My friend and mentor, B. Aline Blanchard’s poem, I Want to Ride a Butterfly to the Moon, inspired composer G. Paul Naeger to write this wonderful orchestral piece. Here, Aline recites the poem with the Orchestra on the Hill behind her. Such beauty!
Composer G. Paul Naeger
Performed by Orchestra on the Hill
Poetry, Narration and Photographs by B. Aline Blanchard
Animation by Chris Florio and Caleb Owen
As the United States gets ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, I’ve had to take a step back and catch my breath from the political comings and goings of the last year.
America, I’d like to ask you a question. Have you ever seen Plymouth Rock? That’s the stone upon which the Mayflower Separatists (also called Pilgrims) first set foot upon when arriving in the “New World” in 1620. Their counterparts had arrived at Jamestown in 1607, and initially it didn’t go well. I live about five miles from where the Jamestown settlers came ashore, so like or or not, I’ve become well schooled in their suffering. I’d like to point out, however, that the suffering the white Europeans brought upon the First Nation was a billion times worse. Think smallpox, etc. I wish I could, but I can’t undo the past.
Back to Plymouth Rock. About five years ago, I was with Barbara and Arthur on Cape Ann in Massachusetts. Arthur pulled the car up to the curb and asked me if I wanted to see the Rock. It had a huge monument over it, so I got out, and walked over. Peering down, I saw a suitcase-sized white stone. I could have fit it in the trunk of my car. That was it. That was Plymouth Rock.
Throughout my life, until that moment, I had envisioned the Pilgrims stepping off the Mayflower onto a large outcropping of rocks. In my mind it was an enormous rock. So, I was very surprised when it turned out to be so tiny.
We as Americans have some not-so-tiny issues ahead of us over the next four years. But in the spirit of peace, I and my loved ones will break bread on Thanksgiving, and we will pray for truth, we will pray for strength, we will pray for justice, and we will pray for peace. And we will ask for God’s blessing upon for all of us, regardless of our beliefs, now and in the year to come.
Dear Trump Voters, I’ve seen a lot of you being very angry at being assumed a racist. I’ve seen you claiming you love everybody and believe your “rough around the edges” candidate really does too, …
Source: “Non-Racist Trump Voters” Have a Moral Obligation to Stand Up to Hate
My wish for us all is that we exercise our right to vote, and that we respect each person’s right to vote as they see fit.
I am calling upon St. Michael the Archangel to protect us in the polling place, to protect us from each other, and to remind us that as human beings, it is incumbent upon us to be kind and respectful to one and other. This is what continues to make ours a wonderful nation. We care about each other, regardless of our beliefs. Please remember this.
I’ll see you all tomorrow morning, bright and early at the polls. I will not be following the results, but I prefer to wake up Wednesday morning and simply get on with my life.
Even as a little kid, I hated walking uphill. My grandmother would herd me and my contingent of sisters and cousins, down the hill to the Little Beach. I knew I would have to retrace our path on the uphill if I ever wanted to see my teddy bear, again. And so, I climbed.
I still hate the upward stroll, even while I invoke it on my treadmill (though not by an inordinate incline). I can cover the flat lands on foot for hours, I can pedal a bicycle for miles on a flat surface, but climbing stairs, or walking uphill kills me. I climbed to the tourist spot overlooking Paris in Notre Dame cathedral when I was 25 and thought I was going to die half-way up.
Two years ago, Greg decided he wanted to re-visit Crabtree Falls in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was autumn, and it sounded very enticing. We rented a cabin and set out with high expectations. Or, at least Greg had high whatever. I just looked straight up the mountain path and thought, “Oh, Lord, this doesn’t look good.”
One foot, two foot, red foot, blue foot; hours later after what I can only recall as vertical climbing (you can see from the photo how bitterly exaggerate…) we were no closer to the Falls than when we’d started. Suddenly, a car with four college students rounded the bend and asked us if we’d like a lift to the parking lot at the foot of the mountain. And, just as hopefully as it began, the climb was over as I fell asleep in the back seat of that Suburu.
With weeks to go until the election, I’m wandering the globe, shaking my head.
I took the photo of this spider today, and of course, I put it through the hoops of cropping, and processing.
I wanted to see the spider–the one I dreaded falling onto my arm as I extended my camera–because I’m not sure that once this election is done, I’ll be able to differentiate between the spider and its web.
Proust was a man of many words.
If you could say it in five,
He’d say the same thing in 50,
and I loved every line.
So often, I find myself
staring at the empty page
seeing a polar bear
in a blizzard eating snow.
My words become
Signaling in the night;
only to disappear
as I draw close –
twisting my ankles
on the roots of despair.
Hats off to you, Marcel.
It took you 54 pages
to give your mother
a kiss goodnight and
It took me 30 years to read
Remembrances of Things Past.
I suppose somewhere in
the Universe, that makes us
Just one thing before you go
back on the shelf–
May I borrow your pen?
NOT A PHOTO OF MARCEL PROUST:
The photo is of my great-great-grandfather, John George Stubenbord (1844-1914). He was 27 when Marcel Proust was born, and from the buzz handed down in the family, he was a good man. i have no idea how many words he’d have used to describe my poem.