Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On Wisconsin

There is something so meaningful about being a guest in a grown child's home. To see my son in his lovely space, living his good life, is wonderful enough, and to feel welcome and cared for a tender gift. Lee is a good cook! and judging by the fond looks he received everywhere we went, he's a respected presence his community.
We went to Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and school in the lush hills of Spring Green. I've been wanting to go for many years. It was as moving as I'd imagined. We also saw conservationist Aldo Leopold's woods and shack, and the center for green building initiated by his children. In Madison, I tried to imagine the streets around the capitol square filled with thousands of protestors. Even on a quiet day, there were a dozen, including one on a hunger strike. We saw Monona Terrace, the light-filled convention center designed by F.L. Wright. And Lee took us on his first tour at the International Crane Foundation, where George Archibald nearly single-handedly saved the whooping crane from extinction.
Lee and I talked several times about Wright, Leopold, Archibald and others who leave such a mark on the world. Most of us leave a smaller footprint, but important too. I see Lee following this idea, in his work with the International Crane Foundation and the Lion's Club; his girlfriend volunteers with Girl Scouts and the local Literacy Council. Those who complain that this generation of youth is self-centered and myopic are missing an important story.
And on our way home one day, a rainbow.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Early summer

... is like life turned up. The landscape is exuberantly transformed, after the creeping changes of spring, against the backdrop of longing. Come on, crocus! You can do it! then Whamo! Every color flower against so much green, your eyes can't believe it, the air screaming with birds, the return of butterflies, ants in the sugar, open windows making it sound like your neighbors are in the livingroom.
And all the milestones. Graduations, weddings, anniversaries. And birthdays - seems like half the people I know were born in early June. Good time for taking stock, when the summer lays out long in front of us, and we are hungry for real tomatoes, like the baby birds that boing up out of the nest, all mouths.
I have more time to read, think and write. Great luxuries. I'm enjoying Carlos Eire's "Waiting for Snow in Havana" and Stephen King's "On Writing." The writing is brilliantly engaging, and I carry the stories around in my head.
My calendar is pocked with breaks from the routine: trips and readings. Between, I'm halfway done, well, maybe a third, putting in a new garden. The blanketflower is holding its own in what will be a sweep of color - iris, coreopsis, lily, black-eyed susan. I have a bit of summer on my skin, so I'm not so Ohio White. The first of several rooms-to-be-painted is empty and echoey.
Two days ago my second chapbook was officially released to a room packed with friends. It was a lot of fun, and I appreciate how many people came to what was their first poetry reading. And yesterday my facebook wall filled with birthday wishes.
Blessings everywhere: time, friends, plans, good work, adventure and exploration. A nice place to come to when the world seems mad.
Congratulations to my friends with new babies, diplomas, husbands and wives, homes. Happy anniversary, happy birthday, and happy summer. Happiness is a guest, and I raise a toast while it's here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

from Three Cups of Tea

"I'm no military expert. And these figures might not be exactly right. But as best as I can tell, we've launched 114 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Afghanistan so far [2002]. Now take the cost of one of those missiles tipped with a Raytheon guidance system, which I think is about $840,000. For that much money, you could build dozens of schools that could provide tens of thousands of students with a balanced nonextremist education over the course of a generation. Which do you think will make us more secure?"
--Greg Mortenson