Fragility and a Haint Painted Blue Brain

I was admiring a moose picture that I happened perchance to see online. (

downloadThis isn’t the particular moose I saw in a meme, but close enough.

What struck me was that impressive antler rack. How, I thought, does it maneuver through its habitat effortlessly? Imagine always having to be mindful of cumbersome protuberances on your head, everywhere you went? I mean, a moose could get stuck if not being always mindful. On that subject I delighted recently in fooling my grandchild into thinking that a group of moose are called meese. After amusing myself with this tomfoolery, and after hearing him use meese in a sentence the jig was up because

  1. I was laughing.

  2. And……..I didn’t want him to head back to school with inaccurate information.

I saw something a few days ago that took me completely off guard. The most amazing things happen -usually when one least expects it and such is the case here. I was heading home to Connecticut after a few days in Vermont and I was leaving this place (Al was driving, and I was a front seat passenger as per usual):


So we pulled out of the parking lot, as we have many many times before on similar trips to “the chicken store,” (this place sells State Line potato chips, a chip from my childhood and so always worth a stop if only for that.)jVRFulhYes I’m aware I can buy these chips online-I believe they’re made in Canada and NO- my childhood was not in 1919 like it says on the bag, but I digress. The “chicken store” is a routine stop, a smorgasbord of local tag sale items, fresh farm goodies, unusual knickknacks and a not so offputting ambiance of barnlike smells and familiar old items.

Picture below from The coops with the sentence across them about fresh laid eggs here:


So my mind was filled, absolutely filled to bursting and highly distracted as we left the parking lot—when up ahead, just 100 feet or so up the road, a black bear ran (galloped? bumbled?) across the road. Now remember that bears can run twice as fast as an Olympic sprinter. Al and I had a similar experience which is described (with decidedly not so great pictures) a few blogs back. This bear, however, was a LOT bigger than the other one we sighted last time. This one was not a juvenile and it did not pause and pose in a tree and study us. No, this bear was maximum size, definitely a healthy adult. Once again, it happened between 3:00 and 4:00 P.M. This time no pictures, just the one in my head.

Three Italian musical terms:

allegro (meaning fast),

animato (meaning animated and lively), and

dolce (sweet)…

My two recent bear sightings are all of these things, at least to me. 

The best music for a jumbled brain. 

You may have noted that the subject of this blog is fragility and that is true. A moose is mighty but  their existence (which is also true of bears) is a fragile balance of climate and shared lives with humans. In fact, it is a combination of the encroachment of humans upon bears and also humidity and drought that is stressing these bears because at least where I live, sightings are ever more common.

Here is an example of all the conditions having to be just right in order for something marvelous to happen:


I thought: what am I seeing here? And so I poked it.

See, I’ve been a bit disappointed with my morning glories this year but that doesn’t stop me from admiring the blossoms I have managed to coax… Although I am greeted with dozens of blooms of purple, blue and pink, they decided to entwine themselves in a nearby fairly unhealthy wild rose bush where a lot of the blooms are lost to the eye. The conditions had to be just right for these climbing flowers to overtake my porch rail the glorious way they did a few years ago. But what a wonder they presented me with yesterday. I saw this sight under a leaf and did not know what I was seeing at first. Turns out a wasp had apparently laid little white eggs in the live body of a plump green hornworm caterpillar. I know it was alive because it twitched when I touched it.

This past month has been a mix of unusual sightings, odd coincidences, three small vacation getaways (Boston, Vermont, New York), crestfallen-filled disappointments, startling revelations about the health of two people close to me, a surprise marriage within my close circle of family that ended a month later, and also this month has been filled with wonders of nature, affirmations of love and an unusually prolonged succession of social obligations. I am afraid that my daughter (now on his way to becoming male and starting testosterone soon) is the most expected and normal thing that is happening in my life right now. I am left feeling as fragile as a house of cards. Er no that’s not quite right. A house of cards is a wonder, true, but it’s more precarious than fragile, but you get the idea. This happened:


