Strawberry Moon

” Ah! Moon of my delight, that knows no wane,/The moon of Heaven is rising once again!/ How often, in times after, shall she look/Through this same garden, after us—in vain!”

—Fitzgerald, The Rubayiat 

Tonight is the June full moon, known as the strawberry moon, and indeed the wild strawberries must be just on the verge of ripeness.

And, the fireflies are almost at peak activity.  I’m hoping they’ll be at their most active for my Solstice Party this Saturday, and we can walk down to the bonfire through a field as full of twinkling stars as the sky.

O Ratty,  I wish you were here!

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Words From My Father

The Doctor: “I never tell anybody how long they have left to live—I might be wrong, and that’s embarrassing.”

“ I specialize in the skin and its contents.”

With babies, I always ask the mother, what do you  think?  and then I agree with her.”

”There’s one thing we doctors have got going for us: most things will get better on their own!”

”SometimesI feel disgusted by the things my patients do.  But then I remind myself: what am I thinking?  They’re all  God’s  children!” (With an air of relief and joy.)

The horseman:  I once leaned down from my saddle to kiss him hello, and I said, “ I always wanted to kiss somebody  from  horseback!”  And he shot back, “Well, that’s where I’m from!”

” Most important rule when riding: keep the horse between yourself and the ground at all times!” 

In my most recent article, Into Our Own Hands: Citizen’s Arrest In Pennsylvania ( The Pennsylvania Lawyer, ,January 2019) i wrote  about  how he had come downstairs one day to find a guy walking out the door with our antique clock.  ( Our front door is always wide open in summer.)  “What are you doing?”  he thundered. “Put that down! And sit right down there while I go upstairs and get my gun!”

My father could speak in an Olympian timbre; he seldom employed it, but when he did, to hear was to obey.  The perp collapsed bonelessly onto our sofa.  Dad came back downstairs, armed (though I know he didn’t point the gun at the cowed crook—he would never have risked anyone’s life over a temperamental ol’ timepiece) and they waited for the police.

How we  miss him, departed this life in God’s faith and fear (and in agony). ..

“There were giants in the Earth in those days, the mighty men of old, the men of renown…”

Honor thy Father,  today and always.

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My Forever Favorite Flower

O Ratty, do you know what these are? I was told as a child that they’re called “Indian Paintbrush”, but when I look up that sobriquet, none of the (many) flowers pictured are these.

There are yellow ones and red ones.  They have a long, hairy stem, and several bud clusters grow from the stem.  But I love ‘em because of their  smell!  The yellow ones have no odor, but the red smell like  fresh-baked cookies!  When I smell them I’m back in my little 7 year old body again, my long hair tangled with twigs and leaves, my bare legs scratched  by brambles, lost in olfactory ecstasy…

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Our Fair Lady

It had been two months since I heard anything about Notre Dame de Paris.  Immediately after the fire I read about various proposals for ….well, not restoration ,but reconfiguring, Of the place.  An aviary. An apiary. A Pei dome à la Louvre.  If they’ve made any decision, it hasn’t been announced,  as far as I can discover.

But I did read that the first mass since the fire will be celebrated there tomorrow, in the Crown o’ Thorns chapel.  Only 20  worshippers and they all, and the celebrant, I assume, will be wearing construction helmets.  (Talk about yer “Gospel armor”…)

Who are the lucky 20, the Vingt Valoureux,  one might say?  We dont know.  I hope  there will be film!

And isn’t  it amazing how quickly we’ve forgotten about the fire, this event which seemed so apocalyptic, a civilization-killer, a creed-crusher,  just two short months  ago?

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From Jenny ‘n’ Me

Last summer I wrote a post, one of my first as a Ratburger: Summer with Sister Jenny.  I’m sure you don’t remember it but I just  re-read it and…well it’s really good, though I say it as shouldn’t!

It was about  my relationship with my body.  And here we are, Sister Jenny and I, on the cusp of another summer.  She’s been good, no cheating on me, no incomprehensible or humiliating betrayals.

