Monday, November 29, 2010


"I am an ignorant pilgrim, crossing a dark valley. And yet for a long time, looking back I have been unable to shake off the feeling that I have been led..." Wendell Berry.
Yesterday afternoon Kathy G called and said she had a gift for me. I walked over and she gave me two bags of cranberries because she knows I love them. I was close to Marlene's so I stopped there for a few minutes. Later as I walked homeward I thought about Paul Simon's song, "She had diamonds on the soles of her feet." Because I was wearing my ice grippers that never wear out.
Today Annie, Cedar and I were on the road again. We had to deliver a pair of moccasins fully beaded by Annie. They were stunning! It was for an elder honoring. Jim S was retiring from the NAYC. Lynn L hosted the gathering and had invited a drum with six singers. We all enjoyed a wonderful round dance. The food was really great! As we sat in a circle of about 40 people I realized that I was the only one wearing red socks. In fact all other socks were black, gray or brown. It must have been a sock standard to which I was not privy. Gifts were exchanged and since we were expecting a winter storm we got back on the road about 3:30. We ran into snow on #73 and came creeping along until we got to Grand Rapids. There the road improved and we hurried on to Deer River, arriving at 8:30.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Van Gogh felt himself imprisoned by poverty, excluded from certain work and many things seemed beyond his reach. Of course, he was often melancholy, empty and discouraged. He was hungry for affection, too. "There may be a great fire in our soul, and no one ever comes to warm himself at it."
Robert Frost wrote, "Ballads lead their life in the mouths and ears of (wo)men by hear-say like bluebirds and flickers in the nest holes of hollow trees." Now there's a splendid gathering of words!
There are too many aggressive goldfinches at the window feeders. The friendly little chickadees are no longer coming.
Van Gogh, "A just or unjustly ruined reputation, poverty, fatal circumstances, adversity - they are what make men prisoners." He also named other ways to cage people. They are the prisoners of prejudice, misunderstanding, ignorance, mistrust and false shame. He often felt cut off from others, shut in, confined, buried. Did the door of his cell ever open? He escaped captivity when he experienced deep affection, friendship, being a brother, love. "Where sympathy is renewed, life is restored."
Two things surprise me about Van Gogh; one of his most recommended books was "Uncle Tom's Cabin", by Stowe, and although he was a young man he sometimes suffered with sore feet.
He had an incredible depth of sympathy toward others and although I haven't seen it in this book (so far) a profound recognition of the sacredness of all beings. A tender compassion for those who work and labor for pennies is a constant thread running through these pages.
The summer I was 11-12 an older cousin came to stay with us in Mpls. We lived on Riverside. One day I discovered him on the phone singing "The Lovesick Blues" to some girl. I was too young to appreciate his lovesick state and laughed at him. This was a nearly fatal mistake and he took to punching me when no one was looking. I told my mother he should go back to White Earth. "Why?" she asked. "Because he's trying to kill me." "Nonsense! You're always trying to make mole hills into mountains." So I started practicing how to lie in a casket. But it wasn't long when our relationship changed and he became my champion! But I almost had to die to gain his sympathy! I had to fall from the limestone cliffs of the Ms. R., dislocate my hip bones, scrape off half my face and break both arms!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Although I know poetry must have drama I find some poetry/poems become remote and obscure when the writer makes too great an effort toward the mystic. At some point it becomes too tedious and the reader will turn the page or close the book. Reading a poem must give me access to some new and wonderful thought or I will not expend the effort it might take to find the level of pleasure I seek in words.
Robert Frost, "Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting."
I do feel that some poets are asking me to climb mountains when I only wish to stroll a pleasant rise.
The goldfinches in their winter feathers have been at the feeder off and on all day. If I left the window open with a plate of seeds on the sill I might get them inside!
April 1876, Vincent Van Gogh, "At half past three in the morning the birds began to sing at the sight of dawn..." I recall a young man telling me of such an experience. I was working in the old Bemidji High School. His eyes shone and he gasped on his words as he told me of this extraordinary personal discovery. It was to him so unique he could have been the first and the last person to hear the birds raise the sun.
Pearl's daughter is in NY for two weeks so I took her shopping. I also did some sewing and washed two loads of laundry. I've been reading "Dear Theo", the autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh. I could wish the type a bit larger.

