Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hushed October Morning

Tina & Alastair's Backyard Paradise
See the little heart hanging in the lower right corner?
October 2016

Robert Frost has given us so many unforgettable lines of poetry,
including this beguiling invocation to October . . .

"O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know."

. . . which appears on my

Current Post ~ "Bright Blue October"

@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker


Previous Frost Posts

"A Time to Talk"
~ "No, not as there is a time to talk . . .
I go up to the stone wall / For a friendly visit."

"After Apple Picking" ~ "But I am done with apple-picking now. . . .
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight . . . "
[See also: "Harvesting" & "Ten Thousand Thousand"]

"Gathering Leaves" ~ "But a crop is a crop,
And who's to say where / The harvest shall stop?"

"Christmas Trees" ~ "A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell . . . "

"Departmental" ~ "Go bring him home to his people. . . . Lay him in state . . . Wrap him for shroud in a petal. / Embalm him with ichor of nettle."

"The Gift Outright" ~ "Something we were withholding made us weak / Until we found out that it was ourselves / We were withholding . . ."

"Mending Wall"
~ "Something there is that doesn’t love a wall . . .
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'"

"Nothing Gold Can Stay" ~ "Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold."

"Fire and Ice" ~ "Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice."

April 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pear as Punctum

I know I posted this picture from last fall only a few days ago, but something about it jogged my memory, reminding me of . . . what was it? Oh, that's right: yet another "pear as punctum" picture, taken six years ago! What's the odds?

Apple Harvest (with pear as punctum)
October 22, 2016

Pear as Punctum
July 6, 2011

To review: Punctum is French critic Roland Barthes' intriguing term for that touching or disconcerting detail which pierces through the still life, the object, or the studium. Rather than the usual sequence of subject first, object second, for Barthes, the "second element which will disturb the studium I shall therefore call punctum; for punctum is also: sting, speck, cut, little hole – and also a cast of the dice. A photograph’s punctum is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me)" (Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, 27).

All Punctum Posts
"Pilobolus, Punctum, Yellow Squash"
"The Lughnasa Moon"
"The Handwriting on the Wall"
"This Little World, This England"
"Pear as Punctum"

Friday, October 13, 2017

This Little World, This England

Sunnyfields in Fall & Spring

Only a year behind in posting these these autumnal
favorites from last October's trip to England:
2016 ~ England in the Autumn

And a mere six months late with this batch
from our English Easter Break:
2017 ~ England in the Spring

Guara Flower
You might think that this picture is from the Spring album, but no -- I took it last October in Auntie Jan's backyard, in the south of England. Imagine such a delicate pink blossom thriving in October!

I also love this one for its more conventional autumn tone:
Apple Harvest (with pear as punctum)

Auntie Jan's Dreamy Wishing Well
~ in October 2016 ~

~ in April 2017 ~
(with little blue toy car as punctum)

Aerial View

"This other Eden, demi-paradise . . .
this little world . . .
This precious stone set in a silver sea . . .
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England . . ."

~ Shakespeare ~ from Richard II ~

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Sadness of Hydrangeas


A vanished house that for an hour I knew
By some forgotten chance when I was young
Had once a glimmering window overhung
With honeysuckle wet with evening dew.
Along the path tall dusky dahlias grew,
And shadowy hydrangeas reached and swung
Ferociously; and over me, among
The moths and mysteries, a blurred bat flew.

Somewhere within there were dim presences
Of days that hovered and of years gone by.
I waited, and between their silences
There was an evanescent faded noise;
And though a child, I knew it was the voice
Of one whose occupation was to die.

The House on the Hill

They are all gone away,
The house is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.

Nor is there one today
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.

Why is it then we stray
Around the sunken sill?
They are all gone away.

And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.

both poems by Edwin Arlington Robinson
American poet, 1869 - 1935

More sadness from Flaubert's Parrot
by Julian Barnes
British novelist, b. 1946

"It isn’t so different, the way we wander through the past. Lost, disordered, fearful, we follow what signs there remain; we read the street names, but cannot be confident where we are. All around is wreckage. These people never stopped fighting. Then we see a house; a writer’s house, perhaps. There is plaque on the front wall. 'Gustave Flaubert, French Writer, 1821 – 1880, lived here while –' but then the letters shrink impossibly, as if on some optician’s chart. We walk closer. We look in at window. Yes, it’s true; despite the carnage some delicate things have survived. A clock still ticks. Prints on the wall remind us that art was once appreciated here. A parrot’s perch catches the eye. We look for the parrot. We still hear its voice; but all we can see is a bare wooden perch. The bird has flown” (60).


