Ducks Gone Wild!


When we entered Anderson Japanese Gardens today, the image above was what we saw. I know the ducks were feeding, but seeing their duck butts in the air, in unison, was very funny to me. Verily like a water ballet.

Later, near the waterfall (I heard the abundant splashing first), the ducks were splashing themselves and each other in exuberance. In fact, at the water’s edge, we were getting wet ourselves from their high-spirited horseplay (Can “ducks” participate in “horse”play?). I can’t help but to anthropomorphize them. It seemed so absolutely playful, enthusiastic, irrepressibly jubilant. They wiggled their behinds with great gusto, twisted and turned their bodies as in a ballet (see the fourth photo below), pushed themselves out of the water, and opened and fanned their wings to spray water as well. Part of this dramatic demonstration had to do with cleaning themselves, but I have never seen so theatrical a display in taking care of such a habitual chore. And in all the duck sightings today they were all female ducks, female mallards, specifically. No males anywhere. Was that why they were so excited? The ladies having a time at the spa? Ducks gone wild!

May we all be blessed with copious liberating moments of complete abandon, with finding utter joy in the most mundane of tasks, and with experiencing all this with our dearest of friends as these female mallards were able to share today.

DSC_0842DSC_0857DSC_0872 DSC_0950DSC_0962


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Glass Pyrograph drawings

ichikawa-trace25406Trace7513_Quadtych_30x90_6400175707__175707Etsuko Ichikawa uses hot glass to create this very effective and powerful calligraphy. The work in performance is even more riveting. Born in Tokyo (1963), she presently lives and works in Seattle.


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In commemoration of my fourth anniversary of blogging

“Blog Breakdown” by Roz Chast

110926_cartoon_090_a15925_p465-blog-breakdown(Published in The New Yorker, September 26, 2011)

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Guru Purnima

sage ved vyasa & Ganeshji

Vyassa dictating the Mahabarata to Ganesh.

Today is the Indian festival of Guru Purnima, a celebration of  gratitude to teachers, both academic and spiritual. In sanskrit, gu means darkness or ignorance and ru means the remover of that darkness. Purnima means full moon and this day is observed  on the full moon of the Hindu month of Asadh. It is celebrated throughout the dharmic world.

On this day people pay respect to their teachers, living and dead. It is also the birthday of Vyassa, a great Hindu sage, who gathered the vedic texts and created the Mahabarata. It is said that on this day, Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath after becoming enlightened. Hindu legend says that Shiva became a guru on this date.

So in keeping with the spirit of this very auspicious moment, I remember and honor the following teachers in my life:

  • My father who taught me the joy of humor and the liberating experience of art making, as well as showering me with unconditional love.
  • My mother who has demonstrated that there is always the possibility for redemption.
  • Mrs. Hankins, my high school English teacher, who showed me that literature was not about academics and grades, but rather about life and relationship and communication. (She also introduced me to artichokes, for which I am eternally grateful.)
  • Mr. Foster, my middle school English teacher, who encouraged me to take risks and think creatively, and inspired and fortified my still raw and unrecognized (by me) gifts.

For all who mentor and nurture and teach, for all who do this with a generosity of spirit and an open heart, on this Guru Purnima, I give sincere and bountiful gratitude.


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“Housekeeping Observation” by Lydia Davis


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Sinking my teeth into t’ai chi


I was late to t’ai chi today, missing the warm-up. First I had misplaced my keys and spent some time searching for them. (They were underneath the magazine I was reading last night.) When I had driven practically the whole way to class, I discovered I had forgotten my “flipper” (a temporary false tooth while I await the completion of an implant). I drove all the way back home to put the false tooth in place (ah, vanity).

Then a half an hour into class, a workman riding a gas mower came barreling through. Loudly. We had to stop class for a few moments while he cut the grass where we were t’ai chi-ing. We watched his own practiced choreography around trees and benches in the clearing.

The fabulous news is that for the rest of the class, that “green” smell of freshly cut grass, almost heady, filled our senses and every move. The powerful herby scent was simultaneously invigorating and calming. It made me feel very centered. (There was a persistent soft smile on my lips, even on the ride back home.)

I was really able to sink my teeth into t’ai chi today.

Freshly_cut_grass_by_Doxhoont - Version 2

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“Variations on the Moment of Apprehending the Extent of One’s Responsibilities” by Craig Morgan Teicher

A businessman stands casually with his hand in his suit pocket.Variations on the Moment of Apprehending the Extent of One’s Responsibilities


that minute subdivision of time
during which the full consequence

flickers, just before the door clicks
shut but just after you could have

stopped it from shutting, when
you realize, your hand already

seizing your empty pocket, that
you have left your keys inside


that useless subdivision of time
in which what really happens

could never have been
prevented—it yawns so wide

though you can barely fit
a blink into it, like the moment

just before the door clicks shut
but just after you realize


you have left your keys inside.
So many things are unsatisfactory,

like the moment, like the baby
monitor, like your hand already

seizing your empty pocket,
useless. Consequence

flickers, what really happens
could fit behind a blink


that useless subdivision of time
in which what happens could fit,

flickers, could never have been
prevented, is so unsatisfactory

like the moment just before
the door clicks shut but just after

you could have stopped it from
closing with the back of your foot


your hand already seizing
your empty pocket, as if you could

go back, your keys inside,
and begin again, take your clothes

off, crawl back, deep into bed.
So many things are unsatisfactory—

that you have left your keys inside,
that this is when you realize


this could never have been
prevented, that what you realize

is not only useless but infinitely
painful, because minute,

irrevocable, like the baby
who flickers in the video monitor,

a blink in which the door clicks shut.
You could never have stopped it


till now, just after you realize
so many things are unsatisfactory,

just before, your hand already
seizing your empty pocket,

the full consequence flickers
behind a blink that is now

your measure of time, useless
because it already happened.


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