Friday, November 26, 2010


"And there is life everywhere. A porter with his wheelbarrow, a man who is leaning against the railing of the bridge and looking into the water, a woman in black with a white bonnet." Vincent Van Gogh. Do we see life everywhere? I try. Do I succeed? Sometimes I do!
Robert Frost has a wonderful comment for the poet. "For me the initial delight is in the surprise of remembering something I didn't know I knew." I have stumbled into revelations just like that! I didn't know where I was going and suddenly I was arrived!
I had heard "The First Noel" many times and even sung it. But I never felt it until I heard it expressed by Elvis P. He didn't tell us the shepherds were cold... he made us shiver as we pulled our tattered robes closer around us. He didn't tell us they were alone and alive without hope... he isolated us on the dark slopes and wrapped us in despair. Then he ripped the sky open and we saw the angels coming!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Robert Frost offered this about poetry. "Theme alone can slow us down." He also points out two poetic mysteries. 1. how a poem can have a tune. 2. how a poem can have wildness and at the same time a subject.
At 8AM we were on our way to Hayward, WI, to spend the day with Charles and family. Of course, the food was good and the children played out in the snow. The big bonus was finding granddaughter Alyssa was there. She's seven now. I'd brought a box of small plaster cast dogs and puppies with paints. Charles went out to purchase a pkg of paint brushes. I wanted them to have a concrete memory of the gathering. After dark everyone (except me) played hide 'n' seek. The seeker was armed with a light saber. Some hiders were never found! Charles was really glad to see me! We got back to Deer River quite late and I was exhausted.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I dreamed that Annie, Justice, Geezis, Cedar, Walt Scott and I were in India making a documentary to raise awareness of hunger and shelter issues. We had a jeep and trailer for carrying our equipment. Everyone rode in the jeep but me... I sat on the equipment. We visited several families and were welcomed with affectionate respect. Everyone dressed in their finest clothes and the tables were spread with an abundance of food. The household members had also prepared songs, skits and dances for us! We filmed everything. As we went along the jeep began to fail so I would have to walk uphill. Later the jeep could not move forward with me in the trailer. Walt was driving. "How far to the next stop?" I asked. "Three miles," he said. "I can walk three miles and meet you there," I declared. Then he said, "But what about the crocodiles? They frequently cross this road between the waterways." I was awake instantly, leaving Walt and everyone on a dusty road in India.
We had a terrific breakfast at the Taxxi. I had the Swedish sausage breakfast with lefsa and lingonberries. I felt very continental.
Annie and Cedar went for a swim and I caught up with the journal. Then we left for the north and reached Deer River just before the heavy snow began to fall.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I dreamed I had a dog! It was a white/blue poodle. We were having such fun! I was disappointed to wake up and find myself alone.
Annie, Cedar and I were on the road to Mpls by 1 PM. The tar got better and better as we rolled south. The ice rain had been caught in the trees. So we had a journey through a glass forest with crystal candles in the tree tops. Every tall blade of grass was also encrusted. What wonderful vistas waited over every rise.
We got lost looking for the Mpls Tech Coll witnessed a near tragedy. A young man saved himself from death or injury by leaping up on a car that was going to hit him. We all screamed as he propelled himself to safety. His strength and agility saved him.
Lynn L called via cell phone from Chicago and directed us to our destination! Our student host Lance was waiting in the foyer and took us to the auditorium. Johnny Smith from Red Lake was emcee. Four students offered their poetry, Marcie Rendon read, Bobby Wilson spoke his poems, Annie sang and I read two short poems. Then Lance took us to the cafeteria for Indian tacos. He put three tables together so we could have a party. It sure was fun! Paul T joined us and told me about his great American journey around the states and into Canada. I got a few cards from him while he was gone.
When they started turning out the lights we knew it was time to leave. Lance took us to the Hyatt Hotel. Our room was on the 20th floor. Cedar and I were mesmerized by the "bright array of city lights."

