September 28th, 2008

point reyes is a poem

Good Morning!

Where I live,  the fog is often the entertainment.  This morning it was a starfish splayed over the hill that then turned pink in the morning sun.

Now, it has softened and spread,  so the light is misty and inviting, sheltering.

I swore to myself I would post no more political news, but I do think it is important to stay aware of how dangerous McCain and Palin are.  Certainly they both this week exhibited behavior that seems suspect for any job, let only leaders of this vast and beautiful land.  

I think I have found equanimity and then I get a comment from someone that seems unrelated to what I've said or what makes sense.  They are cruising the posts, and then, come in anonymously, and without introduction or name.  This morning it was to let me know that the Libertarians think Sarah Palin is the greatest thing since sliced bread.   What?   Are they listening to what she says?   They see this as the rise of the west.   Well, as far as I know, the sun still rises in the east, and these two supposed representatives of the west are an embarrassment and do not represent anyone I personally know and that includes staunch Republicans.

I hesitate to post another column, and I think what Frank Rich says is important for us to keep in our heads.   The McCain campaign is trying to distract, to wear us out with antics, so that we stop paying attention and we go out for a walk in the nature that still exists since they are not yet in office, but we need to take our walks and stay informed.   The fog now has settled down to one little lip on the hill and the rest is clear.   We can't be distracted and wear thin.   The election is ours to win.

McCain’s Suspension Bridge to Nowhere

Published: September 27, 2008

WHAT we learned last week is that the man who always puts his “country first” will take the country down with him if that’s what it takes to get to the White House.

For all the focus on Friday night’s deadlocked debate, it still can’t obscure what preceded it: When John McCain gratuitously parachuted into Washington on Thursday, he didn’t care if his grandstanding might precipitate an even deeper economic collapse. All he cared about was whether he might save his campaign. George Bush put more deliberation into invading Iraq than McCain did into his own reckless invasion of the delicate Congressional negotiations on the bailout plan.

By the time he arrived, there already was a bipartisan agreement in principle. It collapsed hours later at the meeting convened by the president in the Cabinet Room. Rather than help try to resuscitate Wall Street’s bloodied bulls, McCain was determined to be the bull in Washington’s legislative china shop, running around town and playing both sides of his divided party against Congress’s middle. Once others eventually forged a path out of the wreckage, he’d inflate, if not outright fictionalize, his own role in cleaning up the mess his mischief helped make. Or so he hoped, until his ignominious retreat.


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William Blake - Jacob's Ladder

Where our country presides -

This is what the City by the Bay can do!!

Mile-long line for Academy of Sciences opening

The crowds of adults, children and infants were awesome, and by mid-afternoon the line for free admission wound more than a mile along Kennedy Drive and the park's side streets as academy staff handed out tickets admitting 500 visitors at a time every half-hour.

By 1 p.m., 5,000 patient ones had gotten inside. By the 9 p.m. closing, the number grew to nearly 17,000. But thousands more were turned away for lack of room. The staff suggested that those who struck out Saturday could come back on the next free admission day, Oct. 15.

But inside the building, every exhibit was ready - the towering trees of the tropical rain forest were alive with butterflies and birds; the two alligators napped lethargically on their swamp-surrounded rock; the tropical fish of every conceivable color filled the deep waters of the living coral reef, and the Morrison Planetarium show inside its giant dome enthralled hundreds at a time all day as it carried awed spectators from the outer reaches of the cosmos to the blue but fragile planet Earth.

The academy opening at 8:30 a.m. was appropriately ceremonial as the Police Department's color guard marched to the front of the building to the sound of bagpipe and drum, and Martin Martinez, a Pomo Indian from Redwood Valley in Mendocino County, waved a feathered hawk wing and intoned a thanksgiving blessing "for another day alive and for all the people who created this place."

Then Heidi Melton, an Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera, sang the national anthem and Gregory Farrington, the academy's executive director, introduced Renzo Piano, the famed Italian architect whose design of the academy building has already earned extraordinary critical praise and who, as Farrington said, "instantly came to understand the soul of this institution."

The crowd of hundreds massed in front of the building cheered and applauded.

Piano himself was brief: When he first learned about the academy's goals, he recalled, "I said, 'Mamma mia! I need this job! The Earth is fragile and it needs our help, so I want to help.' " He turned to the crowd, his arms outstretched.

"Do you like it?" he asked. The crowd roared.


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ashes and snow - wings

May we use it honestly, ethically and well -

There has never been a more critical time for the use of language.  Through the internet, we often exchange words with those we don't know and without gesture and sight. 

