5.21.2022 – appreciative

of the good things in life, kind,
has intelligence

If it’s Saturday (and for me it is) and if someone is reading this (and they must be to read this) and they have read these posts in the past (which they might have) it will not come as a surprise that today’s haiku is based on the weekly feature in the Guardian titled, Blind Date.”

Two people agree to meet in a London Restaurant and answer questions about the evening.

Often it is just the restaurant and its menu that brings out the comments in my fingers as they type on the keyboard and the restaurant today, Ottolenghi Spitalfield, could be a part of a Saturday morning creative process and but another day.

That being said, I find it hard to accept that I could call my wife and say, “Made reservations at Ottolenghi Spitalfield’s” and she would not have reservations of her own.

(UPDATE – further research shows that the place was Ottolengi’s IN Spitalfield but I am not sure that helps)

Also, I have to mention that a menu that list’s a Butter bean mash, burnt lemon and coriander salsa, pine nuts, Aleppo chilli for £11 or Lamb kebab, tzatziki and ladopita for £17 deserves some further attention, but I digress.

In the Blind Date today, the participants where asked the question, Best thing about …?

One of today’s blind dater’s responded: He seems kind, appreciative of the good things in life and has emotional as well as practical intelligence.

Which, I would think, anyone would be happy to have as someone’s first impression of themselves.

But it got me to thinking.

What are the good things in life?

I got to making a list of things.

I was smart enough in making my list that these ‘good things in life’ are of course those things that are free or cheap.


I mean I started my list with sunshine.

Maybe you have had to grow up in West Michigan, notably the 2nd most overcast piece of real estate in the Western Hemisphere, after the Pacific Northwest and Seattle, to understand how good a sunny day can make you feel.

Then I went the other way and made a list of the good things that aren’t free.

Not wanting to brag, by my wife and I can pick out the best bottle of wine available at the nearby gas station with our eyes closed.

Well, maybe not closed, as we do have to make sure that it is the cheapest.

This has got a little more complicated since the local gas station started keeping the Cabernet and the Merlot in the cooler for our conveince.

As a tip, the $6 gas station bottle is far superior to the $4 Kroger bottle.

(BTW, my latest book, “After the Third Sip, It All Tastes the Same” is number 3 in Germany this week)

But then I kicked myself and said, gee whiz stupid, get with the program and come up with the good things of life.

Then I looked at the phrase again, appreciative of the good things in life.

It came to me that there is no definitive list of ‘the good things.’

Everyone’s list is different.

It is the appreciative part that is the key.

Much like how Alice Walker wrote in the Color Purple, “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

I am reminded of Carl Sandburg’s poem, Happiness:

I ASKED the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
their women and children and a keg of beer and an

There are a lot of people in this world.

God put a lot of good things in this world.

I hope I can appreciate it.

Or as the wonderful Nora York sang, Thank you for my breath, my breathing.

5.20.2022 – Phil is relaxed and

Phil is relaxed and
sporting new look in exile
says his mom’s headline

Not picking on anyone here but the recent sports headline “Phil Mickelson is ‘relaxed’ and sporting a new look in exile, says his mom” made me laugh out loud.

I am reminded of the story of 2nd Lieutenant just-graduated-from-West-Point John Eisenhower.

For his post graduation leave, instead of time off, Lt. Eisenhower got to go visit the headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force.

The Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force happened to be Lt. Eisenhower’s father, General (4 Stars) Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The story is told that the General, wanting to involve his son in operations, sent him to deliver a message to a nearby unit.

The story goes that Lt. Eisenhower got a jeep and went over to the unit and approached the commanding officer saying, “My Dad says to attack on the right.”

“Oh?” replied the office, “and what does your Mom want me to do?”

Another story from the same time has the young Lieutenant worrying about Military Protocol and asking his Dad for his thoughts.

According to Protocol, a lower ranking officer salutes a higher ranking office.

