Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Tender Slivers

June sunset
Once a month Honore' invites us to check-in with the word we chose at the beginning of the year. This last day in June, the heat and humidity are oppressive.

My thoughts about "tender" are scattered. They nag like a sliver under my skin. Extending tenderness to others encourages me to pay attention to others and myself. As well as I think I might know a friend, I don't know all of the minor slivers under the skin or deeper cares hiding in a heart. They may not care to share all of their story. Of strangers, I know even less. Judgement comes more easily than tenderness. Extending tender thoughts to the driver who pulls out in front of me, the walker with no inclination to yield six feet on the sidewalk, the person with opposing political views is challenging. 

Elizabeth Alexander's poem, Praise Song for the Day.* comes to my mind this morning. See the link for the entire poem. Her prose and poetry are worth reading. This poem begins:

"Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other's
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking."

and then continues with a description of ordinary activities. Later the poem takes a turn in these two stanzas.

"Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take more than
you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance."

*Alexander, Elizabeth. Crave Radiance  Minneapolis, Minn: Graywolf Press, 2010., (p.247-248)

One of tender's origins, "tendere" (Latin) means to extend outward, stretch, spread out, direct one's course. I continue to think about how to stretch into and extend tenderness as we turn the calendar to July.

And "What if the mightiest word is love?"

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Wild and Crazy

Where was I? Oh yes, last Monday my vintage 2013 computer started typing magenta letters and the battery wouldn't charge. I masked up, packed wipes for sanitizing, and visited Computer Hardware, the local Apple affiliate. I had the new machine home less than 24 hours when the pull-down from the battery icon indicated the machine needed a new battery. Back I went. Three days later, the new laptop with a new battery and desktop is performing well. The service in that local store is excellent.

This morning I have been watching young house finches learn to navigate the feeder. There is a clutch of three little ones with tiny tufts of down sticking out from their heads. They wait for the Mama to feed them rather than brave a perch on the feeder suspended from a shepherd's crook. I wonder if the slight movement of landing and take-off deters them or if the darn thing looks odd to them. Now and then one of them twists her body sideways to look at the feeder.

I continue to knit along. This scrappy shawl is a little crazy. I took out one light lavender section and faded some darker scraps up to the solid periwinkle. I hope to remember some of the stitch patterns the next time I set off to knit a scrappy shawl. 

I reknit this cowl and like it much better. Sometimes gauge in a small project really does matter. Once the pattern was set-up, the knitting was intuitive. Knitting a large cable-looking pattern without cabling was fun.

I cast on a baby sweater. A young woman who grew up in the neighborhood is having her first baby. This simple pullover practically knits itself. I bought a mini skein of bright lime green for stripes but then discovered it wasn't superwash. I didn't read the tag very well. The main color is a superwash yarn. I pulled the white superwash out of my stash for the stripes. It seemed silly to knit stripes from a non-superwash.

Last year I thought I planted some low-growing coreopsis in the front yard. This might have been another tag I didn't read carefully. Last Spring seems like so long ago. This year the flowers are taller and a bit wild and gangly. I might dig them up and put them somewhere else this fall or I might leave them and call them wildflowers. I like wildflowers. Our approach to landscaping, if it can even be called that, is easy care, drought resistant, and informal. They fit right in to our less than manicured front yard.

How did we get to the last weekend in June? That seems wild and crazy to me too. Wherever you are, I hope the weekend brings you some bright summer hours.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Saturday Morning

Honore' writes a post called "Simply a Moment." While sitting at my desk watching the changeable sky, I thought of those posts and decided to write a version of this moment at 11:20 a.m. on June 20, 2020.
The sun is in and out of the clouds. First sun dappled leaves, then overcast sky. Small young chickadees come to the feeder. A robin lands in the birch, the breeze blows. Yellow lilies turn bright faces toward the light. Winter White Chai in my cup has cooled to the right temperature. Even though it is a winter flavor, I savor the anise, cinnamon, cardamom.

Earlier this morning the neighborhood was quiet when I walked. The grass is too wet to mow.  Cardinals, chickadees, doves, and robins called to each other and were my company. Where ever you are, I wish you a moment to stop, breathe, and be.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Wednesday Unraveled

Last evening, strong storms blew through. The temperature dropped about thirty degrees. Early this bright clear morning, I walked in jeans and a jacket. The wind was from the north which means a cooler day. I won't complain. Heat and humidity are my least favorite weather. The tomato patch survived but I need new cucumber seeds. The zinnias grow bravely, as they do through heat and wind and heavy rains. The ground is too muddy for weeding so this might be a day for sitting on the deck with knitting or a book. I choose to think the universe is telling me to take a break from chores. 

Since this is Wednesday, I am linking with Kat and the Unravelers to write about knitting and reading. I finished the first sock of a pair and cast on the second. Because the next project is always calling, I cast on this purple scrappy shawl. I almost frogged it and may still do so. The pattern calls for two skeins - one solid and one variegated or speckled. I used the small scraps in the section above as the multicolored yarn. What I notice is the scraps fall into two color groups, one with red undertones and the other with blue/periwinkle shades. The deeper color, of which I have a full skein and was going to use as the solid (latest knitting) across the widest part of the shawl is in the blue category. So what to do? The knitting looks better to me in daylight. It's interesting to see the shawl in a photo. I wonder about taking out that last swath of solid light violet and using up some of the other more blueish yarn scraps. I am also reworking this cowl with fewer repeats. The texture pattern is fun to knit and I like the color of the yarn. It's blue. So I've had a cast on party.

I finished reading Toni Morrison's The Source of Self-Regard. This gifted woman's insights into literature, race, and her own writing are so thoughtful. One or two essays touch on globalism and migration of people in various times in history. If you read the collection, know that the bibliography list at the end gives the dates of publication or speech. I would have enjoyed a little more context with each essay or speech but the dates in the list provide some reference. I will think about this book for a long time. I set the essay collection, The Bells of Old Tokyo aside for now. Sometimes when I read a book I really enjoy, my next read needs to be completely different.

Norah and I read together for the first time last week. She is just beginning to sit still long enough for a story and has discovered Good Night Moon. I got out my old worn copy and with her Mama helping we read a few of her favorite pages together. Watching a little one discover the joy of books is magical. By the time we can be vaccinated for Covid-19 and travel, she will think we live in the iPad.

I hope your week is filled with fresh breezes and a special moment or two. Thanks for all your kind comments on the previous post.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

I am Sorry

In my last blog post, since removed, I made a statement at the end of the post that clearly came from my position of white privilege. I am sorry I offended some. I am sorry for any discomfort or pain that it caused for anyone. I will try to do better. It is a place for me to begin again.