Thursday, July 3, 2014

Energy Levels of Matter, and So On

I've been going through my grandfather's papers this week, and it's a lot of paper to go through. Tossing pounds of physics notes from the 20's and 30's feels difficult yet necessary; the reams of investment newsletters from the 80's are easier to let go of. I'm preserving what resonates, and as a humanities-oriented granddaughter, that's almost all of the file folders themselves (see above for a sense of their rich variety) and any contents that are his own original writings on religion, science, self-improvement, and family history. Call it my disciplinary bias, but his English essays from the 20's and 30's have been saved, along with his outline of the bible. Yes, the bible.

Orin P. Gard was often in his own world, as am I. Learned? Genetic? I don't know. I think I'll be writing off his papers at some point - not now, but someday. I don't understand the missile ballistics analyses, but I'm intrigued by a tension I sense in his files and writings between how he earned his living/supported his family and his religious beliefs/desire for a peaceful planet.

Grandpa's notes on the first computer conference in 1946 are the subject of this article in Penn Engineering, which is accompanied by my brief reflections. His thoughts and pursuits were constantly shifting in scale and focus, and I love this legacy of an active mind. He speaks to me through his papers more directly than he could in person, singular as a dinosaur. What is gone is so important, and right here.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"There'll be no landing at the lighthouse tomorrow"

St. Joseph Lighthouse, Michigan
photo by Kim W. 

Here's a bit of winter magic for February 2, just when I thought winter magic had all run out. Never again will I doubt the serious and whimsical strangeness of the north - how ice clings to ice in impossible shapes of known things, in a spell that only the birds can undo but choose not to. Not yet.
- - -

Post title is Charles Tansley annoying Mrs. Ramsay as he sides with her husband and dashes James' hopes. (Virginia Woolf. To the Lighthouse. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1927. 7.)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Faces Fitting

 
Photograph by Dita Alangkara (AP)
 
This mother and child survived Typhoon Haiyan in the Phillipines in early November. To be able to transmit that kind of peace to someone you love, even during chaos and tragedy. Nothing is certain in this picture except for that love.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mountain Ash Berries


These orange beauties are mountain ash berries (a.k.a. rowan berries) in Lester Park, my home away from home. I made jam from them last year, which looked delicious and practically burned a hole in my stomach lining, so this year, I'm sticking to pictures.


The mountain ash tree just happens to be the subject of a tragic, gorgeous Russian folk song. Are there any other kind? Yes. And it's about berries.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

"This high summer we love will pour its light. . . "

We'll dream of a longer summer
but this is the one we have:
I lay my sunburnt hand
on your table:       this is the time we have

                                         - Adrienne Rich

 
 
Post title and excerpt from section 28 of "Contradictions: Tracking Poems," 1983-85. Later Poems: Selected and New, 1971-2012. New York: W.W. Norton, 2013.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Felt Imagery


 

 
After months of sun deprivation, I feel like a normal person again after four hours in Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas, Nevada. A normal person with the added benefit of a roiling, boiling, tumbling chunk of fire lodged inside my chest cavity, which is warming me through the rest of the northern Minnesota on-again / off-again chilly season. I am convinced that I am physically storing sun. . .