Friday, February 26, 2021

More Than What It Has Written

~ My Friend Mitzi's Hand ~
Artistically Photographed by Perceptive Granddaughter
Thanks Mitzi!

A Hand

A hand is not four fingers and a thumb.
Nor is it palm and knuckles,
not ligaments or the fat's yellow pillow,
not tendons, star of the wristbone, meander of veins.

A hand is not the thick thatch of its lines
with their infinite dramas,
nor what it has written,
not on the page,
not on the ecstatic body.

Nor is the hand its meadows of holding, of shaping—
not sponge of rising yeast-bread,
not rotor pin's smoothness,
not ink.

The maple's green hands do not cup
the proliferant rain.
What empties itself falls into the place that is open.

A hand turned upward holds only a single, transparent question.

Unanswerable, humming like bees, it rises, swarms, departs.

Jane Hirshfield, American poet, born 1953


"Hands, touching hands
Reaching out, touching me, touching you . . ."
~ Kitti's Hands ~
From College Art Appreciation Notebook

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Gaps in the Mesh


“There are gaps in the mesh of the everyday world,
and sometimes they open you,
and you fall through them into Somewhere Else.
And Somewhere Else runs at a different pace
to the here and now,
where everyone else carries on."

by Katherine May
from her book Wintering:
The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

her interview with Krista Tippett
"How ‘Wintering’ Replenishes"

May's "gaps in the mesh" remind me of this
old favorite from Grey's Anatomy,
Season 1, Episode 6:
"A couple hundred years ago Benjamin Franklin shared with the world the secret of his success. Never leave that 'til tomorrow, which you can do today. This is the man who discovered electricity; you'd think we'd pay more attention to what he had to say. I don't know why we put things off, but if I had to guess it has a lot to do with fear. Fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of rejection. Sometimes the fear if just of making a decision. Because... What if you're wrong? What if you make a mistake you can't undo? Whatever it is we're afraid of, one thing holds true: That by the time the pain of not doing the thing gets worse than the fear of doing it, it can feel like we're carrying around a giant tumor. And you thought I was speaking metaphorically... 'The early bird catches the worm.' 'A stitch in time saves nine.' 'He who hesitates is lost.' We can't pretend we haven't been told. We've all heard the proverbs, heard the philosophers, heard our grandparents warning us about wasted time; heard the damn poets urging us to seize the day. Still, sometimes we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today's possibility under tomorrow's rug until we can't anymore. Until we finally understand for ourselves what Benjamin Franklin meant. That knowing is better than wondering. That waking is better than sleeping. And that even the biggest failure, even the worst most intractable mistake, beats the hell out of not trying."
Christmas ~ Season 2, Episode 12 ~ Under the Tree

Saturday, February 20, 2021


"Here's a rosary, count on every bead . . ."
~ Emmylou Harris ~
~~ Lost & Found: One Very Unique Denim Rosary ~~

This rosary came into my life one morning about 20 years ago,
when I opened my back door, on Beaumont Street in West Philly,
and there it was on the sidewalk at the foot of my back steps.

For several weeks, I left it where any passerby could see, in case
someone came searching for a lost rosary; but it was never claimed,
so eventually, I took it in and have kept it safe in a drawer ever since.

You never know what you'll find right outside your door . . .
or hidden away in a drawer somewhere!

Speaking of drawers and crucifixes . . .

What's in My Journal

Odd things, like a button drawer. Mean
Thing, fishhooks, barbs in your hand.
But marbles too. A genius for being agreeable.
Junkyard crucifixes, voluptuous
discards. Space for knickknacks, and for
Alaska. Evidence to hang me, or to beatify.
Clues that lead nowhere, that never connected
anyway. Deliberate obfuscation, the kind
that takes genius. Chasms in character.
Loud omissions. Mornings that yawn above
a new grave. Pages you know exist
but you can't find them. Someone's terribly
inevitable life story, maybe mine.
[emphasis added]

by William Stafford ( 1914 – 1993)
from his collection Crossing Unmarked Snow

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Like Mardi Gras Beads

"Look for a lovely thing
and you will find it,
It is not far --
It never will be far."

Sara Teasdale

“The truest answer
to a question that really matters
can be found very close.”

Alice Walker

The most detailed model of ONE human cell to date,
obtained using x-rays, nuclear magnetic resonance,
and cryoelectron microscopy data sets.
Aren't we all just so filled with magical possibilities?