When my husband falls into bed beside me each night, cool smooth dense well-muscled flesh, I thank God for   his  robust vigor, his solidity.  Because surely we stand in sight of spindleshank territory, slippered pantaloon territory.

i hosted a young priest at a gathering once. As hostess I felt bad  for him; two other people there had recently lost close relatives in painful agony, and mere dinner-party etiquette could not prevent them from asking  him the obvious question ? Why?!?  

The young hierophant said suffering is “salvific”. And I reckon thats why the Christian devouts mortified the flesh, with cinctures, hair shirts.  It was to make them realize they were not  the flesh.

But really, wouldn’t that have the opposite effect? Wouldn’t it reduce the “I” to nothing but pain?  Has anyone who has ever endured physical agony, or a constant “thorn in the flesh” as St Paul put it, not been totally obsessed  with  the goad itself?

Arent we freest to contemplate the sublime when our bodies are functioning so well we needn’t give  them a thought?

What is the relationship between (at times orthodox)  mortification of the flesh to attain spiritual bliss, and cutting , burning, and other acts of self harm which seem to be so common today?

i revere my Jenny, I value her strength, I rejoice in her (to date) congenial company!  I dont know how much time we’ve got, but I shall revel in it. And do you likewise, O Ratty!  Summer is here: rejoice!!

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Dean-osaurus

Big day: John Dean, a convicted felon, famous for his  rôle in actively aiding and abetting the nation’s most famous presidential lying scandal, will take the oath today to tell Congress the truth.

Wait: Cep’n He doesn’t know  any current “facts” the  entire rest of the nation doesn’t know (that is, if you accept what Mueller wrote as “fact”).

Watergate was glory days for the Dems!  In 1976 they knew they couldn’t lose, despite the human poultice of the placid, obviously decent Gerald Ford having been plastered over the festering national wound.  Nuh-uh!   Plastic “waterbugs”  ( a brilliant  conflation of the name of the burglary site and Nixon’s self-bugging)  adorned the tables at their banquets.

And win they did!  Bringing us stag-flation, national  malaise,  a manipulated “energy crisis “, an interminable hostage crisis which ended on the dot at the moment Reagan took  the oath of office!  Morning in America, indeed— after one hell of an awful night.

Everybody should watch the movie All the President’s Men.  I’ll bet David Hyde Pierce did a better job of portraying the shifting (and shifty) emotions of the quicksilver chamelion  young Dean, than old Mr. Dean himself can do!

Well, O Ratty?  Can we rely on America’s famously short memory to ensure the Dem attempt to return to their most glorious days of the  20th Century  falls flat?  ( John Dean who’s he? Maybe  you mean James  Dean?)

Or is there actually a possibility that they can recreate the nation’s mood of wounded indignation which led to Carter’s ignominious tenure?

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Keepsake

The yellow roses, unlike the pink ones, won’t come again.  Even if you deadhead them you don’t get a second flowering like you do with the  pink ones.   So, while they’re here I wanted to share them with you O Ratty!

If you live in a more tropical zone, no doubt my pride in these rather sparse blooms seems comical.  But here in the mountains, they are gold to me, in all senses…

Happy  Sunday! 

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Between a Sleep and a Sleep

I wrote a long, poetic post with this title, but when I was done, it wouldn’t publish….I musta gotten disconnected  somehow.  So I’m not going to go through it all again.  What I wanted to ask, O Ratty ( and I guess it’s been brought to mind by all the vitriol over abortion) is,

did you know there are humans ,or at least, human spawn, whose lifespan is only 8-10 weeks?

I do, because I gestated two of them.   (This is 2 decades and a healthy baby ago, so this post is not about me. ) 

But, these beings who were never destined to make the fourscore and ten we al kinda count on, not even destined to leave my body alive—

what were  they?

I was told their chromosomal makeup just wasn’t compatible with any longer period of vitality.  They weren’t ill or defective. They lived as long as they were created to live.  Then, singing in their song they died.

