The Day After Thanksgiving 2015 – essay

blessings

The Day After Thanksgiving 2015 – essay

Today is Friday, November 27, 2015 – the day after Thanksgiving.  Yesterday was a quiet, thank-filled, beautiful day.

As usual, I was up early – before sunrise.  Quiet time.  Focus.  Reflect.

Bright sun.  Dry, crisp Rhode Island air.  Telephone conversations with family and friends.  E-mails to others.  Thanksgiving Day parade playing in the background.

Later in the morning – preparations of favorite dishes to contribute to the shared dinner in the afternoon. Mashed potatoes, with fresh-chopped garlic, fresh rosemary, sour cream, butter, salt and pepper.  Baby peas and pearl onions in a light cream sauce.  My mother’s recipe for pineapple upsidedown cake, with extra maraschino cherries as part of the decoration, begun, and, then, baked in a black, cast iron fry pan – as that’s the best way.  The perfume of fruits, fixings and fresh herbs blending into an aromatic, Thanksgiving day memory.

After we (Al, Gus-The Wonder Dog and I) arrived at my younger son’s home, the first whiff of turkey, with homemade cornbread stuffing, wafted down the stairs. Added to our feast was: Al’s homemade mashed carrots and turnips, with sweet butter, and; Ces’ turkey, stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce and brussel sprouts.  What a feast!  All washed down with a glass or two of dark amber Duchesse de Bourgogne.

What was required next was to temporarily step away from that table, with a few remnants of the fixings left on the plates.  One must leave room for the two desserts.

Stepping into the late afternoon air was a welcome respite, all three dogs (Gus, Betty and Lucy) bouncing around, still looking for a bit of extra food and (always) for our attentions.

By then, the day had turned unseasonably mild, with a damp sweetness beginning to come in.  No jackets required.  Sun lowering a bit more in the West.  That certain slant of light.  Three of us talked on the terrace of food and incidental things, attempting to wiggle out a bit more space.

After a sufficient respite, the desserts were laid out – the aforementioned pineapple upsidedown cake (served with Brooklyn Creamery Company’s Extra Thick, Single Cream) and a pumpkin pie, with pecan and praline crumble, decorated with rich, yellow whipped cream edging, courtesy of Pastiche; and, some rugelach, just for good measure.

I cannot recall that last time I was as full as I was yesterday.  One more bite and it would have spoiled everything.

Another retreat to the terrace, sunset by now.  Lights of the city coming up.  The trio of red, flashing warning lights at the top of the three stacks at the electric company flickering like erratic fireflies through the branches of the de-leafed, skeletal trees.  The low whir of other folks coming or going, crossing the I-Way, East to West to East.

More incidental conversations, each happily fed and full, enjoying the evening’s air and city silence.

The divided leftovers are still covered and untouched.  I’m just beginning to feel hungry, again.

A singularly memorable Thanksgiving Day 2015.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As a way of continuing to celebrate a Day of Thanks; and, to return many favors and blessings received, please accept The Thanksgiving Reader, created by Seth Godin and others.  This is a free download; and, can be generously shared, individually and/or globally.  Thank you, as always, Seth.

 

 

 

 

çok güzel – poem

ç SplashHearto k   g ü z e l – poem

           for Sarik, Lale, and Leyla – with Love

 

 

Your ash and smoke have

filled my skin

The silent music enlarges

my lungs

 

Celebrate and whisper on

each hand and eye that

loved me

 

Further than the green lights

from the opposite side

 

I love your home          because

I know that you are there

From where I always stood

in the cool cathedral of the night

I could, at last, see further

than myself

 

Even stones spoke in an

eloquent tongue as soft

as flesh as liquid as constant,

washing water over turquoise tiles

and my mouth and hands and

feet were washed away

 

Leaving is another stone

that is dissolved in sleep

 

Mountains and snow are the

memory of separation in a

dream of leaving and coming back,

again.

 

(c) 1988, 2015 ~ Jessan Dunn (DeCredico) Otis

Meeting Alan – A Veterans Day Memory – 2015 – essay

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes

How Alan and I met is a short, surreal film. Walter Reed Hospital, January, 1970. Walking through miles of connecting corridors to find his ward. Once there, (in the older part of this hospital), two long rows of beds, his the last on the right; and, he was asleep. I waited in the solarium adjacent to that ward, just around the corner from his bed. Another injured vet rolled his wheelchair ’round the corner.  He had no legs, missing just above both knees. He had a soft, Southern drawl. We talked, on and off, for almost an hour. Every once in awhile he’d wheel back, check and say, “No Ma’am, he’s still sleeping.” He and I were about the same age.

I was visiting, unannounced and completely unknown to Alan, delivering several copies of the Brown Alumni Magazine, in which was a beautifully written article by the Editor, Robert A. Reichley, about Alan and a fellow alum, both of whom had served in Vietnam, had been wounded, and wound up next to each other in that ward in Walter Reed.  The other alum had since been discharged.  Alan’s people were far away; and, he was alone.  I also brought the review copy of a first novel, My Main Mother, written by another fellow alum, Barry Beckham.  At that time, I worked for that magazine; and, my former spouse (a visual artist) was having a show in DC.