The just-out-of-West-Point 2nd Lieutenant with all of about 2 weeks seniority asked his Dad what he should do in the event that they are together and meet another officer who outranks the son but is out ranked by the father.

Should the son salute first or should he wait for the other officer to salute his Dad and then return the salute with his Dad or should he …

The General, according to the story, interrupted the son with no little temper and said, “THERE ISN’T AN OFFICER IN THIS THEATER THAT I DON’T OUTRANK and OUTRANKS YOU!

Any, I liked that Phil’s Mom is still looking out for him.

Someone has to.

5.19.2022 – modularity

globally contagious back
up redundancy

Gloom and doom again.

This time it is the world’s food system that is tottering on the brink.

In reading the article, The banks collapsed in 2008 – and our food system is about to do the same, by George Monbiot in the Guardian today, I was struck by the polysyllabic string of words in this paragraph.

So here’s what sends cold fear through those who study the global food system. In recent years, just as in finance during the 2000s, key nodes in the food system have swollen, their links have become stronger, business strategies have converged and synchronised, and the features that might impede systemic collapse (“redundancy”, “modularity”, “circuit breakers” and “backup systems”) have been stripped away, exposing the system to “globally contagious” shocks.”

Anyone experiencing the ‘supply chain’ issues of recent months or the current baby formula crisis will find it hard to not be overcome by cold fear.

I am reminded of Mr. Bill Bryson’s book, A Walk in the Woods, about his efforts on the Appalachian Trail, where Mr. Bryson comments on the Chestnut Tree Blight that hit the United States in 1904.

Mr. Bryson writes, “At the height of the American chestnut blight, every woodland breeze would loose spores in uncountable trillions to drift in a pretty, lethal haze onto neighbouring hillsides. The mortality rate was 100 per cent. In just over thirty-five years the American chestnut became a memory. The Appalachians alone lost four billion trees, a quarter of its cover, in a generation.

Then Mr. Bryson states, “A great tragedy, of course. But how lucky, when you think about it, that these diseases are at least species specific. Instead of a chestnut blight or Dutch elm disease or dogwood anthracnose, what if there was just a tree blight – something indiscriminate and unstoppable that swept through whole forests?

I feel that that is just what the world is facing.

Something indiscriminate and unstoppable.

‘Just in time’ supply chains have converged and synchronised the world’s food system into one huge network that works if everything works but if one thing link in the chain breaks, an indiscriminate and unstoppable force brings the network down.

Maybe the world could handle shortages of one of two items, much like the baby formula problem right now, but indiscriminate and unstoppable is pretty much all encompassing.

Mr. Bryson was writing about nature and we have done to it through our interactions with nature.

With the food system, we have done to ourselves.

5.18.2022 – stunts brash marketing

stunts brash marketing
found crucial ingredient
treat customers well

The baseball great, Ted Williams, once said, “If you don’t think so great, don’t think so much.”

“Most people are usually pressing to play well, thinking about their performance a lot,” Savannah pitcher, Kyle Luigs says. “But if you can get out of your comfort zone and do something to get your mind completely off baseball … you’ll play better.”

Of course, I am talking about baseball.

Savannah Baseball.

Savannah Banana’s Baseball.

“This is saving baseball from itself,” Spaceman Bill Lee says. “Look at the fans’ response, look at the way the kids are showing up.”

If you haven’t heard, read this article.

There is not much I don’t like about the Bananas.

And with all the bananas stuff going on its this bottom line of “For all the stunts and brash marketing, the franchise has found a crucial ingredient that traces to Barnum’s dictum about treating customers well.

Saving baseball from itself.

Did you know that all tickets are somewhere around $35?

Did you know once you get in, most concession food is free and all you can eat?


Those are the big problem.

How to get them?

5.17.2022 – work to ensure that

work to ensure that
players fully understand
the fundamentals

I was wondering if anyone had ever posted a Head Coaching job online.

I was wondering if anyone had ever posted a Head Coaching job online, what would it say.

