Archive for August, 2011

Courage

August 31, 2011

Greetings.  Now that we’re in that back to school time of year, I thought we might take a moment to consider the concept of courage, especially as it relates to parenting.

In a sense, courage is the antidote to fear, or at least the opposite of succumbing to fear, and thus it is a “virtue” we want to cultivate in the service of better parenting (and lives more richly lived).

Courage is defined as, “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”

I might expand this definition to suggest that “the quality of mind and spirit” that does the trick is love; thus courage is love in the face of fear.

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Dreamy Dog Days of August

August 24, 2011

Come September we’ll get back, perhaps, to the nuts and bolts of parenting.  But August is a hot and dreamy time, a strange and lazy time; no time for specificity, industry, clarity or ambition—rather a time of melting ice-cream cones and pool, lake, river and sea water drying on shoulders.

A recent movie review of “Mysteries of Lisbon,” (reviewed by Manohla Dargis in The New York Times) sounded both intriguing and long—Andy suggested Netflix—but in the meantime (since it’s not even showing in LA yet) I was left pondering a quote, about Remembrance of Things Past, filtered through the psyche of Nabokov, who saw that book as:  “a treasure hunt, one in which time is the treasure and the past its hiding place.”

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Petals falling from peonies

August 17, 2011

Scribbling notes on my “great works”

In the quiet of the morning

Petals drop

At the perfect moment

No intention whatsoever

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Lizards: waving, drowning, smiling, frowning

August 10, 2011

A few weeks ago two lizards appeared in our yard.  They seemed to be fast friends, even though one looked like Rango and the other like the typical lizards one finds in the gardens of LA.  The standard lizard did his customary push-ups while the escaped day of the iguana or rogue karmic chameleon with upward curled tail demonstrated her distinctive walk:  a funky rolling gait in which she seemed to ride an invisible wave.  Regular lizard, in contrast, snaked side-to-side as he cut dusty trails or climbed the walls.

Sadly, a couple of weeks ago, I found the fish-out-of-water lizard dead in the pool, imitating William Holden at the beginning of Sunset Boulevard.  Unlike Gloria Swanson, however, I didn’t call the mortuary, but rather buried it, with spirit but without much ceremony in the sacred ground where also rest three guinea pigs, a goldfish and assorted birds and mammals who met their demise within the confines of the land I tend, but do not pretend to “own” (no matter how banks, mortgages, property taxes and departments of water, power and trash might weigh, cash or trash-in on the matter).

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Brushstrokes and Butterfly Kisses

August 3, 2011

Do you ever feel like you’re getting the same message in stereo—from multiple sources, perhaps in Surround Sound or Dolby?

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight was recommended to me by both my mom (for better insight into my dad’s stroke) and by Andy (who thought it rather interesting) and by Mark at The Committed Parent.  But we don’t listen, do we… not until some strange dark night of the soul sends us scrambling, under a fully agitated moon, fingers restlessly crossing bookbindings and dust like a spider, searching for wolfsbane, or phosphorus, or just the right page in some arcane alchemical text… searching for the balm, for just the ticket to soothe the savage heart.

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