Three things to remember – quoting Mary Oliver in a letter to Nancy.

I wrote a letter to a friend today.
It had roses on it.

The kind I would like to have
in my garden someday,
frothing pinkishly on trellises,
peeking with red flouncy eyes
through the windows of my bedroom.

Temptation leaning on the sill
making eyes at me.

In the letter I wrote her a poem,
not mine. But it reminded me
of her.

“As long as you are dancing, you can
break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just
extending the rules.

Sometimes there are no rules.”

And I see her dancing
as she always does,
twirling, twirling
with a paintbrush in her hand,
a smile trembling on her lips,
and music rolling off her hips.

Dancing, dancing deep into the night,
breaking all the rules.

Painting a memory.

I was about 12 when I first saw it. My grandmother, a renowned poet, always received varied gifts from people who loved her poetry. Bits and pieces of this and that. Feathers, book marks, pressed flowers…at least, that is how I remember it. They were all the more precious to her for their very simplicity. One such was a 3X2 ‘photo’ of Jesus Christ. It was an itty bitty little print. I had just returned from school and she held it out to me. I remember my heart squeezing painfully in my chest and silence beating heavily on my eardrums. I remember tears prickling my eyes and a deep, yawning hole opening somewhere deep inside me. I do not know why but it moved me deeply. In that moment, it felt as though my very soul were under siege. I asked her if I could keep it and she said of course. For a long time after that I carried it with me everywhere, tucked in the backpack I wore like second skin. But then years flew by like the pages of a book and I lost sight of that backpack and the photo along with it. But the sentiment remains. It has never quite gone away. It comes and it goes, washing over me like a tide when I least expect it.

Recently, I came across the book, ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’, by Nikos Kazantzakis. It has been an intense read and an eye opening one. That, along with the memory, inspired me to paint this….

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Do let me know what you think?

A Day at Ann Arbor. {The Main Street}

The sun was at a slant. Evening, then night was fast approaching upon the heels of a lazy afternoon. Walking was thirsty work. It was time to hit the town.

Music, Food, Wine, Chatter…

The Main Street was bustling with people out for a good time. Some eateries had wide comfortable couches on the sidewalks with broad umbrellas. Cozy comfort. Sparkling wine, sizzling food, smiling faces adorned the sprawling tables.

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There’s something about live music, isn’t there? It just adds a whole different feel to an evening. It lifts and elevates.

And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, found this jewel of a bookstore on one of the side streets. I am sorry to say that I did not note down the name of the store but I spent a very happy hour browsing its musty, helter-skelter, knee high piles of bookly treasures.

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And then, for the finale, a pizza and a pint at The Jolly Pumpkin.

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And on that note ended our long glorious sojourn at Ann Arbor. Tally Ho, my lovelies!

A Day at Ann Arbor. {Matthaei Botanical Gardens}

A photographical glimpse. :)

The Tropical Garden.

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The Cacti Garden.

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The Bonsai Garden.

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The walkways.

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There were many many different plants along the walkways which weren’t in bloom yet and so I do not have any photographs of those. :(

The nature trails.

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What groweth here? A shroom? A snail?

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Very few things are as pleasurable and satisfying as walking bare feet in the grass. It was soft and moist under my feet. The stream gurgled along, prancing, singing, tinkling…gentle company to my rustling, lingering feet.

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And this sweet creature, taking a moment to bask in the sunlight in his front yard.

He invited us in for a cuppa but we had to forego the immense pleasure for sheer lack of time. Tick tock!

A Day at Ann Arbor. {A Moment of Prayer}

A quick stroll from Zingerman’s Deli brings you to the front steps of this beautiful

St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church.

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Said to be over 150 years old, it has beautiful vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows.

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Light filters through and comes to rest on the pews. Bright, healing, it fills one’s heart with reverence. There is a deep spiritual silence within these walls. And a call to prayer.

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Gratitude filled our hearts. And peace.

