Your Weekly Diversion, Week 41: Magnolias in Memorium

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Graphic from astronlogica.com

Now we arrive at Week 41, a week of fluctuating weather down here in our tropical clime, necessitating warmer clothing, including hoodies and long pants in the land of flip flops and shorts for a day or two. Then the warm weather returned, drawing us into the sun to bask. There’s news aplenty available to us all, should we wish to partake, but I will leave that to others today.

Our western wall of windows overlooks a lake and beyond to a row of trees lining the avenue beyond. Our view: clusters of stately sabal palmetto palms, sturdy in their shaggy trunks, unlike the taller palms with slender trunks elsewhere nearby, many that suffered from the winds of Irma who blew through here at a fearful 143 mph; lush magnolias every few feet between the clusters of palms; littoral plantings of tall grasses around the water’s edge inviting great egrets, wood storks, anhingas, moorhens, ibis, and more.

Sadly, most of our magnolias were felled by the hurricane last month and only their brown, upturned stumps remain. Here is how one of them looked in the spring:

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Their blossoms were large as dinner plates, creamy white and faintly sweet to sniff.

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And now, all that remains of their beauty are the stumps where once they stood.

As sad as this loss may be, it is but a reminder of the impermanence of life, for the storms, they come and go, and so do we.

And happily, we see a row of younger trees spared by the fickle winds, that will in just a few short years be just as big and beautiful as those we lost this year. Change being what it is in all things, whether we are here to behold them remains to be seen. The older we become, the more we appreciate that change will always come.

This is a very early performance from 1964 of Bob Dylan performing his masterpiece, The Times They Are A-Changin’, a meaningful part of the soundtrack of my adolescence.

Namasté

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How do you know when to change things? By Ajahn Sumedho

Buddha, 3rd century
Pakistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province,
Schist; H. 36 1/2 in. (92.7 cm); W. 11 in. (27.9 cm); D. 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Denise and Andrew Saul Gift, in honor of Maxwell K. Hearn, 2014 (2014.188)
http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/646117

This interview with Ajahn Sumedho offers some wonderful insights into action vs. inaction, spontaneity vs. impulsivity, ego vs. awakened-ness. Please click on the link below to read the rest.

Q: Sometimes it might be a good idea to change things and sometimes it might not. How do you know when to change things?

A: Well, as you begin to trust in that way of accepting things as they are, then your own intuitive sense will guide you. It doesn’t mean to just put up with unpleasant things as a practice, but at this moment now, whatever way it is, it can only be this way. This is just a fact. Right now whatever we are feeling or whatever is around us is the only way it can be at this moment; it’s like this; this is the way it is. In that accepting and allowing, you will have a much clearer sense of what to do—whether you can change it or not, whether it needs to be changed. This is a way of working intuitively rather than from ideas about what you think should be. 

 

Source: How do you know when to change things? By Ajahn Sumedho

Your Weekly Diversion, Week 20

www.topiarygarden.co.uk

Week 20 in our parade of unbelievables. As I hear several times a week, if not more than once a day, you can’t make this stuff up.

Quick, let’s get to the diversions!

First I’m going to share with you two pictures I took in New York’s Greenwich Village.  Then I’m going to explain why the Village has been so near and dear to me.

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View of my therapy office through a ceramic mirror

 

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Statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Union Square Park, New York, sculpted by Kantilal B. Patel

Today, I was sorry to read in the New York Times that Bleecker Street of New York’s Greenwich Village has experienced a bust after years of being bustling and trendy. Once drawing crowds to the hangouts of the “Sex and the City” cast of HBO, the high-end shops and eateries have moved on. I first heard of Bleecker Street as a teenager listening to Peter, Paul and Mary. Mary Travers, a famous Village denizen, changed the lyrics of the traditional folk song “Freight Train” to sing,

“When I die please bury me deep, down at the end of Bleecker Street, so I can hear old Number Nine as she goes rolling by.”

