Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Participate With Joy in the Sorrows

~ Peace by Diane Leonard ~
“Nothing can dim
the light that shines from within.”

~ Maya Angelou ~

Thanks to Gary O'Brien & Ravenous Butterflies
for this spot of light and inspiration
on a rainy April day.


And again to Gary for sharing
these wise words from Joseph Campbell:
“The field of time is the field of sorrow. 'All life is sorrowful.' And it is. If you try to correct the sorrows, all you do is shift them somewhere else. Life is sorrowful. How do you live with that? You realize the eternal within yourself. You disengage, and yet, reengage. You — and here’s the beautiful formula — 'participate with joy in the sorrows of the world.' You play the game. It hurts, but you know that you have found the place that is transcendent of injury and fulfillments. You are there, and that’s it.”

found in
A Joseph Campbell Companion:
Reflections on the Art of Living

And this poem that Gary posted,
way back before Coronavirus but so appropriate
-- except for the part about touching hands!
Don't do that!

When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.

And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

By Merrit Malloy

Friday, April 24, 2020

Earth ~ Bard ~ Arbor

Earth Day ~ April 22
" . . . who are the violets now
That strew the green lap of the new come spring?"

Shakespeare ~ Richard II (V, ii, 49 - 50)

Shakespeare's 456th Birthday ~ April 23
April 23, 1564 - April 23, 1616

Or, as my friend Anthony says:
"Happy Bardday Will!"

Arbor Day ~ April 24
"Let's step into the shadow of these trees."

Richard II (III, iv, 27)
Or, as my brother Dave says:
"Let's steep into the shadow of these trees."

Previous Arbor Day Posts

Previous Bard Day Posts

Previous Earth Day Posts

Previous Crannied Wall Post

Previous Wild Violet Pic
Taken by my sister Diane Burrows
(Easter Violets: 2010 - 03 - 01 Finepix)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Something About the Sun

Back in the carefree days of driving
across the country from State to State,
when "corona" just meant something about the sun!

Thanks to my friends
Jay Beets
for this photo of Me & My Panama Bag ~ May 2017
Duo Dickinson
for his essay: "Coronal" ~ March 2020
"The lacerating tunes of our discord are great with us. Right now. . . .

"The sun is not just the sun, it is also the corona, beyond it. It is what it makes that it does not feed upon. No virus, however spherical and full of dark energy, makes that corona, But the corona of fear, of anger and angst is as real, until it goes away, because the virus simply has no hosts. It only has fear."

To calm the fear, it's cool these days to have
a Quarantine Playlist ~ here's mine:

Jay picked this one:
Scarborough Fair

Kinda feels like it:
Last Night of the World

Dawn or Doom?
In The Year 2525

This one keeps coming up:
Isn't Life Strange

Here's one for my brother Bruce:
We Got Paid by CASH

We're all waiting for this day:
The Unclouded Day

Sam taught me this one.
For my sibs: Dave, Peg, Bruce, Di, Aaron
Hey Brother

Another good one from Avicii -- thanks Sam:
Wake Me Up

For Victoria & Diane:
Moon River

Gerry's choice:
Whiter Shade of Pale

Keep clear of disease!
Things Have Reached a Pretty Pass

Yearning to mingle with the old time throng:
Give My Regards To Broadway

A Show Tune for Steven:
You'll Never Walk Alone - Judy Garland

Igor's suggestion: Staying Alive! Ah. Ah. Ah.
Staying Alive!

Another one from Jay:
Sold My Heart

My friend Megan reminded me of this one:
Both Sides Now

BBFF (Best Band Friends Forever):
Chicago - 25 Or 6 To 4

Haven't seen "Hamilton" yet? Now is the time:
Hamilton: The Musical (Animatic version)

Gonna be peace of mind for me . . .
One Of These Days

The whole album really:
Ammonia Avenue

The fear that . . . seems to never end . . .
as the cities start to crumble . . .
Rhymes & Reasons

Thanks to Curtis for this one:
If Peace Was All We Had

Revolutionaries wait for my head on a silver plate:
Coldplay - Viva La Vida

Everybody wants to rule the world . . . or do they?
Tears For Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World

