Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Learning from David Young


Last Friday I talked about needing a poem to describe the connectedness between the musician and instrument, musician with the music, musician and musician, musician and us. A tall order. So after the post, I went to David Young, one of America's greatest poets and translators of poetry (latest book is translation of Basho).

We all need a David Young in our lives, and so I offer you David's response to my query last week. Thank you, thank you, David - for sharing with us and bringing such meaning to our lives:

A poem is like a song. It's scored for the voice, that of the poet or, when you read, the one in your head. Read the Stafford poem aloud, paying careful attention to the line breaks and the stanza breaks, and the "song" of it will emerge.

When poems have rhyme and meter, they are easy to memorize and the "score" is easy to follow. Ta-da-ta-da-ta-da-ta-da. As a poet, Stafford started that way, then began to go to off-rhymes and to loosen the meter. By the time he wrote the poem I sent you he was confident enough of his "scoring" to write in a casual speaking voice and still achieve poetry.

I suppose it is comparable to the way artists moved away from careful reproductive images to somewhat distorted and eventually even abstract ones. Or composers moved away from easy melody to something that challenged them more. But good poems (as opposed to the chopped-up prose that some people mistake for poetry because it kind of LOOKS like what Stafford is presenting) still have their roots in that oral tradition where language is special, language as prayer, charm, spell, curse, blessing. Some kind of magical and memorable utterance.
I hope that Stafford passes the out-loud test for you.  I hope I do too, (see below):  

Why I Am Happy
      by William Stafford

Now has come, an easy time. I let it  
roll. There is a lake somewhere
so blue and far nobody owns it.
A wind comes by and a willow listens
gracefully.

I hear all this, every summer. I laugh
and cry for every turn of the world,
its terribly cold, innocent spin.
That lake stays blue and free; it goes
on and on.

And I know where it is.


 At the White Window 

     by David Young

Whatever one sees beyond it –
green lawn, gray sky, blue heaving sea –

it’s clear that the window’s framing of the view
is half the meaning, maybe more.

The room is bare, the floorboards simple,w
the sunlight falls in angles on the floor.

By being here alone, our sight
entering this picture, thoughtfully,

we celebrate both solitude and its mysterious
opposite, the sense of never being quite alone,

of having dim companions – from the past,
the future, from unsensed dimensions –

as we move slowly to the window,
never to raise the sash, or even touch the pane,

but simply to look out, acknowledging
our unabashed humanity, both frame and view.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sanctuary

Made it to the Wild Animal Sactuary yesterday afternoon. All the animals, including the lions, tigers, bears and other big carnivores have been rescued from dangerous situtations and dangerous people. In fact, most of the animals at this 720 acre refuges were brought there by law enforcement agencies. Many are local - tied up and abused by local people. Others - like the Bolivian lions - are at the sanctuary because the circus they were in no longer exists. There's no breeding, no sales, no profits being made by the Sanctuary - just a gentle, large place of refuge. A moving and worthwhile experience.


However, I didn't make it to Denver Hospice to see a friend who is dying of cancer. Probably won't last through the day. I couldn't get up the courage and face her impending death from pancreatic cancer. Shocked me, really, that I couldn't get myself to go. The hospice is just three blocks down the street from me, so no traffic excuse there. I'm told the hospice is a nurturing sanctuary for people in transition from life to death, but I settled for the animal sanctuary instead.
I'm not even an animal lover, so that doesn't account for the choice. It's much deeper than that, more intimate, more fear-based. It's also a good reminder not to judge people who don't show up, don't express awkward feelings, or avoid the uncomfortable. Guess we all have our private barriers, and trying to second guess someone on such things is futile.
But here is my public shout-out to Ruth Chaiken - a wild, warm and wonderful woman. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Connectedness

Just in awe of creative people. All week, poets have caught my attention. I've never found a way to express my feelings in a finer, more succinct way than a great poet has. Quite a trick poets have - to be better able to express someone's feelings better than the person having the feelings can. But it happens - beautifully and often.

Last night I was reminded of the magic that musicians cast. At a Newman Center Presents performance called "Strings on Fire" I listened to the Assad Brothers on guitar, Joshua Roman on cello, and Mac Grgic on guitar stir the audience and capture our admiration. Definitely a Ten on the Wow scale.