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Photo by Chuck Kearns

As it happens, Mary Travers, who died of leukemia in 2009, is actually buried in Umpawaug Cemetery in Redding, Connecticut. I loved her clear voice, and I loved Peter, Paul and Mary and all their music. I owned every record and knew every word. I learned to play many of their iconic songs on the guitar. I saw them in concert several times and have Peter Yarrow’s autograph in the attic. When I moved to New York 25 years later, and then opened a private psychology practice in the Village, I was thrilled. I would walk down to Washington Square on my lunch hour and soak in the vibes. The beat poets, Burroughs, Ginsberg and Kerouac and others, used to hang out at a bar right down the street from my office, many years earlier, of course. The block where I practiced, University Place between 12th and 13th Streets, changed greatly in the 20-plus years I was there. Shops opened and closed. Two corner delis closed. Two parking garages closed. The iconic Bowlmor Lanes, a nightspot as well as a bowling alley, closed. New establishments opened. The hardware store on the next corner expanded to feature much fancy merchandise in addition to hammers and nails. Japonica, an excellent Japanese restaurant, closed, and several long months later reopened a block further down in a much smaller space. Eventually the entire block upon which my 10th floor west-facing office looked was razed with months of great noise and clouds of dust and dirt. A high-end condo building was going in as I closed the office to relocate it to the country last summer.

So the Village has changed. All of New York continues to change. Our Brooklyn neighborhood became so trendy and crowded with cars and grocery delivery vans that we sold out and moved to the country. A friend who lives in Soho told me today that her neighborhood is changing, too. “So many empty stores – more at the end of every month – and the ones that open tend to be totally uninteresting and useless to those of us living here.” But for me, New York, and especially the Village, will always hold magic, no matter how things change.

Here is your toe tapper for the week. Having been out of my usual bounce and vigor, it’s all I’ve got this time, but turn up the sound and enjoy:

Namasté

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Many Changes, Most Good, Some Hard

do it now

We are relocating, sort of. We are transitioning from Brooklyn, New York part time to northeastern Pennsylvania full time. To say this is a challenge, a monumental adjustment, would be an understatement. This moving is a huge challenge, even though the apartment has been sold furnished, as we strain every muscle, mental as well as physical. Living nearly 25 years in one small city apartment, it would seem a cinch for us to pack up our gear and go. Not so. Stuff hides behind every closet and cupboard door, cubbyhole and forgotten cache spot. We probably put this off too long, but ever since we went into contract we’ve boxed, stuffed, toted, schlepped, donated, discarded and given away a ton of stuff. Nearly all of it carried down three flights of stairs ourselves. Maybe our “never” was we thought we’d never move. Or we thought it would never be this hard, or we never considered the result of bringing new stuff home.

It is really freeing to get rid of excess belongings. The issue was having double of almost everything to make shuttling back and forth the 100 miles or so every week less daunting. So we’ve made at least one and often more trips to the Salvation Army with shoes, clothing, dishes and kitchenware, and other assorted stuff we don’t need. Then there is the quandry of whether or not to keep any winter things. We both elected to keep some winter boots and outerwear, just in case we get surprised by an early snowstorm before heading to our winter snowbird nest, or a late one after we return.

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Earlier this year–or was it late last year?–I ordered an assortment of heirloom seeds from the Grommet, produced by the Hudson Valley Seed Library, a small business devoted to preserving and proliferating the wonderful, flavorful heirloom plants as they were before hybridization and genetic modification “improved” them for us. They are awesome seeds, and I can’t wait to see what they yield for me, a gardener who has relied on garden store seedlings for years. I bought seeds for Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato, Swiss Chard, Italian Parsley, Basil and Scallions. I planted them last weekend in my 4′ x 8′ raised bed plot in our community garden. I also planted a couple of big tomato plants from the nursery near us to get a start on this process. There’s nothing tastier than homegrown tomatoes!

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

I am opening a new, spacious psychotherapy office next month in the college town of East Stroudsburg, with Pocono Psychiatric Associates. I plan to offer groups once I get settled. This is awesome and very exciting for me,  especially as one who has paid an arm and a leg and another arm for a very small, high-floor Manhattan office that could barely fit me, a client and one other person. The people there are wonderful and I welcome this new phase of my career. Challenges are terminating with clients I will sorely miss, getting my Medicare provider credentials set up for Pennsylvania, changing my address with a myriad of business and personal correspondence entities, and dealing with people who don’t handle change very well. Even if it is wonderful and exciting.Talking to myself here, too.

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On a brighter note, our local seasonal local ice cream stand has dairy-free vanilla soft-serve this year! How cool is that? I had my first dipped vanilla cone in over 5 years last weekend. I’ve been vegan at least that long, imperfect but sincere. And they offer some 24 different flavors that can be added to it. I can see have some tasty work ahead of me!

So out goes the old, mingled with the newer, in with the fresh, and learning new things every single day! Today it was figuring out how to send a fax from home, not an intuitive effort when the phone line is part of the cable package. It’s raining like cats and dogs, as per usual at this time of year. For the second year in a row, the opening events of the tennis season here have been postponed, leaving game-hungry tennis bums thoroughly bummed.

So just one more challenging change. Blue highlights!

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Namasté

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