What Trees Dream of

This one thinks, let me be the slender bow
of the violin. Another, the body of the instrument,
burnished, the color of amber.
One imagines life as a narrow boat
crossing water,
a light mist of salt on the prow.
And still another &emdash; planed down to planks,
then hammered into shelter
toices vibrating through the rafters.
We do not notice their pleasure,
the slight hum of the banister
beneath our palms,
The satisfaction of the desk
as we tap our pens, impatiently,
upon its weathered surface.
They have ferried us
across rough seas
to lands that smelled of cinnamon
housed our senators,
who pace the creaky floors, debating,
carried arrowheads to pierce our enemies.
We have boiled their pulp, pressed it
into thin, white sheets of paper
on which we describe all of the above in great detail.
And when we die
they hold our empty forms
in bare cedar
until the moment &emdash; and how they long for this,
when we meet again in the blackened soil
and they take us back
in their embrace, carry us
up the length of their bodies
into the glittery, trembling movement of the leaves.
Danusha Laméris
Atlanta Review: Istanbul and beyond…
Turkish Poetry (2006, p. 18-19)

film festivals and politics

One of my students is soaking up Cannes and Al Gore (!) is making waves at Sundance. Funny, as Cole just asked who might run for President on the Democratic side…Hillary of course, I read about a Senator from Virginia whose name I forgot, and I mentioned that Gore might try again. It’s a new campaign style: provide serious information in a format that allows it. Will the public respond to an educational movie geared to adults?

powers of ten

Here’s another item I’m sure I’ve posted before but obviously didn’t catalog or code correctly for later retrieval. At any rate, I saw this short video on the powers of ten when I interpreted a science class some years back for upper elementary school students (possibly fifth-graders). I find it a useful metaphor for this notion of social metonymy that I keep trying to articulate as a means of linking the microsocial with the macrosocial and vice-versa.

cross-species bonding

Don sent me news of this baby hippotamus who seems to have been adopted by an ancient male tortoise.
The original news story seems to have vanished … or one needs a subscription to get it. The next post, “confessions”, includes the text of a Reuter’s release, and Urban Legends reports the status of this story as “true”. Imagine!


Update on casualties and damage in Guatemala from PRENSA LIBRE of October 11 and 12 provided some information on the extent of the damage country-wide as of last week:
657 muertos (people dead – note that these figures include 169 people
killed in the total destruction of the Santiago Atitlan village of
Panabaj through a mudslide).
99 heridos (people hurt)
577 desaparecidos (disappeared)
200,000 personas afectadas (people affected)
120,000 personas estan albergadas (in temporary shelters)
5,352 casas afectadas (houses damaged)
1,478 viviendas destruidas (houses destroyed)
515 comunidades afectadas (communities affected)
316 planteles educativos afectados (educational facilties affected)
One of our professors (email in full below) is very familiar with this region, testifying: “Having seen the grinding poverty of the Maya in Guatemala, I can assure you that there is a very real need and anything will help.”
online donations: PRO LAGO GUATEMALAN RELIEF or by mail:


Shemaya does her part

Lately I’ve been just scanning the NYTimes headlines. The big picture is so grim. 🙁 And then there are these individuals working so hard on specific, tangible, real and practical issues, such as the Connecticut River “Source to Sea” Clean-Up effort being coordinated along its entire length. Shemaya’s taken up the Holyoke area’s “Source to Sea” event on Saturday, Oct 1. To learn about the annual event, check out this Virtual Field Trip.
Events are also scheduled in Northfield, MA, Littleton and Columbia, NH, Westfield, MA, Springfield, MA, and no doubt many other communities along the Connecticut’s four-state path.
Full details for the Holyoke event in Spanish and English follow…

Continue reading “Shemaya does her part”

My final note for today

My final note for today (I’m on a roll!) relates to my perennial interest in space: this from Esther (forwarded from someone else):
On August 27th the earth will make a CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH MARS, apparently the closest in recorded history the two planets have ever come to each other.
“Never again in our lifetime will the Red Planet be so spectacular This month
and next Earth is catching up with Mars, an encounter that will culminate in
the closest approach between the two planets in recorded history.
The next time Mars may come this close will be in 2287. Due to the way
Jupiter’s gravity tugs on Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only
be certain that Mars has not come this close to Earth in the last 5,000
years but it may be as long as 60,000 years. The encounter will culminate on
August 27th when Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles and will be the
brightest object in the night sky other than the moon. It will attain a
magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. At a modest
75-power magnification Mars will look as large as the full moon looks to the
naked eye.
Mars is easy to spot — it currently rises in the east at 11 p.m. and
reaches its azimuth at about 3 a.m. But by the end of August, when the two
planets are closest, Mars will rise in the east at nightfall and reach its
highest point in the southern sky around midnight. That’s pretty convenient
when it comes to seeing something that no human has seen in recorded
So, mark your calendar at the beginning of August to see Mars grow
progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month.
Share this! No one alive today will ever see this again!!!!”