My friend Teresa, lives in New Zealand – and I knew she would have a perfect look at last night’s events in the sky – which happened in her part of the world first. And of course with no pollution and no cloud cover. So I emailed her to ask for pix – turns out she was on her way up and out – going higher up and even farther out from any towns and light sources. It was cold, so she took these pix while in her sleeping bag! Enjoy!!
Living in Beauty Every Day – with Eden Park!
I always have lived in great places and spaces. Even so, my current home is far and away the best. When I look out my big front window each morning, I simply ask Matisse ‘What have your created for me today?’ That view of the Twin Lakes is different every day, with beauty abounding. A couple of weeks ago, it was all the many kinds of flowering trees. This morning it is all the fresh green the trees are now wearing. Kentucky has totally disappeared, and we won’t see it and all its lights again until late fall.
People really use and love the park. There are runners and walkers, bikers, high school track teams in lafe afternoon, folks pushing strollers and walking dogs every time of day. The park has also been a great place to socially distance during the pandemic. Friends and I can take a walk, and then sit in any one of the groups of benches and catch up with each other.
The playground was closed with yellow caution tape for a long time, but now it is open, so kids’ laughter has returned, which is a great treat. Families are now back grilling out, feeding the ducks and geese, breathing the great clean air, enjoying the great view from the overlook.
Life is slowly returning to normal. And that incredible view brings me joy every day!
The Hidden Messages in Water – an oldie but a goodie!
I was looking for another book entirely about a week ago, when this one fell out of the bookcase. Published in 2001, and written by Masaru Emoto, the major premise is that beautiful frozen crystals can be created from clear springs and quality water, which has been talked to with love, encouragement, and appreciation. And that dirty, un-fresh water, spoken to disparagingly, only forms incomplete crystals when frozen. The pictures are incredible – bright, colorful, full of beauty!
Dr. Emoto believes that ‘our emotions and feeling have an effect on the world moment by moment.’ My life tells me the same thing. Approaching the world with ease, gratitude and love, expecting joy with each breathe, gives us that world.
Beauty begets more beauty, smiling creates more smiles. Practice and play with these ideas. Your amazement at how well that works will create even more amazement! xoxox
Benefits of Global Warming / Climate Change
Okay, this is Cincinnati, Ohio. Lots of hills but we are basically in a big valley that the wind only penetrates in the spring and fall – which is why, when we were totally industrial, we had smog – really bad smog. We also do not get as much sun as I wish we did. Years ago, the first time I was in Albuquerque, I saw a chart that said Albuquerque got sun 92% of the available hours. Cincinnati was way down the chart – I’m remembering 32% of those hours.
We also, once upon a time, had wicked winters and evil summers. Too cold, too snowy and then too hot, too humid. Not as wicked as my hometown of Springfield, Ohio, 80 miles north. But discouraging nonetheless.
Now, we often seem to be living in a whole other place – and quite a nice one, at that. Snow is very scarce, and there is a lot more sun in the wintertime! Several recent winters have been mostly in the 30s and 40s. This past winter got a bit colder a couple of times, but there was only one really challenging snow. And at only about 4 inches, we’d have thought nothing of that about 10 years ago.
We definitely have a lot more spring and fall that we used to – those seasons last much longer, are pleasanter, more moderate. When the rain falls, it often is much harder and comes down faster than previously. And we’ve even had, here in the Ohio River Valley, one really bad drought, that continued to kill trees for several years. We have always had dry Julys and Augusts. Now, except for the year of drought, we are not as dry as usual.
And, as we approach the Summer Solstice, we have a high of 73 today, low in the 50s, humidity in the 30s. Years ago, that would have been high 80s, low of 70, humidity in the 80s. The higher temperatures are no doubt coming this year, and the humidity. But we have not been over 100 in years – there always used to be spell of that high temperature every summer, usually late July or early August.
This moderation is wonderful, and welcome. We certainly wish it didn’t come at what looks like a perilous future price. But we are sure enjoying it as it lasts!
