Monday, August 13

"I spoke to the sea... I turned to the blue heaven over"

" Have you not often felt, I say, the truth of your essential goodness, and that your hard-set evil parts are an encrustation acquired from without and not grown from within? Perhaps you have felt it on some rare day in early summer, when you have been alone in a wood on a blue-bell carpet, wandering to the hedge wall, have seen it white with may; all around you there has been a silence--a silence that strikes like a blow; and suddenly it ceases to be silence for the birds are singing, and you wonder how long that music has been there without your noticing it....
"Dancing, riding, running, climbing, you still the mind from its doubts and questionings, and stir up the elemental life in you to say what is."
~~ Ernest Raymond, Through Literature to Life: An Enthusiasm and an Anthology (London, Cassell & Company, 1946)
(Post title from Richard Jeffries, The Story of My Heart, as quoted by Raymond)

Wednesday, August 8


Today is Zack's birthday, and in deference to his likes and dislikes I won't post the picture of an amazing spider I saw in the front yard the other day. That can wait. Today will be for Zack-frendy pictures only.

Sorry about the flash, but it's too hot to go out into the sunshine, even at 6 p.m., EDT.

Another quote from this great book, The Rotten Book, by Mary Rodgers (of Freaky Friday fame), with illustrations by Stephen Kellogg:

[the policeman says] "I'm afraid, madam, that your little boy is under arrest."

"That's fine by me," his mother would say.

"Whoopee!" his sister would say.

"Fair enough," his father would say.

"Jail's too good for a rotten kid like that," the fireman would say, and they'd all stand around in the doorway and watch the policeman drive off in the squad car with the boy sitting beside him in handcuffs.

This book was one of Zack's favorites, and every time I read it I understand why he loved it and why lots of us love it. Some of his other favorites back then were, as I remember, The Marvelous Mud-Washing Machine, In the Midnight Kitchen, Richard Scarry (of course), When the Sky is Like Lace, Benjamin's 365 Birthdays, and Bread and Jam for Frances. I still have all of these except the wonderful Benjamin, though the Mary Rodgers is a newer paperback, because we never owned it back in the '70s but would check it out of the D.C. public library (Blue Cat Branch) every other time we went.

I don't remember when Margaret Wise Brown's Sailor Dog (Garth Williams, ill.) came into our lives, but it's also a favorite of Zack's and mine, and the grandchildren, and eventually we discovered Mister Dog (Brown, Williams) and then later Hobo Dog (Thacher Hurd) and Art Dog (Thacher Hurd). In case the line of inheritance isn't clear to my readers, Thatcher Hurd is the son of Edith Thacher Hurd and Clement Hurd, who (Clement) illustrated Margaret Wise Brown's Good Night, Moon and Runaway Bunny. And, not to leave Edith out of the mix, she is the author of Catfish and the Kidnapped Cat, illustrated by her husband Clement and published in 1974. By the date, it could have been one of our favorites back then, but I didn't discover it until fairly recently. Isn't it great how there keep being new things to discover?

So a very happy birthday, Zack, and aren't you glad you're not at Pinewoods for it?

P.S. "Frendy" is not a typo but a literary reference, as in "dog-frendy."

Monday, August 6

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"It is better to live in a state of impermanence than in one of finality."
-- Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

Wednesday, August 1

August 1

August brings the sheaves of corn;
Now the harvest home is borne.
~- "The Garden Year"

August also brings back-to-school closer and closer, and a slew of family celebrations. Tomorrow, August 2, is the anniversary of Suzanne Eun Ha Luther's arrival in the USA as an infant, to become a member of the Luther/Packard-Luther family. For readers who are in touch with Suzanne (facebook, myspace, or wherever), you can congratulate her! (The same goes for any of the following notes.) August 2 is also Mimi K.'s birthday! Happy birthday, Mimi! The 4th of August is Jared Luther's 21st. Happy Birthday to Jared! He and a friend were making a canoe into an outrigger vessel, a la Kon-Tiki, when I was in RI recently. Bon voyage! Zack Hyde's birthday is on 8/8, so we can plan ahead for festooning him with money and gifts. Gail Hyde's birthday is on the 15th, and -- ta da! -- Leroy's birthday on the 16th! Leroy will be 11 and would love an iPod but might have to settle for less. (I'd love one, too, but I don't expect one on my birthday, 9/10.). Jacob Harry has his birthday on the 27th, the same day as the late great Carter Stanley.

A couple of literary birthdays in August as well: Herman Melville, on the 1st (1819); James Baldwin, Aug.2, 1924; Percy Bysshe Shelley, August 4, 1792; Tennyson, the 6th, 1809; on the 21st, Christopher Robin Milne, 1920... and the list could go on, but these are some high points.

August 1 is Lammas Day (go look it up, since I've already forgotten), the Dog Days continue, and according to my Old Farmer's Almanac, the "Cat Nights commence" on the 17th -- must be the ending of the Dog Days. I would love to see the Dog Star at night, 'cause then we'd be nice and cold. When the sun's up in the Last Visible Dog, we swelter and sweat. But flowers are blooming, and butterflies are visiting the flowers, so I'll enjoy the season's glories. Oh, and the Sturgeon Moon is full on the 28th, by which time my time will be in thrall to the school schedule once again.

Nature notes from Buckingham Ct.: The feeders are busy with the usual -- house finches, Carolina chickadees, titmice, little woodpeckers, and once in a while a goldfinch, who has been bust on the sunflowers in the back yard. The cardinals peck under the feeders, and the nuthatch visits too. If I sit by a window (it's too buggy outdoors) in the early evening I can see the hummingbird visit the bee-balm. The climbing vines are coming on: lots of Mina Lobata, cypress vine, and purple morning glories (volunteers from last year) are blooming. the moonflower vine is tall and developing buds. I have so far just two vines of the delicate and lovely "Love-in-a-Puff." Also, four colors of butterfly bushes, but no butterfly weed -- it just disappeared this year, as did the Queen Anne's Lace. When you have gardens over several years you see lots of changes. Nature is always dynamic (but "never spent," remember that).

The moon is waning, so I'm curious to see whether the haircut I got today lasts longer than the last one, done in the waxing moon. (If you haven't lived in the mountain south or another rural traditional area, this comment might not make sense to you). Maybe I'll trim my fingernails, too.
For fans of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass (aka Northern Lights) there's a new and expanded movie trailer out. You can find it somewhere on The movie looks super and is supposed to be out in December.