel it coming. We skied on heavy, wet snow yesterday which is yet another sign. We will have one more big snowstorm and we don't put away winter clothes until the end of April but still, the light is coming back.

New Englanders are who they are because of the distinct seasons. I have finally figured out I can't fully join them in staying balanced during the long winter months. I ski, I snowshoe, I do my death hike and get shot at on my birthday, but I'm a displaced Texan and we dig the light.

Of course, it could be FM (faux menopause), or not having a working downstairs bathroom, or missing the obscure mid-week camp enrichment deadlines (yet again) that leads to the winter blues but I think not. My thoughts begin to soar when the light returns. This morning , I talked to Reverend Judith about intensifying my Buddhist meditation practice, she gave me the name of her llama who is doing an intensive in Cambridge. Last week, I watched old episodes of Macgyver. Just saying.

So, I celebrate the return of the light.. As does Mary Oliver:

The Poet Comments On Yet Another Approaching Spring

Don't flowers put on their
prettiness each spring and
go to it with
everything they've got? Who

would criticize the bed of
yellow tulips or the blue
So, put a

bracelet on your
ankle with a
bell on it and make a
little music for

the earth beneath your foot, or
wear a hat with hot-colored
ribbons for the
pleasure of the

Leaves and the clouds, or at least
a ring with a gleaming
stone for your finger; yesterday
I watched a mother choose

exquisite ear ornaments for someone
beloved, in the spring
of her life; they were
for her for sure, but it also seemed

A promise, a love message, a commitment
to all girls, and boys too, so
beautiful and hopeful in this hard world
and young.