as november winds

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future."

— Thich Nhat Hanh

November has been a brutal, tumultuous, flaming orange and whitely quiet month for me. I'm sorry to see it go.

Image is by the French illustrator, Rebecca Dautremer.

"when the wind blows..."

I think I was about the only one who saw the movie Moonlight Mile a few years ago. It's a beautiful film, and the fact that I've watched it dozens of times over the years and still manage to take something away from it only confirms this.

I put it on to while away some time in bed the other day and have been caught up in the haunting Vietnam-era soundtrack ever since. I've always been nostalgic for eras that were never mine, but these songs all stir up such a mood. The one that I especially can't get out my head is this ballad by the Rolling Stones, which the movie lifted as its title, "Moonlight Mile."


the season of thanks

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.”

Well, I managed to get sick. A sick of the horrible bedridden variety. Nonetheless, despite the lack of pie in my life today, I think I have more to be grateful for than simply not having died....

And so, my thanks goes to...

All the people I love with my whole heart who inspire me, encourage me and simply are there.
My insatiable curiosity.
Historical, magical London - and being able to live in it.
The accidents and follies that have proved blessings.
The people who believe I'm good enough at what I do to see I get paid for it

But this year, perhaps most of all, I'm thankful for my country. Maybe because I'm so far away from a traditional feast this year, or maybe it's just what I've learned living in this nation amongst its host of foreigners, but I'm grateful for being born in a country that...

Allows me to travel the world freely.
Encourages autonomy of thought, decisions, and action.
Fosters dreams, ideas, and people.

But lastly, in these difficult times, I'm grateful to be from a country that values its history and the concept of simple gratitude enough to celebrate it.

I cam across this quote:

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."
-H. U. Westermayer

And I hope, it is with this in mind, despite any bleakness, that we dedicate this day to express thanks to those bold pioneers, to life, to family... thanksgiving... what a beautiful thing.

and still figuring out what to do with the rest of it....

The Uses of Sorrow

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

-Mary Oliver

Ahh... just when she emerged from her Recuenco photography phase she stumbled squarely into the capable hands of the poet Mary Oliver. I have a feeling we're going to be here for a while.....

Photo is by the amazing Rune Guneriussen. Maybe we'll keep her around a while too.

my work

by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?
Let me keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

Just a couple images from a sunset stroll along the Thames.

The Comeback of Donna Reed?

Um, well, actually... now that you mention it....

You mean there are enough similarly-minded aspiring domestic goddesses out there to merit a cover story on a free London rag?

Saw too many women reading this on the Tube this evening.... get the full article here.

the days of imber

“All that you think is rain is not. Behind the veil angels sometimes weep."
- Rumi

The pictures are a couple I took of the storm clouds parting just over Canary Wharf - the clouds' blue dominance and jagged edges almost make them look like mountains.

no really, it's true

"In this broad earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed perfection."

-Walt Whitman

The photos are an especially fitting accompaniment to the Whitman quote I think - they're taken by Mike Brodie aka The Polaroid Kidd, who rides the American rails and documents a group of people who wade along on the periphery of society - squatters, drifters, what have you - capturing their lives, character, authenticity and faux-authenticity. Perhaps I think Brodie's images illustrate Whitman's view of the world so well since my own association with such folk has been so wonderfully refreshing.

slaughtered white

Against Winter

The truth is dark under your eyelids.
What are you going to do about it?
The birds are silent; there's no one to ask.
All day long you'll squint at the sky.
When the wind blows you'll shiver like straw.

A meek little lamb you grew your wool
Till they came after you with huge shears.
Flies hovered over open mouth,
Then they, too, flew off like the leaves,
The bare branches reached after them in vain.

Winter coming. Like the last heroic soldier
Of a defeated army, you'll stay at your post,
Head bared to the first snow flake.
Till a neighbor comes to yell at you,
You're crazier than the weather, Charlie.

- Charles Simic

No magical realism today. No mood for it. Today needed something harsh - blunt. Photo is by German artist, Anke Merzbach.


What Big Ben looks like at a clear and cold 2:30 a.m in the heartwrenching and lonesome days of early November.

Hey fates, tell you what - next year, let's *not* meet here at the same time, same place.

oh, won't you be mine

"If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love."
- Thich Nhat Hanh

Image? Back to Eugenio.

home sweet flat

I've been promising my Mom that I'd send pictures of my flat ever since I moved in waaay back in March. But I stalled and stalled because there was the matter of the manky sun-bleached-stained yellow walls to contend with and even mankier furniture (the pièce de résistance being a cream futon from the early 90's with a proclivity to slide to the floor like a slug when you tried slump into it), and well, painting and redecorating takes time (especially if you're me). So, it is not until these many months later that I have pics for her - and you, of course.

Kasey found the chair and the picture/collage is mine - still very much a work-in-progress.

We turned an odd rectangular notch of space into a dining alcove. The woman's portrait that you see in the middle of the wall, while often mistaken for a member of my family, is actually Her Lady Black Pear by Cassandra Barney from the last post... proud to say, one of the first paintings she ever sold! The rest are all my amateur doing.

We can't forget the minty hall... yet another work in progress.

And Mom, don't worry - bedrooms are forthcoming....

over the river and through the woods

"Those who don't know how to weep with their whole heart don't know how to laugh either."
-Golda Meir

Painting is by the lovely Cassandra Barney (and I *do* mean lovely, as I've had the pleasure of meeting her and she's delightfully impish and has a wonderfully warm vibe).

i need to stop smiling when i'm not happy

it sends the wrong message.

that's all.