As Emily Dickinson said many years ago
about the use of microscopes:
" 'Faith' is a fine invention
For Gentlemen who see!
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency!"

I love what my friend Gary said
about this dazzling image:
"This is really quite difficult to comprehend.
We are a walking, talking, breathing universe.
All within our cells.
Each cell is so complex, and there are 30 trillion of them.
Like stars in the universe

And Gary's friend Sue said:
"i spilled the tangled baubles of my gramma's
jewelry box onto the dresser top.
and i'll never find that other earring

Mardi Gras ~ Cat Mask ~ Previous Post

Also . . . for Ash Wednesday

“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy.
I always knew a bottle of Port would do that.
If you want a religion to make you feel really
comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”

C. S. Lewis

Next time, Rosary Beads . . .

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Thursday, February 11, 2021

From ~ To ~ To ~ From

I love this Valentine from my friend Steven and his cat Omen because it reminds me of one of my favorite holiday quotations, so absurd that it always makes me laugh:
“It is a bad, bad plan to use up last year’s cards by returning them to the original sender, crossing ‘From Charles to Lottie’ and simply substituting ‘To Charles from Lottie.'”
from The Perfect Christmas
by Rose Henniker Heaton (b. 1884)
I know this was not Steven's plan but couldn't resist the opportunity to use Heaton's clever observation!

Here's another example / slight variation:
When Sam simply crossed out 2011 & wrote 2012;
then Ben came along and simply
added his signature next to Sam's! Haha!
Compare 2011 Sweethearts to 2021!


Or that other time,
when my sister Di sent me a Christmas card / letter,
inscribed "save til next year and re-read." Haha!

Monday, February 8, 2021

Snow Temple

". . . Snow was falling now, weaving itself into a single fabric.
He could barely make out the temple.
Every familiar thing was taking itself away
." (95 - 96)

"In any quiet town you can find a street, a field, a stand of trees, which breaks into the dreams of its citizens years after the dreamers have left home for good. For generations of dreamers in Ann Arbor the Island has beckoned . . . On the Island . . . stands a modest Greek temple with a roof like the lid of a fancy tureen and a colonnade running all around. Is it a circular temple proper to the worship of Hermes in winged cap and winged sandals, sacred to crossroads, the messenger of the dead? Is it sacred to the genius of this place?

Island Park ~ Ann Arbor, Michigan

"No. The temple is sacred to two toilets hidden at opposite ends behind appropriately marked doors. From far off, the graffiti on the doors do not show and the rough plaster walls might pass for Carrara marble. . . . you might look out of train window and think you are passing the temple of love . . . And long after you've forgotten where you are going and why you are going there, the temple will appear to you in dreams, and you will wonder if your soul lived here before it put on its burden of flesh.

"On this cloudy day the temple hung over the river like a ghostly sepulcher. Snow added its cubits to the stature of the roof, the trees, the picnic tables spread as if with that hidden fabric called "the silence cloth" by housewives who keep it under the finder damask one, to absorb the clatter of dishes and silver. Snow softened the bare limbs of the bushes. . . . A single twig was now a thing of great beauty: a wand, a power, a glory. A sign.
(93 - 94)

"A footbridge joins the right bank to . . .
the Island -- for so it is called, as if
no other island were worthy of the name
. . . " (93)


Further information concerning the magical realism
of Nancy Willard's novel, whose title
-- Things Invisible to See --
is taken from John Donne:

Song: Go and Catch a Falling Star

Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear,
No where
Lives a woman true, and fair.

If thou find'st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet;
Though she were true, when you met her,
nd last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.

John Donne (1572 - 1631)

Friday, February 5, 2021

Clearer Vision

Ironically, a year ago we joked that 2020
was going to the year of clearer vision,
as in 20 / 20. Haha!
But, alas, it was not to be.
Or was it?

Here's to better luck in 2021!
One month down, eleven to go!


Take a look at my Book Blog ~ Kitti's List

and re-read some old favorites.

May our minds be stronger tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Accomplished From Day to Day

"Every day I shall put my papers in order
and every day I shall say farewell.
And the real farewell, when it comes,
will only be a small outward confirmation
of what has been accomplished within me
from day to day."

~ Etty Hillesum (1914 – 1943) ~

More Artwork from Auntie Jan's
Worth Hall Lodge

More wisdom from Etty / Esther Hillesum