THE MONTHLY QUESTION

I am thinking over the questions posed in May 2017. I like the one about naming a yacht.

If I were to name a yacht, I would call it “Three Sisters.” I like the sound of that name and my sisters are special.

Chantal (Apr. ‘17) adds, “I just finished reading the May Ninepatch and, as usual, enjoyed the sharing your readers do.

Even though I know little about them, I still get a ‘feel’ for people from reading their stories, poems or articles.”

**

If I owned a yacht I would name it, “Who Knew?” as in, “Who knew I would ever own a yacht?”

I’ve never thought seriously of owning any kind boat, let alone a yacht, but I suppose that if I had enough money to own and maintain a yacht I would enjoy it.

Of course, I want to also employ a captain, cook, maid, deck hand …

Georgene (May ‘17) adds, “Wow, this is becoming quite a
dream! I may have to splurge on a new swim suit!”

2017 SELF-DISCOVERY GAME

Carol’s view of her soul’s universe

Carol’s view of her soul’s universe

This month we hear from Carol (Mar. ‘17). She writes, “My concept of my death is that my soul will become one with the universe, sort of a number 4 in the Kokology exercise.

In part the exercise read, “… In this scenario, imagine that the soul survives after death. What form do you imagine it takes once it is freed from the body?”

In Kokology, the first book by Tadahiko Nagao and Isamu Saito, the authors suggest meanings for each choice 1-4 a person might make. About Carol’s number 4, “The soul is like a ball of flame or a cloud without definite form” authors say:

You aren’t upset by your shortcomings or proud of your strengths, and you can’t be bothered in comparing yourself with others. In fact, you aren’t very interested in issues of the self at all. That may be because you’re incredibly shallow or because you’re profoundly wise. But even that doesn’t seem very important to you.”

Carol adds, “My soul will exist in a grain of sand, as well as in the far-off stars, and, of course, in the memories of my loved ones.”

PET TIME

 

Time spent with 

A purring cat 

Is life at 

Its best,

Rivaling

The adoring

Licks of a puppy.

Sleeping L to R: Buddy and Purkinje

Sleeping L to R: Buddy and Purkinje

Simon Stargazer III (May ‘17) adds, “Our dog Buddy, a 10- year-old Corgi/Jack Russell Terrier spends much of his time during the day on our bed, and during the evening before going to bed in his ‘home space kennel’ for the night. He is basically my wife Pat’s dog. If we are apart in the house and she speaks my name, he barks for me till I come, or until he comes to find me. (It’s quite handy when I don’t hear her call.) Of course, he also announces guests who come to the door, and ‘howls at the moon’ until we answer the telephone. 

Our cat, Purkinje, is definitely ‘my’ cat. He behaves a lot like a dog, following me around the house. He sits behind me on my chair when I am at the computer and at meals. At bedtime, he always sleeps with me, either snuggled up against my chest, between my calves, or as he quite often prefers, under the covers. He knows when bedtime is, and if I’m late because of being at the computer, or another project, he talks to me loudly until I go to bed, so he can join me. (If you’ve ever had a Siamese, you know they can be quite loud and demanding –much like a crying baby.) His best characteristics are cuddling and a quick-to-start loud purr that is so satisfying.”

DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE A RIVER?

Do you have to make a river?”

These were the words Cynthia

said at every restaurant

that we went to,

at least three times,

once when we went

into the restaurant,

twice during the meal, and

once again,

afterward.

I always

Insisted that I did not have to

make a river

but I did have a habit of wetting my

pants, up until the

third grade, and after that

I held myself walking home

from school.

I never understood why.

I think I was

trying to see how far I could go and

how long I could wait.

When I got older Cynthia would still

ask me whether I had to

make a river” …

only in different words.

Bluebird (May ‘17) adds, “Putting pressure on a child regarding his/her toilet habits may have an opposite affect as it did for me.  To this day I still have a habit of waiting until the last minute.

I think my attitude of not wanting to listen to authority came from over-authority from a well-meaning grandmother on this and other issues.  (Wonder if anyone else can relate to this.)  Writing memories help us to understand ourselves.”

ENTERTAINMENT

Blind keyboard player in

Washington/Lake pedway,

Small McDonald’s French fry and

empty Fillet of Fish wrapper,

chews silently, sits on milk crates,

keyboard on white plastic bucket,

his table

and the rush hour shufflers

thicken past him,

gladdened by the predictability

of his presence,

exposed by his vulnerable meal.