Their world was my womb, and I hope, like Kaspar Hauser, they found their dark, solitary existence sweet, better maybe than the cold cacaphonous world.

There are many possible chromosomal differences with which human-sourced embryos   can be endowed.  Most people have no idea about this; we hear, primarily, about Downs Syndrome, but there are a myriad of other differentiating combinations which can occur.

But when you consider something as drastic as a natural lifespan of a few weeks, aren’t we really looking at something bordering on a subspecies?

Many such creatures, homunculi, live out their generations every month, unbeknownst even to the mother who may notice nothing more than a menstrual irregularity. I know these beings lived, and I know they died and why, only  because I was watching, I was  trying to conceive.

We all wonder: are we alone in the universe.  wonder, whence these chronologically different humans destined to live no longer than insects?

What do you think, O Ratty?

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Bear With Me!

OMG you guys!! ( sorry,  just trying to set a tone here..)  Last night I saw the biggest bear I’ve ever seen.  It was on one of our woodland paths, dusk, and I was alone, without even my dog!  I nearly walked into it!

So why am I telling you this, (aside from the fact that I’m now  hopelessly addicted to writing)?  Well: I thought it was remarkable, because I was thinking about bears a lot yesterday, because I mentioned the Elisha story on my Millerite post.  Then I looked it up, an for good measure also read one of those  “Let’s soften the hard stories” commentaries: okay they weren’t really “children”,  they were “hoodlums,” like MS 13. And we don’t know if they were killed by those she-bears, why, they may’ve just suffered some grievous bodily harm—and serves ‘em right, the insolent delinquents!

(Incidentally, I was disappointed that nobody commented on those Millerites, nor for that matter on Elisha, on that post—arencha the least bit curious?  Of the remnant Millerites, some joined the Shakers, who also don’t engage in reproduction, and  the rest morphed into the 7th Day Adventist Church…But you can look that up for yourself of course…)

I saw her (let’s say it was a sow, they’re scarier: witness Elisha!),   stopped in my tracks; she slowly turned her head toward me.  I retreated as quietly and quickly as I could.  I was about equidistant between her and our little camping cabin, and I thought I’d go in there and call my husband to come up with the truck.

Of course I knew she could easily break the glass in the sliding door if she really wanted me.  But I wasn’t as scared as you might imagine.  When I got back to the cabin, and neither saw nor heard any pursuit, I didn’t go in.  I just took a different, parallel path back.  There’s plenty of food in these woods, especially now when the fawns are still tiny; I didn’t think the bear would want to bother with something so troublesome as a human.  The only person who has ever been killed by a bear here on the Plateau, to my knowledge,  was a woman who was feeding one she (inexplicably) was keeping in a cage in her backyard.

Okay so, at long last, my point: It felt to me as if I had conjured up the ursine by entertaining its image in my mind.

This was one of those experiences Jung wrote about, like when you are reading on the bus or something, and some stranger says aloud in the course of conversation  the exact word you are reading, at the very same moment.  Or when as a patient of Jung’s reported, he/she was thinking of scarabs, and a large dung beetle bumbled in at the window.  This led Jung to theorize about “Laws of Coincidence”.

Well,thanks for reading, if you’ve gotten this far!  I will now go out and play before the rain comes again.   Do you likewise!

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Help Me Understand the Situation in Israel!

It sounds like Israel is going to have another election in September because Netanyahu isn’t conservative enough.  Correct?  The main dispute is over whether the ultra-Orthodox should be subject to the military draft.

I read somewhere that when the state was formed, the ultra-Orthodx were not a very large group within Israel, (think of the Amish in this country) and it was believed that giving them certain exemptions wouldn’t be of much national moment.

Is there a danger that if the Right in Israel is split, anti-nationalist forces might win in the September Do-over?

(It hardly seems worth it, if the ultra-Orthodox men we see in New York are at all representative.  These gents are all about the life of the mind—and it shows.  They certainly aren’t Samson, nay, nor yet Gideon…)

It’s hard to get a grasp of the situation from here.  The NY Times referred  to Netanyahu’s “spectacular failure” to form a coalition government ( he failed by one (1) vote. )

O Ratty, if you’ve been following the situation more closely, please enlighten me!