Bless us all this day, dear Lord. Amen.

A Day at Ann Arbor. {Farmer’s Market}

Across the street from Zingerman’s, there was a Farmer’s Market in full swing! Flowers, fresh produce, herbs, breads, honey, jewelery, scarves, pastries…faces flushed with percolating culinary ideas and baskets flushed with matching produce…

There is something deeply satisfying about eating straight off the land, in a manner of speaking, isn’t it? Of connecting with the faces, the loving hands that have grown the red rhubarb and the green green lettuce.

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{I was worried about offending the vendors and so decided not to take any photos of the produce.:)}

However, I did see this above a sliding door that leads to wonders within like a cafe, an art store, a fresh produce store..to name a few…

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Wonderful, isn’t it?

And this sweet guy waiting so patiently for his loved ones. Bless him!

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I hope he gets a very special treat for his patience. Fresh from the market too!

A Day at Ann Arbor. {Breakfast}

Spring is spectacular in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Overflowing, exuberant, fragrant. But since most of the trees we oogled over were lined up along the main thoroughfare, the photographs appear blurry having been taken from the window of a moving car. And no, I was not driving while taking the photographs. ;D

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I love sleepy college towns, don’t you? There is an oddly wonderful energy permeating their very streets. Those old cobbled streets hum with life under the pattering of youthful feet. Sleepy voices carry over the careworn walls, hollow and echoing, a strange mingling of past and present. Generations have passed through here in a quest for knowledge, futures, hopes and dreams.

But I suppose that is neither here nor there since the first order of the day was breakfast.

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Somebody else had a similar idea.

And since not everyone can manage to munch so gracefully while gracing the branch of a tree, we had to settle for a table at Zingerman’s Deli.

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You have to see it to believe it. It’s sprawling and gorgeous. Shelves and shelves of breads, cheeses, olive oils, meats, jams, cookbooks…

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There is seating inside, outside and upstairs. It is packed with foodies and no wonder. The food is delicious!!

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Benno’s Birdie (left), Big Al’s Saturday Night Special (back), and Gemini Rocks the House (right)

The bread was hearty and wholesome, the mozzarella was soft and creamy, the pesto alive with the freshness of basil, and the tomatoes, ripe and juicy.

It was one of the freshest tasting sandwich I have ever had! Ever!

And for dessert…?

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Spanish drinking chocolate.

In their own words, “a demitasse of super thick dark chocolate from enric rovira in barcelona that demands to be enjoyed with a spoon!

In my own words, “YUM!”

Finding the Source.

We knot and unknot
in the throes of our human condition;
Always that doubt.

Water pauses
in the deep hollow of rocks
but flows on
when there is none to drink from it.

Curling and uncurling our palms that receive,
we let go
of much that is received.

Clarity is that beam of light
that is as quickly obscured.

But darkness must reveal too;

For deep within the obscure
there is a thread that hums,
that vibrates with light;

One simply has to follow it to its source.

I am a poet.

It has taken a while to embrace the poet.
The desire having been born much later in life,
to write poetry,
to bring to life, with words,
what I see, feel, moments of sanguinity.

I have never doubted the words I have written
because they were written in truth, my truth.
But I did doubt the title.
Poet.
What? These lines? Poetry?

There was too much significance behind the title.
A poet.
Wordsworth, Shelley, Dickinson, Frost, Walt Whitman…
Oh my. The idea left me breathless.
What was I playing at?

But then, the answer was blindingly simple.
Take away the significance.

Aren’t poems moments of grace, of revelation?

Humming to a birdsong,
delighting at the sight of valleys and mountains,
closing our eyes in ecstasy at the sweetness of a fruit
or the texture of bark under our fingertips…
Aren’t these the poetic murmurings of one’s heart?

While some of us choose to put it all on paper,
others choose to carry it all within their hearts.
Well then, underneath the cloak of conventionality,
aren’t we all poetic?
Aren’t we all poets?