Thursday, August 20, 2015

A stroll on Killesberg (Stuttgart)

Saturday afternoon, we took a long stroll through Killesberg Park in Stuttgart. Markus' mother and father live a short distance from the park, and they know its winding ways. This hilltop once housed the convention center, which has since moved to the Stuttgart airport. The area has been tastefully redeveloped. A wide expanse includes the gardens that remain from the 1993 International Garden Show, and that's where we walked.

Markus and his mother, both known for
spotting ripe nuts and berries along the way.

Tucked into the public lands are some private gardens. Here's one that includes the most charming display of the Gartenzwerg that I've ever seen.

Gardening dwarves.

Music and sports.


We also passed a pond with water birds.


Ruffled feathers.

And endless plantings of blooming dahlias, their voluptuous heads wide open to the skies. Now through early October, you can wander amid the groups of flowers, mark your favorite on a ballot, and see which one wins the most votes.



Simple elegance.


My personal favorite--where pink meets yellow
and all that's in between.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Being present (flash post)

Keeping to my own rules for a flash post (write it fast, almost no editing), I came home needing to write a little scene. I jotted it down by hand because I had a pot of soup to start, and then I came to my computer to blog. And here's what happens: I start to wonder if I need to break the lines. Is this supposed to be a poem?

Today's result is two poems. The first is a prose poem. The second, a lined poem. Each form, of course, drives different choices. Editing today is a particularly astute process because I've re-read Strunk and White's Elements of Style for an article I'm writing. Still not done, but this is a flash post! Since there are two versions of the "same thing," your are welcome to vote on your favorite!


Walking away from the small town supermarket this evening, past the outdoor fruit display, past the cluster of middle-aged cyclists paused in front of Town Hall, weaving aside for pedestrians, I saw a lady walking toward and past me. She smiled warmly as as she said, "See you soon," into her phone, and I wondered if I'm ever that genuinely pleased. Certainly not on the phone, because I dislike talking on the phone. But ever in my life? Do I inhabit a moment with such generous appreciation? I grasped at my bike helmet to open the strap and rounded the corner toward where I had left my bike. And in the moment of asking do-I-ever a radiant field of magenta burst into view--a flower box plump with petunias hanging from a window of the old Rathaus. Sensory pleasure filled the air like the chimes of shimmering bells.


Walking away this evening
from the small town supermarket
past an outdoor fruit display
side-stepping pedestrians
past a cluster of cyclists

I saw a lady walking toward
and past me who smiled warmly
as as she said, "See you soon,"
into her phone, and I wondered
if I'm ever that genuinely pleased.

Certainly not on the phone
because I dislike talking on the phone
but ever in my life?

Can I feel a moment like that?

My fingers undid my bike helmet strap
I turned a corner
and my eyes filled

with radiant magenta--
an effusion of petunias
hanging from a window
in the old Rathaus

like bells chiming shimmery tones in every
molecule of the air.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

It's August 6th again--11th anniversary of missing Simon

Sometimes simple is the best way to go. Eleven years ago today my son Simon died. We miss him. We remember him.

I have written about the day he died. The opening of my essay "Objects of My Attention" takes a direct look at the events of that day.

Last year for the 10th anniversary of Simon's death, I posted a video slide show of his seven years, accompanied by a lovely and thought-provoking song written in Simon's memory by Laszlo Slomovits, "You've Crossed Over". Today to mark the anniversary, I'm opening the video to visitors again for several days. Follow this link and when you get there, enter this password: SimonAug6th. Most of the other children in the photos have grown up and are off to college. Had Simon lived, he would have been ready for college this fall.

This evening, Miriam and I went to the recent Pixar release, Inside Out. (Markus is attending the annual Academy of Management meetings in Vancouer, BC, so tonight we're missing him, too.) We enjoyed many Pixar films with Simon--the first two Toy Story movies, A Bug's Life, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo. Simon never got to see The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, or Brave. We keep him very much in mind when we watch, and re-watch, the films he knew and the ones we know he would have liked.

Pixar's newest: life in an 11 year old's mind

Like Monsters Inc. and Up, Inside Out is directed by Pete Docter. In 2003, Simon received an invitation to tour Pixar Studios with Pete Docter himself while on a medical visit to San Francisco. (Pete is the first cousin of a friend, and he was generous with his time and some signed artwork for Simon.)

Emeryville, CA December 30, 2003

Posing in front of a Finding Nemo shark model:
Grandma W., Mary, Simon, Rowan W., Miriam, Pete Docter and son

How cowboys know where to go to the bathroom at Pixar

Classic Simon outside Pixar:
magenta coat, half-lotus legs, investigating

While looking for photos, I found two more from the fall of 2003. I enjoy remembering my healthy-looking boy, fully inhabiting his life.

At home, September 2003

Yellowstone National Park, October 2003