Monday, November 22, 2010


Annie and I to GR to run errands, visit the library and have a good talk. It was fun to hear about her new job and the students. But Geezis has developed respiratory problems and painful knees. She will see doctor soon.
Thoreau, "I got up early and bathed in the pond; that was a religious exercise, and one of the best things I did." Bathing is a religious exercise even if done in a bathtub. Thoreau knew that, too. He said that one measures increasing character by the ring in the tub.
I decided to relax with a movie and selected an old film entitled "The Story of Seabiscuit". It stars Barry Fitzgerald and Shirley Temple. It was a predictable tale and not too interesting. One of the unexpected pleasures was seeing all those vintage cars!
Robert Frost wrote of sentences. "All that can save them is the speaking tone of voice somehow entangled in the words fastened to the page for the ear of the imagination." I love finding my ears pinned to my imagination after so many uninformed years of believing they were merely attached to the sides of my head!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Wallis prepared a nice breakfast, we made our goodbyes and I left when it was light. I was almost to Bena when the snow caught up to me. I was, of course, relieved when I slid into my parking slot behind Deer Crest Manor.
"So much of life is wasted in loneliness." Vincent Van Gogh.
In Steph's package there was a note to Cedar, "The blue heart necklaces are for you (the smaller) and an older bigger person to show you share the same heart song." I suggested she give it to her mother."No," she said, "I want you to have it." Oh, how blessed I am!
Thoreau, "But I retained the landscape and I have annually carried off what it yielded without a wheel barrow."
I made about 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies from scratch and carried most of them from door to door. Then I played Skip-Bo with Pearl and Evie, and I won! So Evie said, "Thanks for the cookies. Now go home." She was teasing.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Annie and kids did not stay at the homeless camp. It was too cold. They went home to hot chocolate and warm beds. An option the homeless do not have.
Cedar and I enjoyed a delightful morning and Annie came for her in early afternoon. Soon I was driving West and arrived at Bemidji library for first program on my Kitchigami library tour.
I'd left a note on Wallis' door telling her that I'd be back to spend the night if she had a bunk for me.
The new branch manager is Paul, he fills B-C's former position. He gave me a quick tour and explained the set up. Later I just wandered up and down between the rows of books. I recalled a day when I challenged Brandon to find the smallest cook book in the library. And he did.
After an hour of telling and talking, singing and dancing... I was worn out and used up. As I was leaving several people wanted to talk. One young man is learning Greek so I gave him my book bag from Greece (Angeline). Most of the other people wanted to thank me and touch hands. But one man wanted to know more about Leonard Peltier. I was walked out to my car by novelist Kevin McColley. We'd met several years ago at Sister Wolf in Dorset. I hadn't seen him for a long time so we had a brief and pleasant chat.
I got back to Cass Lake before the snow came. Lamaya was also out seeking shelter. So we three had a three generations slumber party.

