Humble Contributions to the Peoples' History

When my son asked if I could take in a homeless cat, I paused because I didn’t have familiarity with cats. In addition, she was pregnant. I had no idea what would be involved in looking after this animal and her perspective brood.

I needn’t have worried. Mamma cat did everything right, giving birth and taking care of her seven kittens. Our reward for taking her in . . .

Baby Kitties

We kept Momma cat and Sweetie Bumpkins (on the left), and we were lucky to find good homes for the other kittens.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reward

With that greeting, might I be offered some refreshment?

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Rule of Thirds

Alexandra, Sky

“The sky sees your face.”
–Alexandra Kerr S.
2/7/15

Yes, 
the sky sees your face
the wind whispers in your ear
the rain hears your splashes
the snow kisses your hand
the grass tickles your toes
the moon sparkles in your eyes
the sun warms your skin.
Yes,
the sky sees your face.

My grandmother probably never thought of herself as mathematician, yet she had an understanding of rotational, translational and reflective symmetry. Fiber arts, especially as practiced by women, was seriously neglected in the cannons of artistic works until the 1970s. The feminist movement brought attention to the culture of women’s lives and their contributions as craftspersons and artists. Many women created quilts and other fabric art in hardship by gathering and sewing together little pieces of cloth, sometimes transforming even rags into art for their home.

I have no familiarity with mathematical subjects of plane and spacial symmetries, but I do know that nothing makes a room look more cozy than a quilt on a bed.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry

What’s the big deal about a chair? Well, actually, because this chair is big, about four times as large as a normal chair, and a work of art that has taken on a life of its own. Jake Beckman, a student at Swarthmore College, conceived and built the original chair, which found a place among the other normal-sized Adirondack chairs that dot the stretch of lawn in front of the main hall on campus. The iconic chair even appeared on the Colbert Report.

Several years ago the original chair fell apart and was quietly removed from the lawn. However, the campus community, becoming attached to the Big Chair, clamored to bring the chair back. Jake agreed to return to rebuild the structure, and the chair resumed its place with the others.

I guess I wasn’t the only one beginning to think metaphorically about the Big Chair. Some unnamed inventives would come by during the night leaving the chairs in different arrangements, such as the Big Chair leading a line of the other chairs or the Big Chair in the middle of a circle. One morning the Big Chair stood upright while a semicircle of normal chairs tipped down in front of the Big Chair.

Now I was thinking hard. The chairs assumed the metaphor for power dynamics .  .  . and not just at Swarthmore! I thought about “Big Chair” people, folks that tell us what to do or think: politicians, pundits, advertisers, bosses, CEOs, presidents, board of directors .  .  .  and I’m sure you can think of many more. Do we perceive these folks as big in influence, power, authority, wealth and get drawn into a mindset that binds us to a deferential attitude? Many normal chairs sit on the lawn–there is strength in numbers when we act collectively. And normal-sized chairs serve a real function. We wouldn’t make 25 more Big Chairs.

On reflection, perhaps we do need the Big Chair–reminding us to keep the right perspective.

Depth of Feeling

Several years ago a friend invited to me attend a circus, as her company provided free admission to employees and their guests. I hadn’t been to a circus since I was a child, so I had few expectations of what the show might bring.

During one of the acts, the elephants reared up, one after the other, the hot, glaring lights reflecting off their skin. The bright spotlights washed out some of the color and the creatures appeared as stark images under the harsh lamps. The circus transformed into melancholy display, as I had become a spectator to another view of the performance.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth

More stories about elephants:

Elephants Reunited
Newspaper Article Describing Training 1930s
ASPCA Circus Cruelty
Should Animal Circuses be Banned
Elephants

Serenity comes upon us when the vastness of our planet rises before us. We see ourselves as part of the miracle we call earth. It’s as if the universe is sending us a message that we belong to this place and time. When we stand alone by the seaside, we are not lonely. The moment stretches into an imaginary eternity as the waves return to the shore and the clouds pass away. We are alive, and we experience this transcendent gift in a moment of serenity.

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Word Press Photo Challenge: Serenity

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