November reviewed.

November 30, 2016

November 2016 retained its high place in my calendar ladder. Let me tell you of particulars.

Unfortunately I must admit here at the beginning that the single biggest event — the election — has been, for me, devastating and disheartening. My harp is hanging on the willow tree.

But let’s move on. The Cubs won the World Series.  I saw two plays “Nun of your business” by Promise Keepers (in Lancaster, Pennsylvania) and “A Nice Family Gathering” by Epilogue Players (in Indianapolis) . The board of Garfield Shakespeare Company met; I felt a bit more comfortable in this second meeting. It’s been a good month for reading: Paul Tillich’s The Dynamics of Faith; HiYun Li’s Kinder than Solitude; and Joan Didion’s A Book of Common Prayer.

November made for good walking at Fort Ben State Park, Pennsy Trail, Pleasant Run Trail, a six-miler in Montgomery County, Morgan-Monroe State Forest, Indianapolis Central Canal Towpath, Heritage Trail, Monon Trail and here within Irvington. I walked 64 miles. Yoga class is helping me locate new muscles.

I aspired to take six excellent photos. Here are the submissions.


November 4 — On route 13 north of Indianapolis


November 6 — The Susquehanna River seen from Chickies Rock (Pennsylvania).


November 14 — Frosty walk in Fort Ben.


November 19 — Patience paid off. It finally piked out its head to look at me.


November 20 – An interesting illusion on my walk.


November 25 — Lucy gets some help to cross Lye Creek.

It should be no surprise that people graced the month and me.
In Goshen, so good to see JR, Sue, Del, Ervin, Phyllis, Roy and Lois …
*  …but the big treat was visiting Ellah Wakatama’s class followed by coffee.
In Pennsylvania my two brothers Merv and Ken and their spouses,
*  also Vern a brother-in-law.
     *  A stop-in visit with Marv.
     *  On the first Tuesday, the writers group.
*  At the Emporius, the Urban Farmers.
*  Coffee with Dave K, Rudy, Bob and Jay.
Correspondence with Loren.
  Birthday mashed potatoes and sauer kraut with Courtney.
Breakfast out with Joy and Carri.
Sorry not to celebrate Jordan’s 21st with him in Salt Lake City.

November work?  At Winter Wood installing two more compost bins, packing sweet potatoes, and dish washing.  By e-mail coaching two memoir writers Erv and Pat. At home, putting the garden and garage into winter shape and giving the snow blower a test drive. The water barrels are empty but I haven’t re-set the foundation yet. Nor have I worked on Courtney’s sculpture patio.

Unfortunately, I didn’t write much. The one poem is dark, dark enough that I can’t locate it in my files! But I have thought about beginning a collection on significant quotations about grace.

Thanksgiving with family members was wondrous. My gratitude for family is unbounded. I wrote a blog about our day (See previous post).  Thanksgiving food is just one reason that I haven’t lost four pounds this month.

Tonight November comes to an end. The temp is falling, getting us ready for December. I shall enter it with a coat on and with many beloved memories of November.

Thanksgiving reviewed

Monday, November 28, 2016

Ten memories of Thanksgiving week.

  1. All of our family came together, excepting for Ingrid in Massachusetts, Jordan in Utah and Adrian in Costa Rica. As we were leaving Lali said, “We have a good family.”
  2. Five others joined us: Carri (Joy’s sister), Qusai and Rohan (college friends of Ben), and Scott and Wendy (neighbors).
  3. Lali prepared a huge 32 pound turkey …


4. … but first we ate a breakfast of sticky buns, bacon, cheese/egg casserole and fruit salad from an elegant table in the annex to her commercial kitchen.


5. Despite a cloudy day, the woods showed us colorful splendors on a 40-minute walk.







6. Ben’s friends whose families come from India and Pakistan flavored the day with their fresh perspectives. One of them asked to hold a chicken.


7. Our granddaughters adore their uncle and aunts and cousins, and thus must try very hard when asked not to smile.


8. Lucy dared to cross the creek, which was flowing quite rapidly.


9. Dinner was so good.


10. No, we didn’t get into any political or religious arguments, but we did, in our traditional holiday game of charades, act out several provocative words or terms such as  nasty woman, bad hombre . 