While I did not find a posting for a specific team, one online job site, in its career section listed this job description:

Head football coaches coordinate and oversee any assistant coaches as they work to ensure that players fully understand the fundamentals of the game. They run practices and drills to prepare their players for their next opponents. Head football coaches may also scout other teams and watch film to prepare plays and game plans. They make all of the decisions during a game. Depending on the level they are coaching at, they may also be involved in recruiting new players. Head football coaching duties include managing and instructing team members in an effort to win games, motivating football players before and during competitive events, and analyzing team strengths and weaknesses, while instituting game strategies based on such information. Head football coaches are also responsible for maintaining records regarding team performances.

I was wondering this due to a recent story about the head coach of the Detroit Lions, Dan Campbell, and his reaction to the 2022 Lions schedule.

I focused on the line, fully understand the fundamentals of the game.

I would classify team history as a fundamental.

I would rate something a team has done for 80 years or so as fundamental.

Now I like Coach Campbell.

I feel sorry for him.

Head Coach of the Detroit Lions is like being promoted to Captain of the Titanic except that you already saw the movie and you know what is going to happen and there is nothing you can do about it.

Anyway, Coach Campbell was asked for his reaction to a schedule that showed that the Lions had no Prime Time Games.

In other words, the NFL felt no need to inflict the Lions on the rest of the Country.

But Coach was upbeat.

Just from a glance, I mean it’s, I have no arguments. I think it looks great‘, said Coach.

Then he was informed that the Lions would, of course, have that traditional Thanksgiving Day game.

The NFL tradition of football game on Thanksgiving Day that was invented by the Lions and maybe the 2nd thing anyone knows about La Ville de Tway or Detroit in the common usage.

Who are we playing on Thanksgiving?” he asked?

Then he asked, “Are we home or are we away?”

In a way, it was the perfect question.

Tells me all I need to know about what to expect this season.

5.15.2022 – nuance in science

nuance in science
which is lost in debate on
social media

Boy! What might this haiku be based on today?

Howdy, what might NOT this haiku be based on today?

With all the possible topics at hand, I got the words for this haiku from an article titled, “Coffee bad, red wine good? Top food myths busted.”

The article takes on those awful bane’s of life today of red meat, coffee, red wine, plant milk and other awful anxiety causing additives that keep me up at night when I don’t have anything else to worry about.

I read the article not with a grain of salt but a bag, a pile, a State of Michigan Department of Highways salt spreader dump truck of salt.

I read the article more from the point of a humorous essay that a factual report.

The idea that statistically speaking (always get ready when that is spelled out) there are more health problems connected with moderate wine drinking … because there or so many more moderate wine drinkers is a line out of a Marx Brothers movie.

When I make presentations about the online world, I like to mention that a high percentage of people who visit a given website are most likely using the world wide web but most folks write that down in their notes.

I think it was Ricky Bobby who pointed out that on average, 97.5% of all people will die.

I am old enough to know that everything and nothing is bad for you.

You just have to pick your terms and go from there.

But the article did have two lines that I really liked.

The last line could have been predicted by anyone who had every heard, watched or read a report on what foods are good for you.

The last line says, “As with all things, moderation is key.”

No kidding?

Eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?

Eating 100 apples will keep everyone else away due to the bodily production of internal methane gas as well as most likely kill you.

Moderation is key.

Gee wiz AND Boy Howdy!

The line I really liked was, when Rob Percival, author of The Meat Paradox: Eating, Empathy and the Future of Meat, was quoted saying, “But there’s nuance in the science, which isn’t often communicated in the press and is lost in the debate on social media,” he says.

Mr. Percival, speaking as an expert in the politics of meat, is talking about the science of red meat being bad for you when he said, “But there’s nuance in the science …”

But that sentence is just too cool to not let stand alone as a judgment on the last 20 years or so about anything.

But there’s nuance in the science, which isn’t often communicated in the press and is lost in the debate on social media.

And please be aware, it is not just the numbers.