The musicians simultaneously seemed to be at one with themselves, at one with their beloved instruments, and at one with each other. I clearly have no words to describe this phenomenon...but it was both a visible, audio and visceral experience. How each man could be so connected to his instrument alone, as if there were no separation at all between man and instrument astounds me. The instrument apppeared not to be an extension, but a part of the musician. But then each man/instrument seemed to have a similar connection with the others in the group. It was connectedness, a oneness, the likes of which I have never before seen.

I need a poet to describe my experience.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What We Want


Week of reflection. That means poetry for me. What we want is never simple.

What We Want


What we want

is never simple.

We move among the things

we thought we wanted:

a face, a room, an open book

and these things bear our names--

now they want us.

But what we want appears

in dreams, wearing disguises.

We fall past,

holding out our arms

and in the morning

our arms ache.

We don't remember the dream,

but the dream remembers us.

It is there all day

as an animal is there

under the table,

as the stars are there

even in full sun.
                             Linda Pastan

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Anger

Feeling Rumi-ish this morning.

On Anger
When you see the face of anger
look behind it
and you will see the face of pride.
Bring anger and pride
under your feet, turn them into a ladder
and climb higher.
There is no peace until you become
their master.
Let go of anger, it may taste sweet
but it kills.
Don't become its victim.
You need humility to climb to freedom.
 - Rumi

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Transfusion

Snow in Denver....light snow - not enough for school cancellations - falling since yesterday noon. Cold temperatures, and no place to be a bird, bush or flower trying to decide whether to come out to play for good.

Thinking about the couple next to me at chemo yesterday (Monday). There's one semi-private space on the 12th floor chemo room and they had it. I was next to them and we chatted for a bit. They came to Denver from Kyoto Japan about 23 years ago and have a business. He was the patient, there for chemo and iron. He had two phones going and his ipad, trying to set up business meetings for this morning (Tuesday) at 9:00. Most of the talk was in Japanese, but he seemed successful in getting 'yes' responses from people. Apparently he is going to Japan tomorrow (Wednesday) and needed to get some business taken care of before leaving town. Frail man, other than the persuasive voice on the phone, shuffled ever so slowly to the bathroom when he got up. Slept when he wasn't on the phone.
Most of the nurses and attendants seemed to know him, so he must be a chemo regular.

Then the doctor came in to tell him he absolutely had to come in for a blood transfusion today (Tuesday) because his numbers were so low and they couldn't continue one of the treatments. She assured him the transfusion would give him energy for his trip to Japan on Wednesday.
He asked if he could have the semi-private space so he could have his meeting and transfusion simultaneously. After the nurse assured him there was no way he could reserve a space he asked what time the doors opened. 8:00.  So he simply vowed to be the first person in the large chemo room so he could have the semi-private space for his meeting. The woman with him made the calls back to people to tell them of the change of venue and that the meeting would still be at 9:00.
Long story, without a plot, but I am thinking of him, sitting in the hospital waiting for his transfusion and meeting... hoping the transfusion will give him energy he needs for his trip. I suspect it will.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Singing




"It is no surprise / that danger and suffering surround us. / What astonishes is the singing."
                             
From  Jack Gilbert, "Horses at Midnight Without a Moon"

Just recently discovered the poet Jack Gilbert, and his words seem an appropriate reminder, following the week we've just had.  And it's Earth Day.....first celebrated 43 years ago. I think the earth always sings.
Here's to a good day for hearing the singing that surrounds us. It's a chemo day for me, so I'll be listening extra carefully.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Straw Breaking



Just as the plane was to take off last night, the voice bellows "Two days of fucking delays, I finally get on a plane and I'm supposed to listen to your little shit kid screaming and crying? Get control of that god-damned kid and shut him up," roared the man.
Somehow, someone quieted the man down, calmed him a bit and he became silent. Alas, the baby didn't sleep until well into the trip. This all happened on top of hundreds and hundreds of delayed and cancelled flights over two days at Chicago O'Hare and Midway. Thousands of people displaced, luggage misplaced,  vacations shot, money and time lost. Few solutions other than 'suck it up.'  Rage, rage against the dying of the afternoon's light.

Outrageous? Of course. But given the stress of everyday living, flying for business and pleasure, random security checks, and add the unpredictable chaos of weather and storms. Too much pressure. Add to the people undergoing all this stress an i-phone, computer, pad, earphones and overly-stuffed carry-on bags, and the potential for calamity looms large.

