Tales from outer turnip head...

Tales from outer turnip head...

Sunday, June 10, 2018

We're Allies...

"We're not marauders. We're allies." -- Enfys Nest

Solo: So I watched Star Wars: Solo this weekend. I will refrain from doing an in-depth review it until I have a time to digest it more. I will say this; I was not offended, nor was I blown away... 

Fun and a little shallow: There is a lot to chew on, fun story telling, no real major missteps, and a few nods to the fans of the larger story that are meaningful. Characters were fun and the action constant, leaving little time for the development that we rabid fans have come to crave in the Star Wars universe. But for me there was a clear and winning moment--an unknown actor (like so many of the greats in Lucas' world), a compellingly strong character, a complexity of potential storyline, (but sadly), not enough development. Although this is true for most of the characters, Enfys Nest seemed to deserve more... 

Glass Breaking: Erin Kellyman plays Enfys Nest, a marauder who fights with the confidence of a seasoned warrior, but who is in fact young, scrappy, and purposeful. I would have loved to see much more of her story than most of what was offered in Solo... Elusive through most of the film, and reveled late, her presence makes me want a sequel, but I am not terribly interested in seeing more of Han Solo or his childhood girlfriend. I AM interested in following the path of this new warrior with clarity of purpose. Sigh... But still... Thank you Star Wars for offering another strong female character who is worth looking up to. Next time, give her a little more bandwidth please...

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Their Lonely Betters

Getting my hands in the dirt: My garden had grown run down. Years of leaf mulch made it acidic. A construction job some years ago damaged a corner of it, and the rocks of its walls made digging and planting the edge a bit rough. I have plans for a small patio and a better fire pit, and so I signaled to those concerned a desire to recondition it over this summer, and decided to not plant this year...

And then I was gifted a plant. A single yellow tomato plant. A gift from a friend who has offered care and food when I was hungry. The gift-plant needed a home indeed. A pot would have done perhaps, but it would not grow enough to yield the many tomatoes that my soups and pastas desire. So it was the incentive for me to put my hands in the dirt.

Here is a picture of a new garden that has already drawn in two beautiful swallowtail butterflies. And then I offer a lovely poem from one of my favorite poets (whom I learned about from Morrie Schwartz)...

Their Lonely Betters

As I listened from a beach-chair in the shade
To all the noises that my garden made,
It seemed to me only proper that words
Should be withheld from vegetables and birds.
A robin with no Christian name ran through
The Robin-Anthem which was all it knew,
And rustling flowers for some third party waited
To say which pairs, if any, should get mated.

Not one of them was capable of lying,
There was not one which knew that it was dying
Or could have with a rhythm or a rhyme
Assumed responsibility for time.

Let them leave language to their lonely betters
Who count some days and long for certain letters;
We, too, make noises when we laugh or weep:
Words are for those with promises to keep.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Buddhist still life: smiling

Smile today...

"Life is both dreadful and wonderful. To practice meditation is to be in touch with both aspects. Please do not think we must be solemn in order to meditate. In fact, to meditate well, we have to smile a lot." -- Thich Nhat Hanh
Even though life is hard, even though it is sometimes difficult to smile, we have to try. Just as when we wish each other, "Good morning," it must be a real "Good morning." Recently, one friend asked me, "How can I force myself to smile when I am filled with sorrow? It isn't natural." I told her she must be able to smile to her sorrow, because we are more than our sorrow. -- Thich Nhat Hanh

Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment.

--Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Something Eternal

This weekend I watched some seniors of mine (and their cast 'n crew) perform a play. It was student directed. And it was very good. It is a play I am quite fond of, Our Town. If you have the time this morning (of course we do not think we ever have the time), but if you can find the time to realize you might spare the time, perhaps you can take a few minutes to read the opening few pages from Act III of Our Town by Thorton Wilder. No commentary today beyond the title of the blog entry. Just Wilder's words:

During the intermission the audience has seen the STAGE-HANDS arranging the stage. On the right-hand side, a little right of the center, ten or twelve ordinary chairs have been placed in three openly spaced rows facing the audience.

These are graves in the cemetery.

Toward the end of the intermission the ACTORS enter and take their places. The front row contains: toward the center of the stage, an empty chair; then MRS. GIBBS; SIMON STIMSON.

The second row contains, among others, MRS. SOAMES. The third row has WALLY WEBB.

The dead do not turn their heads or their eyes to right or left, but they sit in a quiet without stiffness. When they speak their tone is matter-of-fact, without sentimentality and, above all, without lugubriousness.

The STAGE MANAGER takes his accustomed place and waits for the house lights to go down.


