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To the FedEx Kinko’s lady,

Thank you for the walk down memory lane. Those days of IBM Selectric typewriters are so distant now (that backspace correcting key – a Godsend!) and yet, my memory of typing dozens of papers in front of the Duraflame logs on the floor of that apartment on Beacon Street are as vivid as if it were yesterday. Armed with White-Out and the weird eraser brush thingy (pictured below, but whose name we couldn’t recall). Retyping entire pages if I missed a line. Technology is not like that today, and I think I’m grateful. And thanks for sharing your memories about Seattle. You made my day brighter.

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Seattle, Washington.

And in honor of one of my favorite poets, who passed away today, I’d like to share the following poem. Reminiscent of my Weekly Wednesday Poems on this blog — I know some of those were Mary Oliver’s. Rest well, Mary, and swirl in the beauty of words and other worlds.

White Night by Mary Oliver
All night
I float
in the shallow ponds
while the moon wanders
burning,
bone white,
among the milky stems.
Once
I saw her hand reach
to touch the muskrat’s
small sleek head
and it was lovely, oh,
I don’t want to argue anymore
about all the things
I thought I could not
live without! Soon
the muskrat
will glide with another
into their castle
of weeds, morning
will rise from the east
tangled and brazen,
and before that
difficult
and beautiful
hurricane of light
I want to flow out
across the mother
of all waters,
I want to lose myself
on the black
and silky currents,
yawning,
gathering
the tall lilies
of sleep.
#yearoflove

I sometimes think that all works of art are born somehow of fire. Words burn in a writer’s brain, unforgiving until they can spill upon page. Motion burns from the core of a dancer’s muscles. Paintings are licks of flame risen from a spirit through a brush to a canvas. Even in photography, there is a burning peaceful need to capture what is seen by one set of eyes into something that can be seen by others, a sharing of the embers of the photographer’s vision. The center of the earth that we walk on each day is made of fire, and it passes through layers of rock and soil and the skin of the soles of our feet to the center of the souls of our being, and must be expressed somehow.

In this sculpture studio, we found the purest expression of the creative fire, molten iron casually poured by men protected from its destructive power, men looking like creatures from the center of the earth themselves, men who controlled the flow of creativity, channeling it into molds and frames, containing it, shaping it, melding with it, as it fashioned itself through the sculptors hands into art, cold to the touch but still retaining that fire within. As we all do.

It reminded me that art can be dirty and primal and beautiful, full of heat and passion and practicality all at the same time, blending hotly and gently to create an artist’s ever-imperfect vision, for imperfection is the nature of art as viewed by the artist, and what makes them strive to improve always, trying to touch that fiery core with their bare hands, capture it, rejoice in it, and share it.

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Shidoni, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I used to know a sculptor… He always said that if you looked hard enough, you could see where each person carried his soul in his body. It sounds crazy, but when you saw his sculptures, it made sense. I think the same is true with those we love… Our bodies carry our memories of them, in our muscles, in our skin, in our bones. My children are right here.” She pointed to the inside curve of her elbow. “Where I held them when they were babies. Even if there comes a time when I don’t know who they are anymore. I believe I will feel them here.” — Erica Bauermeister

Daily gratitudes:
Brief flashes of clarity
Some time with Kelsea
Realizing creative necessities
Water
Beach time soon come

I love the little town in which I’ve lived for over four years now. One of the things I love most about it is its support of the arts. We have a remarkable collection of public art lining our main street, as well as an “Alley Art” program, in which artists paint amazing murals on residents’ alley-facing garage doors. As I am planning on moving in with MKL (because we think a husband and wife should live together) in his town some 40 miles away, I wanted to document our small-town art so I could share it here, with a larger audience. Two weekends ago, on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, I took a long walk and began to capture some images. I’ll let you see them as we move along in time together.