As I am talking about food, I am sure everyone knows that eggs are bad for you.


Eggs are bad for you as they are high in cholesterol.

And cholesterol is bad for you.

Everyone knows that.


Do you know why we know that?

Back in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson read in his morning paper that the cost of a dozen eggs was higher then it had ever been in history and LBJ went all LBJ on his staff to bring the price of eggs down!

One effort involved the USDA releasing anything and everything it had that was bad about eggs.

The next night every major evening newscast (all three of them) carried the story that according to US Government sources, eggs were high in cholesterol and while they weren’t sure what that meant, it wasn’t good.

And the price of eggs dropped.

And that message about evil eggs has stayed in the collective conscience of the American mind ever since.

Just google ‘eggs LBJ’ if you want to look it up.

If I am not getting my point across, maybe there is a nuance in the science, which isn’t often communicated in the press and is lost in the debate on social media.

5.15.2022 – the smiling, laughing,

the smiling, laughing,
making me comfortable
was it possible

I like to start my day with a newspaper.

Which means today, my day starts online.

I like to go over the Google News headlines WITH tracking turned OFF so I can tell myself that I am getting a overview of the news, not a view tailored to my interests.

Then I click on the Guardian from Manchester, UK. (or is UK now out and GB back in?)

Of late, my outlook on life has been downright dark and gloomy and what I read in the paper or as Will Rodgers said, “All I know is what I read in the papers” and what I read is also downright dark and gloomy.

The other day I was gifted with several stories that, when read in the order I read them, gave me a mental kick in the pants.

As Mr. Lincoln said of General John Pope, who detailed many of this reports “Written from Headquarters in the Saddle” that General Pope “had his headquarters where is hindquarters should have been.”

I have had my head in my butt and all has been doom and gloom.

I am in a funk and I cannot get out.

Waiting to exhale.

Waiting for the shoes to drop.

Just waiting and waiting.

We moved to what is called the Low Country of South Carolina about a year and a half ago.

We found a good church and then we pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone to get involved and joined a small group that meets every other week or so.

We are talking our way through the topic of when bad things happen.

We are all pretty much in agreement that while we cannot see the plan, bad things DO happen, but in the end, things work out according to God’s plan and when the time comes to look back, the plan can become a little more evident.

I have no problem with this.

Though it leaves unanswered the unanswerable ‘what do you do or how do you handle yourself in that moment when the bad things are happening.’

Often, knowing that there will come a time when you can look back and see the hidden God given strength that helped you get through the bad things can be pretty thin at the moment.

To boil it down I would say that:

One: Bad things happen.

Two: Things work out as we leave things in God’s hands, or as CS Lewis would say, “It always was in God’s hands.”

Then the third point, Three: this is what you do while bad things are happening.

Notice I did sat what ‘this’ is.

As I said, of late, the news has been pretty bleak and the bad things that are happening has pretty much got me into a semi-permanent funk on the worldly issues of Country, Economy and Civil Strife.

Then I was gifted three stories in a row that responded to these three points about bad things and the current state of affairs.

First, bad things happen.

I read the article, “Americans believe nothing is getting better. Biden feeds that disillusionment” by David Sirota with much nodding and much “Boy HOWDY but that is how I feel.”

Mr. Sirota writes that many people are going through ‘Jokerfication’ – a concept based on the Joker in Batman which describes ‘becoming so thoroughly disillusioned that one loses faith in everything.’

Mr. Sirota then lists the reasons for Jokerfication and I find it hard to argue with any of them.

Thoroughly disillusioned is a marvelous phrase.

There is no light at the end of this tunnel or so it seems.

But to the 2nd point, things will get better and we will be able to see bad times in the rear view mirror.

The next article I came across was “An optimist’s guide to the future: the economist who believes that human ingenuity will save the world” by David Shariatmadari which is a review of the book, The Journey of Humanity by Econmist Oded Galor (who I have never heard of just to be transparent).