Friday, November 19, 2010


My dear and precious friend, Larry Cloud Morgan, wrote a poem about facing the fourth hill of our elderhood. "Our dreams must tell us what we cannot speak, Like footprints to Ishpiming (heaven) Weaving the winds to sing Fanning the stars to shine Lighting the trail to the sacred mound Where we say 'Mountain, you are beautiful And I am not afraid'." I see Larry on the other side holding his hands out to us. "Don't be afraid", he says in his soft and gracious way.
I received two parcels in the mail. Steph sent a lovely wooden box from Honduras with a collection of costume jewelry for Cedar and me to share. Angeline sent a small jar of mushrooms from France and fig biscuits. I love mushrooms. Both Cedar and I love figs.
The maintenance man arrived to repair the kitchen drawer and the closet door. He is a pleasant, cheerful, courteous young man. Also efficient, energetic and enthusiastic about getting things back into proper working order. Not everyone enjoys their work as much as he does.
I got Cedar after school and she will spend the night as Annie and the big kids went to the homeless camp in GR. Cedar and I worked on the bird puzzle. She assembled the blue jay, two cardinals, four chickadees and a cedar waxwing.
We read a story about an elephant named Shirley who now lives at the Elephant Sanctuary in TN. We found it on the web. There was a profile of Shirley but none for her friend Jenny. So we wrote to the director. Cedar mailed the card. We look for a timely response.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I heard Scott Hall talking about my upcoming Kitchigami library tour on KAXE this morning.
May S was happy! "Oh, What a rare friend is she (Susan) with whom I can share poetry." I have just such a friend! Sharon Saxton also enjoys poetry. We have shared verses, exchanged names and even fell in love with the same dead poet at the same time! In Barbara's Mallard Island album 2010 there is a photo of me reading to Sharon. She sits in rapt attention and I see a childlike quality upon her. I was reading A.E. Houseman, about the athlete who died young. We shared a cabin and often read to each other at night. But the photo makes it clear that we both love poetry and we also enjoy a loving friendship.
In his winter journal Thoreau wrote, "Still grows the vivacious lilac a generation after the door and lintel and sill are gone, unfolding its sweet-scented flowers each spring..." He further describes the lilac as "tender, civil and cheerful." In my wanderings I have often come upon lilacs in a field and after a brief search find evidence of old houses and sheds. I have wondered who planted the roots, added water to the soil and nurtured them along until they grew taller than a man then crowded the sky above the house.
Wallis and Gerry gave come and gone twice today! I have carried my pies from door to door and no one said, "Skat with that!"
There has been a death in our building.Pearl has been crying all day. She had her lovable cat Hershey euthanized. Hershey was 15, had an internal growth and was unable to keep food down. I went down to tell Dorothy that Coco is now the official pet mascot of Deer Crest Manor and offered my services as dog walker.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


When May S awakened on Thursday, Nov 18, 1982 she wondered what joy she would find in her day. As I consider tomorrow I expect the joy of Cedar's early arrival. Also, my daughter Wallis and niece Geraldine are coming. I made two pies in anticipation of visitors. A pumpkin and a cherry. I promised Gloria and Ed a slice of cherry tomorrow.
Every morning six pigeons come flapping out of the south. They follow a path through the sky. Then they swoop up to the roof. They always roost over my window. After a few minutes they leave together with a great commotion as if overtaken by a sudden alarm. So I have begun to call my little tree top flat by a new name. Pigeon's Roost. It suits me... for now.
Thoreau: "When the ponds were firmly frozen, they afforded not only new and shorter routes to many points, but new views from their surfaces of the familiar landscape around them." When Brandon was quite young I took him out on the ice of Steamboat Lake. Then we laid down and looked up into the bright sky. I remember feeling very small and insignificant. After a long time I began to feel cold and said we should go home. He didn't more. He told me he wanted to stay. I said I'd wait for him at the shore. So I walked back alone. After every 20 steps I'd look back at him. He soon became a dark spot on an enormous field of white. At the tree line I made myself comfortable and waited. At last he got up and waved his arms.When he got off the lake we stood looking out at the place we had been. Then we went home for toast and soup.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


My mother always enjoyed those little snowbirds. She'd squeal with delight when they fluttered up as we rode past. Now it's my turn to point them out to Cedar with the same joy my mother expressed when she pointed them out to me.
May S wrote in 1982, "The November evenings are somber, but I love the smells, damp leaves and salt from the ocean."
Thoreau left good words for my consideration. "See those clouds; how they hang! That's the greatest thing I have seen today."
The greatest thing I've seen today was little Cedar turning to smile and wave from the second step of school bus #17. What's the greatest thing about your today?

Monday, November 15, 2010


Cedar had injured her toe and couldn't wear her shoes so she spent the day with me. I put a cartoon on for her while I did 2 loads of laundry and sewed up a lot of Seminole patchwork.
"Snow settles Over the nettles. Where is the voice I heard crying?" Edna St Vincent Millay. But today it is Thoreau who feeds my spirit. "In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick, too, to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line."
The velcro tabs on Cedar's jacket were so fuzzed up they didn't close. So we each took a tweezers and plucked them clean. It really was fun! We laughed and made silly jokes. We also retrieved the bird feeder which had fallen from our second floor window. As we gathered the fallen objects Connie opened her window and we had a brief chat. I wonder how often she finds a visitor at her window?
Last Friday I took Cedar to see the endangered animal babies, cubs of the big cats. We made a $2 donation. Cedar was disappointed that she couldn't enter the cages. Later in the car she sulked. I said it would be nice if she thanked me. But she went on pouting. When we got back to the flat and I had forgotten her bad mood she came to me and softly said, "Thank you, Gramma, for taking me to see the endangered babies." I said, "I was glad to do it. I want us to enjoy our time together. I love you very much." She smiled and nodded, "I know."