I am not as unhappy as I seem here. The transformation has helped me feel healthier despite the bloated face and puffiness, and that was the point. However my eyes have been bothering me A LOT. I am certainly going to be tested for Sjrogens soon because I cannot afford to continually buy eyedrops…

“I remind myself to hold on to these moments as they pass.” (Adam Duritz)

Yes that’s the whole point. Here are a few pictures of rural NY and Vermont:

It’s easy to take the beauty of New England for granted. Seeing a trip to Vermont being given away as a prize on a game show recently I was thinking that it was not a good prize but YES I reminded myself- it is a good prize. Despite me almost taking it for granted. Vermont with its heavy snows and wild flowers and awesome autumns. 


I make a flower wreath every year (since my friend Starr started the tradition in 2006) in memorium to Howie’s death and birthday. I left this on a plastic chair at the motel in Vermont. My grandson (who named my book Under The Banana Moon) picked it up and hung it on the motel door. We saw it get smaller and smaller as we drove away from the place until it was a pinhole of color against the white of the door. One thing. One more fragile thing. A thing that will wilt and be discarded by a maid, perhaps after she is charmed by it… Or not.

In antique stores, tag sales and pawn shops …—heritage is sold. Most of the precious things we inherit however, are not tangible things at all. And they are not for sale like nostalgic items in a chicken themed store. They are the network of traits and memories that make up our very fiber. The things that determine whether we adapt or fold. Over the course of my life there has been a recurring theme. Weight loss and Weight gain (the yoyo syndrome) has been but one theme. In fact having “lost” 60 pounds I recently commented to someone that in one month’s time, if I let my guard down, I can gain back at the rate of 2 pounds a day and have all the weight back in that one month. The loss seems somehow fragile as if it isn’t meant to last. Of course StateLine potato chips won’t help will they? 🙂

Another ongoing theme has been the loss of physical objects. I have lost so many THINGS, in fact have had so many things outright destroyed or even stolen from my home that things have taken on a lesser importance for me. And I do remind my self that (perhaps I have mentioned this before here) that there is truth in the adage that the most difficult people in our lives are our greatest teachers.

I am crashing

no doubt from overload (my father is in the hospital) but I know I can’t cover myself in haint blue paint like they do in Louisiana when they want to ward off evil…When you see a charming old home with a porch ceiling of blue, that’s typically rooted in superstition and belief. Or maybe I can do my own version of haint paint? Yes I may actually paint today. And trust me this is an experience that leaves my skin quite delightfully colorful.

Like the moose with the cumbersome protuberances growing out of its head which I assume makes it harder to navigate in spaces that are not so wide open, my head has similar obtrusive things INSIDE of it- especially this month, and I suppose all anxious thinkers do, but the moose proves that life is still navigable if mindful. I mentioned that the moose should always be mindful of its head growths in order to navigate the world and I suspect a lot of that mindfulness becomes involuntary and natural after some time. Adaptation is a fascinating thing. The practice of mindfulness becomes second nature if practiced consistently.

My son found an old video camera at a discount second hand store and thought enough of me to buy it. I’ve been able to view old home movies on it.

When I wrote my book, I mentioned that my family adapted to the terminal diagnosis and eventual death with tears yes, but also with lots of laughter. As memories fade it is easy to fool myself into thinking this was a lie. Perhaps those years were not filled with laughter. But seeing the movies I realize this was true. Pardon the gross nature of this video but it illustrates that laughter-that chink of healing- did exist and if I could laugh then, certainly I can today! I cannot manage to upload my video onto this blog without an upgrade I am not ready for, but perhaps you will visit (and LIKE?) my facebook author page and you can view the video there…..

I had talked Howie into a dental cleaning. He did not want it, but the green foam minty “brushes” that insurance provided to us in volumes was not enough and eventually he agreed to a thorough cleaning. Here is a portion of that video, circa 2002 or 2003 found on my page by clicking on VIDEOS to the right of the page or simply scrolling down a bit

Thank you for reading!

P.S. I almost forgot to mention that my digital art has been accepted in IOD’s 2017 calendar which has the theme of community. I wonder what month I will get?



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