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Millennial Millerites

An article on American Thinker today by Eric Utter says millennials aren’t bothering to save for the future because they don’t believe there will be one; climate change will destroy the planet in their  lifetimes.

Sadly I have heard young’uns of my acquaintance say, as Ocasio-Cortez did, that  they don’t want to have children because the children’s lives are likely to be so hot ‘n’ bothered.  Have you heard a twenty-something you love say this? It’s like having a door slammed in your face: the  future is cancelled, life will not be renewed for another season.

To anyone who was conscious in 1982: remember Jonathan Schell’s book The Fate of the Earth?  It was about how the use of nuclear weapons was inevitable, since nations were stockpiling so many of them, and  how, when they were deployed, they would plunge the globe into a “nuclear Winter” in which the sun would be darkened, the moon turned to blood…and yes, we used to say the same thing about reproduction, or some of us did.

Whatever even happened to that near-universal apocalyptic belief?  I cant recall the trajectory of its demise. Did its adherents imperceptibly drift into the new eco-religion of Global  Warming?

The Millerites were a nineteenth century doomsday cult whose eponymous leader kept assigning specific dates to the return of Christ. As the Last Day approached the devout sold all they had ( I’ve always wondered why: did they think they’d need cash in Heaven?)  and congregated in yonder fields dressed in white.  One date  in particular,  October 22, 1844, had attracted so much attention and so many believers that the aftermath was called The Great Disappointment.

When it didn’t happen, the devout were taunted in the streets by children shouting “Go up!Go up! “ reminiscent of Elisha’s experience, but there are no reports of vengeful bears emerging to devour the mocking minors.

But as always with regard to these movements, most adherents blamed themselves for the Lord’s no-show. One thing struck me: some began to believe that the date instead had marked the beginning  of the “Great Sabbath” of historical time, and therefore,  the saved should not labor.

And some began to act like children,  taking literally Jesus words that one must  become as a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

I wonder what that entailed?  Eating pap? Wearing diapers—or pooping indiscriminately with joyful abandon? Wearing short pants, throwing tearful tantrums?  This must have been an interesting period to be alive in New York’s “Burned -over District” ( so called because sooo many such extremist religious movements had arisen and swept the area in the nineteenth century).

in my experience, you can’t talk people out of a doomsday belief.  I recently gave up with my daughter, who had emailed  a slew of tracts demonstrating conclusively that the planet will b uninhabitable in 12 years. ( Oh yes, I did tell her how many times such predicted dates have come and gone. )

At last I said: you will be alive in 12 years, even if I’m not.  So you will find out which of us was right.

She should still have some eggs left by then.

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Royal Visitor

In the center of this photo is a solitary white swan which appeared on our lake yesterday.  I call him Ozymandias.  He may be gone by today, like King Arthur : “Where is he that knows?/ From the great deep to the great deep he goes! ”

But oh the sense of wonder!  I assumed it must be just a light-colored  Canadian goose, of which we have plenty.  “That’s a swan!” Insisted my husband ( he of the striped rugby shirt, lower right corner)   The majestic creature didn’t let our noisy rowboat get too close, gliding ever before us at the same distance.   I wish you all such a moment!

Update: yesterday morning I couldn’t find him; he may have been concealed by the mists.  But  last  night as we rode past the upper lake at sunset, we saw His Serene Majesty among  the reeds.  He’s probably just making a leisurely progress upstream, but..I read that swans like still, shallow bodies of water with lotsa vegetation—that’s us!  So maybe he’ll stay awhile! 

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“Gender Justice!”?

I’m pretty irritated at the Alabama legislature.

I personally agree that,  if you claim to be anti-abortion, you  should not make exceptions for rape or incest.  Neither of those is the foetus’ fault.  The only logical  anti-abortion position for the soi-disant “pro-life” people is: no relief  except to save the mother’s life.