Sunday, November 14, 2010


May S wrote in her journal on the 13th, "All I ask is to write poems." She was trying something new, a series of prose poems entitled "Letters from Maine".
Meridel LeSueur wrote her strong opinion concerning violence. "Now from city to city the real source of violence in American life was naked - the violence of corporate wealth able to starve you, control your jobs, your life, your being. This is the true violence."
I cut the 10 yards of fabric I'd sewn into 36X4 inch strips into 1 1/4 inch pieces. I have quite a stack! But I didn't sew.
Gloria came over with a piece of cake for me. Ed and Randy were visiting in their flat so she came over to visit me in my flat. Later Dale came with a check for Wallis. Then Marlene called and we went out for dinner.
When I got home I worked on the puzzle, read some from "A Lesson Before Dying" and watched a movie. "The Jackie Robinson Story" has not been restored so it looks and sounds just like the movies I saw when I was quite young. It has black lines and white spots on the film. Bits of dust and hair can be seen around the edge of the picture. The music is too slow and the background noise sounds like someone frying eggs. Robinson played himself. It tries to tell how racism kept black athletes out of professional sports. They say he broke the color barrier for other black athletes. I'd like to know more about him.
I worked on a roundup letter, too. But since I have no printer I e-mailed it to those who had written to me in longhand and had mailed the letters and cards by snail-mail. Two on the list had no e-mail so I will write them tomorrow.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


This morning the mail box offered a card, a personal letter, a gift certificate and a letter from Social Security. The official letter was slashed with yellow highlighter. The yellow sentences screamed up into my ignorant face, "Now read this and understand!" Some such letters are marked with a tiny x to indicate where your attention is needed. The x is less pugnacious.
I have begun reading "A Lesson Before Dying" by Ernest Gaines. I'd opened the book with a cup of hot coffee beside me. The pages held my attention in a firm grip and when I turned to the coffee I found it had grown cold and exceedingly bitter.
Kathy G called. She needed a ride to the grocery store. I needed a few things, too. Later as I waited for her, I stood beside the car. I noticed a tree full of dark birds. I wondered what they were singing as the snow began to fall. I walked closer and they fluttered to the ground to fill their gizzards with wild seeds. They were clearly excited! They whistled, creaked, chortled and a sweet pipe was heard among them.
It's been snowing all afternoon and the ground is covered. The leafless trees are iced with white frosting.
My friend Cash had a Q. "How do animals find us? Do you suppose it's our unpleasant body odors"? I considered this for a moment and decided, "They find us by the color of our breath rising up into the sky."