This comes from The Writer's Almanac:

The English language has gone on accepting additions to its vocabulary ever since the Norman invasion, and it now contains more than a million words, making it one of the most diverse languages on Earth. Writers have been arguing for hundreds of years about whether this is a good thing. Walt Whitman said, "The English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all." On the other hand, the critic Cyril Connelly wrote, "The English language is like a broad river … being polluted by a string of refuse-barges tipping out their muck." And the poet Derek Walcott, who grew up in a British colony in the West Indies, said, "The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself."

ashes and snow - wings

Andre Dubus -

Andre Dubus is an author I love.  I just finished reading his book Meditations from a Movable Chair.

I highly recommend this book of essays.   He is a man who loved his body, to breathe, run, sing while running, and be athletic, and then, in rescuing two people from a car wreck, he was hit by a car and lost the use of his legs and writes this book from a wheelchair.  He writes about grace and sacraments, about each breath as sacrament, and reading it puts everything into place.

While finishing the book, I was sitting out on the front porch, on the new, young wood, looking at the flowers.   Tiger and Bella sat with me, and a squirrel ran up and down a tree.  The light is soft and the movement of the fog offers a chirp to the breeze.

Dubus writes that: "A Zen archer does not try to hit the target. With intense concentration, he draws the bow and waits; the target releases the arrow, and draws it to itself."

I think in this election or any election no candidate can meet the needs of each one of us.  We are too different from each other.  Each of us, finely tweaked, has slightly different priorities, and the reason I support Obama is that he is pro-choice and speaks for and recognizes the globalization of the world and, the need for, and complexity of easing a war-like world toward peace. 

Dubus writes: 

"Not remembering that we are always receiving sacraments is an isolation the leaves do not have to endure: they receive and give, and they are green.  Not remembering this is an isolation only the human soul has to endure. But the isolation of a human soul may be the cause of not remembering this. Between isolation and harmony, there is not always a vast difference. Sometimes it is a distance that can be traversed in a moment, by choosing to focus on the essence of what is occurring, rather than on its exterior: its difficulty or beauty, its demands or joy, peace or grief, passion or humor.  This is not a matter of courage or discipline or will; it is a receptive condition."

Dubus died in 1999 at the age of 62.  

sleepy sea otter

The six pillars of character -

Here is a behavior guide. It may seem obvious, and yet, the manners of some mean a refresher course is in order, and this is clear and concise. There is even a color code to help with memory. Thanks, Alan!

Students can use this acronym to help them remember that people with good character are terrific:
T rustworthiness
R espect
R esponsibility
F airness
C aring
C itizenship

north pole moon

Closest Book Meme!

This is fun and comes from ginahelen.

* Grab the nearest book.
* Open the book to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post the text of the next seven sentences in your journal along with these instructions.
* Don't dig for your favourite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

I grab Markings by Dag Hammarskjold and go to page 56.

The dust settles heavily, the air becomes stale, the light dim in the room which we are not prepared to leave at any moment.

Our love becomes impoverished if we lack the courage to sacrifice its object.

Our will to live only survives so long as we will life without a thought as to whether it is our own or not.

God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason. 

"Treat others as ends, never as means."  And myself as an end only in my capacity as a means: to shift the dividing line in my being between subject and object to a position where the subject, even if it is in me, is outside and above me - so that my whole being may become an instrument for that which is greater than I.  

It is now, in this very moment, that I can and must pay for all that I have received. The past and its load of debt are balanced against the present. And on the future I have no claim.

Is not beauty created at every encounter between a man and life, in which he repays his debt by focusing on the living moment all the power which life has given him as an obligation?  Beauty - for the one who pays his debt.  For others, too, perhaps.


Sea Turtles are back -

I love turtles and I have noticed an amazing number of jellyfish on the beaches this year.  I was unaware that jellyfish tentacles are the greatest treat to a leatherback sea turtle.  Feasting is going on.  

Sea turtles are back, noshing on jellyfish

Sunday, September 28, 2008


(09-28) 17:04 PDT --

Endangered leatherback sea turtles, unseen off the central California coast only two years ago, have returned and are once again gobbling their favorite food: huge jellyfish that are swarming by the zillions from Monterey Bay to Point Arena.

The leatherbacks were spotted during a monthlong survey cruise aboard a government research vessel and repeated aircraft observations. Researchers said they were seen diving for meals close to shore and snacking now and then in deeper waters much farther out.


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Rosary steps

Do "nothing"!

"Deny children -- or anyone else -- the chance to do ‘nothing,’ and we may be denying them the chance to do ‘something’ -- to find and do any work that is truly important to themselves or to someone else."

-- John Holt