I never quite got the 'straw that broke the camel's back' thing when I was younger, but I hands down get it these days. Given the pace and multiple diversions of each day, it is inevitable back-breaker straw is going to show itself - it's just that we never know quite when the deal will be done.

There was a time when I would have thought the child-shouter was crazy - out of control and probably should have been taken off the plane. But I didn't feel that way last night. I wanted someone to touch his arm, smooth him, talk him out of some of that pent-up anger, help him put the crying in the background and the fact he was finally going somewhere in the foreground. Something like that obviously happened, and the night ended safely and calmly for everyone. Shoutout to anonymous, whomever he or she may be - for bringing some perspective.

As the same time, in Cambridge, Boston and Harvard another breaking the camel's back situation: murder and injury at the Boston Marathon; mayhem and death near M.I.T. All sorts of people living in Boston and the suburbs, along with the thousands traveling through to other places, are caught in lockdown. Planes, trains and automobiles down. If you have a hotel room, stay in it. Nineteen year old murderer on the loose.

Then there's Texas..and poison letters..and reminders of the Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine, mini-floods, snowstorms. And just plain life. The just plain "I can't find my car keys,"  Lax sticks gone missing, late for school, spilled coffee, dog on the run, radar speeding ticket.

All those straws perched to break some vulnerable backs. What's one to do?
I'm not suggesting that we break open permission for everyone to scream, yell, rant and rave at whomever they want just because life is momentarily overloaded with stress. At least I don't think I am. But maybe I am asking that we cut some slack, show some compassion, or at least, understanding, for the rant or rave that comes our way occasionally. Maybe we try a smile, or a joke, or just a "I know your feeling" to that person losing control.
 Most of us know when we've made the irrational or stupid comment that goes over the edge; the comment that or breakdown that embarrasses us to think about. How about just an act of acceptance or acknowledgement - a goal of keeping those straws from breaking the backs of those carrying oversized emotional baggage.
 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Connections


 Just a quick reflection about the ways in which we all connect, following on yesterday's post about sixteen years going to the Women's Final Four with the same women.
For me, the best connection is face-to-face. Coffee once a month or every six weeks with Ginia may not exactly be a tradition, but it's been going on for a long time. Maybe it's only once in a while, but it works. And then there is the phone connection or any type of voice connection. In many ways, e-mail and texting have replaced the phone conversation, but not completely.
I also love e-mail connection. So many way to stay in contact with real friends, acquaintances, family. I'll confess I get more marketing e-mails per day than anything else, more 'deletes' than save, read, respond. But it's worth it. I don't tweet, only because I have zero interest in keeping up with people I don't know. My friends who tweet love it, and anyone in business or a position that requires self-promotion rely on twitter world.
Pretty old-fashioned by now, but Facebook works to give me the illusion I am in touch with people I like, love, know and care about. Every day my friend Cheryl in CT has several postings on FB. Her current interest, current favorite political articles, old photos, new thoughts appear and I get to like or comment. Even if I just read through without stopping to like, I feel connected to her, connected to what she's thinking. We last worked together twenty years ago, have only seen one another a couple of times in the last decade, but I still feel she's my soul sister. And there are others like that - old professional colleagues, political allies, friends by chance, and renewed friendships from way back when. It's a perfect place to see what ex-students are doing and how they are doing. Most of what I put up on FB is derivative - one of those old connections of mine puts something up and I share it. So, there's not much I am offering to those people who scroll by my name.
One might argue that such scrolling, stopping to comment virtually isn't 'real' communication, but I'll settle for it. My world would be much smaller without these ways.
My friend, Ann Sieben the Winter Pilgrim, is travelling South America and keeping connected through her blog. My friend Patrick comments frequently on my blog, making me feel as if he and I are connecting thoughts all the time. What could be better?
This is just a long way of saying that reflecting on the traditions and rituals of the Final Four pilgrimages has led me to thinking about the many ways we all stay connected and how valuable each of those methods is.
For the next week I'll be visiting my grandchildren Emma and Colin in Connecticut.  It is their Spring Break. I'll be thinking of you all, but probably not connecting in any outward manner. It's a one-sided thing, this 'thinking about you' but it's my best shot for now. Take care. Talk to you soon enough. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sixteen Candles

For sixteen years our band of sisters has been going to the NCAA Women's Basketball tournament. Cincinnati, San Antonio, Kansas City - wherever it is, you'll find us. Six women are involved in this group, and rarely do fewer than five show up. This year was New Orleans. Big 'n Easy.