Friday, November 12, 2010


Wallis is on the move again. She's returning to our old house. She'll be closer to her grands and has lifelong friends nearby. I'll miss having her to bum around with. Chey and Gene are exploring the idea of moving to Seattle.
I put most of my 'new' puzzles in the community room shelves and packed a box of 'old' puzzles for Anita. I'll start assembling a Christmas wreath puzzle as soon as I finish the one that's on the table now. If I find it quite festive I'll glue it together and put it up near my door. If it's not festive enough I will embellish it with beads and bows.
I got my orthotics (sp) today. There had been some discussion of reconstructive surgery but I want to try the braces. The bones in my feet and ankles are going away. I'm good for 2-3 blocks and then I need to sit. The braces will keep me upright and reduce the pain of walking. No, they are not Frankenstein boots. I'm breaking them in... or are they breaking me in? I wore them for a couple of hours today and can feel the rest of my body adjusting. The doctor suggested that I find a ground level flat or a place with an elevator. But the stairs are actually easier with the braces. I never dreamed that I would outlive my feet!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Armistice Day... Day of Peace... End of War. "Global consciousness, a global world. Not a global imperialism, but human collectivism; not cultural imperialism, but global consciousness of new human relationships... global solidarity." Meridel LeSueur.
When I was a child I was told again and again. Reminded beyond forgetting. "You were born the winter of the great storm." So I was conscious of being a storm baby, I grew into a storm child and after many years I have become a storm crone.
Joyce Sutphen, "Alone let me listen closer to the day, let me hear the wind between the leaves."
Today I got my new eye glasses. It will take time to become accustomed to the ridge that slashes my vision. It's like looking through a plate of cracked ice. I must wait for it to thaw into seamless crystal.
Melanie's bouquet has become almost a companion. I have come to rely on its joyful presence.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I knew there would be an emotional letdown today so I have fortified myself against any disappointment. But the party continues! A call came from Chey and Gene in Seattle wishing me a good day. The mail brought two more cards and a pkg. E-mails are still arriving, too. The pkg from Sharon H contains a copy of Barbara L's wonderful album of photos from our Mallard Island adventure of 2010. It's a lovely collection of images. Thanks Sharon.
May S was enjoying one of the luxuries of a successful writer's life. "I sat there watching it (day) fade (into dusk), and the coming and going of wings in the air at the bird feeders. It was peaceful."
Today I opened "What Do We Know", Mary Oliver. On page 41 she asks, "What would you like to see again?" The answer, "My dog: her energy and exuberance, her willingness..." So I decided this collection must go on a journey to Sharon S. Just 2 days ago she had her dear and loyal black lab, Katy, euthanized. How lonely my dear little friend must be today.
What would I like to see again? Blue Canyon in AZ. What would you like to see again?
I'm reading a biography of Marilyn Monroe by DH Wolfe. I appreciate how he expresses her as an intelligent, sensitive, passionate artist. A woman of emotional depth and breadth who was adored by her public but often misused and abused by the people around her.
Mel came over after work with a lovely selection of cut flowers! She didn't want to stay so we stood at the door and had a brief conversation. I gave her 3 decks of playing cards for The Boys and Girls Club. She will put them to good use.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


A huge box arrived from Florida today. Inside were 21 jigsaw puzzles. It must have been a puzzle just packing them into the box. Thanks Laura! They will get me through the long Minnesota winter. Thanks Anita!
My new motto will see me through the next 10 years. It is "Provoking the future!" It starts tomorrow when I wake up.
My first phone call of the day came from Wallis. She was joined by the sweet voice of Lamaya in singing a celebratory happy birthday duet. It was just beautiful!
Yesterday Lamaya, 5, witnessed a horrendous episode of animal cruelty. It's been bothering me off and on all day. So I went for a late walk to dust off my thoughts. As I stepped along I smelled cigarette smoke and, looking around, saw a husky man dressed in a uniform standing in the shadows. "Friend of foe?" I asked. (I wanted to say, "Saxon or Celt".) He replied, "I'm on duty." With renewed confidence I continued along the dark road. At the end of that dirt road is the tar street and the rest of the way is well-lit. I enjoyed the playful leaves tumbling along. Their dry delicate whispers were like messages from summer.
What a year this has been and next year, which begins tomorrow, will be as dear... or more dear.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Last night I went to sleep wondering how to assemble a short strip of fabric into Seminole patchwork. This morning I awakened with the solution. Chevrons. Sleep on it, they like to say. And so I have. Our minds must be busy all the time.
Thoreau wrote, "Instead of calling on some scholar I paid many a visit to particular trees." I know of no scholar that would select my company but many trees have welcomed me to share an hour, or a day in their glad company.
May S had made an important decision at 70. "To make every effort to live in eternity's light, not in time." She had given up on a love affair but would turn her attention to poetry as if nothing else mattered.
Saige got his first deer on the first day of the 2010 season on his first deer hunt!
The chevron idea works! I started with about 2 feet but the cut sew cut sew process reduced it to 8 inches.
Birthday cards have been arriving. Sharon H called to say a package is in the mail.
Mel and I went to Bemidji. We wanted to see a film at the Native American Resource Center, BSU. They showed "Smoke Signals". It was fun to see John Trudell, Gary Farmer, Jim Boyd and other famous Indians on the huge screen. But after Mel saw Elaine Miles driving backwards across the reservation she thought we might try it. Fortunately she came to her senses before she could get the car in reverse.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