But I’m  worried  that because Ala  and Mo went so far as to actually enact such a policy, we may be screwed in 2020. My only hope is that, while most Americans disagree with Alabama, the issue just isnt that big a deal to most of us—the economy, immigration,  security and the like are more pressing.

Whether Im right or not, thi post was prompted by a picture of one of the many protests of the Ala law, showing a teenaged girl holding up a sign  demanding “gender justice”.

I’d like  to see a bit of that myself!

Specifically, I’d like to see a recognition that the condemned zygote/ foetus/ baby ( because, 4 months or so on, anyone who has carried knows it is a baby)  has a father as well as a mother.

As things stand, dad has absolutely no rights.  He can neither choose to bear nor to abort.  Both mom and dad had a “choice” at one point, in which they had an equal voice: to screw or not to screw?but once conception has occurred, he is OUT.

I’ve written about this before Elsewhere, and to  my amazement the general feeling was that the dad deserves his fate, it’s ok  that he just has to wait around to see if the lovely lady will doom his offspring—.or doom him  to 18 years  of involuntary servitude to support their child.

And okay, here’s a more sympathetic case: he has no say about it even if he is married to the mom.

Of course the Left cannot process paradox.  But ALa has gone so far as to make enemies of many on the Right who don’t think the legislature should be telling women they must bear children to their fathers and brothers or their rapists. It’s those people who,I venture to hope, will see the  ludicrous irony of demanding  “gender justice” by advocating for preservation of  a status quo  in which there is none.

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A Thousand Cuts

The New York legislature just passed what  is essentially a bill of attainder against Trump, to aid the House Dems in getting his state tax returns.  Oh, in the final version of course, it would apply to all New York citizens, but it’s clear from the legislative history and the current context that Trump is the impetus and the target.

Trump’s presidency  is beginning to remind me of the myths and practices concerning ritual sacrifice of kings, many instances of which Frazer detailed in The Golden Bough. Just recently I read it’s now believed that the “bog people” dug up in Ireland were Celtic Kings  sacrificed with varying degrees of torture. Death by a thousand cuts.

I think it was in Frazer that I read about some  culture on the Indian continent, wherein  the king would reign for a year, and then he ‘d have to stand on a stage in front of the people and hack himself to death, piece by piece, until blood loss brought him down.

In other instances, the reigning King and the successor fight, an dits always the old king who dies.

Even while His Highness capered about brandishing his severed nose and other appendages,  or as the challenger, the preordained victor, administered the quietus, men were lining up to be the next king.

Do they believe somehow that their own turn to die horribly will not come? Or is the promise of a year of luxury and obeisance a good and sufficient trade off?

Trump is not getting even a momentary respite from the Demoncrats’ pitchforks.  While he faces down one tormentor,another is attacking from behind.  He is suffering the thousand cuts.

And yet we have a record number of contenders to take his place.

Do they think that,   this custom now having been demonstrated, yet   it will not happen to them?  Or do they consider it a worthwhile trade-off to occupy the seat of power even for a short while?

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SEE them!!

Yes, everybody despises  them.    They don’t ask anything of us, they don’t need us.  They simply are.   Did you ever press one to your nose? ( I recommend that for the texture alone!) They  do have a scent, a powdery slightly sweet mealy  odor.

”O dandelion, rich and haughty/King Of village flowers! /Each day is coronation day,/ You have no  humble hours!”  wrote Vachel Lindsay.

See how rich each blossom is: soft and yielding, luxurious to the touch, the bright gold at the heart of the sunburst.   And haughty, rising speedily and without hesitation on an impossibly  slender, flexible stalk , just a tiny hollow hose, really, filled with bitter milk.

“No humble hours”….yes, they seem to go, instantly, unobserved, from the sunburst blossom to the nearly colorless perfect globe of translucent stars,  ready for the breeze,  or a passing child , to disperse the pilgrim seeds with her breath. Like Solomon! A king in splendid garment one day, a grey-clad wanderer the next.

Do you see the dandelions, O Ratty?

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