When we started we were in our 40's, 50's, 60's, so you know where we are now. Four of us were directly connected to the University of Denver and are still connected in various ways. Several have moved from the University and from the state of Colorado. Resigned, retired, fired, promoted, transitioned - all sorts of adjectives to describe professional lives. Three have had cancer, one's husband has died, grandchildren have been born, dogs have become family members, travel has been bountiful. Sadness and joy have visited us all in these sixteen years.

Sitting in New Orleans this year, it finally dawned on us that we were engaged in a well-established, extremely meaningful tradition. In spite of life - or maybe because of it - no matter what has been happening, we've made sure to take the time to gather at the tournament and enjoy one another for three-four days.

We don't necessarily all like the same teams on a given year. UConn (mine only), Stanford, Baylor, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Duke are among our favorites. This year the others supported Louisville. It's not really about the teams, although it is about women, basketball, Title IX, history, leadership, friendship. It's mostly about friendship. One of our group members is a founding member of the Title IX fights - she has connections to the beginnings of the battles. Women with vision and history populate her world, and then ours.

On the night between the semi-finals and finals, the men's championship is on television. That's the night we call in pizza and hang in one room, eating, watching, laughing. We tell stories on ourselves and one another, and there is always a lot to tell. Something or someone always gets lost; someone or something gets discovered.

There's so much more to write about this tradition that we've developed, so much more to say about ritual and friendship. I'll be writing more, bits of reflections on this tradition, but wanted  to get you thinking about those patterns, those connections you have with others. More to come. Sixteen candles and counting.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Emergence of Spring



"...enjoy the emergence of spring" was the way I ended the post last Friday, and then left town for New Orleans. Well, I sure did enjoy some warm breezes and warm temperatures, but here in Denver it was/is a different story. Those 'just beginning to show their stuff'  buds, blossoms, and green spots showing all around took a hit from the storm that emerged instead.

I know the snowstorm wasn't exactly Armegeddon, but school was cancelled, with ice and snow presenting themselves in places. It came and it will melt. But what I didn't understand, until the pilot's announcement, as we flew over Houston towards Denver this morning, was that it was 18 degrees in Denver. Cold. Sure, it's the cruellest month, but does it have to be the coldest?

I at least had the sweater I wore out of town last week, but looking around at the plane crammed with flyers, it appeared no-one else seemed to have heard it was cold in Denver. Short sleeves, no sleeves, shorts and flip-flops were the norm. Some of those Colorado sweatshirts must have gone flying out of the airport stores themselves this morning. The plane had started in New Orleans, stopped in Houston to load and unload folks, stopped in Denver to load and unload folks and was then on to upper state New York.
Either spot, CO or upstate New York, none of those passengers will have a sunburn by the end of the day.

Still looking for the emergence of spring in the next day and a half  before leaving town again.

Will share some thoughts on the trip to New Orleans for the Final Four in the morning.







 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Journeys of the Mind


My only pilgrimages recently have been mind trips. I'm taking two courses through OLLI - a lifelong learning program through the University of Denver. These courses are for people 55 +, and the plus goes well into the 90's. I've finally cracked my personal code for enjoying these classes: enroll in something about which I know little. That's not true for everyone - some people actually like to refresh, re-inform, but I always seem to get into an "OMG. I know more than he or she does about this. Why am I here?" frame of mind when I do that. Endless ego, endless comparisons.

But right now I am enrolled in "Our Musicals: The Golden Age" and
"Who Were the Greatest Baseball players Ever?  Sez who?" - both courses a real stretch for me. And I'm loving it. Everyone in both classes knows much more than I do about the subjects. The facilitators are passionate about the subjects and know way more than I do. There are no exams, no quizzes, no papers, reading at a minimal. Both the facilitators are techno savvy, so there are films, clips, you tube, you name it in the presentations. Such a joy.

Sure, I've seen South Pacific, The King and I, Kiss Me Kate, The Sound of Music...Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar and others, but I don't really know anything about them. Based on the first two weeks, I can tell I'm going to learn a great deal, and it's going to be fun.

