Thursday, February 22, 2018

Arming Teachers? Really?

It's painful to watch those beholden to the NRA twist and squirm in order to avoid talking gun control. The proposal  to arm teachers ( more gun sales!) is the ultimate in passing the buck
As a former teacher, I can say that this idea truly sucks.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


The building I'm meeting my classes in this semester is in Asheville's Arts District. It was formerly a feed and seed warehouse but it's been converted to artists' studios and the offices of the environmental organization Riverlink.

It has some nice brickwork and, inside, great dark beams and a beautifully worn wooden floor .

As I cropped and edited these pictures and looked at that faded-out, painted-over Purina sign, I suddenly had a kind of memory of standing in that big open door -- back when the place was selling feed and seed.

I'm writing this late Tuesday night and John is asleep or I'd ask him if he remembers going there maybe forty years ago.

Do I have a good memory or just a vivid imagination?

 I'll update this tomorrow with his answer.

John says we might once have visited a Williams  Feed in the same area but he disavows any memory of this place.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


I try to make time every Sunday for my little collection of orchids. I sit at the dining table in the morning with the sun pouring in and give each one a dose of water with a little orchid fertilizer. 

I also examine them closely for the insidious scale that I can't seem to get rid of and scrape off each little turtle-backed invader. Occasionally a stink bug will be trying to hide between the petals and I become a ruthless exterminator.

Spending time looking closely at something is like a soothing meditation. 

And the orchids reward me by re-blooming. Two of the small orchids were gifts from Ethan and Justin when I was incarcerated in the nursing home/rehab facility over a year ago and they're on their third bloom cycle. The yellow orchid is one I took to Claui in the hospital when Josie was born (it's spending the winter up here as their house is too chilly) and it's on its second cycle.

Of course, the sunny east-facing window, away from drafts and direct heat is a big factor in the orchid's thriving. As is the routine use of fertilizer (weekly, weakly.)

Still, I like to think it's at least partly due to our quiet and focused time together.

I suspect we would all bloom with similar attention. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

I've Got a Little List . . .

Can't march . . . can't walk out of school . . .
Can write postcards. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Early Morning

Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Again . . .

Again and again it happens . . .

A massacre in a school . . . children murdered.

And politicians send thoughts and prayers 
While taking blood money from the NRA . . .

While weakening the few pathetic attempts at keeping weapons from those who should not have them . . .

While cutting funding for mental health . . .

While insisting that the threat from immigrants and Muslims is real . . .

While ignoring this new reality . . .

While affirming by their inaction that their love for the almighty gun trumps their love for their children. . .

How will they wash the blood of innocents from their hands?

They are all complicit in these  murders, all . . . every politician from the president down through  Congress and all the state senators and representatives . . . and those who put them in office.

My first reaction to the latest (latest! it's obscene that I have to use that modifier) school shooting was to think about home schooling Josie -- how can parents bear to send their children to school when such things have become, if not routine, far too common? 

How do you talk to your kindergartener about preparing for an active shooter situation?

No other country has this problem on this scale -- what is wrong with us?  

Please don't tell me it's mental illness or video games or a lack of prayer in schools or no discipline at home.  Perhaps some of this factors in, but the easy availability of weapons and ammunition meant for killing lots of people in a short period of time has certainly enabled all the disturbed people (mostly homegrown white young men) out there.

The fact that the shooter in Florida was able, despite multiple warning signals KNOWN to authorities, was able legally to purchase his weapon and stockpile ammunition, reveals the complete absence of any sort of  oversight. 

Of course, if he's wanted to purchase lawn darts, he'd have been out of luck. Those things are DANGEROUS and were banned after a little girl was killed. 

Keep writing; keep calling your elected representatives. 

There's talk of a walkout at schools by teachers and students on April 20 if no steps are taken by then to address this problem.

Kind of an Anti-Massacree Movement. Maybe they could all sing "Alice's Restaurant". . .