See also: October Potpourri

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October Potpourri

Here in Indiana the hydrangeas have long since
departed, except perhaps in potpourri,
but in England, they flourish well into October!

"When October comes
there is but haiku
in all things I find."

Kyoshi Takahama
(Japanese, 1874 - 1959)


"...I remembered the rich smells
of fruit cake and marmalade
and dried rose petals and cinnamon."

Shirley Jackson
(American, 1916 - 1965)

*In this beautiful passage from her memoir Raising Demons, Jackson recalls the day she took her young children to visit their Great - Aunt Gertrude. The children are curious: Is she a million years old? Is she very big?

"We got out of the car, moving slowly, and stood below in the road, looking up at the steep steps and the pink roses above. . . . 'No,' I said. 'Very small.'

. . . I took a deep breath. 'Come along,' I said, and we went up the steps, me well in advance, and Sally coming far behind . . . I found, with a kind of bewilderment, that I had to bend my head to come onto the porch, although Lauri and Jannie and Sally passed easily under the low archway framed in roses, and I knocked on the door with the conviction that it had been only a day or so [rather than many years] since I last saw its glass panel, engraved with a floral design and chipped in the lower right - hand corner. 'Ooh,' said Jannie softly as the door opened, and I remembered the rich smells of fruit cake and marmalade and dried rose petals and cinnamon"
(117 - 18).


See also The Sadness of Hydrangeas

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Uh oh! That scary moment
when you have only your mind to rely on!

by epigrammatist and collage artist
Michael Lipsey
Artist's note: "True story. It was at Target, where there could have been a thousand different things on the list. I posted these words a while ago, but it took some time to find an image for them."
First and most important item on every list:
1. Make some more lists!

Or, as we like to say around our house:
"It's not really lost unless Mom can't find it."

Another solution from childhood days:
sing the Blue's Clues Song:
"Go back, go back, go back, go back to where you were!"


Related blog post, on the serious side:
Lost & Found

Previous Words of Wisdom and
Collage Cartoons by Michael Lipsey

Election Aftermath

"Would you like anything to read?"

My Times

Hanging Onto the Dream & Winnow the Dreams

And a New One Just Begun

Cursive Writing & Cursive

First Friday


A Little Crazier

Sunday, October 1, 2017

September Butterfly Away

How lucky I was to photograph this Last Nice Day of September* visitor to our flower bed! I especially like the way that you can see one single antenna rising up right behind the Sweet Mr. William petals. And how do you like the way that this autumn butterfly has successfully blended brown, orange and pink; and coordinated plaids and circles in its seasonal ensemble? As one facebook friend observed:
"Oh Wow! How come nothing ever clashes in nature, but . . . if humans put those patterns and colors together in fabric or painting or some other way, it likely would just not work, but I've never seen anything in nature which looked like it clashed!"
*Last nice day? Don't worry! All that means is that it was the last day of September, because every day in September was nice! And every day of October is going to be the same . . .

Beginning of October Mum Cocktail
Drink Up!
Enjoy Previous Mum & Wine Haiku!

A good day to buy
wine - colored chrysanthemums.
And wine. Beautiful!

~ Autumn Haiku by Burnetta, Karen & Kitti ~

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dawn or Doom Comes 'Round Once More

Designing Cities

Each year Dawn or Doom seems to generate some of its own vocabulary. A couple of years ago, the takeaway was Wisdoom. Last year, we were entertained by the speaker who inadvertently changed the conference name to The Dawn of Doom. This year there was the registrant who wrote to confirm the exact dates of "The Doom and Gloom Event."

And the night before the conference, Gerry said, in a spooky voice: "'Tis the Eve of Dawn or Doom. I guess that makes it Dawn or Doome'en!

Read more about last week's conference on my

Current Post ~ "Smart, Beautiful City"

@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker


If you missed out, don't despair,
Dawn or Doom '18 will be here before you know it!
Coming this time next year to a campus / planet near you . . .
In the meantime, we can learn from the past:

Previous Posts

AI is Easy

Dawn of Doom



Dawn or Doom2

Dawn or Doom?

Safe Home


Dawn or Doom -- Your Choice!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Kent Haruf Celebration

Kent Haruf ~ Literary Celebration
Centerpieces ~ fall flowers, pages from Haruf's novels
& cream - colored scrap paper that he used for rough drafts.

