The Fox at Dawn


Dusk and Dawn 10.9.21

Men and their leaf blowers have no love for the unwinding of the day as the sun slips down between late afternoon and evening. I shake my fists at them and walk by with my middle fingers in my ears. I know I am invisible to them, all they can see is their task. My neighbors in the big white farmhouse have set up a long, long table in the middle of their yard with white linen and enormous candelabras. I expect the Mad Hatter and the March Hare will arrive soon followed by a sleepy Dormouse and then a befuddled Alice.  It is a delightful sight. It’s a Friday night and once again I am home alone, breathing a sigh of relief. My week is always so very full, so many students, colleagues, all in motion, a buzzing hive of exploration and things that must be done.

Home again from school and from retrieving my dear old cat Piper Rose from the vet I set some things right in the house and step out again with my binoculars and field bag holding my eyeglasses and journal, intending to find magic, intending to take my time walking and looking at the world as if it were new. Remembering the owl’s song this morning, calling from the languishing black cherry in the back of my yard, I do not go far. I can hear the cars rushing along Brownsboro Road, folks hurrying home to their weekend, blind to everything thing else- I don’t wish to be swept into their current. I walk slowly around the little wood behind my garage, then slowly around the block, letting the tiresome leaf blowers complete their tasks. I sneak up the wooded lot next to the new neighbor who has never actually moved in, though she bought the house back in May. I stop every few steps to look, to see, to take a breath. A pair of young squirrels run off a tree in a game of chase, one of them nearly runs up my legs as if I were another tree but swerves at the last moment, unconcerned that I am human. It makes me smile, I feel honored. Now, here I am at the picnic table in the little wood where no one ever sits except me, once in a blue moon. 

The trees are so patient. I sit and wait with them. Still holding their summer leaves for a little while longer, except for the tall black cherries who are starting to let those tired old things go. The green is giving way to gold and yellow, other colors creeping in. The sun is setting soon. I look for the owl and hope to hear its call before I head into the house. I wait, the trees wait, the traffic roars in the distance, the crickets sing, the breeze disappears, voices from Alice’s party grow merrier and louder as the guests arrive. Owls do not care for parties. There’ll be no calls this evening, but I’ll be back before dawn. 

Saturday morning, I am here and so is the owl. Alice’s party has been long dispersed, the tea has grown cold. I woke at six, fed the clamoring cats, put on clothes to protect me from tick and chigger and mosquito, picked up my binoculars, journal and a little lantern and stepped quietly out the art room door to the call of the owl, sitting high in the black cherry, my old friend Orion shining in the sky behind it. Good morning, my blessing.

            I’m at the table writing by the light of the lantern, the night insects sing. The owl moved from the cherry into a tree here in the little wood where it sang a while longer and then grew silent. Perhaps it has moved on. Perhaps it will come back. I hear the distant hum and thrum of the roads, even early on this weekend morning people have places to be that aren’t where they are. I dream of living where I cannot hear them, cannot hear their busyness. I dream of living where the song of God quiets the noise in my head.

            I do love it though, my house on the hillside, my willful yard, this hidden little wood and lane behind it, right in the heart of Crescent Hill. I love that owls live here, that foxes and deer have made their way here from time to time. Raccoons, possums and rabbit are longtime residents. I love that I can walk to the library, bookstore and bakery, to Oscar’s hardware and Tammy’s consignment shop. I can stand in the road and talk with my neighbors, be part of block parties and celebrations. It is good, so good. The stars peek through the trees, the sun won’t be up for another forty-five minutes or so, the night sings on.

I’ve been reading The Tapestry Room, the book I am writing, here by the lantern light. Little insects make their way across the page, I note their progress. I look up to see the morning light creeping in. Suddenly a bird sings, she has seen the dawn too. More birds are joining in. I can see the ground more clearly, can hear the traffic grow louder, more insistent on its importance. The stars have disappeared. Night’s song is over- not quite, not quite- the owl is back, calling ‘who cooks for you? who cooks for you?’ I do, my friend, I do. I turn back to my reading, live inside the world that is as real to me as any. Each time I look up from it, the outside world has changed. Color is creeping into it as the earth turns toward the sun. 

(Drawn with plants from the neighborhood.)

My neighbor Bob just walked past on the little lane, off for his morning walk and coffee. I don’t think he even saw me sitting here. I turn off the lantern, useless now, and go into the house.