Book Review: Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams
Having a cold for several days that takes away your normal energy can lead to a great catching up with the books piled on your bedside table. And thus it has been for me this week. Leading to a nice rest and lot of pleasure – if wasn’t for the coughing here at the end of the cold.
I am not sure when or where I found Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, by Terry Tempest Williams. Perhaps it was when my friend Alicia closed her wonderful bookstore on Woodburn Avenue last summer, and I just filled a big green bag with every book that caught my eye. Or perhaps I was just wandering somewhere and it leapt into my hands – amazing how often that happens!
At any rate – this is a wonderful book, first published in 1991 and then updated in 2001. It is a sad story – Terry’s loss of her mother, grandmother, great grandmother to cancer. Turns out there is a very big downside to the U S Government’s A-bomb tests in the Western deserts. So the guys in her family are living longer than the women – breast cancer, uterine cancer, other cancers are taking the women. The love the women express for each other is beauty and poetry lived and died.
It is a beautiful and detailed story of the marshlands at the Great Salt Lake, and the hundreds of thousands of birds who bring life to the area. With sadness there, too – the degradation, the engineers fixing problems, the drop in numbers of birds in that wonderful area.
And a transfixing story of how Mormon women are also waking up to what their culture has done to them, even while they still love their religion.
I know I will have to check out Wiki about what Terry is doing now, and the current condition of the Great Salt Lake and its marshes – as well as the progress of growth and change in the Mormon church and its women members. So this will definitely lead to more reading – hopefully with Terry as the author – what a great idea!
Walking the Steps on Good Friday
A good day at the office, the first day since our big event when I could breathe, catch up and plan. We got the memberships out into the world – hurray!
Son Brian called late afternoon, reminded me that it was Good Friday. The last several years, we have walked the steps at Holy Cross / Immaculata in Mt Adams. The tradition is to pray the rosary as we walk. Lots of Cincinnati does it – the line can wind and wind up and down and around the hill. Some folk start at the very bottom – near Eastern Avenue. Some start at the base of Mt Adams. And some of us start at the end of the last segment.
It was great – Brian and I had a chance to de-brief after the election – we hadn’t really had a chance to talk over the great race he ran, and what is next. Once you are on the steps themselves, though, and no longer on the sidewalk, no talking. There’s a tableful of rosaries just at the bottom – pick one up and start the steps. I love the fact of being out in nature in the early spring, the sunshine, the rhythm of the crowd as it moves from step to step, the sound of the birds. The meditation, the letting go.
At the top, we went to the parish fish fry – my dinner was french fries and coleslaw – with ketchup and tartar sauce. Ran into several friends – as always in this big small town. Life is good – and getting better and better.
This Year’s Winter Solstice Concert
Aaaahhh! One of the best nights of the holiday season is the Friday night on or near the Winter Solstice, when Paul Winter creates the Winter Solstice Concert in St. John the Divine Cathedral in Manhattan. WVXU runs it live each year, and I just melt into it. It is especially wonderful, since I go back into the memory of being in that magical space for one of these concerts in the mid-80s.
My favorite new piece this year – just tonight and just completed – might have been the Ode to Joy, played as though by Pete Seeger, which went on and on, long enough to be lost in the sound and energy. What joy – and what sheer fun!
This year’s musical place was Puerto Rico, with performers, music and songs from that magical place. I picture it all taking place in that magnificent cathedral – a side chapel of which has a quartz crystal nearly as big as a house. During the performance, props – for instance, trees – are pushing in and out of the space. A huge gong rises like the sun to the 100′ height of the ceiling, while the huge space is totally dark. We can feel that the sun will return.
Throughout the concert, different worlds are created and then disappear. With the audience of several thousand totally rapt throughout.
Until, nearly at the end, Paul Winter plays Wolf Eyes, in mostly dark, with wolf howls engaging with the piece. And the audience joins in – what an amazing experience of the natural and wild world. All melts into holiday songs and then Auld Lang Syne. When the audience is released into real time and space once again, they flood out onto Amsterdam Avenue howling like the pack they have become.