This Little Light of Mine
"If I had learned anything over those years of work and persistence, it was that you had to believe in yourself even when no one else did. And later I often said something like that to my graduate students. You have to believe in yourself despite the evidence. I felt as though I had a little flame of talent, not a big talent, but a little pilot-light-sized flame of talent, and I had to tend to it regularly, religiously, with care and discipline, like a kind of monk or acolyte, and not to ever let the little flame go out."

Kent Haruf (1943 - 2014)
From "The Making of a Writer,"
his autobiographical essay in Granta

See also "The Complete Final Interview"

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Last Few Days of Summer

First Chinese Lantern of the Season!

No one describes the changing seasons quite like Shirley Jackson (1916 - 1965), first in Life Among the Savages (1953) and again in Raising Demons (1957), her bittersweet tributes to family life with four growing children. All the rambunctious joy is there but also an undercurrent of betrayal and sadness, especially for the reader who knows beforehand that Jackson died at age 48, barely a decade after penning these topsy - turvy homegrown reminiscences. Her youngest child (born 1951) was only 14 years old at the time of her death, approximately the age of her older son Laurence [aka Laurie, born 1943] around the time that she attends his baseball game at the local field, near their rambling -- not to say ramshackle! -- Victorian house:
"The summer was one of the hottest we had ever had, and I got sunburned sitting on the hill over third base. . . . I sat in the shade and figured out that there were only seventeen more days before school started, Sally and Jannie were going to need new winter coats; a year from now I would be getting Barry ready for kindergarten. The first winter we were in our new house, when Laurie used to go sledding on this hill, he could stand just about where I was sitting now, and see our back porch, and I used to signal him that it was time to come home by hanging a dish towel over the porch rail; I could not see the back porch now because the trees were still thick. In another few weeks, I thought, the leaves would be coming down again. School, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the long spring days, and then another summer. I could hear cheering from the ball field. The years go by so quickly, I thought, rising; he used to be so small.

"The last few days of summer go faster, though, than any other time of year. . ."
(215 - 16, Raising Demons)

See recent biographies of Jackson
by Ruth Franklin & Zoe Heller

First the flowers . . .

. . . then the squash . . .

. . . then the pumpkins!


Vernal Equinox Throwback

Stained Glass Representation of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
KEY (left to right):
Green: Radio waves; Yellow teardrops: Meteors;
Orange teardrops: Aurora;
Red: Infrared light; Rainbow colors: Visible light; Violet: Ultraviolet light;
Dark violet triangles: X-rays; Light violet triangles: Gamma rays;
Pink: Cosmic rays.

Happy Vernal Equinox
Some haiku for the
Day and Night of Equal Light:

Trying but failing
to be the voice of reason.
The spirit prevails.

Here's to equanimity
and all shall be well!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Books and Coffee and Nalewki

Nalewki i Inne
Notice the glasses are empty . . . oh, and so is the bottle . . .
somehow or other it just tends to evaporate
in the heat of a late summer afternoon!

Thanks to Beata for sharing
books, coffee, and nalewki!
"World problems? What world problems?"

[Thanks to Sir-Igor Steinman for the caption!]

Just missing the third member of our
Triumvirate: Happy Birthday Katie!

Here are a few things we've been reading lately:

September ~ Cate: Books & Cats

August ~ HBJ

July ~ Like a Sentence Deep Within a Book

June ~ The World is a Beautiful Book

Posted Over the Summer
@Kitti's Book List

Monday, September 18, 2017

Almost Equinox Birthday

Photograph by Joni Menard, Fall 2016
"It was still hot outside, though the sun had begun to lean to the west, and the first intimations of fall were in the air -- that smell of dust and dry leaves that annual lonesomeness that comes of summer closing down."
, 19

"The evening wasn't cold yet . . . But the air was turning sharp, with a feeling of loneliness coming. Something unaccountable pending in the air."
, 31
both novels by
Colorado writer Kent Haruf (1943 - 2014)




"Start Here" by Brian Andreas
The StoryPeople Story of the Day for September 18, 2017


Additional Joni Posts


Plenty to Read



Happy Snowy Valentine's Day!

