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ripples or smiles

turnip lantern
(this post is not holiday related ... also I'm not at home and have only very temporary and fleeting Internet access, so I'll be visiting everyone's journals later)

You know how if you close your eyes there are sparks and flashes you can see behind your eyelids? Just now I closed my eyes and there were all these curves, like many many faceless smiles, or like many tiny ripples, or like lots of closed eyes (the way those are always drawn with the same concave curve, like smiles are), or like fish scales, or like roof tiles.

Maybe each of those interpretations is a theme for a day: Day of Faceless Smiles, Day of Ripples, Day of Closed Eyes, Day of Fish Scales, Day of Roof Tiles.


ghost foxes in a cathedral, for sovay

Iowa Girl
sovay, here are some ghost foxes for you. I didn't include your pantomime foxes--the one in the flared skirt, the fox-masked giraffe--which would have been wonderful, but which I didn't think I could do justice to. Just ghost foxes themselves, overrunning a ruined cathedral--that image was so compelling all on its own.

I didn't know how to capture the soaringness of a cathedral, with its glory being so vertical, and the small litheness of foxes, which would be hard to see in a picture that captured those tall spaces. Then the words "rood screen" popped into my head--the fancy barrier between the altar and the rest of the cathedral (and I was thinking "rude screen" because it disdains the populace, and also rude, like rustic, like a ruin)--so I drew that. And then I remembered that "rood" meant the cross, because I remembered that we had read the poem "The Dream of the Rood" in Anglo-Saxon .... and then it seemed extra-right, because dreams.

ghost foxes cathedral-1

Bottle caps

Little Springtime was cleaning out her room and decided she probably didn't need her collection of bottle caps anymore.

I, however, still need her collection of bottle caps. Bottle caps are so wonderful. I want to make something with them. One day. For now, I just want to admire them.




Using the Em icon because Em's little sister Tammy collects bottle caps.


This morning in the car I was listening to the Cantares Latino-Americanos program on WTCC and repeating words and phrases I liked, which were mainly ones I understood... and it struck me that while I don't speak Spanish or claim to know it, a fair number of words and phrases are actually in my vocabulary, and I bet this is true of a lot of Americans.

In the United States, lots of people for whom English is a first language feel very uncomfortable about learning a foreign language. They set it up in their minds as a huge and daunting task. But what if, instead of thinking they didn't know any language unless they could speak and read it fluently, they were able to think of themselves as having a smattering of a language, starting with when they had just had a few words and phrases, like me with Spanish? Maybe that would demystify and de-difficult-ize language learning. Because that's what language learning is, I think--going from a few words and phrases that you can employ in a limited number of circumstances to a few more. Then stretching to a few more. Then more.

People in most places learn bunches of languages. They usually know two really well: their mother tongue and the most dominant national language of their country (maybe these two are one and the same, but in many cases they're not). But on top of those, they'll know other local tongues, plus languages of neighboring countries, plus maybe English or some other major trade language. They don't know all of those to the extent that they know the first two languages, but they know them somewhat.

... So yeah. I speak Spanish... a tiny, tiny bit. But one day maybe I'll stretch it.

A champion jump

Man on Wire

The steps leading down from the library to its lower-level exit. A mother is holding open the heavy wooden door. Her son, about four years old, hesitates, six steps up. I'm behind him on the landing. I don't want to rush him.

He takes a step down, then steps back up.

"Come on," his mother says. "Don't play around."

He steps back down one step, then JUMPS over the remaining four steps and lands beside his mother.

"WOW!" I say. He grins broadly.

"That was a champion jump," I say to his mom, who's holding the door for me, too.

"Yeah," she says, and she's smiling too, proud.


PS. Those corn starch packing peanuts that I put out in the compost bin? The squirrel LOVED them.

We're melting, melting!

I still can't seem to bring myself to talk about all the ideas bubbling around in my head, so instead, here's something fun. Topatoco sent me some things I ordered in a box filled with packing peanuts--but not evil, styrofoam packing peanuts. No: these packing peanuts were made from corn starch.


The thing about them is, they can dissolve in water.

How can you learn a fact like that and not want to try it?

Yeah, they smelled like popcorn as they were dissolving. Makes me **almost** want to try to eat them. Almost.

snow and ice

cloud snow
I've had a number of thoughts I intended to share here, but somehow time has gotten away from me. I owe a lot of people comments on journals (e.g., yamamanama!) I will hope to come journal-visiting tonight or tomorrow.

Meanwhile, have some photos. . .

an oak leaf made of snow


snow on pine needles--like a web or net

And an ice cataract forming on a skyward-looking eye


November birch
Here is how the sun comes in winter: its light inches its way down the trees. And it leaves the same way, rolling back up those trees:

How the sun comes and leaves

And this is what the rain does: it makes a stream across the common

a river forms

And it makes the marshlands claim to be ponds

marsh becomes a pond

Two other things

Thing one is a link to a brief video about Hans Panschar, a German artist who puts tiny sculptures in bottles and then throws them into the sea, along with a letter, asking people who find them to get in touch. So far three people have.

Thing two is this random thought: wouldn't it be cool if Han Solo were a woman? I think I would like if the wise-cracking, cynical but-with-a-good-heart pilot who helps out Luke Skywalker were a woman. I think I'd like how that changed up the dynamics of everybody's relationships ... I'm not particularly a Star Wars fan--in fact, the only movie I ever really liked was the first one. I don't know why the thought occurred to me, but there it is.
squirrel eye star

The full moon is a golden coin at the bottom of night's pocket, and the black tree branches are the seam of the pocket.

The gibbous moon is an egg, in the nest of the night hen. Her black feathers are speckled with white stars.

The half moon is a thimble on the black finger of night.

The crescent moon is a fingernail from that same finger.

a family in church

snow bunting
There is nothing to this entry but a description of this family that I like to see in church, whom I saw today. And it's a long description! But for some reason I wanted to write it down here.

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December 2014



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