Through the Front Door Week of June 24

An appreciation of poets William Blake, and T. S. E.iot

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My Post (2)

From Jelly Beans to William Blake

My last post began with a quotation from William Blake. Week of June 17

Chances are, you don’t know anything about him. In a nutshell, he is a dead poet with a metaphysical point of view that breathed of scandal during his lifetime. I might consider him the father of free sex. Scholars consider him the most unread poet with the greatest impact on English poetry.

Two Bits About Blake

Literary boffins consider “Songs of Innocence” his masterwork. Nobody but boffins reads Blake these days, but those of us born before 1957 (in other words, those of us required to read in school) probably encountered “Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright” during a high school English class.

Anyway while I was looking for the quotation that I used in last week’s post, I discovered treasure after treasure of William Blake quotations. They have inspired me to sit down and read some Blake-finally.

Two Bits About Poetry in General

When I was struggling through an English degree at UCLA, poetry was an obstacle to climb over in order to get a grade.  It required considerable more exertion of mind than prose. Over the decades, however, it is the poetry that has stayed with me.  Lines and phrases bounce inside my head.

Two Bits About T. S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot whose work showed up in every single class except Medieval Lit., was the bane of my existence.  Finishing a term paper assigned to his “Four Quartets” and it’s relation to Bergson’s theory of time  was two weeks in purgatory. Funny, it was the “Four Quartets” to which I turned to find words for my mother’s memorial: “in the end is our beginning.”  If I could go back in time, I’d do a better job on that term paper.

A Blake Quotation or Three

Returning to the original subject of Blake, I’ve listed some of the quotes that caught my attention.

“In the Universe there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between there are the doors.”

“What is now proved, was once only imagined.”

“We are not meant to resolve all contradictions, but to live with them and rise above them.”

That old chestnut “Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright” has something going for it.  It’s out there on the ‘net.’ Take a look at it for yourself.

 

 

Through the Front Door for the Week of June 17

Graphic with jelly beans
I adore jelly beans

Joy of jelly Beans

William Blake wrote “you never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough.”

So it is thus with jelly beans!

Discovery! Amazon is selling five pounds of Brach’s jelly beans for about the same price as one pound of same in the local market-on the rare occasions you can find them at all.

I adore jelly beans. I rhapsodize jelly beans. A jelly bean dream would be one of the dreams of a lifetime. Forget about those high-end gourmet jelly beans manufactured in Fairfield, California! It’s Brach’s jelly beans for me: all sugar and water and gelatin, and colorful edible food dyes.

For reasons that passeth understanding, the local markets only carry Brach’s jelly beans at Easter and Halloween. Between times, the shelves are bare. Surely you can imagine my delight that Amazon, emporium to the world, carries them.

Five pounds of jelly beans arrived in a bright blue cardboard carton, with the Brach’s label emblazoned across the top. The jelly beans inside were all the colors of the rainbow and they were so fresh it was if they had been manufactured the day before.

I ordered the jelly beans at the beginning of June, and they are gone, gone, gone before the end of June. Don’t tell anyone, it’s my secret: I am going to order another five pounds next month. Because I still don’t’ know what is more than enough!

Through the Front Door: June Week Two

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And Now to Sports News

NBA Championship

Warriors fans live across the street. Warriors fans live to the right of me; they live to the left of me; they live behind me. Everywhere seniors hi-fiving around the block. Tuesday morning early,early carpools full of fans will be heading out for the victory parade in Oakland.

Justify Takes the Triple Crown

graphic of a race horse
Go Justify

Yesterday, my  BIG QUESTION: “Will there be another Triple Crown winner today?

Can Justify hang on that extra quarter of a mile and get his nose first across the finish line at Belmont. I thought he struggled for his win at the Preakness. Watching that race, I was not sanguine that he could handle the mile-and-a-half distance of the third leg of the Triple Crown.  After all, he would be up against fresh horses  trained to peak at the Belmont.

Justify did win take the Triple Crown. And it was a grand run to watch. He took the lead at the start, and kept the lead all the way to the finish line.  He did it easily, with plenty of energy left at the finish line.

Watching beautiful horses run lifts the spirits. Sadly, shadows darken the”sport of kings” in America. Doping  is illegal, but are many practices that flirt with the dark side, and are harmful to the horses in the long run.

