I have been quiet on this blog because I have been doing… school work. Many nights I fall into bed with a crazy mix of theory and policy whirling in my head. Not entirely inspiring, unfortunately. Here’s hoping I am struck by inspiration soon. Until then, enjoy this photo (via School of One and others) that shows a Bryn Mawr student in full studious glory.
I’ve been thinking about my grandmother a lot these past few days and I realized it’s probably because she died this week eight years ago, and as these things tend to sear themselves into our brains, my brain must be telling me: Remember! So I do. I remember how in these past eight years I’ve
had the courage to quit something that made me unhappy
learned to drive a tractor
learned how to be married
been pregnant (twice)
had a baby (twice)
become a stay-at-home parent
put money in front of happiness
felt completely alone
put happiness in front of money
found my way back
found a way to love what I do
I think my grandmother would be really happy for me. She loved books and the library and she would have felt this path was right for me. She would love my daughters, too– I can imagine how they’d make her laugh, as she sat, barefooted, on her “davenport,” knitting a hat for a baby yet to be born and listening to The Three Tenors on her stereo.
A quiet morning. Annie and Nuala are at school. I have coffee, and policy gobbledygook. And the lovely images in this poem.
“I Have Daughters and I Have Sons”
Who is out there at 6 A.M.? The man
Throwing newspapers onto the porch,
And the roaming souls suddenly
Drawn down into their sleeping bodies.
Wild words of Jacob Boehme
Go on praising the human body,
But heavy words of the ascetics
Sway in the fall gales.
Do I have a right to my poems?
To my jokes? To my loves?
Oh foolish man, knowing nothing—
Less than nothing—about desire.
I have daughters and I have sons.
When one of them lays a hand
On my shoulder, shining fish
Turn suddenly in the deep sea.
At this age, I especially love dawn
On the sea, stars above the trees,
Pages in “The Threefold Life,”
And the pale faces of baby mice.
Perhaps our life is made of struts
And paper, like those early
Wright Brothers planes. Neighbors
Run along holding the wingtips.
I’ve always loved Yeats’s fierceness
As he jumped into a poem,
And that lovely calm in my father’s
Hands as he buttoned his coat.
Robert Bly, The New Yorker, April 19, 2010
(Photo by Todd.)
I had a thought once, which I may have shared with some of you. It was this:
If only we could love our bodies as our mothers do.
I thought it again when I was looking at Annie’s feet this morning (while she was busy doing something– she’s always busy doing something) and thinking, “Gosh, I love those feet!” It’s like I could pick them out in a lineup of a thousand three-year-old feet.
My hope for my daughters is that they always love their feet as much as I do.
School starts tomorrow. This time of year, I think, is exquisitely bittersweet: summer vacation comes to an end much too soon, but the fresh start of a new school year is just so exciting. There is an end to languid days spent listening to Harry Potter while lying upside down on the couch (that would be Nuala) and spontaneous takeout dinners at the lake. But there’s the rush of activity, friends new and old, and a bevy of new experiences to look forward to. As a kid, I adored the fluttery feeling before the first day of school.
Yesterday the girls and their cousins went swimming in the lake despite the fact that it was a mere 65 degrees. Afterward, they built a fire on the beach, and roasted marshmallows. Later, they conceived of a club for kids only (“Kid’s Club,” naturally) whose headquarters were located in the woods behind the cottage. See the club in all its glory above. It was a fitting end to summer vacation.
This year, three out of the four members of our family will be attending school, grades ranging from pre-school to graduate/professional. It should make for an interesting, though comically eventful year. I’ll try and keep up.
(Photo by 10 sec. rule.)
"Quailsafe," by Charley Harper
In the copse
of her mind, a fluster
of quail, tonic
of quail, each her own
boozy and flushed
from briar by a panic
gripped from kin
so they hover—
mother and daughter
Cloud of quail, eying
her covey backlit
and looming, huge
when it balloons
down, scribbling earth
with its landings.
They tell a tranquil-
days of luckless
labor and sadnesses
too frail to utter.
Shoulder to shoulder,
the quail of her
actual and the quail
of her oblivion.
Puala Bohince, The New Yorker, September 21, 2009
I had 21 days off between the end of summer term and the beginning of fall term. In those 21 days I planned to read a stack of books, but I read only one. Well, I finished one I had started ages ago (Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann) and I read one I had been looking forward to (What Happened to Anna K., by Irina Reyn).
I am trying to get into The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson, but it’s not working! I hope this doesn’t make me a bad librarian-to-be. Someone told me that Nancy Pearl says if you’re not into the book within the first fifteen pages, put it down and find another. I may just do that, since I listen to anything Nancy Pearl says and since reading for pleasure these days is even more precious than it used to be.
In between reading Reference & Information Services in the 21st Century and numerous articles regarding telecommunication and information policy (yay!) I have two books at the top of my to-read list:
The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr, because I suspect the Internet is turning my brain into mush and I’d like to have confirmation and
Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins, because I dig dystopian fiction for young adults, for some reason, and her series is a thrilling, quick read, which is what I need right now.
So, I’m about to unplug for the next two days. Fall term starts on Monday. Happy weekend!
(Photo from Transient Lifestyle.)