Mr. Shariatmadari writes that Mr. Galor’s: “message appears to be that whatever the circumstances you have inherited, change is possible. It’s an analysis of the human condition that leads not to a counsel of despair, but a new set of tools he believes can help build a better future.”

There is much to Mr. Galor’s to try to grasp but I was fascinated by the observation there are two cultures in the history of the world.

Wheat farmers and Rice farmers and society grew up around those two basic fundamental life styles.

I was especially intrigued as I now live what was the focus of rice growing economy in wheat growing North America but for another time.

Mr. Shariatmadari ends his review with, “For many, though, a dose of faith in human progress will be hard to resist.

And, BOY HOWDY, do identify with that!

SO there we are.

Bad things happen, but there is hope that the future can find answers to these bad things.

SO what about the third point.

What is ‘this is what you do’?

Remember we are talking about a world view here.

The next article I clicked had the headline, “How an encounter with a friendly person made me see myself differently” by Sinéad Stubbins.

Ms. Stubbins related how arriving early for an appointment she and another lady dealt with being locked out of an office.

Ms. Stubbins writes, “Then it struck me. Everything this woman had been doing – the smiling, the laughing, making me feel comfortable when I was doing silly things – I had been doing too. We were mirroring each other’s warmth exactly. Could it be? … She was friendly. Was it possible that I was friendly too?”

Simplistic I know.

But I am repulsed by the feeling of Jokerfication and I want to reject it and if the answer is to be friendly then I will embrace that and let you know how it goes.

Sometimes I need to be told to hang on, it will be okay in the end.

That I read these online stories in a row was seemingly more than chance and I appreciate it.

5.14.2022 – some mistakes are made

some mistakes are made
bit funnier than others
not have taken much

Based on an interview with one Rachel Graham.

Ms. Graham said, “We’re not really interested in fighting, we’re just pointing out the obvious that they should have looked it up themselves. It wouldn’t have taken much.”

Mistakes are made,” she added. “Some are just a bit funnier than others.

According to what I read this morning, Mark and Rachel Graham received a cease-and-desist letter from Condé Nast, the magazine publisher, asking them to change their pub’s name.

Their pub is in the town of Vogue, a hamlet in the parish of St Day, Cornwall, England.

Their pub is named, The Star Inn at Vogue.

Vogue the magazine sent them a cease and desist letter and threatened legal action if they would not change the name of the pub.

I found the Graham’s reaction to not react a bit refreshing in this day and age.

Again, Ms. Graham said, “We’re not really interested in fighting, we’re just pointing out the obvious that they should have looked it up themselves. It wouldn’t have taken much.”

Mistakes are made.

Some mistakes are funnier than others.

I think there even might have been people in Washington DC that agreed with this.

Sorry to say, though, that Abraham Lincoln hasn’t been around since 1865.

He may have been the last person to be able to not take themselves seriously inside the beltway.

Jim Harrison writes something along the line that if you look at the city of Washington and the buildings, how could some NOT BECOME POMPOUS once they got there.

He favored turning the Capitol building into a museum and putting Congress in a pole barn in Anacostia and then see how fast Congress took care of business.

I agree with this but want to make sure it is a pole barn without air conditioning.

I am also reminded of a time when the company I worked for decided to crack down on non-authorized online use of company content.

The company I worked for owned a lot of TV stations and other websites were embedding video and such without asking for permission or crediting the company.

The web team was told to go out and find these places and turn them over to corporate legal.

I was in Atlanta at the time and the very first place I found that was using WXIA TV video without permission was the Johnnie Cochran law firm.

I filled out the required paper work and sent it off to corporate legal.

That was the last I heard of the case and the project as a whole.


Mistakes are made.

Some mistakes are funnier than others.

It made me almost weep for a era seemingly long gone.

Do I have to move to the parish of St Day, Cornwall, England?

5.13.2022 – die freude schöner

die freude schöner
götterfunken tochter
aus elysium

Random thoughts in the afternoon, and my first haiku in german, brought on by the presenter on the radio saying that he was giving listeners a minute to get ready and then to get settled as the next piece he was going to play was over one hour long.