8/17/19 Saturday morning on the hilltop of St. Joe’s
August 17, 2019, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Art of the Day, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: ,

God bless the young rabbit 
with the early morning sun 
shining through its ears.
 
God bless the chimney swifts and mourning doves, 
the adolescent robins 
careening from branch to branch.
 
God bless the red tailed hawk
enduring the harangue 
of the self righteous jay.
 
God bless the fox who knows
the back way,
slipping safely home.
 
God bless the runners 
(god knows why they run),
moving as one down the empty street.
 
God bless the orphans 
waking up to their free morning,
the caregivers who planned for it all week.
 
God bless the thirsty grass, 
The parched trees and shrubs,
the flowers that bloom anyway.
 
God bless the old dogs 
with their busted knees
and their young hearts.
 
And God bless the mother
who dallies on the hilltop
for a moment, just a moment
before launching into a list of chores
that would bury a regiment.
 

A postcard I made this morning to send to someone in Germany.
Another Saturday morning dalliance.


8.3.19 Something Afoot
August 3, 2019, 12:46 pm
Filed under: Art of the Day, Writing | Tags: , , , ,

There is strange energy at work, a churning sort of energy. Walking the dogs these past few days, my head has been crowded with old unhappy thoughts of lost love and betrayals, large and small. A male Cooper’s Hawk has been sitting vigil atop the dying ash tree in the lane and yesterday I spoke to him as I set off. “Hello old friend. I see you. I do wish you would leave me one of your feathers.” And early this morning, there it was, laying on the gravel- one of his tail feathers. A few more steps and there was a feather from a Blue Jay, then a small taupe gray feather from a Mourning Dove. Then I saw a neighbor being led down the street in handcuffs, the mustached officer gingerly carried her pretty pink handbag as he held her arm. He was leading her gently and she had a curious little smile on her face as she climbed into the backseat of the cruiser. Then I found more and more feathers, black ones perhaps from crows or grackles or starlings. I picked up fourteen feathers in all, an extravagance of messages and prayers. Evidence of growth, evidence of someone’s demise.

Then at home I saw what I had been suspecting- that a frog has indeed made its home in my little fish pond. I saw it sitting on the rocks by the waterfall, and just now, I saw a second frog there! Two frogs in the pond that has not known any for two years. I have been wishing for frogs, sorry that I’ve not tried bringing in tadpoles these last two years. And here they came all on their own. So now, like the greedy Fisherman’s Wife, I am wishing for all kinds of things. I’m wishing for my daughter’s mental health to improve, wishing for a successful transition to life at college. I’m wishing for my own daily commitment to writing, carving out time and space for it, protecting it from interruption. I’m wishing for success and prosperity. I’m even wishing for new love and friendship to come into my life. Because what the hell. There is something afoot.



5.31.19 Circles
June 1, 2019, 9:04 am
Filed under: Art of the Day, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

6/1/19 Early morning. I’ve been thinking a lot about circles, all the orbits we make, all the beginnings, the middles, the ends that lead right back into another beginning. So I sat outside last night and drew it as best I could, in the little piece of green that I have the care of, the “bit of earth” that is my own secret garden. The end of another school year, the start of another summer, the end of J’s secondary education, the start of her collegial learning, the sun sets at the end of another day and I go to sleep solid in the belief that it will rise again.

I thought a lot about Mom’s grand birthday party so lavishly hosted by my brother and sister, celebrating her 80 trips around the sun and 60 trips for my cousin Bobby. A carousel of photos, some almost 80 years old themselves, played over and over on the big screen in the corner, the past made present in front of our eyes. There were so many friends there, so much family, she hinted that this might not be such a bad send off if she were to pop off in the night, but of course we aren’t done with her yet. She doesn’t have our permission to go. That’s what we like to think, that death requires our permission, that we are somehow in control our endings. Maybe sometimes we are, but mostly the carousel stops and we sigh because the ride is over. We hop down off our horse and go find the next ride.

There were beautiful toasts at the party, my brother’s of course, and old friends and that of my beloved nephew who surprised his Nonna in a grand Hallmark moment by coming through the door when she wasn’t expecting him, thinking he couldn’t get leave from the Air Force base where he serves. The look of wonder and disbelief on her face as he walked through the door with his arms open wide! The same look on his mother’s face when he gathered her up in a hug. Only my sneaky sister and her husband were in the know- how they laughed with the pleasure of it. That party was a great gift, a chance for us to come together from all over, a chance to be together in happiness.