Just the walk through the corridors continues to be singularly memorable. Too many wounded. Not enough beds. Broken men, bandages, various body parts missing, unexpected sounds, unusual smells. As a younger woman, I made eye contact, said “Thank you.” and kept asking for further directions to get to that ward.

After he finally woke up, Alan and I talked for over three hours. We have sustained our friendship since. Operations. Healing. Law school. First marriage. More unexpected injuries from a lawnmower and a flying rock. Children. Divorce. Second marriage. Children marrying. Grandchildren.

Alan and I talked several days ago. We recalled (again) the circumstances of our first meeting and all that’s happened to each of us since. I recalled that piece I told him I would write once I got just the right words to describe the quality of light at the time he was hit. I mentioned it was finally finished. He didn’t even ask to see it. He knows he will.

There is no pain in these memories.  There is nothing but love, honor, and respect.

This, also, goes out to my mother, Helen, and my father, Mahlon; both of whom served in World War II.  Dad was awarded the Purple Heart. I have both their flags.  Until we meet again…

“Respond to every call that excites your spirit.” ~ Rumi #quote – essay

"Respond to every call that excites your spirit." ~ Rumi #quote

“Respond to every call that excites your spirit.” ~ Rumi #quote

The turn of a page and a new month arrives.  For those of us who live in certain territories, we’ve either “gained” or lost an hour in our day (how is that, truly, possible?).

Leaves turn golden, brilliant red, shades of vermillion and, then, drop resolutely to the damp earth.  Nature taking itself back into Nature – circles within circles.

As someone I know, often, says – “These are the days of the long shadows.”  Sunsets are more intense, as if to linger just a moment or two longer.  There’s a typical New England chill in the air that signals migrations, harvests, a kind of gathering together that, most likely, harkens back to archaic, atavistic times.

Today is, also, All Saints Day, a celebration of all saints, known and unknown – preceded by Halloween and followed by Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos).  These, too, are ancient, atavistic, deeply-held, socio-religious ceremonies.

All of this speaks to me in a language of smoldering embers, after the heat and brilliance of Summer. There’s a kind of “dampening down” at this time of year here.  Perhaps that’s why Rumi’s quote holds a certain meaning.  If it’s true that there’s beauty in everything, even this “dying down” and celebrating saints and Spirits is mysterious and exciting.  This is a kind of “call” that ignites me.

As I move through each day, there’s a singular sweetness because of the drying hydrangeas outside my window, the pungent leaf mold from the cut back urban garden, picking the last of the tomatoes, hearing the migrating calls of flocks of geese heading south, remembering other places, other people.

I hear Rumi’s call to respond to that which excites me, transcending apparent barriers of time and space.

What excites your Spirit?

“The first step is, simply, everything.” — via Twitter & ROAD TO PEACE FILM – poem

Thank You ~ many languages

There are no adequate words to express my gratitude upon seeing this, unexpectedly, on Twitter this morning.

Simply to say “Thank you.”, to Road To Peace Film and to Leon Stuparich, for the asking; and, of course, to HH Dalai Lama.   _/|\_

“The first step is, simply, everything.” ~ jdo – dedication & poem

Today is Sunday, October 4, 2015; and, I celebrate three (3) birthdays.

My mother – Helen Smith Dunn – who loved me (and continues to do so) more than I knew.  Until we meet again…

My sister-in-law – Rita Verardo.

A young one, SweetBoy, gone too soon – Turul Kaan Cilam.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

“The first step is, simply, everything.” ~ jdo

               To His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama

Your raised eyebrow and shy, quizzical half smile     Who

could have known where your boychild would walk and

how far

Circles within circles

High in those isolated, beautiful, brutal mountains

Prayer flags

Meditation

One sought and found

Turning away, finally, from politics to passion, the road

to peace is begun with one step

Turn and turning in a widening gyre, come close in the spiral, into

the center of our truer heart

“It’s as easy to laugh as it is to dance,” she said; as shared laughter

rose up, as if prayers rippling through air as flags, flapping and tethered,

as if we could touch it simultaneously

“Throw sparks.  Create fires.” she said

You said, “Patience and compassion.”

Dream peace

Learn to recreate it within     This is my wish, too     

This moment, this moment,

this moment, only this moment.

Jessan Dunn Otis – (c) 2012 – written at the request of Leon Stuparich, Director, ROAD TO PEACE, with thanks

DISSOLVE – poem

As when you touch yourself for the first

time inside and out

Or when you have left without saying goodbye

for the last time and you do not know it yet

Like walking into a dark room where everything

is known and you are excited that

something alive and beautiful will brush

your face

Or I am the long tree whose branches

move gently wild from the wind

and leave marks on your face

that you will remember when you dream

and you will go back to stare for days

until your eyes ache

Like arms that nobody who has ever loved you

has had before or has held you more strong

than you will ever be held again

And you will weep because you know that

that is true.

(c) Jessan Dunn (DeCredico) Otis – 1985/1987 – CQ, California State Poetry Quarterly, Spring-Summer 1987, Volume 14, Number 1, p.11.