Today is the longest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere. In our town, we will enjoy 14 hours and 55 minutes of sunlight today, and at precisely 6:34 pm today, the sun will reach its most northerly spot of the year.
I signed up for a Harvard MOOC yesterday. My 60th birthday bucket list item about this reads “take a Harvard MOOC.” It doesn’t say anything about getting an A in the course or even about completing the whole course. Those goals notwithstanding, in the act of signing up for the course, I serendipitously and instantly achieved another one of my bucket list items.
As unpredictable as spring weather can be and as wet as this spring has been, five of my biking buddies and I were positive we were going to get wet at some point during this past weekend. Before we took off on our long drive to Maryland, we kept the internet and local bike shops busy as we stocked up on wet-weather riding gear in addition to all the many other things one needs for three days on the trail.
Eight hundred years ago, a nine-year-old boy got out of bed and walked outside to stand above the beautiful Tennessee River as he munched on his dried-fish breakfast. He was bummed. Mom and Dad told him he had to help fill baskets with dirt for the new mound at least until the sun was overhead—and then he could go with his friends to play. He fingered his old and chipped chunkey stone in the pouch at his waist. He hoped the morning would pass quickly so he could go grab his spear and start practicing.
In the bucket list item I’m discussing today, I was going for repulsive, not merely undesirable, but after much research on the topic, undesirable is what I have had to settle for. It’s the *#&! deer, you understand. The LIST item is “plant a garden on at least one of our rock walls,” which is easier placed on a list than achieved, given not only our clayey soil but also the *#&! deer that tend to think everything we plant is a snack.
Last week’s presentation of my Top 100 rock songs brought a complaint that the highest I put a Beastie Boys’ song was #51. Of course that is shameful, but what’s worse is that I completely left off “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party).” The Boys don’t deserve that!
As I type this, a Hawaiian singer, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, is singing the beautiful song “Kuhio Bay” on my Rhapsody service. What a voice! Keali`i Reichel is another Hawaiian singer I listen to frequently. His rendition of “Na ‘Ono o Ka ‘Aina” is one of my favorite fun songs that makes me smile. It is about enjoying the abundant seafoods of Kona; in another song Reichel sings about the sublime experience of wearing a fragrant flower lei.
When you visit the Grand Canyon and point your camera at its vastness, you think “this looks like a postcard.” And every picture you take is gorgeous. Pictures of you taken in front of the Grand Canyon look like you are standing in front of a postcard. It doesn’t seem real. It’s just too big to comprehend.
Remember Gus, my dear VW Beetle that I wrote about in “Farewell, Gus“? He was named after the roly-poly mouse who was a good friend of Cinderella in Disney’s movie. Of course Cinderella didn’t marry Gus; she married Prince Charming. Not many of us are as lucky as she. I loved and “married” Gus, but he was a wonderful friend, not my Prince Charming.
The grand city of Berlin lies milky in the morning light. Amid the avenues and alleyways, the tram stops and department stores, a little girl by the name of Rosa Klein hurries through the freezing air to buy some rolls for breakfast. She turns onto the Wilhelmstrasse, a trail of vapour from her mouth lingering in the air beneath a canopy of tram cables, and, a little breathless, reaches the Konditorei and heaves at the heavy door. A little bell chimes, and a cloud of delicious, moist scent blossoms into the street, floating like a blessing towards the dogs scrounging in the gutters. Rosa enters the bakery,