New Years Day – 2023

Starlings in Winter
Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

Starlings in Winter” by Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

Winter Solstice 2022

Wednesday, 21 December 2022 at 4:48 PM EST, my time… 21:48 UTC.

Bells
by Barbara Crooker

Here, the bells are silent, blown glass hung from
branches of pine whose fragrance fills the room.
It’s December, and the world’s run out of color.
Darkness at five seems absolute outside
the nine square panes of glass. But inside
hundreds of small white lights reflect off
fragile ornaments handed down from before
the war. They’re all Shiny-Brite, some solid balls—
hot pink, lime green, turquoise, gold—some striped
and flocked. This night is hard obsidian, but these glints
pierce the gloom, along with their glittery echoes, the stars.
We inhale spruce, its resinous breath: the hope of spring,
the memory of summer. Every day, another peal
on the carillon of light.

Barbara Crooker, “Bells” from Some Glad Morning © 2019 University of Pittsburgh Press.

Calavera

I was talking with a friend this morning and I realized I hadn’t yet uploaded anything for November. With all the upcoming holidays it just wouldn’t do to miss the first holiday of the month: El Día de los Muertos also know in english as The Day of the Dead.

A sugar skull is also known as a calavera and I’m comforted by the thought that they aren’t considered grotesque or macabre but instead are a reminder that, even though death is unavoidable, we need to remember to not only celebrate the lives of our family and friends but to seize each day of our own lives.

I found this blog post had a wealth of information.

Courage

Sometimes when you’re looking through a previous sketchbook or journal, a page you had worked on months ago will resonate with you.

And that’s the case here, because some days are tougher than others.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
— Mary Anne Radmacher

To try to be brave is to be brave.
— George MacDonald

She’s Really Not Looking at Me

I’m drawing & painting from a photo posted all over the internet. Credit goes to Win McNamee/Getty Images. Ms. Cheney is not looking at the camera but try as I might, I just cannot paint her eyes to show how she’s looking straight ahead to the video setup. I must have painted & blotted three or four times. Finally, I just have to accept it.

“Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”
—- Liz Cheney
09 June 2022