To me, climate change means weird weather. We just can’t count on the weather anymore. Used to be, spring was rainy and chilly, summer was hot, July and August were very dry, the rain started again sometime in September.
Then about 5 years ago, we had a hurricane named Ike that made it all the way to the Ohio River in September. Trees down, dangerous winds. I had no power for 8 days, and others parts of town had it worse. The weather was strange before then, but since then, nothing is the same.
I lost a wonderful super tall Norway spruce to year-long drought – in a place that is always full of water. It took 3 years to die.
And last night, a Friday, when the nearest rain was supposed to be next Wednesday, we had a wild and dangerous storm – big hail, lightning for nearly two hours. The power went out with a big boom, then back on, another boom, struggling back on again, the third boom. About an hour after that, the power surged back on (I had turned off the AC). Then a huge explosion sounding boom, with a bell sound mixed into it, and the power disappeared again. An hour after that, tired of trying to read by flashlight, and knowing that humidity was getting worse, I drove to a friend’s house a couple of neighborhoods over.
Spooky dark driving over – no lights anywhere up or down the street. I went up, deciding not to drive on Columbia Parkway in these conditions. A few blocks away the traffic lights worked, but nothing else. And then no traffic lights, nothing, until the very edge of another community, where everything was nearly normal. Continuing on, there was some power, but almost no street lights.
Then a few blocks from my friend’s house, almost everything became normal. Some sporadic street light outages, traffic lights blinking, but nearly normal. We settled in and watched Rafael Nadal lose to Nick Kyrgios – Some sporadic play on Nick’s part, more from Nadal’s side of the net.
When I got up this morning, I expected I’d go on to my gathering – but suddenly knew I had to go home first. Leaves everywhere, but only very small limbs down in my tree-filled yard. The power had come on (from the electric clocks) about 1:30 a m. I was comfy, put back stuff that had gotten disarranged while I was in the dark and preparing to leave, and went off to my Dream Group.
I guess I’ve gotten used to no longer trusting the weather. Just coping with what comes. And I still appreciate this beautiful planet.
Sounds on the River
Living right above the river is such a treat! I can only see a bit of it, during late winter – the big bend heading east. But I get to hear all the sounds on the river. And I can now tell the difference in fireworks sounds between when the Cincinnati Reds hit a home run, and when they actually win the game.
The sounds of airplanes coming in over the river tells me that the red eye traffic – 5 a m or so – has picked up after years of being basically stilled. And the trains along the river run intermittently – sometimes several in a night, sometimes none for several days.
There are really no calliopes – the steamboat musical organs – on the river anymore. Maybe once a year when a steamboat from elsewhere visits. I would love to have that sound back – rather than the occasional canned music from a boat with loud speakers.
My favorite, though, is the fog horns. And they could be heard this morning, so I was not surprised to open my eyes to a very foggy day. The barges that travel up and down the river go slow in fog, pushing their several-football-fields-long decks of cargo warily when they cannot see ahead. Mournful and beautiful.
Is Forty Degrees Hot or Cold?
Time is moving on from late winter to early spring. In February – quite a tough one, all things considered – today’s low of 40 degrees would have felt fairly warm. And have been a temperature for which we would be grateful as a high.
Now, leaving the office after being inside for hours – 60 degrees, overcast skies, a damp breeze – felt downright cold.
I felt chilly enough this morning that I pulled a corduroy skirt and jacket out of the closet to wear – and then realized that no matter how cold it was, it would be quite odd and feel very bulky to wear corduroy in late April.
We had one perfect day last week. Bright sunshine, very light breeze, real warmth in the air. Everyone in town blossomed, smiles all over the place, lots of physical comfort and ease as folk were walking around.
Now we’re back to the chill and the damp. Not as many smiles around. Let’s just hang on. It will all be better soon. And then, soon enough – too hot!