We sang happy birthday by the light of the only two candles that Mom would allow- one for her, one for my cousin- led in song by the jazz singer my brother hired. For once that tiresome song was a joy and not the dirge it usually bogs into. And at the end of the night, there was dancing. One of mom’s high school friends stood up and asked her to dance. He had always been the best dancer, Mom tells us, the best escort to any debutante ball. There they were, gracefully, joyfully dancing to “What a Wonderful World”, the song I chose nine years ago for Dad’s funeral. It was perfectly right. It was as if Dad were suddenly there. How he loved to dance with his Florence Lee.



5.2.19 Morning Walk
May 2, 2019, 8:25 pm
Filed under: Art of the Day | Tags: , , ,
Further adventures of the Shippen Avenue Society of Rabbits. I saw these four on my morning walk with the dogs. Sedge, Clover and Ivy are well known to me, Barbara is a newcomer. I knew something important must be in the works. I thought about these four on and off all day at school. Kept my head from exploding with all the antsy spring middle school foolishness, theirs and mine.


May Day 2019
May 1, 2019, 8:25 pm
Filed under: Art of the Day | Tags: , , , ,


Cold and dark the winter
In March it snows again
Through the rains of April
Spring comes stealing in
Smiling o’er the meadow
The rising light of day
Beauty is reborn again
Every first of May.
 
For when I’m walking with my darling on a May Day day
Walking with my darling on a May Day day
Oh there’s nothing much a doin’
And little for to say
But oh my heart is happy on a May Day day 
 
Folks are cold and distant
The world’s about to freeze
Never has the world known harder times than these
Suffering world forgive me
Grant me just a day
I cannot help but hope again
Every first of May.
 
For when I’m walking with my darling on a May Day day
Walking with my darling on a May Day day
Oh there’s nothing much a doin’
And little for to say
But oh my heart is happy on a May Day day 
 
-The May Day Carol, Jean Ritchie

May 1 journal excerpts. Morning Coffee. Dad.

It caught me by surprise, sudden grief. Spooning the coffee beans into the grinder, enjoying the smell of them in the 6am darkness, I remembered the moment Dad realized that he was never going home again. I remembered his anguished cry, saying how much he loved his home, how he loved waking up and going down the hall in the dark to make his morning coffee. I wept at the kitchen counter. I’m crying now as I write outside in the evening light, everything so impossibly green, everything so impossibly beautiful.

The coyote was again in his spot on the hillside, laying in the grass, soaking up the evening sun. He lifted his head now and again to look around, smell the air, before laying back down. Not time to hunt yet, he hits the snooze button. It’s the same coyote I’ve been tracking since Easter. White muzzle, shaggy winter coat coming off in clumps. From my prayer spot on the Field Avenue side of St. Joseph’s I can look over the valley to the top of the hill beyond and see him with my binoculars. Without them, he just looks like a bit of brown in the grass. You wouldn’t notice him at all unless you were looking for him, even with binoculars. He’s tricky. Yesterday he was sitting up, he watched me watching him. He doesn’t need binoculars. I waved, but he didn’t wave back. I wonder if he comes to my yard at night, maybe takes a drink from the fish pond. Every evening I say a prayer for his safety, and I pray for the safety of my night prowling cats.

Dad’s been gone almost nine years. I’m waving from my prayer spot.



Navigating 18.

From “The Worst Journey in the World”, Scott’s expedition to the South Pole 1911-1913


It was a difficult week. EDie has been fighting hard to regain strength, like Lord Voldemort living inside poor Professor Quirrell’s head. Ugliness returned to mealtimes- the slow dismemberment of food with knife and fork, the maddening clink clink clink of utensils on porcelain, the pushing it around, making it appear that something has been eaten, attempting to skip eating entirely, and really mean talk. God I hate that talk. Especially that talk about quitting treatment when she turns eighteen. Christ. Eighteen. It has been looming like a threat for months.

The front of J’s birthday card.

She struggled all week at her IOP and at home, young Dr. Jekyll trying to keep control of the transformation. At dinner times she lost and Hyde sat across the table, not caring about J’s future, not caring about her present, her love for life, caring only for control over the plate. And then we’d battle and any victory is pyrrhic. One night, the worst night, I heard her crying in her room, sobbing as she facetimed her friends at McCallum. I heard their comfort and advice to her, it was very good, very wise and very loving. All the advice she can’t hear from me right now.