Before he said what it was I knew what it would be.

On Friday evening, remember I listen to radio station from London so they are 5 hours ahead (this way, I like to say, I know that someone has made it through the next 5 hours) if a radio station is going to play a single piece of classical music over an hour long, it has to be the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 by Beethoven.

According to one source, It was longer and more complex than any symphony to date and required a larger orchestra. But the most unique feature of “The Ninth” was that Beethoven included chorus and vocal soloists in the final movement. He was the first major composer to do this in a symphony.

According to Wikipedia, it was first performed in Vienna on 7 May 1824. The symphony is regarded by many critics and musicologists as Beethoven’s greatest work and one of the supreme achievements in the history of music. One of the best-known works in common practice music, it stands as one of the most frequently performed symphonies in the world.

I was a little kid when I started listening to classical music.

I am sure there was a lot of ‘look at me, I am so smart I listen to classical music’ and I am sure that Schroeder in the Charlie Brown comic strip also played a part.

But like many other things in my life, I can remember being around the age of 10 or 11 and on TV, my Mom was watching that new public TV station.

Understand this was back in the day when we got three TV channels in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I grew up and when public TV from Grand Valley State College went on air, it increased the amount of available TV 33%.

I sat down to watch with her and it was a documentary narrated by Leonard Bernstein about putting on a concert in Vienna featuring Beethoven’s 9th symphony.

It wasn’t the type of show my Mom usually watched but she kept it on and we both got drawn into the story and the music.

The documentary told three stories.

One was the performance itself.

One was the story behind the performance, the rehearsals, the technical aspects of preparing the hall, the technical aspects of getting the orchestra itself to Vienna.

One was Mr. Bernstein describing the life of times of one Ludwig van Beethoven.

The documentary wove the three stories together and ended with the performance of the 4th movement.

Something about the life of Mr. Beethoven and his struggles to express the sounds inside his head got into me.

I distinctly remember Mr. Bernstein describing how the members of’ the the chorus arrived early enough for ‘one more goulash and beer’ before the performance.

Growing up my house was filled with books.

I talk about that a lot.

But along with the books our house was also filled with music.

My Dad was into the HiFi era and bought a lot of records and a lot of record players.

Along one wall of our living room was a flat countertop cupboard and there were 5 or 6 stacks of LP’s.

My Dad also had his favorite shows and music that he listened to on the radio and he spent a lot time working with a reel to reel tape recorder that could record off the radio at a flip of the switch.

My brothers and sisters of course contributed a lot of music of the era but I can say it was easily one of the most eclectic collections of records music in West Michigan.

After seeing this show about Beethoven, I started looking through the record collection to find other classical music and once I found it, I would listen to it.

For the most part my brothers and sisters put up with it.

It became part of my schtick.

I read a lot.

I listened to classic music.

I weighed about 55 lbs and wore glasses.

I mean, what did anyone else expect.

But there were bonuses.

My brother Bob and his wife were living in Kalamazoo while he went to WMU.

They noticed that WMU had just completed the Miller Auditorium and to dedicate it, the college offered free tickets to a performance to Beethoven’s 9th symphony.

They got in touch with us up in Grand Rapids as they thought I would be interested.

My Dad made or maybe my brother Bobby made some calls and got tickets for all of us and one Sunday afternoon, we loaded up and my Dad, Mom and 7 or 8 of my brothers and sisters went to hear the show.

Now this is where history gets interesting as according to the internet Miller Auditorium opened on Jan. 12, 1968.

That would have made me 7.

Ah, well, precocious wasn’t I.

It was the first time I heard classical music live.

I could see it.

I could hear it.

And I could imagine it.

I have attended maybe 6 or 7 live performances of this symphony since then.

It is different every time.

It is the same every time.

A couple of years after that at Christmas I unwrapped a heavy flat box.

It was a present my Mom picked out for me.

