Friday, August 28, 2009

Flower Song

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I watched the waterfall.
Listened --
to the water
I saw the bright hibiscus,
the tiger lily
just beyond --
and heard their song.

Susan M. Kennedy

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At the Arboretum last week, one of the features that had me mesmerized was a contemporary styled waterfall ... very elegant and simple. The water fell from two stories high in sheets behind which were beautiful plantings to glimpse beyond and through ...

I mean seriously ... when you think of all the natural elements that conspired to create this amazing visual symphony - water - reflecting the sky and the sun, shimmering in front of flowers and ferns, kissed by the wind ... ???

Mary Oliver said it much better than I ever could - what I was feeling and thinking ... as I listened. I have a feeling that had I been able to stay, I would be one of those listening still.

There Is a Place Beyond Ambition

When the flute players
couldn't think of what to say next

they laid down their pipes,
then they lay down themselves
beside the river

and just listened.
Some of them, after a while,
jumped up
and disappeared back inside the busy town.
But the rest --
so quiet, not even thoughtful --
are still there,

still listening.

~ by Mary Oliver, from "Red Bird"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Koi and Children ... Poetry in Motion

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The koi pond at the arboretum was one of the most popular stops for the kids - and one of the last. It was such a delight to see their hot, wilted little bodies become suddenly animated and refreshed ... The koi put on a pretty show for them - leaping over one another for the dragonflies who dared to come too close, slapping tails against the water and chasing minnows that we could see just beneath the surface....

They took in every iota - and I heard questions and comments about their colors, the designs on their backs, their funny eyes and mouths, how they moved. I watched a 9yo neighbor boy we'd brought along lie on his tummy on the rocks, chin in hand and heard him whisper "You're so pretty ... I wish you could be free ..."

excerpt from "Koi"
~ by John Burnside~

All afternoon we've wandered from the pool
to alpine beds and roses
and the freshly
palm house
all afternoon
we've come back to this shoal
of living fish.
Crimson and black
or touched with gold
the koi hang in a world of their invention
with nothing that feels like home - a
concrete pool
and unfamiliar plants spotted with light
birdsong and traffic
pollen and motes of
and every time the veil above their heads shivers into noise
they dart
and scatter
though it seems more ritual now
than lifelike fear
as if they understood
in principle
but could not wholly grasp
the vividness of loss

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Dallas Arboretum Tradition - 2009 Highlights!

Visiting the Dallas Arboretum has become a tradition for the women and children of our family. The last couple of years my daughters have given me a season's pass for birthday or Mother's Day - and I love it - wish I could go more often! This year they had something special ... fourteen juried playhouses based on storybooks and they are awesome, interactive art structures. If you're in the area I highly recommend it!

This was probably
the biggest hit:

Peter Pan's Jolly Roger

Here we have:

Alice in Wonderland, The Teremok, The Owl & the Pussycat and Hansel & Gretel.

The heat and humidity were excruciating - so we took a break for waterplay at the Frog Fountains ... always a huge favorite!
Then time for a picnic in the shade of glorious pecan trees - filled with nut-throwing squirrels and bees a-plenty!

After a little rest we were ready for more:

Treasure Island, City Green, Thumblina, The Little Prince and James & the Giant Peach

Of course, in between were stunning flowers (hibiscus as big as dinner plates!) trees, fountains - the photo ops are outrageous here - but this visit was mainly to enjoy the kids. (I'll go again soon, believe me, because I really missed the Women's Garden, the Fern Dell, the Reflecting Pools, etc!)

While I was standing among the giant hibiscus I heard Trey yelling for me - beside himself with excitement ... seems he had discovered the koi ponds! He grabbed my hand and pulled me (he's faster than me!) to the water's edge and looked so deeply I just knew he was about to fall in ... :-) All the kids loved the beautiful koi and turtles and they did put on a nice show for them - leaping and splashing in all their glorious color!