Favorite Hats

Lizone's: Jewelry With An Attitude

Grown Up

Time to Talk

Palm Sunday

Our Town

To Forgive: Reprove, Restore, Reclaim

Talk to Me

The Mind of God

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Reading & Singing

Panel for Music Room, 1894
John White Alexander (1856 - 1915)
Athenaeum Gallery ~ Previously

New Posts
@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker

August 28 ~ Sing A Song About Singing ~ Abba,
Barry Manilow, The Carpenters, The Statler Brothers

September 14 ~ Read A Book About Reading
Karen Joy Fowler, The Jane Austen Book Club
Stefan Bollmann, Women Who Read Are Dangerous

Dreams, 1896
Vittorio Matteo Corcos (1859 - 1933)

So this is for us.
This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love

and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know
because the beauty is in the act of doing it.
Not what it can lead to.
This is for the times I lose myself while writing, singing, playing
and no one is around and they will never know
but I will forever remember
and that shines brighter than any praise or fame or glory I will ever have,
and this is for you who write or play or read or sing
by yourself with the light off and door closed
when the world is asleep and the stars are aligned
and maybe no one will ever hear it
or read your words
or know your thoughts
but it doesn’t make it less glorious.
It makes it ethereal. Mysterious.
For it belongs to you and whatever God or spirit you believe in
and only you can decide how much it meant
and means
and will forever mean
and other people will experience it too
through you.
Through your spirit. Through the way you talk.
Through the way you walk and love and laugh and care
and I never meant to write this long
but what I want to say is:
Don’t try to present your art by making other people read or hear or see or touch it; make them feel it. Wear your art like your heart on your sleeve and keep it alive by making people feel a little better. Feel a little lighter. Create art in order for yourself to become yourself
and let your very existence be your song, your poem, your story.
Let your very identity be your book.
Let the way people say your name sound like the sweetest melody.

So go create. Take photographs in the wood, run alone in the rain and sing your heart out high up on a mountain
where no one will ever hear
and your very existence will be the most hypnotising scar.
Make your life be your art
and you will never be forgotten.”

~ Charlotte Eriksson, Singer, Writer, Reader

"Start Here" by Brian Andreas
The StoryPeople Story of the Day for September 18, 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Happy Autumn, Happy Bacon

This one's for Gerry!
Maple Leaf Bacon

Such an unusual image for approaching autumn,
yet altogether fitting!

from I, Keturah ~ Ruth Wolff
"In late August you can catch summer slipping away but you can't pen it up. The locust trees turned brown from the blight that came with the hot, rainless days. A sigh of the wind, and a shower of leaves would swirl down from the locust trees, covering the grass below like so many tiny, curled bacon crisps. In the woods the leaves on a dying sugar maple were bright red, as if the tree's blood were running out. The golden glow began to bloom; farewell summer and purple ironweed. A light film of dust covered the weeds along the road, there was a faint haze in the air, and the hum of insects rose in wave upon wave of strident prediction of more dryness and heat. Everything green was dimmed."
(202, emphasis added)


Thanks to Katherine Galvin for the new
-- and surprisingly related -- fridge magnet!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Soul Searching

The Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool ~ Ken Storey

I spent several weeks over the summer composing the following unholy trinity of somewhat skeptical, somewhat irreverent, somewhat rambling religious reflections:
@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker

1. July 14 ~ Born Only Once ~ Langston Hughes
Frank O'Connor, Czeslaw Milosz

2. July 28 ~ O Ya - Ya of Little Faith ~ Rebecca Wells, Divine Secrets,
Little Altars, Thirtysomething

3. August 14 ~ None Forbidden, None Compelled ~ Hector Abad

Speaking of spiritual quest and literary connections,
you may recall, if you go the right - hand column >>>
and scroll down, the following from Naomi Shihab Nye:

"Where are you on
your spiritual journey?"
you ask, your sharp eyes
thumbtacking the question
on my heart.

What can I say?
I am somewhere beyond "go"
I have not stopped.

Years have shown me
the idea of travelling
is a game we play with ourselves
to pretend we're not home.

Naomi Shihab Nye
(b 1952)
Palestinian / American Poet


Additional Summer Posts
that you may have missed over the break:

June 14 ~ Always June ~ Australia, Autumn, George Eliot

June 28 ~ Yellow Wallpaper ~ Australia,
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Terri Kapsalis

August 28 ~ Sing A Song About Singing ~ Abba,
Barry Manilow, The Carpenters, The Statler Brothers

The Musicians, 1979 ~ Ferdinand Botero

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Back when Kansas was the Wild Wild West!

