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Archive for August, 2007

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Tonight, we drive across the county to visit with my Dad. It is incredibly green and moist; unusual for late August in the Hudson Valley and such a contrast to Idaho. On the way home, the waning moon rises–huge and orange. It reminds of an August night in 1971. I was living in the North Valley on Acequia Trail, two houses away from the bosque…walking distance to the Rio Grande. Sunflowers and Black-eyed Susans lined the washboard dirt roads; magpies and mockbirds adorned the fence posts and the sky was flat cloudless turquoise. Evenings were cool; green chilis, corn, tomatoes and peaches were abundant; the orchards were almost ready for harvest. The house smelled like posole and tamales. When the waning moon rose from behind the Sandia Mountains, it was enormous, orange and silent. That night, I read this Rilke poem for the first time…it has stayed with me all these years…

INITIATION

Whoever you are, go out into the evening,
leaving your room, of which you know each bit;
your house is the last before the infinite,
whoever you are.
Then with your eyes that wearily
scarce lift themselves from the worn-out door-stone
slowly you raise a shadowy black tree
and fix it on the sky: slender, alone.
And you have made the world (and it shall grow
and ripen as a word, unspoken, still).
When you have grasped its meaning with your will,
then tenderly your eyes will let it go…

– RILKE –

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This is one of my favorite pictures of my brother, Dave…photo credit to Larry Busacca.

I remember vividly the night he was born. As a “premie” he arrived unexpectedly. While my parents raced out the door, I packed up my jammies and went to stay with family friends. It was late. I was seven years old and so excited. My friend, Nancy, and I jumped on her bed until the frame gave way. Her parents offered me my first Dr. Pepper and I loved it. I remember the thick green glass bottle–frosty on the outside. It was hard to go to sleep.

In the morning my Dad called to tell me that I had a new baby brother…secretly I was just a little disappointed because, secretly, I wanted a sister. Everyone else was so happy that it was a boy and I couldn’t wait to see him. Children under 12 were not allowed in the hospital–not even in the building–at that time in North Carolina…so I sat in the parking lot in our round black Plymouth watching my Mom wave from the window.

Over the years, we’ve had a lot of adventures…memorable! Driving lessons in the back fields of Old Westbury; taking “Pappy’s Scow” out on Long Island Sound; driving straight through from NY to Albuquerque multiple times–I’m thinking now about the middle of winter in my Peugeot–riding motorcycles down the back side of the Sandias to “Pancho’s All You Can Eat Mexican Restaurant ($1.89)” and “Heidi Pies;” laying endless adobes and pouring bond beams; me giving my all to that slalom water ski on Greenwood Lake; searching for Spitzer’s Restaurant in Chapel Hill; fantasizing about winning Powerball; and who could forget “Enrique” and the night when we were “all pilgrims?”

I look forward to many more adventures! Remember, you promised to take good care of me in my old age–

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LIL’ BRO!!!

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WEB

Intricate and untraceable
Weaving and interweaving
Dark stand with light

Designed, beyond
All spiderly contrivance
To link, not to entrap

Elation, grief, joy, contrition,
Entwined,
Shaking, changing, forever
Forming, transforming:

All praise, all praise to the great web.

– DENISE LEVERTOV –

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It was a long trip home from Hailey…my well-intentioned, techno-saavy husband who has never set the alarm clock on my side of the bed, didn’t wake up at 5 a.m. because the alarm that he didn’t actually set, didn’t go off…hence when I called from the Newark Airport baggage claim at 6:40, he was just beginning to stir. Realizing that he would never make it to Newark and back in rush hour in time for his 9:30 client, he sent our youngest son, armed with an EZ Pass to fetch me and I finally arrived home at about 10:30 a.m.

I’ve thought a lot about Idaho and the town of Hailey today…

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A town where the pedestrian is king–simply pondering crossing at a crosswalk, causes traffic to come to a dead halt…

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A town where the Bruce Willis Blues Band will be playing on September 1…

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A town where the Sun Valley Micro Brewery’s parking lot is always full…

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A town where gas prices are about the same as they are in New York…

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A town where people are genuinely friendly and helpful…

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A town where there are beautiful gardens…

Hailey is just south of the Castle Rock Fire. As of today, 41,000 acres or more are burning. Please send along your prayers and blessings to the residents, firefighters and communities of Sun Valley, Ketchum, Hailey and surrounding areas. Think rain. Think humidity. Think low winds. Think “over and out.”

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To the town of Hailey…my version of fire-fighting is complete…

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LEARNING TO FLOAT

Relax. It’s like love. Keep your lips
moist and parted, let your upturned hands
unfold like water lilies, palms exposed.

Breathe deeply, slowly. Forget chlorine
and how the cement bottom was stained
blue so the water looks clear

and Caribbean. Ignore the drowned mosquitoes,
the twigs that gather in the net
of your hair. The sun is your ticket,

your narcotic, blessing your chin,
the floating islands of your knees.
Shut your eyes and give yourself

to the pulsating starfish, purple and red,
that flicker on your inner lids.
Hallucination is part of the process,

like amnesia. Forget how you learned
to swim, forget being told
Don’t panic. Don’t worry. Let go

of my neck. It’s only water. Don’t think
unless you’re picturing Chagall,
his watercolors of doves and rooftops,

lovers weightless as tissue,
gravity banished, the dissolving voices
of violins and panpipes. The man’s hand

circles the woman’s wrist so loosely,
what moors her permits her to float,
and she rises past the water’s skin,

above verandas and the tossing heads
of willows. Her one link to earth,
his light-almost reluctant-touch, is a rope

unfurling, slipping her past the horizon,
into the cloud-stirring current. This far up,
what can she do but trust he won’t let go?

– APRIL LINDER –

…this poem is for “L” and “N”…I bow to your courage and your determination! Thank you for yet another learning experience.

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This morning the smoke is thick and the winds are ferocious. Standing on Main Street in Hailey feels like being in a chimney–the draft is pulling north toward the fires. By noon, the air has cleared and shortly after sunset, the haze descends again.

After work, I walk south…away from the fires. Residents are being asked not to drive to Ketchum. It is important to keep the roads clear for equipment. It’s a beautiful evening…peaceful…my prayers are with those who are working so hard to contain the fires and with those folks who have had to evacuate their homes and businesses. 41,000 acres are now burning and the fire is considered 31% contained.

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This morning the smoke is thick. The wind shifted at night and Hailey is engulfed. It’s past ten when convection currents lift the haze out of the valley. By mid-afternoon, a towering thunderhead of smoke gathers and billows to the north.

After work, I drive north again. Something draws me toward the fire. Ketchum is filled with smoke. Planes with dangling buckets hug the edge of the ridge. A single fire fighter in an orange vest is perched on a rock outcrop with binoculars. The streets are empty and the sun is a flat burnt orange disc in the brown sky…a post-apocalyptic landscape.

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Come out of the dark earth
Here where the minerals
Glow in their stone cells
Deeper than seed or birth

Come into the pure air
Above all heaviness
Of storm and cloud to this
Light-possessed atmosphere.

Come into, out of, under
The earth, the wave, the air.

Love, touch us everywhere
With primeval candor

– MAY SARTON –

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