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whale shark

Today's sleet and rain has broken the spell that hid the true nature of our driveway. In reality, it is a whale shark.

Sorry we've been parking on top of you, whale shark!

whale shark?

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/882744.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


Babies like human faces, I'm told, but apparently especially other babies' faces. There were two baby girls in the arms of family members, sitting in front of us in church yesterday, both about nine months old. On the right, the youngest of six siblings (a beautiful family--I've really loved seeing the kids get older and each new baby turn into a small child). This child had caramel-colored hair, tights with hearts on them, and a pink sweater, and at one point her next-up sister gave her a glittering, pink-flavored rhinestone bracelet to play with, which she proudly showed to everyone, including me. (I was gratified to be included.) Next-up sister was the baby seems like just days ago, but now she's a little person with her own style. I was reminded of the phrase in Esmeralda Santiago's When I was Puerto Rican--"Someone's coming to take your lap." Next-up sister wasn't showing any hard feelings, though.

Anyway, this friendly, outgoing baby caught sight, over to the left, of another baby girl, a more-shy-seeming baby with brown curls and a beautiful dress with white designs of rabbits, ferns, and flowers on a blue ground. (This baby had only one sibling, an older sister, about three or four years old, who was playing with a set of plastic toy horses on the pew.) The eyes of big-family baby lit up when she saw this other baby. She smiled broadly and waved her arms and cooed. The other baby noticed, and a smile spread across her face too, and the two babies looked at each other like they'd just discovered a long-lost friend. They're just starting out their adventure in human existence, and here's a fellow traveler, a comrade.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/882432.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


solid metaphors

I went to photograph the Band-aid from yesterday (which upon closer inspection may not be a Band-aid at all; so much for waxing lyrical). I went in a rain-snow drizzle, and on the way I found these hulking, shining, solid metaphors.

Side tracks and switch--do you want to change direction?

switch tracks

You may wish to switch tracks, but you probably don't want to be sidelined.

How long, how long must I wait here?

This isn't really a metaphor, but I like the promise of a golden west, here in the gloomy east. Not sure how trustworthy that promise is, though.

golden west service

PS--seems I've seen the same thing, had the same thought, and shared it here before--but at a better time of year (link)

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/882186.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


My run today took me across an expanse of concrete beside the train tracks, I think a former staging area? There was a large Band-aid on it, as if over a wound, a wound in the concrete. I'm imagining the determined child who saw the concrete's boo-boo, went home, got the Band-aids out of the medicine cabinet, and came back and applied it. Or maybe the child was walking with an adult who happened to be carrying some emergency bandages, just in case.

So then I was wondering what caused the wound. It would have to be pretty small, in the scheme of things (the staging area is quite large), for one Band-aid to cover it. An adamantine-tipped arrow? But who shot it, and why? A single acid tear, from some sorrowful alien of the type that has acid body fluids?

It only makes sense if the staging area I ran over is some large creature, floating in the ground with just a flat flank exposed to the air. It can rise up from the earth like a muskrat or otter from the water. Someone with an arrow wanted to slay it, or its old friend the alien came to cry on its shoulder.

Something like that, and the child is its friend. The Band-aid has healing properties.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/881927.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

claw game

I remember hearing a story somewhere, a while ago, about a lawsuit against those claw games where you operate a claw to pick up a toy. I know it was folk knowledge that those games were rigged, and sure enough, they were rigged--hence the lawsuit. The plaintiffs won, so the claw games were required to be winnable with a reasonable application of skill. (Here's a story I found when I searched on "claw game lawsuit" that describes it in more detail.)

I thought of this because today at the Blandford rest stop on I-90, I saw a little girl playing a claw game, and she won a little rubber ducky. Delighted she ran into the bathroom to show her mother and grandmother.

How mean-spirited to have ever had the game rigged! How much nicer to add to general world happiness by having a winnable game. You might not make as much money (though I wonder if having a better reputation might not encourage more people to play), but I doubt it's a business that's ever going to make you the next Jeff Bezos. If you create a winnable game, it's still easy enough to make **some** money, and you create a happy experience for people. Then you have a game where people feel pleased when they win--and they *can* win--and you still make some money--happiness all around.

Also at the rest stop was a raven, playing a claw game in the rubbish bin by the gasoline pumps. He took lots of tries but didn't succeed in pulling out anything he liked, so he flew off. Maybe he'll initiate a lawsuit...