Oh, I know some baseball. Grew up loving the Brooklyn Dodgers, remember the Shot Heard 'round the World. Became a Yankees fan. I know who Stan Musial, Johnny Bench, Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter are. I know the CO Rockies leave a lot to be desired. I know rbi's, era, bb, but am learning all sorts of new terms - SLG, OPS+, OBP. And the stats my classmates have at the ready, and the opinions are beyond fitting into my little brain. I haven't heard Shoeless Joe Jackson mentioned as many times in my whole life as I've heard in the last two sessions. Anecdotes galore.

So that's where I am right now in mind pilgrimages. But I'm heading off on short pilgrimage to New Orleans with a trusted band of women to watch the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. Go UCONN!!!Then home for a day, and on a pilgrimage to West Hartford CT to see Emma and Colin. Sweet.

I'll be on a bit of a sabbatical from this blog, but will catch up with you when the trips are done. In the meantime, enjoy the emergence of spring.
 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Winter Pilgrim Surfaces


I've been stalking Winter Pilgrim's blog for the last two weeks, waiting for a message to come up. Getting kind of worried actually, as I expected a post during Easter weekend. But nothing....until this morning. So, just happy that she's safe and well, I'm sharing the whole post with you, with a sense of relief. It strikes me as a rather miraculous pilgrimage. It's truly amazing to think of my friend, alone on the road, walking through South America by herself, no hotels to stay in, no pre-planned stops, just following the roads and paths and whatever passes as a byway. I know lots of people with strong faith, strong legs and strong minds, but no-one else I've ever met could be on this journey. The happy pilgrim. Grateful for her health and safety and vision of the world.

Day 202 Microclimates and Microcosms

Still bouncing between 2,000 and 3,000 meters (6,500 and 10,000 feet) of elevation on my daily strolls, I've crossed through a remarkable variety of weather and climate, even within a single day. Snow-capped active volcanos within a degree of the equator... who knew? Wool overcoats for the city-dwellers and wool leggings part of the various native costumes in the tropics... again, who'd have believed it? Fragrant eucalyptus trees grown for firewood. Love it. Even a long valley of rolling slopes covered with cactuses and other desert vegetation, in the tropics?! Variety and surpises. Who could ever get bored walking through such a place? (Maybe someone with small lung capacity would struggle a bit.)

Crossing the equator occurred without fanfare for me after Palm Sunday in the title-worthy UNESCO city of Quito. I spent the night in the five-hundred-year-old convent of the Poor Clares, a cloistered order of nuns who were a real hoot and happy to host a pilgrim-ette. After being fussed over during dinner and then breakfast (eat! eat!), I was sent off in the morning with several kilos of fruit and small loaves of bread with cheese and hard boiled eggs. On the quiet secondary highway leaving the city, I sat for a sheltered picnic in a light rain where I judged the equator to be, though lacking an informative sign, and celebrated the 35° of latitude behind me, only 20° to go. The overcast prevented any magical shadowplay. Now, already 400 kilometers north of the equator, I absolutely appreciate that the sun is on my back far more often than on my over-pinkened face. I'm confident that the frontal sunburn I've cultivated over more than 6 months walking northward in the southern hemisphere will finally fade to the normal shade of pink. (I've overheard more than a few little children audibly whisper to their mothers 'but why do we call them white people?')

Walking northward through the border, I crossed into Colombia without much ado on the day before Easter. The border is open for citizens of both countries so only the handful of travelers enter the immigration building for the passport control. Onward to the first city, Ipiales, I found that not many of the shops were open except the innumerable restaurants, where guinea pigs roasted on sticks over hot coals marked the festive atmosphere. Pass. Finding no tourist information office nor any shop open for a map, I continued on mapless to the Santuario de las Lajas as planned, more gorgeous in person than even on the Wiki page. The Franciscan nuns accepted me openly, put me to work helping with last-minute arrangements of the altar decorations, and then fed me abundantly. Dyed Easter eggs, tender beef, crispy French fries... maybe it was just the holiday, but there appears to be more of a culinary interest in Colombia than parts south, the yen for guinea pig notwithstanding.

Finally, decent coffee, a beverage here treated with respect and reserve rather than a side thought involving instant dehydrated crystals. After stopping for hospitality at the Franciscan seminary in Pasto, I can say that as much as I love the Colombian coffee, I find the Capuchinos much sweeter =D (They took photos and promised to send them to the webpage.)