Minutely uncomfortable,

shaken by tonight’s silence,

they continue down the pedway,

preferring the usual echo

of this man’s hanken blues,

the slams of loose change

in his bucket, to the soft crinkle

the fry bag makes

as worn fingers fish through

pinching dinner.

The expressions of those who

brush by show

the question flashing through

their chests:

Do we give him money for this?

But surely only when he’s playing!

Brian Janisse (May ‘17)

remembers, “Living in Chicago, there were many people asking for money. If the Spirit moved me to bless anyone with my spare change, it was usually the street musicians. I went by this fellow every day, and one evening he was eating instead of singing. The whole scene felt strange with no music.”

GRATITUDE

The feast of the Lord is never ending,

His mercies abound all around.

How can one see the smiles of a child

And question the love He’s sending?

My eyes hear giggles in

the midst of a storm,

My ears see songs of praise.

In the cold of winter

my soul glows warm.

His miracles always amaze.

DAPepple (May ‘17) adds, “Gratitude was written with a couple memories in mind. It was so easy for me to take things for granted and miss many of the beautiful high-lites in life due to busyness, preoccupation, and/or situational demands. During a pivotal time on my spiritual journey, I suddenly became aware of serotonin rushing to my well-being compartments as a several month old baby reached for my face and smiled at me. After that, I somehow was tapped into a gratitude ‘app’ finding joy, beauty, meaning, calmness in some of the strangest situation. For the most part, I live as a grateful camper in Garden Earth now.”

ON MY READING LIST

I just read about a new book out in May. Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train has written another. It’s title is Into the Water.

The book preview I read said the author delves into “…how your memories of childhood shape you and make you the person you are.”

The story follows a woman named Jules whose sister’s mysterious drowning dredges up secrets the hometown wants forgotten.

Kay (Feb.’17) says, “I have five books lined up to read but Paula’s sounds like one I need to add it to my list.”

A DEBUT

I’m reading a debut light mystery, Speakers of the Dead, by Aaron Sanders right now. Walt Whitman is the detective writer and Elizabeth Blackwell, the charge (doctor) who are solving body-snatching crimes in 1843. Fascinating!

Just finished Orwell’s 1984, Dragon’s Teeth by Upton Sinclair and Pulitzer Prize winner, The Immortal

Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. This excellent nonfiction featured Oprah Winfrey and was featured on HBO in May.

Gail (May ‘17) adds, “Looking forward to our next book club selection which is

nonfiction: A Pretty Horse, by Elizabeth Letts. ‘Equestrian art, perhaps more than any other, is closely related to the wisdom of life.’ – Alois Podhajsky”

learn to share

 

May we learn to share.

James (May ‘17) adds, “Sharing is the life blood of civilization.”

FIRST AFRICAN BAPTIST CHURCH

 

(Conclusion)

Previously: Linda and her husband are touring the above named church in Savannah, Ga. While there she discovers a nine patch ceiling design, African Hebrew cursive letters and Congolese cosmograms.

 

Diamond-shaped air holes for slaves hiding under the floor

Diamond-shaped air holes for slaves hiding under the floor

Our tour ended in the church auditorium, where the guide explained that the church was not just a museum, but a living center of community work.  The church membership numbers about 2000 people.  Members were just wrapping up the weekly food distribution, which served about 250 families in the area. 

He concluded the tour with an explanation of the symbolism designed into quilts which were hung on laundry lines to show escaping slaves a place of safety.   A beautiful replica quilt created by women members of the church was provided for us to see.

     As Bill and I walked away from the church, I gazed up at the painted red door entrance (the red door symbolizes that the mortgage on a building has been paid) and I know that the mortgage on this particular building was paid in countless ways not measured by money. 

The journey of the enslaved African people who were brought to this country against their will is a truly heroic and unforgettable one.  I hope that people take time to learn about it, remember it and repeat it. 

We still have much work to do in order to live up to the ideals of love expressed in so many of the world’s Holy Scriptures. 

Like this church, may the many nine patch symbols in our world also guide slaves

traveling toward freedom.

May those symbols also lead us to freedom!

Linda Rosenthal (May ‘17) adds, “My historical lessons at this holy temple were many and I still process them.”