L to R: My Grandfather Paul Jones Lindsey (1895 - 1983)
my Great Uncle Samuel Gordon Lindsey ( 1893 - 1918)
and their friend Ira Heidleburg (1891 - 1953)

Until earlier this summer, I had never seen this mysterious photo, dating back to sometime between 1913 - 1915 in Southeast Kansas or Northeast Oklahoma. Shortly after it was taken, both Paul and Sam joined the army and went to France: Grandpa to the Argonne; and Uncle Sam to the Aisne - Marne, where he was killed in action in 1918.

Knowing how solemn the photographic expressions could be back in the day, it was hard to tell at first whether the picture was a practical joke or a formal portrait. It looks very serious but also very posed. I have to say I never saw my grandfather play poker or smoke a cigarette in his entire life! Maybe it was a set - up, perhaps at a county fair or photo studio. It certainly seems posed when you consider all the little details, such as their friend Ira's 2 fingers on the 2 coins! And the way Paul is showing his hand!

Yet another mystery -- can you see how the picture has been torn down the middle? That's how my cousin found it at the bottom of a box of photos when his dad (Paul's son, my mother's brother John) died. Was it torn accidentally or intentionally? We'll never know! My cousin Johnny thought that maybe Grandpa didn't want us to see him with a cigarette, even if it was fake. Who can tell? We're just lucky that somehow Uncle John was able to find and save both halves of the pic and that Johnny was able to gently repair the tear.

Most importantly, I love knowing that Paul, Sam, and Ira had that moment together! How remarkable that a century later, we are still able to see those sly looks that they are giving the camera! In their expressions, I see a resemblance between my older son Ben and his great - grandfather Paul, and my younger son Sam and his great - great uncle Sam -- after whom he was named.

When I showed my Sam the picture, he replied memorably: "Yes, it is a great picture and well worth saving. It's sad to think of all of the photos that have been taken that were then thrown away and no one ever got to see. (If a picture doesn't exist, did that memory really happen? -- that's why I love taking pictures!)"

P.S. Happy Birthday, Sam!
Be sure to take some pictures!

Monday, September 4, 2017

All Around Me Peaceful

North Carolina Sunset ~ 4th of July
Thanks to my son Ben and his fiance Cathleen
for sharing these sunsets from their engagement weekend.

Before me peaceful

Behind me peaceful

Under me peaceful

Over me peaceful

All around me peaceful

Navajo Indian Chant

Included in The Family of Man

Later in the summer, visiting the engaged kids:


~ Previous Posts for Labor Day or Thereabouts ~
"Labor Day" ~ 2009
"A Clear Path" ~ 2010
"September Morn" ~ 2011
"DYFJ" ~ 2012
"Don't Work Too Hard" ~ 2013
"Ice Bucket Challenge" ~ 2014
"A Glad Sound with the Setting Sun" ~ 2015
"Brand New Brother" ~ 2016

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Quotidian Transformation and Renewal

See my recent
Fortnightly Posts

~ Tools for Everyday Use ~
"You know as well as me you was named after your aunt Dicie," I said. Dicie is my sister. She named Dee. We called her "Big Dee" after Dee was born.

"But who was she named after?" asked Wangero.

"I guess after Grandma Dee," I said.

"And who was she named after?" asked Wangero.

"Her mother," I said, and saw Wangero was getting tired. "That's about as far back as I can trace it," I said. Though, in fact, I probably could have carried it back beyond the Civil War through the branches.

from "Everyday Use"
by Alice Walker

~ Crones At Last ~
" . . . give to the women of our time
the strength to persevere,
the courage to speak out,
the faith to believe in you beyond
all systems and institutions
so that your face on earth may be seen in all its beauty,
so that men and women become whole . . .

We call on the holy women
who went before us . . . "

from "A Litany of Women for the Church"
by Joan Chittister
and on
Kitti's Book List

~ My Strange Quest ~
" . . . the death of the Author leads of the rise of the auteur, showing that even in an ungoverned universe there is usually someone in charge. By having the scenery fall down a great deal and keeping other cameras in shot they proved that the films were fictions simply about themselves, and indeed this was a time when all art became about itself, books being about the writing of books and buildings about the building of buildings. Thus architecture became postmodern too and form stopped being a slave to function . . . . All art became a fund of eclectic quotations from all other art and it was clear
. . . that we now lived in the age of the imaginary museum, when all styles were simultaneously available
" (46).

from My Strange Quest for Mensonge
by Malcolm Bradbury
And now the Summer begins . . .
On Sabbatical until September!