The back of J’s birthday card

Friday morning, her birthday, her longed for day of liberation from childhood, I set her card and gift on the dining room table and waited for her to emerge. I wanted it to be special, the day. We had planned nothing. All suggestions about what we could do- party with friends, family, something small, no meal, no cake, an activity, a small journey, had been met with a shrug.

I had been emailed by her doctor that she wanted to see me in the morning with J at her first appointment, because J had spoken in group that she was planning on walking out of therapy . What were my contingency plans if this was to happen, she wanted to know. I had been speaking to J all week about it, when she asked me ‘what would happen if I quit therapy?’ I had been forced to say she would have to drop out of high school because I would no longer fund her private education, I would not pay for college. It would be setting her up for failure and I would not do it. That seemed to get her attention. Thursday night, she told me she was not planning on dropping out, at least not right away, but things change so quickly and she is highly impulsive. And in the morning, her birthday morning, she sat in Dr. Alex’s office, sullen, quiet, withdrawn. What would she do? Dr. Alex reiterated what the consequences would be if she stopped, spinning them even further out- J would have to get a job in order to pay for her phone, gas, insurance, rent to me. That’s what would happen after she left treatment and couldn’t return to school. My stomach burned with fear, bubbling away. After some expert handling by the doctor, J agreed to continue. I left her then in Dr. Alex’s capable hands as she had J sign all new paperwork agreeing to continue treatment. I walked to the car, quite literally weak in my knees. I had always thought that was just a saying, but it isn’t. Many times through the last week I have felt that sudden weakness in my legs as waves of fear passed through. I sat in the car and had trouble collecting my thoughts, figuring out where I had to be. School, back to school to be the teacher part of the parent/teacher conferences. Terrific. Giving advice to parents about their children, feeling like I hadn’t a leg to stand on.

In the early afternoon I picked her up. She was tired and so was I. We went home and she crashed in one of her monster naps. I curled up in an armchair in the sun for twenty minutes and let that light do its job. When J woke, she jumped in the shower, dolled herself up, grabbed the car keys and went to pick up her boyfriend at UofL across town, in the Friday evening rush hour traffic. “Don’t worry Mom, I’m eighteen!” Fingers crossed, I prayed and prayed and vacuumed the house. I will not lie- she is a terrible driver. At least she used to be, of course, now that she is eighteen, everything has magically changed. Her plan was to drive to see two of her friends, ones she hasn’t seen since before she left. She was light and cheerful and confident, all the things I was not, and that made me happy. And happier still that she was reaching out to friends she had pushed away. She and her boyfriend made it back around 8 and I made them dinner. They put a candle in a brownie and he sang to her. I was not invited to the little party, but I was happy to hear the song floating up the stairs.

I knew it was coming, the headache. I cannot release the tension as quickly as it builds, though I try. A synaptic firestorm blazed up in my sleep Friday night, and I carry it still now on Sunday afternoon, though it has diminished. I try to extinguish it with yoga and meditation, art making, working in the yard, the house. Breathing, just breathing.

On the first anniversary of my biological father’s violent death, many years ago now, I set myself the task of riding my bike up Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains. It had been a hard year coming to terms with the manner of his death, his impoverished life’s end at the hands of alcoholism. I was executor, which really only meant that I had to figure out if there was anything to save, anything to share with my brother and sister and how to protect us all from incurring his debts. I struggled with depression that year, a heavy dibilitating sadness. I dreaded the anniversary, and the idea took hold to make that climb on my bike. I thought it would be a good place to cry, a cathartic release. I got about 20 minutes into it and looked ahead at the 5,000+ foot climb in endless switchbacks and realized, shit, I will never make it up there if I am crying. I have to let go of that right now. The only way I am going to make it is if I don’t look back over the past and if I don’t look too far ahead to the summit. I have to look right here and I have to allow myself to enjoy it. My mantra became, I love you, you little piece of pavement, I’m perfectly fine right here, and I’m fine here too on the next little piece of road. I may be in the lowest gear I have, but hey, I’m fine, I’m better than fine, it’s a beautiful day. And I started to look around and truly love, not just pretend to love, the place where I was. By the time I finally did reach the summit, three hours later, and got to look down upon the sweet sweet world, I was light and free, the happiest I had been in a long time.

So that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying not to look back over the past. I’m trying not to look too far ahead. One makes me sad, the other terrifies me. I’m just looking to this little piece of road we are on. And we’re doing alright, she and I. One step at a time.

May 2009 Chicago.