Continuing on the ancient path, now Panamerican highway, I'm wandering through great green mountains draped with patchwork parcels of coffee trees and banana trees, corn stalks and everpresent potato mounds to the soundtrack of waterfalls hidden beneath the oversized undergrowth and chatty birds hidden in the treetops. Lovely pilgriming.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

No More Illegals




The NewYork Observer.  For those of us who put a fair share of time into following the various style books (MLA, Chicago, APA etc.) it's good to know the AP Stylebook is making some changes.  No more 'illegal immigrants.'  About time, wouldn't you say? Check out the other changes also. Might make writing 'clunkier' but more accurate, as they say. Clunkier?

AP_stylebook_coverThis afternoon, the Associated Press announced that they will no longer use “the term ‘illegal immigrant’ and ‘illegal’ to describe a person.” The news collective’s Stylebook, which is the arbiter of journalistic style, is followed by many outlets. Instead, of using the term to describe a person, they will use it to describe an action.
“Illegal immigration: Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission,” the new entry reads.
Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explained the thinking behind the decision in a release this afternoon.
“The discussions on this topic have been wide-ranging and include many people from many walks of life. (Earlier, they led us to reject descriptions such as “undocumented,” despite ardent support from some quarters, because it is not precise. A person may have plenty of documents, just not the ones required for legal residence),” Ms. Carroll wrote. In thinking about the term, the AP looked at other areas where they have gotten rid of labels in the Stylebook.
“The new section on mental health issues argues for using credibly sourced diagnoses instead of labels. Saying someone was ‘diagnosed with schizophrenia’ instead of schizophrenic, for example,” wrote Ms. Carroll. “And that discussion about labeling people, instead of behavior, led us back to “illegal immigrant” again. We concluded that to be consistent, we needed to change our guidance. So we have.”
Even though the new guidelines may make writing clunkier, the announcement notes, the AP believes that accuracy is worth it.
In the announcement, Ms. Carroll notes that this change will probably get some comments from pedantic logophiles.
“I suspect now we will hear from some language lovers who will find other labels in the AP Stylebook,” she wrote. “We welcome that engagement. Get in touch at stylebook@ap.org or, if you are an AP Stylebook Online subscriber, through the ‘Ask the Editor’ page.”
Follow Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke on Twitter or via RSS. ksmoke@observer.com

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Error Free

 Time trip over the weekend, out of time this morning. Just spent more time than you want to know correcting a bank error - a substantial amount - on line. Turns out, the problem occurred on this side of the transaction. Lots of phone minutes.
Humble Pie. Exhausted. Almost wordless. Who would have thought it would be an error from my side? (not me)

May you have a transaction free - or at least an error free day.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Public Spaces


Came across some scenes on Easter Sunday that made me feel as if I were in an old Life or Look magazine - or actually experiencing a Norman Rockwell scene on the cover of Saturday Evening Post . At Cherry Creek Reservoir we came across a site where people (all men yesterday) can fly their model airplanes. Planes buzzing, rolling, flipping, landing perfectly as men sat in small groups and talked about the advantages of various planes over others. Having no idea that such a special part existed in the park, we watched and listened for quite a while. A few men smoked cigarettes, but no one seemed to care. Just guys, sitting in the sunshine, enjoying themselves and their hobby.

A few miles down the road, having driven by literally hundreds of people on bikes, we came to a stop where a huge family picnic was being assembled. Old-fasioned folding chairs, not the type that have a backpad or drink holder, were being assembled, with unstable legs pushed into the dirt.
Several little boys brought their bikes in the back of the family truck and just rode in circles. Little girls, late to the picnic, unloaded from one big car, in their rustling crinoline and net skirts, large white and blue Easter bonnets in their hands. Hard to tell whether a second set of clothes came with the girls, or if their once perfect Easter church clothes would be torn and dirty by the end of the afternoon play. 
I imagined the deviled eggs, ham, potato salad and beans were in the covered dishes sitting on the big public table.
That's how the day went. Public spaces invite people to spread out, to share, to come together where there isn't one back yard big enough to do.
Nothing like going to a public space to be reminded of how many ways people share their holidays and days off together. It was spring yesterday, time for new beginnings and nostalgia.