The day was coming to a close - energy was flagging in bodies tall and small and we snapped a few more memory shots and headed for home ... :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A big day for firsts - Applesauce and the Arboretum....


What a trooper ... braved excruciating heat and humidity for nature and the arts. Thing is - we're all weak little worn out puddles from the day .... and he's still going strong - bouncing like Tigger at the moment in his jumper!!
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Graced with the ordinary ...

Graced with the ordinary ..., originally uploaded by Sparky2*.

" ... Let the world
have its way with you,
luminous as it is

with mystery
and pain--
graced as it is
with the ordinary."

~ by Mary Oliver, excerpt "Summer Morning" from "Red Bird"

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Oh, this weekend was a working weekend entirely ... we've had so much rain that the yardwork was overwhelming. I normally love yardwork ... or I guess in comparison to yesterday I suppose I should correct that to "I love to yard "putter".

The grass was tall and thick - the weeds were about to take us over - and there was lots of trimming and deadheading to be done. We also had to put the swing back together after the storms' strong winds blew it apart. The canopy is ripped - but I have a crafty plan for repairing it (hope it works!)

Buddy and I were creaking and groaning in unison ... and reaching for the Tylenol! When we finally put all the tools away and came inside we blinked in surprise at the time and thought "dinner?" Did I mention the wonderful little hamburger place around the corner - that delivers!!? ;-)

But the yard looks lovely again - had my morning coffee on the patio listening to the happy gurgling fountain and watching the birds and enjoying the roses. Then a few minutes later Lukas joined me for his morning cereal - and I listened to the gurgling of a happy baby and watched his tiny little rosebud mouth stretch up and open like a little bird's - eager for his breakfast! ;-)

Truly - there is luminous life in the ordinary.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

At the Kimball

At the Kimball, originally uploaded by Sparky2*.

Zach and friend, Donavan, at the Kimball Art Museum today.

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Phillip Haas Film Installations at the Kimble Art Musuem

This was one of my favorites of the Philip Haas Film Installations (from Apollo and the Continents). You simply have to "experience" this to understand the profound effect it has! Each wall - as well as the ceiling (one wall as seen here is mirror) is larger than life murals - with a catch... the murals are alive - they blink, turn their heads slightly - so you actually feel as though you are the unwitting observers of "the Gods" as they go about their lives - as if they may see you at any moment. To see more (and better) images and for more info check out this link!

Here is the blurb from the Kimble promo pamphlet:

Commissioned by the Kimbell, Philip Haas’s film installations interpret and elaborate upon selected works in the Museum’s permanent collection. Though based on deep research into the original artists and cultures, Haas’s films are poetic and sensuous in approach rather than factual like a documentary. Between seven and twenty minutes in length and running continuously, they are projected on screens of various unconventional formats and configurations. All are accompanied by original music, and several appear in elaborate architectural and sculptural sets, further immersing the viewer in the experience.

This one, from Arhat Taming the Dragon was so beautiful - the colors and textures so rich they just reach into you! I wish I had captured some of the more vivid colors on the screen ...

"Skeletons Warming Themselves" was powerful and startling ... so eerie ... like stepping into an all-too-real nightmare. We didn't stay long for that one because of the little guys (too intense) didn't get pics but I would have if on my own. In this one you see the same image from four perspectives at once (on each wall around you). The richness was mindboggling!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009



Invitation, originally uploaded by Sparky2*.

This little fellow was peering in my kitchen window as though inviting me to come out into the day ... :-) Just when I'm feeling most "blah" or my mind is set on "overdrive" and my body on "mechanical" God sends something my way.

I had just been to Barnes & Noble last week and picked up a Mary Oliver book to send to a friend in China -
(and came out with a copy of Red Bird for myself as well, doncha know?) ;-)

- so this poem was still percolating at the back of my mind and when I saw the little face and bright eyes ... heard the chipping song ... it all came together ...


Oh, do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude --
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.
I beg of you,

Do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.

~~ Mary Oliver, from "Red Bird"