This time nine years have gone by, friends—summer, 1913. 

Gradual changes in Grover's Corners. Horses are getting rarer. Farmers coming into town in Fords.Everybody locks their house doors now at night. Ain't been any burglars in town yet, but everybody's heard about 'em.

You'd be surprised, though—on the whole, things don't change much around here.

This is certainly an important part of Grover's Corners. It's on a hilltop—a windy hilltop—lots of sky, lots of clouds,—often lots of sun and moon and stars.

You come up here, on a fine afternoon and you can see range on range of hills awful blue they are up there by Lake Sunapee and Lake Winnipesaukee … and way up, if you've got a glass, you can see the White Mountains and Mt. Washington—where North Conway and Conway is. And, of course, our favorite mountain, Mt.Monadnock, 's right here and all these towns that lie around it: Jaffrey, 'n East Jaffrey, 'n Peterborough, 'n Dublin; and

      Then painting down in the audience.

there, quite a ways down, is Grover's Corners.

Yes, beautiful spot up here. Mountain laurel and li-lacks. I often wonder why people like to be buried in Woodlawn and Brooklyn when they might pass the same time up here in New Hampshire. Over there—

       Pointing to stage left.

are the old stones, —1670, 1680. Strong-minded people that come a long way to be independent. Summer people walk around there laughing at the funny words on the tombstones … it don't do anyharm. And genealogists come up from Boston—get paid by city people for looking up their ancestors. They want to make sure they're Daughters of the American Revolution and of the Mayflower.… Well, I guess that don't do any harm, either. Wherever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense.…

Over there are some Civil War veterans. Iron falls on their graves … New Hampshire boys … had a notion that the Union ought to be kept together, though they'd never seen more than fifty miles of it themselves. All they knew was the name, friends—the United States of America. The United States of America. And they went and died about it.

This here is the new part of the cemetery. Here's your friend Mrs.Gibbs. 'N let me see—Here's Mr. Stimson, organist at the Congregational Church. And Mrs. Soames who enjoyed the wedding so—you remember? Oh, and a lot of others. And Editor Webb's boy, Wallace, whose appendix burst while he was on a Boy Scout trip to Crawford Notch.

Yes, an awful lot of sorrow has sort of quieted down up here. People just wild with grief have brought their relatives up to this hill. We all know how it is … and then time … and sunny days … and rainy days … 'n snow … We're all glad they're in a beautiful place and we're coming up here ourselves when our fit's over.

Now there are some things we all know, but we don't take'm out and look at'm very often. We all know that something is eternal. And it ain't houses and it ain't names, and it ain't earth, and it ain't even the stars … everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that somediing has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you'd be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There's something way down deep that's eternal about every human being. 


You know as well as I do that the dead don't stay interested in us living people for very long. 

Gradually, gradually, they lose hold of the earth … and the ambitions they had … and the pleasuresthey had … and the things they suffered … and the people they loved.

They get weaned away from earth—that's the way I put it,—weaned away.

And they stay here while the earth part of 'em bums away, burns out; and all that time they slowly get indifferent to what's goin' on in Grover's Corners.

They're waitin'. They're waitin' for something that they feel is comin'. Something important, and great. Aren't they waitin' for the eternal part in them to come out clear?

Some of the things they're going to say maybe'll hurt your feelings—but that's the way it is: mother'n daughter … husband 'n wife … enemy 'n enemy … money 'n miser … all those terribly important things kind of grow pale around here. And what's left when memory's gone, and your identity, Mrs. Smith?

     He looks at the audience a a minute, then turns to the stage.

Well! There are some living people. There's Joe Stoddard, our undertaker, supervising a new-made grave. And here comes a Grover's Corners boy, that left town to go out West.

     JOE STODDARD has hovered about in the background. SAM CRAIG enters left, wiping his forehead from the exertion. He carries an umbrella and strolls front.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Buddhist still life: Self & Mu...


I sit upon my seat,
open my eyes to the wind,
and lean in on my frame...

I release on the left,
roll on with the right
and lean further in...

My eyes narrow down,
while the world peals away behind
each successive moment arrives...

and my soul sighs with deep content,
my mind follows the thought,
open, out, away, beyond.


I've been waiting...
for much of my life,
looking for what might come...
or what I might not have...
It is hidden from me.
I've been searching...
for much off my life.
seeking for what might be...
or what I might not know...
It is a mystery to me.
I've been thinking...
for much of my life.
puzzling on what has been...
or what I might have missed...
It is an enigma to me.

But it has arrived,
and I have been found,
and the answer revealed...