An Image and a Hundred Words

Shirts and Ties...August 3, 2019

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People at work, not just the little old ladies who wear the $200 sweaters and $300 skirts, with matching shoes and purses, even the old men who I’ve seen for thirty years, who toiled in quarries all their working life, tell me doc, I like that shirt, that tie, they match so perfectly. Where do you buy your clothes? I thank them graciously. They think I have the matching knack. But they don’t know that every morning after I have showered, this is what I see on the floor outside the closet door. They don’t know I am color blind. 

Backpack from Roses...August 1, 2019

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Got it at Roses for $5. I needed a small backpack for going back and forth to work. I could have found something on Amazon for three times as much, and could have spent ten times as much, I’m sure, to get one made of fine leather. Some people would choose the more expensive one just because it is the most expensive. Some good friends would research backpacks, check out the reviews, and choose on the basis of merit. And I am one who gets my glee from going low. If I could have found one used for $2…better yet. 


More Books...July 23, 2019

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I’m usually content to read one book at a time, but I’m into three right now, with a fourth unfinished one that I’ve stopped reading. I’ve finally convinced myself it’s ok to not finish a book I don’t like. There are two ways to read (probably a lot more…): read word for word, slowly, or gulp it down. I often wish I’d not be a gulper, but I am. Always that tension that there are other very important books that just have to be read, and I won’t get them read if I spend too much time on this book.

Books...July 19, 2019

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Favorites: next to restaurants, bookstores, especially those with both new and used books—or maybe even ones with just used books (like the one at the Ann Arbor Public Library). So many books, so hard to choose. My philosophy: pick out ten, or maybe twelve. Then cull the stack down to three or four. Much less guilt than starting with three or four new books and buying all of them. Of course, if the books are used, and if they cost a dollar each (hardback), fifty cents (paperback)…no need to agonize. Just buy and gloat about what you have saved.

Special Day...July 17, 2019

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For some it is New Year’s Day, for most the anniversary of the day of birth. For me today’s the special day. Seven years ago today an operation on my head. The pain’s still gone. Four years ago today, a stent put in the heart. The pain still’s gone.  Good one cannot see ahead—both could come back. I won’t go there. Hope for another seven, then for another seven. Hope there won’t be another special day. Or if there is, a special day I can look back upon. But I know for sure there will be another not-so-special day.


Oh For Another Day Like This...July 16, 2019

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Even if today I should get a telegram from Stockholm (physiology literature, or peace, it matters not), or write a sonnet that would have made even Heaney envy me, or if a friend gifts me with a Hasselblad with 15 different lenses, or if the numbers that I picked (all ten of them) match up on the lotto card (and I’m the only one), I doubt my glee will match the glee of this one who’s spent three futile weeks with training wheels and now miraculously, has mastered balance on two wheels. Oh for a day like this for me.  

To Name or Not to Name...July 15, 2019

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I recently bought a book about trees, 400 pages. First part was how to tell them all apart, based on leaves and branches and the bark. Me, one who can tell a pine tree from an oak but not much more. I told myself: I must learn to name the different trees, maybe even start to keep a list of all I’ve seen. But the more I thought about it, the more I think I’ll drop the names, just visualize the shapes and hues and textures of the bark, the leaves. See like I saw before I knew the names.



The Sunday Morning Muse...July 14, 2019

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Part of me, less that it used to be, but still a nagging little splinter part, tells me I should not be here today, at Tomato Pie Café. Should instead be sitting in a pew, standing singing hymns, and then listening to man or woman up front sermonize for half an hour. But then there is the Muse sitting here next to me (can’t see her, but every now and then I feel her nudge) and she’s the same although the name is different than the one preacher talks about, I’m pretty sure. And when she talks I must obey.

Why Does it Bother Me So Much?...July 13, 2019

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He sits outside, plate glass window between the two of us. Glad that is the case. I would not chat with him, out there reading, underlining carefully, words from the Word. Once that was me, so why does it bother me so much? I could better tolerate a woman, hijab in place, rapt in some Koran text; a turbaned Hindu caught up in his Vedas; even a witch poring through some wiccan text. What he reads contains truth, better said for me, than those other books. And so I ask myself again: Why does it bother me so very much?

Almond Flour Bread...July 12, 2019

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I made bread today. Mom, baker par excellence, and dad, the preacher-farmer man, would both have frowned I’d guess (although they would have smiled to see their son mixing dough). The flour that I used came from grinding almonds into meal, not from wheat. No thought of carbohydrates for them. And stalks of wheat are etched into the headstone of their grave. But I think that this would count, on Sunday at the table up front at the church, with the wine. I’d guess the Man who broke the loaf that night would say of what I baked, “Take eat”. 


Kaldi and the monk...July 11, 2019

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The story goes that a goatherd Kaldi, centuries ago, noticed his “irreproachable” goats frolicking about after eating some red berries. He tried themselves, and soon was prancing around himself. He picked some of them and took them to a monk, who disapproved and threw them in the flames. But I’m so glad the odor emanating from the embers was so enticing that they raked the ashes from the fire, ground them up, mixed them with some water, drank it down and said, we need some more of that. Coffee. And so fitting that the first barista was a holy man.

The Bench in the Park…July 10, 2019

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Most benches in parks have inscriptions on them, dedications to someone, “In memory of…”. Not this one, down in a far corner of this park. Looks old enough that I think it’s not just that they’ve not gotten around to putting the plaque on the back. It would be nice if, when I am gone, someone would remember me with a little sign on a bench. But I’m not so sure I’d want it mounted on a bench—maybe on a bike instead, something that moves down new paths to places never seen before, maybe even just a little dangerous. 

Meditation…July 9, 2019

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The mystics say one should meditate every day, ideally for an hour or more, but I have tried so many different ways and all for naught. Almost for naught. After all these years this is what I do (please don’t pass this on to them…): on my stationary bike, from minute seven for seven more, (can do no more than that), I think about my breath: breathe in--belly button out; breathe out-belly button in. And think of only that. I try…They say to be is more important that to do. At least I try to be while I do. 

Another Couple at the Table Next to Me…July 8, 2019

Same table as yesterday. This time a couple just started on their journey, not sixty years, less than six, I’d guess.  A hooded basinet, back to me so I cannot see the baby it contains. I ask the age. Four months. Is this the first? They nod. It’s not yet 9 o’clock, the mother’s eyebrows neatly penciled black, the father wide awake, ecstatic with eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. They think the battle has been won, she now sleeps the whole night through. I smile and do not talk about the times they’ll lie awake at night in 18 years.

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Another Day at the Coffee Shop…July 7, 2019

The two of them (married sixty years or more, I’d guess) plop down next to me, ticked off. No seats in the dining room right now, they’ll have to wait? Or maybe something else: lost keys again, the stove left on that he harps about, the whiskers on his face he didn’t miss ten years ago that bother her? He leaves her, walks away, comes back in five, tells her the coffee’s on the way, sets on the table top the order number he was given. 9. She smiles at him, clasps his hand, says, “Not a 10 like you.”

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An Image and a Hundred Words—Day 1…July 6, 2019

To push myself to write and photograph (and put aside Kakuro games), I pledge today and every day (at least three times a week!) publish on the web for anyone to see a hundred words, no more, no less (the tennis net, dear Robert Frost), about an image that I see and put on film (I’ll call it film, it isn’t that, harks back to mom and all her photographs). Ala Julia Cameron, not quite (she’d say the morning writings are not meant to be aired) I’ll not agonize and edit eighteen times—maybe once or twice. So here goes.

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