February 2-3 2019
February 3, 2019, 9:20 pm
Filed under: Art of the Day, Eating Disorder aka Edie | Tags: , ,

It’s been a day, a few days, a week of days in a weekend as we navigate being home together after a long absence. The weekend was a special challenge because there were no therapy sessions, each meal and snack was at home, oh god the endless parade of meals. Clutching the McCallum bible of portions, measuring each almond, every drop of milk, it’s an odd new world. She has been brave, petulant, grumpy, manipulative, sweet, vulnerable, irritable, above all she has kept trying. I try to remember that as I’m getting the skunk eye. The weekend was full of have to’s: chores, eye exam, shopping, family event and work. Not the weekend she had planned when she thought of being home again from St. Louis, not the weekend she wanted to spend with her boyfriend. And yes there was conflict and drama and feeling rotten and negotiating and trying again. Trying again. And now it’s Sunday night and I’m listening to the latest Ryuichi Sakamoto album, async, on repeat as I make pictures, write and let my lake clear, allowing all the have to’s, all the strife and misfirings to settle down to the bottom. I’m sure they’ll get stirred up again tomorrow.

I was given an extraordinary gift this weekend, from my cousin Marty. Yesterday my nephew Flynn was commissioned into the Air Force, a private ceremony at University of Louisville where he recently graduated from the Nursing School. He is going to be a flight nurse, begins his posting this month. The family gathered along with many friends, we are so very proud of him. There at the ceremony, Marty pulls something out of her purse- “Here, I’ve found this little present for you”. It’s a glass plate photograph of Roald Amundsen in Antartica! The printed description that came with the plate describe him as “the discoverer of the South Pole” (which strikes me as a rather weird thing to say, as everyone knew exactly where the South Pole was, just no one could get there) and claims that the photo was taken a few days after he reached the Pole, so he was on his way back. The name on the plate is The Keystone Viewing Company, found in an antique store among a great many other glass negatives of different subjects. Marty has a keen talent for uncovering treasure, recognizing the value of things that other people would dismiss. I’m not really sure how she knew what a nut I am for South Polar exploration, maybe from other things I have posted, but the truth is that for decades now I have been fascinated by it and, to confess truthfully, mad in love with the Scott Expedition. I hold this small picture in my hand like it is a miracle message from the beyond.

Here’s a love poem I wrote to dear Captain Scott about five years ago:

Because it is a long winter
Captain Scott crawled into bed with me last night
He was so very sorry and so so cold.
It took me a long time to convince him to shed 
That ridiculous Burberry,
I had to take that crusty wool jumper
Into the other room.
He only agreed to take off his flannels 
If I turned out the light
But even in the dark
I could feel the whiteness of his skin
Trace the sastrugi of his ribs.
My hand disappearing into his crevasse
He slipped the harness from his shoulders
Let fall his pencil
And cried and cried
Glaciers calving into the sea.
At last, Mt. Terror 
Lay soft and warm,
And we slept.
1/25/14


I feel that it is time for me to re-read Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s remarkable account of the expedition: The Worst Journey in the World. It’s time to walk alongside my old friends. A hundred and seven years ago on January 17th they found the Norwegian flag planted where they had hoped to plant the Union Jack. They planted their flag a few yards away, took a grim photograph and made their desperate dash home, perishing along the way. Their journey has always been so vivid to me, it hurts my heart. My darling Cherry, his extraordinary book, the responsibility of writing it falling on his young shoulders, all the strength of his youth spent there in Antartica- the crazy ass journey he made with Dr. Wilson and Birdie Bowers in the dead of winter to collect penguin eggs, the depot laying journey, the journey South in support of the Polar party, the heartbreaking journey to find the bodies of their friends the next spring. Oh Cherry. I do indeed want your company this winter.

What a thoughtful gift Marty, I can’t thank you enough. It is a powerful talisman for me, I cannot explain it, but I am so grateful it came to me when it did.



January 30, 2019

We are home, today was our first full day, waking up in our own beds in the home we have made. The cold cold weather cancelled all the schools which proved to be a blessing. One less thing to juggle in today’s scramble, the precise breakfast making, lunch preparing, McCallum’s strict portioning guide is the new family bible, getting J to Intensive Outpatient Treatment, meeting the therapists, groceries, running home for the paperwork I forgot, finish making the lunch I couldn’t make without the groceries, bringing the lunch to IOP, forgetting the paperwork again, finishing the grocery shopping for the meals to come this week, going back to meet the nutritionist with the paperwork at last in hand, answering emails from church, school, last minute schedule changes to rehearsals because of the cancellation. You must run as fast as you can Alice, if you want to stay in the same place.