"Autumn is a fine season... At night there is the high wedge and honk of birds flying south... making the woodpile grow..." Some words from Meridel LeSueur... and me. Thoreau had spent many days "trying to hear what was in the wind..." Then Yeats offered his advice, "Never give all the heart For everything that's lovely is But a brief, dreamy kind delight..."
Sewed 10 yards of fabric strips for Seminole patchwork. Will try to find time to cut tomorrow. Perhaps assemble and sew a bit, too. It's a long process. But beautiful results. Also baked ginger cookies. Cedar likes them.
I dreamed that I opened the door and found Robert Duvall standing on the welcome mat. "I come to help you move," he said. I looked him up and down. I thought, "He couldn't move a box of feathers." He laughed in that embarrassed way he has and said, "Well, I brought a friend who is big and strong." In stepped Sidney Poitier. He was very young and dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and tie. He had just stepped out of the old movie, "To Sir, With Love". I had to tell them the truth. "I'm not moving at this time." They both smiled and bowed. I closed the door on two old heroes.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


In my dream I was walking down a dirt road. It was dark but for the stars. I didn't know where I was but I knew where I was going. My right ankle was hurting. Suddenly I heard someone walking behind me and turned to find a horse following me. He asked, "Wanna ride?" "Yes, a ride would be well appreciated. I'm going home," I said. He got down so I could get on his back. At first I enjoyed riding through the night but I was not getting home. I told the horse to stop and let me down. The horse did not speak but kept going. I knew it was a dream so I woke up and found myself at home and no horse in sight.
Gladys T was focused on personal gratitude because she found it "too easy to let the world's trouble sweep over one in a dark flood..." Well we know what Thoreau would tell us. "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."
Ed got Gloria and I each a mechanical parrot. It dances and it sings. It has a recorder and repeats what it hears. Cedar is going to have fun with it.

Friday, November 5, 2010


May S had only one word for today (1982), "Dismal". Gladys T was giving her books away, as am I. She wrote, "I find this a great emotional upheaval. Every book was somebody's dream once..." She went on to say that each book represented struggle, anguish, joy and pain. Thoreau wrote, "Every man (woman) looks at his (her) woodpile with a kind of affection." Yes, I have loved many and many woodpiles. I couldn't help myself. They had so much to offer. I still love a good pile of wood when I see it... so full of promises of warm days and cozy nights.
HH Humphrey, "A man without a job, without any opportunity to care for himself and his family develops a sense of bitterness and rejection." For many who are poor... their friends are poor... they may live in poor neighborhoods, depressed communities, a culture of poverty.
At the library today Cedar and I got a printed list of Hans Christian Anderson's published stories. There are 27 on the list and we have read 4. So we have many more pages to turn with Cedar snuggled close against me... images dancing through her mind.
When we were in NM several years ago we visited Allan Houser's sculpture garden. We took many photos. As I was leaving, one of the young men gave me a small chair he'd made from broken bits of bronze. Then about 2 months ago I found an old book entitled "Blue Canyon Horse" written by Ann Nolan Clark, illustrated by Allan Houser. When I did a residency at the Museum of the American Indian in DC Houser's work was on exhibit. I visited it daily... usually more than once a day. The stone nations were so warm, alive and communicative.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Unemployment in MN is nearly at 10%. HD Thoreau wrote of poverty. "Some of you... are poor, find it hard to live, are sometimes, as it were, gasping for breath." He referred to it as an "ancient slough". JC said, "The poor are always with us." The by-products of poverty include shame, misery, degradation, poor health care, hopelessness. There is also hunger, desperation, crime and even domestic violence.
My grandmother made good meals from cans of horse meat. But one night my grandfather slammed his fist into the table and said, "I will not eat dog food again." He put on his jacket and left the house. My Gramma and I ate in silence. Just before bedtime he returned, embraced both of us and a ate a plate of meatloaf made from horse meat.
Poverty is a terrible burden for a family to bear. Poverty is often expressed in statistics that try to separate it from humanity.
I went to the Eye Q in GR and have heard that my left eye is somewhat improved but the right eye is worse. New glasses next week. I shall fling myself into reading!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Gladys T, "For one Thoreau there is a mort of best-selling books, ephemeral as mayflies." Now for a word from our friend Henry. Sir, can you tell us about your abode? "My house was on the side of a hill, immediately on the edge of the larger wood, in the midst of a young forest of pitch pines and hickories, and half a dozen rods from the pond, to which a narrow foot path led down the hill." Oh, I can see it! I can feel the narrow path under my feet!
Pearl made cake and I took it door to door for her. Later I went to the Redd Shedd and had lunch with Wallis. She's going to CL for a few days.
To celebrate my 7th decade I have adopted a new motto. "Kiss me goodbye." Justice has held it to his heart. I'm so pleased to be taken seriously by a 17-yr-old grandson. Chey and Gene are leaving for Seattle tomorrow. What an adventure for them!
I'm listening to "The Love Songs of Italy" and I feel that I want to cry. Nevertheless, I'm going to add some of them to my i-tunes collection on the pc. Because, you see, "I know what it is to be young." Orson Welles.
Today I read "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" to Cedar and she asked who wrote it. HCA I told her. "He also wrote 'Thumbelina' and 'The Little Mermaid'." Then Cedar added, "And 'The Ugly Duckling' and 'The Little Match Girl'.' Isn't she a wonderful child! How fortunate for us that we can be together at this time. I at the end of my earth journey and she at the beginning.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