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/881805.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

creating a small eternity

Since Easter is tied to the full moon, it's not surprising that I saw a huge and copper-colored disk floating just above the horizon in the twilight yesterday evening, on my way to the Easter Vigil Mass. Not surprising, but breathtaking.

about the Easter VigilCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/881516.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Esmeralda Santiago

Esmeralda Santiago is a writer I hadn't heard of before a couple of weeks ago, when J, one of the teachers at the educational program I volunteer with in Holyoke, said she was coming to give a talk at Holyoke Community College. "I was hoping you could talk her up in your creative writing session and get some of the students to come."

He handed me the sheet on her, and wow:

Esmeralda Santiago grew up in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico in a one-room shack with a dirt floor and tin roof. Her family moved to New York when she was thirteen years old. The eldest of eleven, Esmeralda learned English from children’s books in a Brooklyn library. A teacher encouraged her to audition for Performing Arts High School, where she majored in drama and dance. After eight years of part-time study at community colleges, Esmeralda transferred to Harvard University with a full scholarship and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1976. Shortly after graduation, she and her husband Frank Cantor founded CANTOMEDIA, a film and media production company that has won numerous awards for excellence in educational and documentary filmmaking. With the publication of her first memoir When I was Puerto Rican, the Washington Post hailed Esmeralda as “a welcome new voice, full of passion and authority.” Her first novel, America's Dream, has been published in six languages and made into a movie by executive producer Edward James Olmos. Her second memoir, Almost a Woman, received an Alex Award from the American Library Association, and was made into a Peabody-award winning movie for PBS Masterpiece Theatre’s “American Collection.”

It gets longCollapse )

The people from my class who went--three women (one in her late 20s, one in her 40s, and one in her 60s) and one man (in his 30s), all Puerto Rican--loved the talk, and I did too. And I felt a swirl of gratitude and pride, pride because if I hadn't persuaded them to come, they wouldn't have gotten to, and gratitude, because if it wasn't for their coming, I wouldn't have probably gone.

It was a Good Experience.

Esmeralda Santiago
(photo source: centerforfiction.org)

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/881353.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

astronauts taking photos

A student said one of the best things in class today. People were sharing stories they'd been told when they were young, and she recalled being at her grandparents' house during a thunderstorm. It was dark--no power--and it was thundering and the lightning was flashing, and all the kids were scared, and her grandfather said about the lightning, "Don't be scared--it's just the astronauts taking pictures."

The lightning flashes were the flashes from the astronauts' cameras.

Isn't that the best?

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/881083.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Wednesday Reading

Before we went to the Everglades in 2016, I started reading Marjory Stoneman Douglas's seminal work on it, River of Grass. It was not only hugely informative but beautifully written. At that time, I discovered that she'd written novel for young people (I think we'd call it middle grade, these days) called Freedom River (originally published 1953). It takes place just before Florida becomes a state and features three boys: a White boy, a Black escaped slave boy, and a Miccosukee boy. I was curious to read it for all sorts of reasons, including an idiosyncratic one: a 1994 reissue has illustrations by a cousin of mine (first cousin once removed; he's my dad's age).

Marjory Stoneman Douglas was born in 1890 and lived to be 108; in addition to being a tenacious environmentalist, she was also an advocate for women's rights and a charter member of the ACLU in the South. In 1948, appalled to learn there was no running water in the Black sections of racially segregated Coconut Grove, she helped set up a loan program so that the community could be connected to the sewer system and helped pass a law that no houses in Miami could be built without toilets. (Thanks go to Wikipedia for all this information.)

So--she was a social activist. But she was already in her sixties in the 1950s. So it's been very interesting, so far, to see how she handles this story of these three boys.

man, this got longCollapse )

So... that's a lot of thoughts for a children's novel that I'm only halfway through. Oh! And yes, I picked it up again because Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School being in the news reminded me that I owned it and hadn't yet read it.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/880843.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


I really love the work of the photographer James Morgan.** He takes me all over the world--like to a Newar wedding ceremony:

Mr. Morgan explains the photo:
Among Newar people in Nepal, young girls are first married to a bael fruit, as in this image. They will later be married to the sun. The third marriage is to a man
Source on Twitter; source on Instagram

Fascinating! I just can't stop thinking about the possibilities of consecutive marriages like this--it's sparked a story in me, I think. I can feel it tingling to get out.

If you'd like a little more on the Newar marriage traditions, here's a post that goes into more detail about the marriage to the bael fruit, and here's one about the second marriage, the one to the sun. (My story won't be about their marriage traditions; I'm intending on taking the idea somewhere else.)

**You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, if you're on either of those platforms, or just check out his website.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/880152.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

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