Monthly Archives June 2013

Poems, Prayers and Peaches: Reflections on Li-Young Lee’s “From Blossoms”

How is a poem like a prayer like a peach? In this season when farmer’s markets (if we’re lucky enough to live by them) and our backyard trees (if we’re luckier still) lavish us with an almost guilt-inducing abundance of textured, fleshy, bursting-with-juicypleasure peaches, what can we glean about this world—and our inner worlds— from their continued bequeathal of life-giving goodness that so richly satisfies both body and soul?

I remember when futurists were predicting not only that we’d be zipping around in our own solo aircraft someday, but that we’d also get all the nutrients we need in a single pill. The first hasn’t yet come to pass and I don’t much care whether it ever does, but the second—wait wait, a world without peaches?

Not my world, not now, not ever.

And to come across the poem From Blossoms by Li-Young Lee, I think it is safe to surmise not his world, either.

This achingly ...

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Songs of Summer

Too much fun, too many fine memories & associations, too much heart-gladdening goodness & grooviness not to share this trio of songs on this glorious NorCal morning. You no doubt have your own favorite songs of the season, your own lovingly tended images of tops down, sand in every nook and cranny of your skin, barefootin’ and bare whatever-else. Savor them, indulge, slow the hell down for just a minute or two or quite a few more—it’s a good day for it.

Happy solstice, dear readers–now get going on that epic amblin’ & shamblin’ along that restores and reminds us how thoroughly life is worth livin’.

 

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A Summer’s Music Idyll in Mountain View, Arkansas

O.K., this is more like it. You know: It. The peace, the glow, the warm enveloping vibe spreading through your body & soul like a sweet dreamy transfusion, a triple dose of calm, clarity, cohesion.

Exhaling now, are we? Nice ‘n easy, sip a bit o’ lemonade, let the inhale just follow all natural-like, while these geetar and fiddle and bass players turn us a tune?

Ahhhhhh…yesssss….

No alcohol. (Dry county, not a brown bag nor slightly deranged looking character in sight. And no bar noise spilling out onto the square louder by the hour.)

No amps. (Acoustic county, not a plug nor sound console to be seen on the lawns nor under the gazebos and porches that host maybe 100 or so musicians in variously sized groupings and affiliations on any given night in this music-drunk Ozark town.)

Mountain View, Arkansas (population 2,748 in the 2010 census, down 128 residents from a decade earlier) hosts a couple of ...

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Letter From Birmingham

Please forgive the impossibly pretentious headline above. I think Rev. Martin Luther King would both forgive and understand it, because he above all would appreciate the tremendous sense of solidarity engendered by his justifiably famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail” and all the other events of 1963 in this quintessentially Southern town that would so change the course of history.

I arrived here on the eve of the 50th anniversary of George Wallace’s theatrical standing in the University of Alabama school doors to ostensibly prevent the admittance of black students in defiance of a federal court order. (Wallace at least had enough sense not to actively defy the federal marshals and troops sent there by President Kennedy and his attorney general and brother Bobby to enforce the law.) I paid respects with my family at the now historic 16th Avenue First Baptist Church where Ku Klux Klansmen murdered four...

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Technology: Savior and Slayer

Is the sheer number of stimuli our beleaguered brains are exposed to on a minute-by-minute basis in modern life driving us out of our minds? Does the multi-tasking we joke nervously about to our family and office mates increasingly make us perform those tasks poorly and absent-mindedly, with little of what we do manage to accomplish sticking in our memory as we click our way through yet more stimuli that press in upon our attention like hungry children clamoring for food?

I have been trying to think through these questions in prepping this post over the past week, but incoming emails and text messages and those darned attractive pop-up ads blinking on the 16 open windows currently on my computer screen have been interrupting my train of thought about every 7.2 seconds.

Oh dear.

Let’s be clear: Human life has always been difficult, so this will be no “Woe is us” lamentation bemoaning how tough we have it ...

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