It was a set of records of the all 9 Beethoven symphonies.

I kept those records for the next 50 years.

I am typing this as I listen to the radio so this could go on for a bit.

Another story that always comes to mind.

According to legend when Sony was developing the music CD, the President of Sony demanded that the size of a CD should be big enough to be able to hold a minimum of 88 minutes of music.

He felt that any music medium worth its salt should be able to contain the complete performance of the 9th Symphoney.

I know this story doesn’t hold up against most fact but as they say, when in doubt, print the legend.

That Mr. Beethoven, almost 200 years after his death, had such an impact on modern music was too perfect to not be true.

If it isn’t the way it happened, is the way it should have happened.

And with the that, the music is drawing to a close.

Nice way to end the day.

die freude schöner
götterfunken tochter
aus elysium

Joy, beautiful spark of Divinity
Daughter of Elysium,

5.12.2022 – but the common thing

but the common thing
decision opening up
strive toward the wind

Based on the poem, Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond, by Mary Oliver.

Again, a big thank you to my sister Lisa, to telling me about Ms. Oliver.

(Feel free to touch base and tell me what to read.)

For me, herons, seeing a heron, has been and still is a harbinger of good fortune, a good omen.

Not that you saw herons all that often in West Michigan where I grew up but maybe that was part of it.

And not that I really believe in good omens but more in line that seeing one made me feel that, surely, this wasn’t as black a world as I made it out to be.

And I have had enough Latin and roman history to not think about omens and not smile inwardly.

It is in the movie Spartacus that Roman Senator Sempronius Gracchus, played by Charles Laughton, walks out of the Senate and buys a pigeon saying “Let’s make a good old-fashioned sacrifice.

Still I cannot see a heron and somehow, not feel better.

I also cannot see a heron that I do not think of the time that Doug, my college roommate, and I were driving back to Ann Arbor, Michigan on I-96 and a heron dove out of the sky and swooped low, just above the median between the two sides of the freeway in a glide..

As I remember it, we were going about 60 miles an hour.

This was way back in the ‘Drive 55’ era and it took forever to get to Ann Arbor.

The heron passed us.

Here is the poem.

Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond by Mary Oliver.

So heavy
is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,
always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings

and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks

of the summer pond,
and slowly
rises into the air
and is gone.

Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath
of happiness, and I think
how unlikely it is

that death is a hole in the ground,
how improbable
that ascension is not possible,
though everything seems so inert, so nailed

back into itself —
the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the turtle,
the fallen gate.

And especially it is wonderful
that the summers are long
and the ponds so dark and so many,
and therefore it isn’t a miracle

but the common thing,
this decision,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,
this opening up of the heavy body

into a new life: see how the sudden
gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.

takes her in.

I took this photo of a heron on a dock on Pinckney Island in South Carolina during a day of dolphin counting.

The heron stood on the post with a look that told me I was standing on a dock that the heron owned and my presence wasn’t much more than tolerated.

There are a lot more heron’s down here than I have ever seen in my life.

Looking at the these birds standing still and I think how could anyone have made a bird like this?

Looking at these birds in flight and I think, how else could anyone have made a bird like this?

The phrase “have been fearfully and wonderfully made” from the book of Psalms comes to mind.

– – – – – – –

Readers of this blog may remember that from time to time I struggle with the weight of effort of producing a daily Haiku and any thoughts I may have about the words and time that went in the Haiku that day.

This daily schedule of missing a day can bring on a personal mental paralysis wherein writing these entries becomes impossible.

I learned to deal with this by not dealing with it and let it go.

Then when I look at my register of entries and see blank days with no post, I will grab a topic or book or poem for a source and produce a series of Haiku to fill in those blank dates.

This is one of the great benefits of this effort being my blog and my blog, my rules.

It IS cricket because I say it is.

It is ‘according to Hoyle’ because I say it is.

Thus I have this series of haiku based on the poem ‘Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond‘ by Mary Oliver.