Archive for December, 2009

First Unitarian Society Madison, WI

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Good news.  My poem “First Unitarian Society of Madison, WI” is now available in the January 2010 issue of Madison Magazine.  The poem is also posted on their website, though on Monday I go into an audio studio to do a recording of the poem, which I think is very neat.  That will also be posted on their website (and I’ll provide a link) which is a very thoughtful touch on the part of that publication.


And, “Brett Favre: Commercials and Dreams” will be published by my old friends at Volume One up in Eau Claire.  They are excited about the piece and I’m happy to be publishing with them again.

All is well.  Looking forward to getting back to Eau Claire.  At present, listening to Garrison Keillor, recollecting the warmth of South Africa and a New Year’s Eve dinner at a posh restaurant in Cape Town (Savoy Cabbage).   Sipping a Two-Hearted and about to finish Benjamin Percy’s “Refresh Refresh”, which is astonishing.  Go read it.

Regina and I were almost killed by elephants eight years ago almost to the day on Christmas Eve just south of the Botswana/South Africa border.  I really ought to blog about that…  Maybe Christmas Eve…

Godspeed and Happy Holidays.

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I’ve written a web-posting that initially was supposed to be more of a humorous essay, though I could never find a proper home for it.  But in any case, I needed to record a dream that I had, and all that follows is true, I swear, and in my dream more vivid than reality…


Favre: Commericals and Dreams

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Woke up this morning to find something like 15 inches of snow on the ground, burying the world everywhere.  Borrowed neighbor Randy’s snowblower and cleared our driveway, Pat’s, and the Waismans.  Then proceeded to walk around our small property rescuing lilac trees and arbor vitaes from their burdens of wet snow, some of their delicate trunks and boughs bent all the way to the earth.  What could be more heroic than saving a tree in a such a manner?

Came inside to discover that Regina had prepared a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and hot coffee.  We sat together in the living room and watched the neighborhood uncover itself while Henry seemed confused by his planet’s brand new color.  I’ve always been a bit uncertain about the difference between shoveling and digging, and after the last two winters (an almost combined 170 inches of record-shattering snowfall) have come to conclude that without many modern conveniences I would most certainly be digging my own wintry grave one shovelful at a time, measuring the snow out on the sides of my driveway.

It has been a good letter-writing day as I sit at our desk and hand-tool notes that will be posted tomorrow.  I’m listening to heavy doses of John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things”, the Vince Guaraldi Trio, and some carols sung by Sinatra and Martin.  Henry is currently at rest.  He has been perfecting the letter/sound “B” which generally includes copious amounts of spit and goobers flying from his little lips.  Regina reported that yesterday he soiled four (4) diapers in just under fifteen (15) minutes, a new record.  This in total violation of his one (1) diaper per day agreement with us.

This evening I’m preparing a traditional French winter dish of: fish, chickpeas, carrots, shitakes, onions, and garlic in a broth of chicken stock, butter, and olive oil.  The only thing missing is a crusty loaf of bread and a nice bottle of white from New Zealand.  Tonight I will recline with a book of Jim Harrison’s poetry, a pint of Guinness, and perhaps the sounds of public radio, or the Bill Evans Trio.  A good day indeed.

I am reminded of this poem from the collection Braided Creek by Harrison and Ted Kooser:

Fresh snow standing deep

on the phone wire.  If you call me,

speak softly.

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Godspeed Bowerbirds.

The bungalow is quiet – everyone is reading, writing, or sleeping – the best things.

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First Snow

I think one of the most magical things that my parents did for us growing up was waking us for the first snow of the year.

Every year this happened until I suppose, I reached an age of teenage angst and complacency – when the “novelty” had worn off.  I have these memories now, of a warm hand on my little chest, and my Dad’s voice awakening me.  Dad and Mom would call us out to the front porch and I remember being confused and groggy in the moment – what was the excitement?  Was the house on fire?  Did we have a visitor?

And then, the world would be filled with big white snowflakes, all around us standing in our pajamas, and we would know that winter was upon us, had finally wrapped around our house and closed us off from warmth and sun but it was an exquisite feeling.  As if the earth had transformed into a white crystal, all the light in the world falling down from the sky onto our sleepy faces and fingers.

I think that as a parent it’s important to surprise children – with imagination, rare and unexpected gifts, people, journeys, insights.  I’m thinking about those first snows now as winter finally sets in, and I realize that my parents were showing me the seasons in full drama, and one night’s sleep was not more important to them than the sudden magic of a first snow at night.  I have frequently thought since Henry’s birth that perhaps the best gift we can give him would be to visit endangered places and creatures before they are all gone.  Whales in the Pacific.  Grizzlies in British Columbia.  Elephants in Africa.  Some of the most magical and vivid memories I have are of these creatures, in the wild, the distance between us close enough to conjure up feelings of wonder and terror and appreciation.

The Bear is currently napping.  Our “dude day” has been easy one.  I read him “Green Eggs and Ham”, he farted repeatedly on me in a most noxious manner, and I must report that he seems to look more and more like his Uncle Reidar every day.  We are looking forward to Christmas in Eau Claire, and a wedding celebration for a childhood friend and his new wife on the 23rd.

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