Friday, May 31, 2013

from the file drawer of memory

It's amazing what can turn up when sorting through old files: a homeowner's policy from 1996, operating instructions for two washing machines ago, even a bit of long-forgotten self. I've re-read this "first grade readiness evaluation" a bunch of times because it is such a delightful hoot! Although we've somewhat lost touch over the years, I totally love this little girl! She is an active child with excellent muscular coordination . . . plays happily with others . . . expresses her ideas clearly but in a soft voice . . . is attentive at story time . . . enjoys music and rhythms . . . accepts any change in the daily schedule without frustration. And my personal favorite: she is reverent and participates in Chapel. Thank you, Mrs. Harold C. Smith (Helen), surely in heaven by now, for observing, recording, blessing me all those years ago. It means even more than you can imagine today.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

flower power

Happy is she who has the power to gather wisdom from a flower. For Katie, it's the pink and white peonies that unfurl as if on cue for her June first birthday. The exotic Bird of Paradise always makes me think of Layne, who discovered them during her South American travels as a flight attendant. Anne, it'll always be happy-hued hibiscus flowers for you. And roses say Kathleen because they're beautiful (and it's her middle name). A bouquet of friends who have the wisdom to gather joy from a soft petaled bit of nature and perfume the world with their goodness.

Friday, May 24, 2013

root cause

My lemon tree had grown weary. Even though they were side by side at the Farmer's Market when I bought them in December, my sister was reporting signs of first fruit on hers in South Carolina. She said the only thing she'd done besides water and sunshine was to transplant it into a bigger pot. So that's what I tried. And viola. Within a day, it was not the same lemon tree. It is greener, bigger, somehow more alive. With all kinds of activity blossom-wise. Which got me thinking how I have navigated life from the confines of the same old container I came in, even when it didn't really fit any more. Things seemed fine from the outside, but there just wasn't room to bloom. I changed out my lemon tree to an Italianate stone urn with angels cut into it, loosening the roots and tamping lots of rich soil around them. Then tossed the black plastic pot from the nursery into the recycling bin.
(Henri Matisse, Lemons on a Pewter Plate, 1926)

Monday, May 20, 2013

the well

The inkwell as an emotional wellspring? Ira Progoff certainly thought so. He's the American psychologist who said, "Each of our lives is like a well and we're meant to go down deeply enough into our own wells so that we finally reach the stream that is the source of all wells." In fact, he considered journal writing so fundamental to personal wellbeing and wholeness that he designed a therapeutic method centered around it which he taught for decades. I've never been a very faithful journal keeper, but in reading about his fascinating work I am inspired to give it another try. Progoff believed that everyone has the right to a life of purpose, meaning, fulfillment. And writing is a way to discover it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

portfolio peek

One of the nicest things about working at StewartMarr is that Arkon and I get to interact with some of the finest people. Occasionally even a saint. You know, the kind of folk who go out at the crack of dawn with an insulated mug of Folger's and a bulging tote bag and make the world a kinder, better place. We are creating a new website for a whole community of them, early intervention professionals who help the youngest of our young thrive despite developmental curve balls that have been thrown their way. Robert Frost said a poem begins as a lump in the throat. Sometimes our work does, too.

Friday, May 3, 2013

he drew love

Yeshuda Amichai is considered by many to be Israel's greatest modern poet. I have loved his work for a long time and marvel that it translates so beautifully from the Hebrew. Today is Amichai's birthday. Though he died in 2000, this is one of the many, many gifts that he left behind:

My Father 

The memory of my father is wrapped up in 

white paper, like sandwiches taken for a day at work.

Just as a magician takes towers and rabbits

out of his hat, he drew love from his small body,

and the rivers of his hands

overflowed with good deeds.

(Magician Hands Pulling Rabbit Out Of Top Hat, H. Armstrong Roberts, 1935)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

doggy treat

Love dogs? Then you'll lap up this canine compendium compiled by The New Yorker. It's got cartoons and essays, articles, art work, poems and even a forward by Malcolm Gladwell. Plus the dearest cover, destined to brighten any coffee table and every day.