As the last train rolled toward the moon . . .
Desert Moon

Again, the whole album:
Wasted Time

It seems the good they die young . . .
Abraham, Martin, and John

And lastly:
Coronavirus Rhapsody


Quarantine Reading List

And Previous Playlists:
Breakup ~ Duets ~ Forever Young

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Gnocchi Story

Polish Potato Gnocchi
Prepared for Easter by Beata

I have to confess that I had never heard the word gnocchi until I went home for the weekend with some college friends and watched their Italian relatives made a big batch for dinner. I watched the process -- starting with the baked potatoes -- from start to finish, and -- in the end -- they were delicious! Homemade gnocchi, however, was not in the recipe books or on the home menus of anyone else I knew, so it turns out that I didn't think about gnocchi again for fifteen years.

In 1993, my husband Gerry and I moved to Philadelphia where the grocery stores carried many more international choices than the stores we were used to back in Indiana. We wanted to try everything new! There was ready - made gnocchi, available right on the shelf or packaged under refrigeration in the deli case. I thought back to that long - ago home cooked dinner of tiny homemade potato dumplings, and tossed a package into our cart.

One thing we all know, no matter the circumstances, moving is mega - stressful for everyone concerned. Gerry and I were no exception. One Saturday, a few weeks into the transition, we were so angry at each other over some renovation issue or other that we could barely speak or make eye contact. As is so often the case, we can no longer even remember the precise cause of our discontent. Perhaps we were hangry? Perhaps we needed a nap or a snack. After all, it was lunchtime, so I decided to try the prepared gnocchi that we had picked up at the store. I tossed it into the boiling water as the instructions recommended and, very unceremoniously, served it up.

We each took a tentative first bite, shook our heads, puffed out our cheeks, looked each other in the eye for the first time in hours and -- to whatever extent you can when your mouth is full of library paste -- began laughing uncontrollably. These were definitely more gummy than fluffy, not the tender tasty gourmet morsels that I had been thinking of. We worked our way through a few bites, chomping and snickering. Without even meaning to, the horrible store - bought gnocchi had resolved our argument and restored our sense of humor! Ever since that day, over twenty-five years ago, we don't even have to say the word gnocchi: we just puff our cheeks and are transported to that silly time of comic relief when, thanks to a clump of potato pasta, it became impossible to remain angry any longer.

Maybe the delicious variety of gnocchi requires a personal touch. E.g., the elegant plateful you see above was prepared by my friend Beata, an excellent cook who knows all the delectable homemade secrets!

Missing Each Other's Cooking
During This Time of Social Distancing

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Hail Thee, Festival Foods!

Hail Thee, Festival Day!
Lyrics by
Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus (530 - 600)
Music by
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 - 1958)
Hard boiled but not yet dyed.
To color or not?
Thanks for all the great suggestions!

I’m not one to make this for the holidays,
but during times of plague and pestilence . . .
it’s what’s for dinner!

The Bunny Made It Through!

My Aunt Sue
even colors the insides!

Ancient Hindu Blessing

The ritual is One
The food is One
We who offer the food are One
The fire of hunger is also One
All action is One
We who understand this are One.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Things Can Always Get Worse

I do not know—
If I go from here to some
Yet more hateful place,
Perhaps even these lodgings
Will stir nostalgic regret.

~ The Emperor Go-Uda ~
(1267 - 1324)


It's Paschaltide, and our thoughts turn to Moses & Peter, who figure prominently in the Old & New Testament stories associated with the season.
"He is on the track of Canaan all his life; it is incredible that he should see the land only when on the verge of death. This dying vision of it can only be intended to illustrate how incomplete a moment is human life, incomplete because a life like that can last forever and still be nothing but a moment. Moses fails to enter Canaan not because his life is too short but because it is a human life" (100 & 259).

Not specifically about Moses,
but pertinent to his dilemma:

"What I am really afraid of, dearest Ava, is to die with the feeling that the abundant blessings which the Lord has bestowed on me will have been wasted. I feel as though I have not fulfilled my promise or my mission. That is cruelest of all. . . . I wish I could find a way so that whatever meager gifts I have as an artist might feed me, keep me in the world, give me meaningful work and community. But truthfully . . . I fear that it is no longer possible, that I derailed myself somewhere back there, not willingly and somehow not even unconsciously, but stupidly, blindly ruled somehow by my excessive passion and not by what you generously call my formidable intelligence" (200).

from Carole Maso's novel AVA
(more on Kitti's List & Quotidian)

"And about the space of one hour after, another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean.