This beautiful piece is called Waiting for the Bus by artist Lucas Loeffler Child. The artist’s mother became ill with pancreatic cancer and quickly passed away just as Child was finishing the piece. He gathered a collection of little things – pennies from the year she was born and the year she died, little treasures that the two of them shared, memories – and put them in a shining circular tin, placing it inside the chest of the angel just where the heart would be. He also positioned her in the center of her bench, so that people could sit on either side of her, with one of her hands curled gently beside her, so someone could hold it for comfort. While much of our town’s art changes from year to year, our angel is permanent, sitting waiting for the bus in the shade, halo in her lap, at the end of a very long day.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned; they are no longer anything more than the two boundaries of the same destiny; they are no longer anything but the two wings of the same spirit. Love, soar.” — Victor Hugo

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
October thunderstorms
Comfort food after a day of pain
A solution to the mystery of The Cold War Horse
Mr. Man

On our Labor Day outing, Kelsea and I accidentally passed this unique statue and made a U-turn for closer inspection. This is the Rocky Flats Memorial called the Cold War Horse. Please note the radiation-protection suit, rubber boots, and gas mask. The dedication is slated for October 18th. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Rocky Flats was a nuclear weapons production facility that closed in the 1990s. During the 1980s after I moved here, I recall seeing protestors outside the gates every time I drove by on Highway 93 (a small, pretty highway between Boulder and Golden that is so dangerous that there were bumper stickers saying “Pray for me, I drive 93”). There was also much wrongdoing in the facility; it violated numerous environmental laws and the Department of Energy said that the plant’s ground water was “the single greatest environmental hazard at any of its nuclear facilities.” (according to the Google).

In the last decade, the space became the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge – but the clean-up only required that the cleaner-uppers clean-up the first three feet of soil, so I always expected to see glowing, three-headed, 20-foot tall elk with trees for antlers crossing Indiana Street. Now, though, something else has changed, and apparently memories and agreements are short, because they are putting up hundreds of homes on this property that used to be so contaminated. I honestly didn’t think that plutonium contamination resolved itself so quickly, but who am I to say?

But back to the memorial…or perhaps not, because when I tried to take MKL by it last weekend, it had vanished. VANISHED! I am puzzled and plan to make a trip back down the road to see if I just missed it (not likely!) or….?

The Cold War Horse
Near Arvada, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” — J. Robert Oppenheimer

Daily gratitudes:
The owner of The Happy Beast
Talking to wonderful strangers on the train
Falling asleep with my head on MKL’s shoulder
Stargazer lilies
My pink cowboy boots

My little town is an art town. We have sculptures lining our Main Street, and a program called Alley Art, in which you can have a mural painted on your alley-facing garage door. Murals are also found on the sides of buildings “downtown”, and I’ve had all good intentions of going on a few walkabouts at different times of day to capture images to share here. But we start where we start, don’t we? This is the first piece of art one sees as one heads into town coming South on the highway. It’s next to a bike path – and to WalMart, but we’ll forgive these two cheerful metal cows for that.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “We all have bovine instincts deep within us.” —  Anonymous

Daily gratitudes:
Knowing I can sleep in a little bit tomorrow
A single leaf waving like a little hand
New blog friends (and of course, long-standing ones)
The BBC
The dilly of a thunderstorm we’re having right now (though Mr. Man doesn’t like it one bit)

Photo title: Jetsam

Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

(for QHR again, and I hope the photo title is better for Delana42)

Quote of the day: “When you trip over love, it is easy to get up. But when you fall in love, it is impossible to stand again.”  —  Albert Einstein

Daily gratitudes:
Motorcylists with helmets that have little gladiator mohawks
That I actually needed a blanket once or twice last night
Having time to cook yesterday
Music
Dreams that mean I am working on things
My new 1930s round mirror

Photo title: Flotsam

Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

(for QuotidianHudsonRiver)

Quote of the day: “The past has no power over me because I am willing to learn and to change. I see the past as necessary to bring me where I am today. I am willing to begin where I am right now to clean the rooms of my mental house. I know it does not matter where I start…”  —  Louise L. Hay

Daily gratitudes:
Clawfoot bathtubs
Pink sunsets
Exercise balls
Big closets
Turquoise

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