For at least a week now I’ve felt that I’m walking through some misty valley bottom that I can’t see my way through. I feel as if some key part of my brain has gone missing, the executive part that has control of the big picture, that is in control of time. At night I bolt up in bed unable to figure out where I am, a sudden panic that I’ve forgotten something or someone, something urgent, maybe dangerous. I look about me and always seem to see a dark shape just moving out of sight, something I feel I ought to have seen, perhaps it is a menace, perhaps it means me to follow. What is it I’ve forgotten? What have I failed to do? And here is where it is missed- partnership. A hand on the back, a loving voice in the dark that says ‘All is well, you are right where you’re supposed to be, you’ve done all you need to do, it’s time to rest my love.’

J loves her new room, loves the improvements in the bathroom. She is happy to be home, happy to be near her boyfriend. But the happiest I have heard her voice is when she is face timing her pals from McCallum. War Buddies, make no mistake.



January 27th: SLAM

The St. Louis Art Museum is a wonder, a real wonder.

Jess spent the night with me in the hotel last night, her first night out of McCallum in a few weeks. Happy, strained, nervous, back to the parent/child dynamic. The parent wants the child to eat. The eating disorder wants control of the child. Parent and child are armed with the help of therapy, the doctor’s orders, the routines set up by her treatment. Now we just have to stay on the same team. EDie, the eating disorder, is good at dividing and conquering. This morning Jess went back to day treatment and I escaped to the St. Louis Art Museum.


16th Century Eagle. Damn.

I never love humans so much as when I’m free all day in an art museum. My heart swells for all the centuries of artists compelled to create, record, explore, express, defy and celebrate their worlds. Oh God! I love you al!

St. Francis Contemplating a Skull. 1635. Francisco de Zubaran.

This blessed Museum is free every single day. Sitting atop a hill looking over Versaille style reflecting pools, a gray cold winter day, absolute stillness. My heart sings. A great blessing after the anxiety of the week, a grumpy girl in the hotel room this morning who still wants to cast me as the bad guy. Breathe, look. I sit before two large Japanese silk screens painted with geese, resting, preening, flying. Glorious. And the scroll of a water color on rice paper- Rice and Grasshopper, the most delicate of paintings, with a feather in it suspended from a string. Exquisite. I have this yearning to paint and draw feathers. It’s been with me some time, this desire.

Burning Rods by Anselm Kiefer. One of my very favorite artists.
Detail of Burning Rods
Detail.

I first saw Anselm Kiefer’s work here in this museum decades ago, the only other time I was here, stumbling upon a whole Kiefer exhibition. I was electrified by it, stunned, charged with emotion that I could not explain then and cannot explain now. I’ve sought out his work ever since. And here they still have two monumental works on display: The Breaking of the Vessels (which I only took video of and alas this blog will not let me post video) and Burning Rods, a huge piece that Kiefer created after Chernobyl. A landscape devastated, peeling away, furrows of crops that will never again be harvested. Look, he says, look. Look what we’ve done.

In my mind, Kiefer’s work is linked to the novels of Gunther Grass, the music of Gorecki, and the films of Krzysztof Kieslowski. They just all want to be together there inside my head.

I eat lunch and read and work on a drawing of the hawks along the highway. Certainly you feel like the star of your own film when you draw in a sketchbook and read Patti Smith while eating lunch in an art museum restaurant.

After lunch I return to Burning Rods and notice for the first time the broken tea cup shard resting on the shelf of peeling lead and the rusted remains of an ice skate . Devotion, the Patti Smith story I began at lunch, is about a skater, from Estonia, orphaned by war, and this coincidence seems to be of tremendous importance, a clue somehow to alert me to the existence of all the fine fine threads that hum and vibrate, connecting all there is in the universe, all there is.

Ben Shahn
Stephen Greene
John McCrady

These lovely things I share here because I want to think about them again. And then there are some things I just love the shape of-

This Egyptian cat, older than old, reminds me that Jess got her ears pierced by a thirteen year old friend in her bedroom at the treatment center. I admit, he did a good job of it. And they don’t seem to be infected, thank god. But Jesus.
I swear to god, every museum in America owns a version of this statue “Nydia: The Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii”. Is that the volcano I hear? It just makes me howl. I need to take one more look at Gerhard Richter and Anselm Kiefer.
Thank you St. Louis. I needed today.