"Peace is too expensive!" from "Cradle will Rock". Yes, the script implies, the market rises on the wings of war and every wo/man has her/his price... of does s/he? I did know that Orson Welles is often portrayed as arrogant and verbally brutal. But I did not know he was a creative genius of great cerebral capacity and high courage. What an impact this movie makes.
Gladys T, "We like to eat down by the pond..." and so would I. Verlyn K urges us to be ready to part with the days that have passed and so I shall. "Going into winter takes confidence," he tells us.
I feel quite clever because I was able to post "Grandmother's Gift" to Amazon and it will be ready for Kindle in 24 hours. Also I joined the old VHS player and the tiny portable DVD player. Now I can view both on VHS. I am unable to get the DVD audio to VHS but it's fine for me and Cedar does not complain.
We returned from Grand Rapids under a bright rose-red sky with a full rainbow over us.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Gladys T wrote, "Some of the days in November carry the whole memory of summer." Keats asks, "Where are the songs of spring?" Verlyn K had watched snow fall "out of a goose gray sky". He felt he'd fallen far behind the season. I feel that I've fallen behind, too. With no hope of catching up. But I opened a random book to a random page and read a few random words by Sue Monk Kidd. "I felt a lavish sweep of happiness..." What does that stir in me? What does that stir in you? On this first day of Nov 2010 I look back over a long collection of moments swept by happiness. Yes, it's all there. Surely the future holds more such moments.
When the bus stopped the door folded itself open, Cedar leaped out and flew to my embrace. We took her backpack and jacket to the flat and left for a tour of the neighborhood. We plucked four soft lamb's ears and caressed them with utmost tenderness. We discovered a fuzzy dandelion snuggled in the grass. "Go away!" it begged. "I am the last of my kind." But falling to one knee Cedar snatched it up and blew the seeds away. They danced lightly on a golden breeze and promised to return multiplied. Then I pointed out a tall grass seed head that looked like a tiny squirrel tail. Cedar was delighted! Then I showed her where the silver maple had dropped its chamois-sided leaves. I'd seen them on a moonlit night and thought a gaggle of ghost geese had left their pale tracks all about. I picked up two perfect goose steps and walked them up the sky. Cedar laughed and so did I. Farther along we came upon a few flaming Japanese maple leaves caught in the grass. Of course, we set them free.