Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

This post was supposed to go up days earlier but let's just say…something got broke on the blog and a bunch of people fixed it. Pretty cool!Anyway, here's the roundup for Christmas pictures and stories.

I think this one interests me the most:Brittany and I went to Naper Settlement and we found many interesting things. One of the first things we saw, after we settled in our chapel pew was this-

marley and scrooge

oh yes, the classic retelling of a Christmas Carol, all done by shadow puppets. Victorian, of course. What's not for a girl to love?

sans tiny tim

and my personal favorite, sans Tiny Tim. And yes, that is the ghost of christmas present. Believe it. Brittany commented that it was a bit freaky, and it was.

We also saw a Flea Circus but sadly, none of the pictures turned out very well. Should that be any surprise?

I did not take a picture of this flea but I wanted you to get the idea. Anyway, moving along, we left the chapel after the flea circus and went along to another chapel where there were a lot of gingerbread houses (and boats) on display.

 A tiny detail of one of the tiny houses. After that, we milled around, went on a tour of a house and I took a surreptitious picture of this man. He had a stream of children following him, giggling. When he would halt and fling himself around, they would all get nervous and start to back away. But as soon as he took off, the giggling crowd started after him again. Can you guess who it is?

Did I mention he had startling ice blue eyes and I was scared to death lest he address me?


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The Willows Converse Among Themselves

I look across the river and catch sight of the willows, lost in their own world. They have no regard for me. They are speaking to each other in whispers so I hear nothing clearly but I see their long golden-yellow chains wavering over the water. It reflects their light.

There are presences in this world that are not human but sometimes, a human being comes across one of these presences and this is when poetry happens—when we interact with the strange divinity that moves through the world.

I caught sight of the willows and so complete were they within themselves, so beautiful to behold, that my mind stopped dead in its tracks and my heart eased. In the presence of an Other, human commotion becomes impossibly silly and pointless. The past and future converge into the present and there is only now.

I exhale the stress I’ve held this morning as I watch them. The willows, their long hair hanging over their faces, disregard me totally and completely and talk in their slow tree way, something to do with the air, water, and earth. I cannot hear much but what I do hear makes me recall there were other beings on this earth other than myself, older than myself. They exist in this time, in many times, living, dying, always reappearing. The willows hang their hair over the water as they have done for centuries, listening to the currents and moving with the breezes and eddies of the wind.

With a gratefully diminished self, I thank the universe for the ancient poetry that is the willow tree and move forward, reborn, into the bright day.



the tea smoke

and the willow

together trembling


(Trans. David G. Lanoue)

Beautiful Dirty Summer

The thick green groves of cup-plants (silphium perfoliatumare) stand eight feet tall and are in their late summer glory. I look up at their bright yellow ray flowers and shield my eyes, the bright flowers sway so high and run so close to the sun. When I squint, the flowers darken into forms without color like the outline of the sun beating through closed eyelids.

I take a step nearer and peer into the leaves. Tiny pools of still water collect where the thick cup leaves meet the stems. It has not rained in the last few weeks and I’m surprised there is any water here at all. For leaves that are not broken or rotted, thimblefuls of water weigh without movement, rimmed with the detritus of summer: a fly’s wing, a wad of spider web, bits of dead grass and portions of pollen.

These tiny pools are water for goldfinches, tiny birds that flash by like rays of light. It hasn’t rained for weeks and this is left, tiny pools of water full of dirty summer. I consider drinking it. With one quick gulp, I’d drink the essence of a passing summer, imbibe what August means, and taste the bitter part of the growing season. This is living but rotting part that underlines all our lives but that no one likes to see, much less taste.

I shift my weight from foot to foot. The sun beats heavily down. The yellow flowers tumble in overhead breezes and the goldfinches live nearby, finding water where they can as the dry weeks pass. My hands drop to my sides and I pass back through the grass, ready for the shade. Perhaps when it rains and all the cup plants are full, I’ll take my drink along with the many others.