And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.

And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

And Peter went out, and wept bitterly."

Luke 22:59-62 (KJV)

See also: "Confession & Cancelation" by Nadia Bolz - Weber
"But I’d like to suggest that Jesus didn’t choose Peter because he was the first to confess Christ…after all, Peter’s moment of glory lasted about 10 seconds before he said something stupid enough for Jesus to say get behind me Satan.

I don’t think that Jesus chose Peter because Peter understood everything or because Peter had the best prayer life or because Peter had the mildest personality and he just “seemed” like a pastor. And Peter wasn’t exactly chosen because of his loyalty - lest we forget, it was Peter who denied Jesus. Three times, if you recall. And here’s the real kicker: I don’t think Jesus chose Peter DESPITE the fact that Peter would deny Jesus three times on the night he died. I think Jesus chose Peter BECAUSE Peter would deny him.

Jesus knew that only a forgiven sinner could really preach the Gospel. It’s always been that way so I’m not sure at what point the church decided it’s leaders were to be sinless examples of perfect piety. I might not give them the keys to my house but only a forgiven sinner can be really trusted with the keys of the kingdom."

For more about
Peter's strengths and flaws,
listen to "Peter the Rock"
Words & music by Gerry McCartney
(click title to locate CD & click on the playlist at 33:58 to listen)

This Year's Paschal Moon

Monday, April 6, 2020

Alright With the World

~ "Like a seed in a sunflower." ~
Thanks to my friend Carmen Balfour for this charming drawing,
created in honor of her grand-daughter's 18th birthday.
Carmen writes: "It's elementary
but she wanted me to do it so no way I wouldn't!"


You say all right, I say alright . . .

At times like these, when all is definitely not right with world,* poems like this one (and this one) by Ted Hughes remind us not to miss the hidden details of order and ceremony, right down to the seed in the sunflower:

The Warm and the Cold

Freezing dusk is closing
Like a slow trap of steel
On trees and roads and hills and all
That can no longer feel.
But the carp is in its depth
Like a planet in its heaven.
And the badger in its bedding
Like a loaf in the oven.
And the butterfly in its mummy
Like a viol in its case.
And the owl in its feathers
Like a doll in its lace.

Freezing dusk has tightened
Like a nut screwed tight
On the starry aeroplane
Of the soaring night.
But the trout is in its hole
Like a chuckle in a sleeper.
The hare strays down the highway
Like a root going deeper.
The snail is dry in the outhouse**
Like a seed in a sunflower.

The owl is pale on the gatepost
Like a clock on its tower.

Moonlight freezes the shaggy world
Like a mammoth of ice -
The past and the future
Are the jaws of a steel vice.
But the cod is in the tide-rip
Like a key in a purse.
The deer are on the bare-blown hill
Like smiles on a nurse.
The flies are behind the plaster
Like the lost score of a jig.
Sparrows are in the ivy-clump
Like money in a pig.

Such a frost
The flimsy moon
Has lost her wits.

A star falls.

The sweating farmers
Turn in their sleep
Like oxen on spits.
[emphasis added]

by Ted Hughes (1930 - 1998)
in his book Season Songs (1976) & Collected Poems (2003)


*As in Robert Browning's famous yet ironic song:

The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn:
God's in his heaven—
All's right with the world!
[emphasis added]

**And what a rare coincidence, considering how few snails there are in literature, that both Browning and Hughes include snail imagery in their pictures of a perfect universe!

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 3, 2020

Springtime Before Corona

I know it's a daffodil!

. . . The daffodils
Were incidental gilding of the deeds,
Treasure trove. They simply came,
And they kept on coming.
As if not from the sod but falling from heaven.
Our lives were still a raid on our own good luck.
We knew we'd live forever. We had not learned
What a fleeting glance of the everlasting
Daffodils are. Never identified
The nuptial flight of the rarest epherma-
Our own days!
We thought they were a windfall.
Never guessed they were a last blessing. . . .

from the poem Daffodils
by Ted Hughes (1930 - 1998)
in his book Birthday Letters: Poems

Scottish Daffodils (above & below)
Photographed by my friend Victoria Amador
~ Early Spring 2020 ~