The Triple Crown itself is open to criticism because of the grueling stress placed upon young horses whose joints and bones are still cartilage. The official birthdate for all Thoroughbreds is January 1; but many foals don’t see daylight until March. Those late arrivals are several months shy of two years when they are officially eligible to race. They are not really mature. Given that ‘baby’ cartilage doesn’t  finish maturing into bone until horses are five or six, it’s not surprising that race horses break and have to be destroyed.

Through the Front Door June 5

Castle in SpainI kick open the front door and drop my bags. Immediately I turn on music, filling the air with “A Thousand Years” by The Piano Guys. Opening wide my arms I twirl circles across the bare boards of a room filled with sunlight.  

It’s been months since I visited the Front Door.  Wouldn’t it be fun to say that I’d packed real bags and went visiting castles in Spain, and surf fishing on the beaches of Ibiza. Imagine posting Instagram photos of me outside Castle Coca, Castle Manzanares El Real, and Castle Alcazar of Segovia.

I have Spain on the brain because one of the things I actually did while vacationing from this blog is rereading that wonderful trio of novels by Lois McMaster Bujold, loosely known as the “Chalion novels.” They are fantasies set in a world based upon medieval Spain. All three books spin a yarn that speculates on the nature of the relationship between the human and the divine.

Not everyone’s cup of tea, of course, but I always close each book wondering how Bujold come up with the stuff she writes. I shelve her novels next to those eccentric little theological novels of Charles Williams, who as one of the Inklings, was a friend of C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien. Like olives and caviar, Williams is an acquired taste, but I reread his books annually.

In addition to re-reading theological fiction, I attended the April NaNoWriMo boot camp.  This is an online workshop for writers. I am happy to announce that I have lost my fear of the first sentence.  I remember how many times I started letters “Dear Friend, How are you?  I am fine” and never wrote another sentence.  Now I can knock out a paragraph or two with ease. AND, and, and, I am getting better at writing with an active voice.  

What Came Through the Front Door First Week of February

Graphic of a cat
Romeo in a Bag

Cute, What Is It?

A paper bag was left on the floor, and Romeo immediately climbed in then looked up at me. This was irresistibly cute, so I grabbed my camera and snapped this picture. Then I thought, “was is it that makes us call something cute?”

Merriam-Webster defines cute as attractive or pretty in a childish, youthful, or delicate way. What is that makes something seem childish, youthful, or delicate?  I thought about this long and hard for about five minutes which the outer limits of my attention. Then I looked at some “cute” photos.  My conclusion that the first important element required by cute is roundness of shape. The next important element is softness of line.

But here’s the next question “how is it that critters that are definitely not cute manage to do things that are cute?  For this I have no answer.

What Came Through the Door Fourth Week of January

Cornerstone Sonoma

For a year, I’ve passed by a place called “Cornerstone” idly wondering what it was.  Last Saturday, I finally went on a fact finding expedition.  Basically, it is a tourist destination: a restaurant, four wine tasting rooms, and two high end gift stores.

It’s the gardens that make Cornerstone a worthwhile place to spend an afternoon. There are twenty plots; each the size of a triple office cubicle. Every plot contains a garden designed by famous landscape architects from the United States, Europe, and Asia. Naturally, I didn’t have my pocket Nikon Coolpix with me.  I had to make do with the camera on my cell phone.

Graphic Cornerstone, Sonoma
Daisy Windmill Farm
Graphic of Cornerstone Garden Mini Vinyard
Cornerstone Garden: Mini Vineyard
Graphic of Cornerstone garden with rosemary and century plants
Circular Garden featuring rosemary and century plants
Graphic of Cornerstone Garden
Cornerstone: Century Plant Forest
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Cornerstone Garden Tunnel Walk

 

January 2018 Third Week

Sonoma Fires Three Months Later

Our neighbor across the way who lost the house he recently owned in the Fountain Grove area of Santa Ana, took several of us on a little tour of the fire damage.  After three months, recovery is slow because of all the hazardous toxins that must be removed from the soil.  Nature is doing her part to soften the damage by regrowth, nevertheless the damage remains stark.

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Tour Guide and Former Home Owner
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Remains of Hilton Fountain Grove
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Once upon this was the largest K-Mart in Sonoma County
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What’s left of a beautiful two-story house
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Clearing out, clearing up
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More clearing and cleaning
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New definition of “scenic”