Call and Response

John Burroughs said it best: “Harvest with a quiet eye.”

Every morning and every evening, I am serenaded by a very resolute songbird. He/she is perched on a low hanging wire directly outside a window over my kitchen sink. Since I wash all my dishes by hand, from dawn to dusk, I am treated to this small bird’s boisterous concerto for what seems like forever, and long after all the other songbirds have quieted and moved on to their daily chores. Its song is a repetitive two-note high pitch that contrasts with the deep lushness of early summer green behind it. I believe the bird is a Red-Eyed Vireo whose voice fills its whole being from beak to tail tip. And from a far-off somewhere else, is the return song… another Vireo answering the call.

I am lucky to be surrounded by woods and fields and awakened at the high point of songbirds in our area as early as 4:45 AM. No need to set an alarm when the windows are open and light breezes blowing. I consider this a blessing, as it lasts only a few short weeks after the solstice, when the daylight begins to dwindle ever so imperceptibly, and birds that migrate leave nests behind taking their songs with them.

This little guy/gal and I are linked in a daily routine when washing dishes is no longer a chore but a sweet beginning and ending to summer love.

call and response from the woods yet another harvest

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I watched a rerun on public tv last night of the 1981 Simon and Garfunkel Concert In Central Park. Mayor Ed Koch introduced them. It brought on a huge wave of nostalgia. They looked so young and still seemingly in awe of their audience, time and place in history.

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racing to the moon
wildflowers along the way

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as time speeds up
a gentle nod to
Mr. Einstein

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time = distance
on the way to a star
and on line for a pizza

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La La Moonlight

Yesterday — there was a solar eclipse and a new moon + a lot of other planets’ energy mixing it up and duking it out. Chaos as a game changer. Yesterday, in a rare Hollywood-like-made-for-the-moment-alignment of cosmic humor at the Academy Awards, the winner for best picture (highlight of the show) was named incorrectly and quickly repealed. Chaos and comedy. As it is above – so it is below.

Disclaimer: I did not watch the show nor have I seen either film, however I read enough about each movie to understand that they are complete opposites on the reality-scope meter. That the Hollywood throw-back fantasy musical movie La La Land was misnamed as best picture and rescinded for the real winner Moonlight, about the gritty life of a black man who grows up in a street-drug culture and loves another man in an unforgiving neighborhood, is simply an amazing mixup and yet entirely understandable in the context of the astral energy. Life never fails to entertain or annoy depending on one’s choice of view. Same can be said for the Academy Awards show itself.

This is the next to the last of my daily posts for mindful writing and daily haiku during January and February. In a chaotic fake news-political year, it is a fitting ending on the entertainment scale as well. What I believe is missing from view on all fronts is that there are no real winners or losers — just different choices. In the end, out of chaos comes creativity – the true measure of success.

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agita at the Oscars La La Moonlight

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fake news at The Oscars can you believe it?

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solar eclipse new moon
enjoy or annoy
Oscar mashup
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And from last year’s haiku:

expectations:
the dance between
fickle and moonset

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And the last shall be first

On a hunt that led me through four stores on a search for dried ancho chiles, I finally scored at the Spanish market in nearby Dover, where I should have started, except that I also needed red miso, organic prunes and fino sherry. A lot of ingredients (+ others not mentioned) for a saucy chicken-dish recipe that conjured up all sorts of salivary anticipation. Usually, I just let an ingredient go here or there, however I was intrigued by this American hybrid dish including Mexican, Japanese and Mediterranean (cumin) influences. So I went on a goose chase that took me close enough to a craft store that side-tracked me into buying some stencils (and other stuff) for my collage work, walked half a mile through large lots looking for and passing my parked car several times, through an unexpected detour following a sanitation truck slowly picking up trash and finally into a fifth parking spot right in front. This had to be the store! I still had to ask three people where to find the dried ancho chile peppers (see description below), and while on a long line for check out, the elder woman behind me using a walker, told me it was going to rain because her arthritic knees were acting up. A good weather report in addition to collecting the components for this smoking meal (I can only hope). Oh — did I forget to mention that I began this whole journey, because I happened to have one ingredient, fresh cilantro, on hand already?