On this Monday, after Thanksgiving week, I breathe a thank you for the holiday and for our friends and family.  I hope your version of the week is happily memorable.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I am thankful for

  •     gingko trees whose annual encore is bright yellow
  •     the thank you note from Alison
  •     heavy R E I socks
  •     the sky when it becomes a palette
  •     rocking chairs with a quiet squeak
  •     Ringo, the Rhodesian Ridgeback
  •     mile markers on walking trails
  •     heavy Poston bricks for backyard paths
  •     clementine boxes that can be later be used for garden/garage particulars
  •     home made protein bars
  •     orange canna blooms
  •     the  garter snake pretzeled under the leaves
  •     rain on the compost pile
  •     creek and river confluences
  •     Angus steers chomping on corn stalks
  •     quiet evenings
  •     a geo-political news story without an American slant
  •     waiters or waitresses who do not use first person plural (“How are we doing tonight?”)
  •     family … gathered (excepting for Adrian in Costa Rica, Ingrid in Massachusetts and Jordan in Utah)

the deplorables

Monday, November 21, 2016

“The deplorables” must surely be the most disastrous term used in the political campaign. Although Hillary Clinton regretted using those two words, the term will grate for a long time.  Today on my walk I tried to come up with reasons why “they” are jobless or under-employment.

  • they live in rural areas
  • they lose jobs when factories or businesses move out of the country
  • they lack adequate educational preparation for the available jobs
  • they are discriminated against because of ethnicity, race, language, and/or gender.
  • they have not been brought up so as to seek demanding and steady work
  • they do not have opportunities to develop their potential, opportunities provided by social organizations, schools, churches and/or government
  • they lack dependable transportation (cars, bus service)
  • they suffer debilitating illnesses
  • they can’t survive on the minimum wage
  • they lose jobs that were made obsolete by new technology
  • they have young children at home who need care
  • they are in prison or have a prison record
  • they have given up

The election results serve well in encouraging the rest of us  — should we now be called “the losers” — to learn why so many fellow citizens are angry about jobs and joblessness.

loyal opposition

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Now that I have walked about 30 miles (truly), what have those footsteps contributed to my response to the election.

A. Thoughts about the election itself
1. A lot of people wanted “change.”
2. I hadn’t know of the extremely wide gulf between the urban populace and the rural populace.
3. The Bush/Clinton era, in the minds of many people, has been long enough.
4. There is an amazing amount of latent and expressed anger in this county.
5.  Many voters seemed not to be offended by crude sexism and overt negativism used by Donald Trump.

B. Hopes for the Trump administration
1. A contemporary version of the Depression era Works Progress Administration could address intra-structural issues while giving employment to thousands.
2. I would be pleased if Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin could together bring an attitude of neighborliness to the US/Russia relationship.
3. Trump would build a strong bridge by re-appointing Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. He is President Obama’s appointee who was not given a chance by congress.
4. It’s time for a strong majority in congress to approve a sensible and humane policy on immigration and worker passes; and time for that policy to be enforced.
5. While global warming was not discussed during the campaign, I hope Mr. Trump brings the issue to the table.

C. Hopes for the Democrats
1. The party needs new leadership.
2. The party might well try to reclaim the allegiance of the common person.
3.  I hope that the party is more than an obstructionist group (as the Republicans were with Mr. Trump).
4. Seems to me that Democrats have greater chance of success than Republicans in erasing sexism, racism and  xenophobia in our country.
5. Mr. Obama, Mr. Biden, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Sanders have much yet to give to our country. I hope we can accept their continued contributions just as we accepted Mr. Carter’s long after he left office.




eye beam

Friday, November 18, 2016

When walking, I see stuff that I’d miss in a car, bus or plane. Here for instance.DSC_0398.jpg

You’ve seen this before … perhaps two weeks ago.

How about this one?


Just in case you need help: water at the borrom, then an ambankment, on which is a walking path, covered by a vehicle overpass.

A strange one below. An old log split possible from heat or cold, maybe from pressure or a bump. But the lines are nearly poetic.


Next is one of my favorite photos this fall. So glad I saw it.


“I think I’ll take a walk,” I said to the B and B host. Here is what I saw.


One more, OK?  This one is not from a car or bus or plane, but on a walk.