Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

the falcon cannot hear the falconer

Things fall apart, the center cannot hold…so we are told.

And this held true to me and my two book reading list. Instead, I went on a huge Elizabeth Taylor splurge. Not That one but a literary one. Here's the one I'm talking about:

If you have an interest in self-deception (in others and yourself) and I must admit, I'm fascinated by it, then Taylor is for you. All her novels are “domestic” but the dramas…are the day-to-day dramas we all know and then some that are not. I just got done with “Angel” which may have had the ugliest heroine (heroine?) I have ever read in my life. And yet I couldn't stop. Her life played out true and hard and certain decisions she made as a child, she kept on doing for her whole life. And isn't that just like all of us? Some say Taylor is like Austen but I'm not for that. I love Austen but what Taylor is doing is something else entire. I think I find her closer to Barbara Pym (but then that's another Austen comparison) but anyway…Taylor's books are par excellence and she holds an unflinching stare where most of everyone cannot bear to look into. Especially many writers.

Besides that, things here are pretty fair and I'm gearing up for Christmas knitting extravaganza. I figure if I start now, I may get some gifts done in time. May…

But it must be noted that I completed my summer challenge of roasting a chicken. For some reason, roasting a chicken really intimidated me. Not sure. I just want to say though, for everyone, it's super easy. All the guts are gone by the time you get it. No worries there. So I roasted that chicken, made stock from it and then an amazing and homey soup by Tasha Tudor, artist and writer and chef using that stock. Surely now I can conquer the world.

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Life Lessons from a Cardinal

Outdoor living is coming in fits and starts now that it’s June. Last week it was in the 90’s (30C) and today it is gentle and cool with thunderstorms passing by north and south, bringing coolness in the wake of their stormy skirts. The sun shines but the thunder rumbles nearby and my cats retreat farther indoors to snooze on chairs instead of near windows.

It is tempting to join them. The heat break means that deep good sleep is possible again. Even with air conditioning, I sleep poorly when it’s hot. I sleep best when it rains.

And it has been raining at night but in great torrid thunderstorms where the house shakes and the windows rattle. Sometimes I lie in bed as the thunderstorms march by and wonder at the fate of all the creatures and people living outside.

It is summer and I have no arguments with it. It’s too hard to argue with the seasons. On the beautiful days, I sip my breakfast tea outdoors and watch the birds and squirrels to start my day. There’s always a drama playing out in the backyard. My favorite is the cardinal who walks along the deck rail, casting his bright black eye here and there and then breaks into song until a robin kicks him out. When the coast is clear, he returns and does the same thing all over again. Despite my nearness, he doesn’t mind me at all and I adore his bright red plumage and courageous laughing heart. His song cheers my soul and I’ve come to recognize his particular song. It falls under the same lines as all cardinals but it has a bit of improvised trill at the end. I think he’s been hanging out with song sparrows and got Ideas.

He’s a hard individual to photograph (all flash and movement) but I’ve shared a photo of a cardinal from National Geographic so you can get the idea. He’s hard to ignore and is a permanent on the robins’ blacklist. I aspire to such a level of happy insouciance.

How to Get Through a Big Book

How to get through a Big Book and have a little fun too.

  1. Make and eat food mentioned in the book (big books always include food, usually in meticulous detail).
  2. Read a little bit each day.
  3. Make a soundtrack.
  4. Dress like a character from the book for a day. Or a week. Or a month if it really grabs you.
  5. Ten minutes to kill? Daydream about the landscape or what the characters are seeing as they move through their day.
  6. Read passages you enjoy out loud. If you’re in the right mood, record yourself reading passages and share it (Instagram is great for this). Include illustrations if you like (thank you, Shirin).
  7. Whip out a highlighter or some sticky tabs for those great parts.
  8. Pace yourself and remember, reading gigantic books isn’t a race. It’s about the journey. Might as well bring along snacks, good drinks, great lighting, and enjoy the ride.