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still sunny I spy clouds on my way home to chile tonight

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Ancho chiles are a type of dried chile pepper commonly used in Mexican and Southwestern U.S. cuisine.

The pepper is the dried version of is the poblano pepper. To be specific, it’s the dried version of the ripe version of the poblano pepper.

In other words, the chiles we know as poblano peppers are fresh chiles that are harvested before ripening, which is why they’re green. It’s what your basic chile Relleno is made with.

 

Lovers and Leftovers

 

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So I decided to bake a potato last night – a very infrequent occurrence. When I cut it lengthwise, this brown area stood out – not rot but underdeveloped potato. That was ok, until I leaned in as I was about to smear on the butter and saw the two faces and perfect lips. Thought I was imagining this and once again, while I was doing three other things – I had to run and get my camera. As if that weren’t enough, I also had to compose the photo — hence the fork.

I see faces in all of nature, on tree bark, on stones, in clouds but never before in a potato or an apple or peach – this is a first! And then I realized that today is Valentines Day. I got lucky and pulled a sweetheart potato. (I know I know — as my cousin would suggest — I need “to get a life”). Anyway, the two sides of the potato are lovers for now and after dinner — tomorrow’s leftovers.

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not even a full moon and yet its pull on my heart

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lovers and leftovers — how not to worry about what to write

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As The Cock Crows ~ NaHaiWriMo: 2017

February 1st starts #NaHaiWriMo, short for National Haiku Writers Month, and the practice of writing a daily haiku. Posting is optional. I’ve participated in this poetry challenge for quite a few years. There is some overlap between January’s mindful writing and February’s writing haiku, because haiku (a short nature poem) and its sister-form senryu (a short human nature poem), when done well address the personal, political and universal. In January, I start flexing my brain’s writing muscles to prepare for February. The difference in the two months writing is that the haiku takes center stage in February, and the prose piece/essay is the jewel in January. It has been said, mostly by haijin (haiku writers), that haiku is the easiest form of poetry to write, but the hardest to write well. I will leave it at that. FYI – contemporary haiku are no longer written in the 5/7/5 syllable count like traditional haiku, unless it is the preferred choice or noted as such. I usually do not adhere to a specific syllable count and often write haiku in one line – referred to as monoku.

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Year of the Fire Rooster
all the cock-a-doodle-do
and don’ts

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stay tuned…
As The Cock Crows
a new Twitter soap opera

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Fire Rooster Year
the rhetoric of bans trumps
building bridges

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Lack of Judgement

The news is changing and charging by the hour let alone day. I wrote this two days ago and while I wrote it – I felt good about it. Not so sure anymore, even though it is still pertinent. This is the first time in five years of blogging about simple thoughts during my January days, that I’ve had a difficult time posting. Alas these are difficult days both politically and personally for many of my friends and family, and it surely colors these blog posts. So with only one more blog post of this sort – I am going to publish this piece. I send it out with the intention that true peace is an inward turned outward process and practice and not the opposite. Namaste: I honor the spirit in you that is also in me.

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I read an article in The New York Times Magazine by Taffy Brodesser-Aker on Andy Cohen. I don’t know why I read this piece, however there was a gemstone imbedded in the writing that stopped me cold.

“He has a lack of judgement about the way the world works, and therefore doesn’t have the willful ignorance that the rest of us do.”

Wow! It’s the second part of that compound sentence that grabbed me and forced me to think about my own lens, attitude and judgement on current events. “… and therefore doesn’t have the willful ignorance that the rest of us have.”  Let me break that part of the sentence down even further “… willful ignorance…”  That’s a hat and a heartful to someone who believes she is empathetic, sympathetic and sensitive to the core. Am I really? I even recently blogged about walking (or driving) in someone else’s shoes and had a long conversation with two artist friends about our ignorance of those with opposing views and/or plight. But the word willful  never came up alongside ignorance. Think about it – whether we like it or not – there is truth in the concept that we are unwilling or unable at this point – to relate to others if their viewpoint or set of values appears to differ either drastically, or now-a days, somewhat mildly from our own. It’s the black or white mindset on both sides of the proverbial fence. In this case, the white picket fence or black chain-link variety cuts across both progressive and conservative backyards alike.

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not in my backyard fences in black and white

Don't fence me in!