I had a dog / who loved flowers…

Precious Luna--faithful friend, old soul, teacher. Thank you.


by Mary Oliver

I had a dog
who loved flowers.
Briskly she went
through the fields,

yet paused
for the honeysuckle
or the rose,
her dark head

and her wet nose
the face
of every one

with its petals
of silk,
with its fragrance

into the air
where the bees,
their bodies
heavy with pollen,

and easily
she adored
every blossom,

not in the serious,
careful way
that we choose
this blossom or that blossom—

the way we praise or don’t praise—
the way we love
or don’t love—
but the way

we long to be—
that happy
in the heaven of earth—
that wild, that loving.

“Luke” by Mary Oliver from Dog Songs. © Penguin, 2013.


Two horses…The dignity of being.

Two horses were put together in the same paddock.
Night and day. In the night and in the day
wet from heat and the chill of the wind
on it. Muzzle to water, snorting, head swinging
and the taste of bay in the shadowed air.
The dignity of being. They slept that way,
knowing each other always.
Withers quivering for a moment,
fetlock and the proud rise at the base of the tail,
width of back. The volume of them, and each other’s weight.
Fences were nothing compared to that.
People were nothing. They slept standing,
their throats curved against the other’s rump.
They breathed against each other,
whinnied and stomped.
There are things they did that I do not know.
The privacy of them had a river in it.
Had our universe in it. And the way
its border looks back at us with its light.
This was finally their freedom.
The freedom an oak tree knows.
That is built at night by stars.

“The Weight” by Linda Gregg, from Chosen by the Lion. © Graywolf Press, 1994.

Finding my New Year’s Resolution with the help of Philip Appleman, my friend Becky, and Monty Python!

Earlier today as I was casting about for a New Year’s resolution, I came upon Philip Appleman’s poem New Year’s Resolution. The segment beginning “Resolved: this year” seemed good, instructive:

Resolved: this year

I’m going to break my losing streak,

I’m going to stay alert, reach out,

speak when not spoken to,

read the minds of people in the streets.

I’m going to practice every day,

stay in training, and be moderate

in all things…

(From:  “New Year’s Resolution,” by Philip Appleman, in New and Selected Poems,1996)

Later today I discovered that my dear and long-standing friend, Becky, closed her thoughtful and fun-to-read New Year’s Eve blog post with Monty Python’s “Galaxy Song”.  The song invites us to put our lives in perspective, just as this time of year does, as well: “So remember when you’re feeling small and insecure / how amazingly unlikely is your birth…” How perfect is that?

Check out this version of the Galaxy Song to learn some astronomy (in less than three minutes) and to be reminded that our trip through the Universe is completely wild and fast. See if this doesn’t make you want to get out there and experience it all.

Happy New Year to you. May 2014 be truly memorable-in-a-good-way and personally meaningful.

How my dog became fat: I believed her when she said, “Help me. I haven’t eaten for days.”

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 2.12.32 PM I learned the hard way that a fat dog is, basically, a sick dog.

It was all my fault: I believed her when she seemed to say with her sweet, sincere eyes, “Help me. I am starving.” Inevitably she ballooned over time.

A vet said, “She’s got to go on a crash diet. Now,” and provided diet instructions on a green page from a prescription pad. I followed the instructions religiously. The plan worked.

I learned the hard way, at the expense of my dear pup, that a dog is a hedonist.

by Mary Oliver

“Please, please, I think I haven’t eaten
for days.”

What? Ricky, you had a huge supper.

“I did? My stomach doesn’t remember.
Oh, I think I’m fading away. Please
make me breakfast and I’ll tell you
something you don’t know.”

He ate rapidly.

Okay, I said. What were you going to
tell me?

He smiled the wicked smile. “Before we
came over, Anne already gave me my breakfast,”
he said.

Be prepared. A dog is adorable and noble.
A dog is a true and loving friend. A dog
is also a hedonist.

‘Astronomy Picture of the Day’ returns after government narrowly escapes shutdown’s black hole

'Three Galaxies and a Comet' -- "Diffuse starlight and dark nebulae along the southern Milky Way arc over the horizon." From Astronomy Picture of the Day http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131020.html


by Freya Manfred

What matters most? It’s a foolish question because I’m hanging on,
just like you. No, I’m past hanging on. It’s after midnight and I’m falling
toward four a.m., the best time for ghosts, terror, and lost hopes.

No one says anything of significance to me. I don’t care if the President’s
a two year old, and the Vice President’s four. I don’t care if you’re
cashing in your stocks or building homes for the homeless.

I was a caring person. I would make soup and grow you many flowers.
I would enter your world, my hands open to catch your tears,
my lips on your lips in case we both went deaf and blind.

But I don’t care about your birthday, or Christmas, or lover’s lane,
or even you, not as much as I pretend. Ah, I was about to say,

“I don’t care about the stars” — but I had to stop my pen.
Sometimes, out in the silent black Wisconsin countryside
I glance up and see everything that’s not on earth, glowing, pulsing,
each star so close to the next and yet so far away.

Oh, the stars. In lines and curves, with fainter, more mysterious
designs beyond, and again, beyond. The longer I look, the more I see,
and the more I see, the deeper the universe grows.

I have a long way to go, and I’m starting now —
out in the silent black Wisconsin countryside.

“Stars” by Freya Manfred, from Swimming with a Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle. © Red Dragonfly Press, 2008.

I hope your dreamlife contains the whales I’ve seen, that one in the Humboldt current

The Humboldt Current, also known as the Peru Current, is the most productive marine ecosystem in the world, as well as the largest upwelling system, supporting an extraordinary abundance of marine life. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_Current  Photo: http://yourescapetoecuador.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Humpback-Rainbow-625x380.jpg

Humpback whale “who seemed to watch the seabirds wheeling around her head.”

The Bear

by Jim Harrison

When my propane ran out
when I was gone and the food
thawed in the freezer I grieved
over the five pounds of melted squid,
but then a big gaunt bear arrived
and feasted on the garbage, a few tentacles
left in the grass, purplish white worms.
O bear, now that you’ve tasted the ocean
I hope your dreamlife contains the whales
I’ve seen, that one in the Humboldt current
basking on the surface who seemed to watch
the seabirds wheeling around her head.

…Of how we ought / To let life go on where / And when it can.

Please stop for turtles on the road, any road, every road. Help them to cross in the direction they were headed. More tips to help turtles here: http://www.ontarioturtlesave.com/ontario-turtle-save-blog.html

Please stop for turtles on the road, any road, every road. Help them to cross in the direction they were headed. More tips to help turtles here: http://www.ontarioturtlesave.com/ontario-turtle-save-blog.html

An Interruption

by Robert S. Foote

A boy had stopped his car
To save a turtle in the road;
I was not far
Behind, and slowed,
And stopped to watch as he began
To shoo it off into the undergrowth—

This wild reminder of an ancient past,
Lumbering to some Late Triassic bog,
Till it was just a rustle in the grass,
Till it was gone.

I hope I told him with a look
As I passed by,
How I was glad he’d stopped me there,
And what I felt for both
Of them, something I took
To be a kind of love,
And of a troubled thought
I had, for man,
Of how we ought
To let life go on where
And when it can.

“An Interruption” by Robert S. Foote.