“Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story”

016For a wedding anniversary, I’m reblogging “Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story”.

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Between Relic and Ruin


Drogedah, Ireland

Droghedah, Ireland

The Oxford Dictionary provides four definitions of the word “relic“:

1.  An object esteemed and venerated because of association with a saint or martyr.

At Edinburgh Castle, in the Norman remains of Saint Margaret’s Chapel, for example, one can still see such relics as the stained-glass window dedicated to this “Pearl of Scotland,” and an altar cloth embroidered with earth and floral tones, highlighted with luminescent pearls and spun gold thread.

Saint Margaret’s Tapestry, Chapel at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

2.  A form of some past outmoded practice, custom, or belief.

An electronically outmoded practice I am determined to revive is the art of letter-writing– actually using ink and paper to convey thoughts and feelings to family and friends.

Trinity College Library’s Great Room, Dublin, Ireland

When I was young I frequently corresponded with my grandmother, who lived in New York City but whom I only had a chance to see a few times a year.  I saw her even less when she moved to California, but she lived to set eyes on my son Sam, her first great-grandchild, and if I see her handwriting I can see and hear her still. Continue reading

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Rambles in the Rainbow Garden (Part 1: Indigo)


Bottoming Out in Indigo (c) July 2014


On Sunday morning it was hot and very humid (though not, I concede, nearly as much so as in Bangladesh, where someone I love is now doing cholera research).

As usual, I was armed with a camera.

“This one’s for my rainbow gallery.  I’m short on orange,” I announced, bringing the breakfast-seeking process to a screeching halt so I could squint in the sun and click away at day lilies.  “I have everything else.”

“You know there’s not really an indigo.”

I looked disbelievingly at the source of this comment, one of the young breakfast-seekers with me.  He continued, “It was added to the rainbow just to make the ROYGBIV thing work.  It should be ROYGBP, but no one can say that.”

He proceeded to fill me in on an elaborate color study that concluded the color indigo doesn’t exist . . . and (far less of a surprise) that just about no one can spell “fuchsia.”

“Not true.  I don’t believe it.  I’ve seen indigo.  I can show you indigo. . . .  Besides, Bill Nye had indigo.”  Bill Nye is the authoritative God of kid science.


As it turned out, however, when I mined my recent photographs for indigo, it was a surprisingly elusive hue.

(Indeed, indigo buntings themselves are not indigo.  Nor have I ever seen the indigo designated for police officers killed in the line of duty rendered in a shade other than true violet.)




But even if you haven’t seen it, I suspect you’ve felt it.

I feel indigo as the deep plum-kissed black-blue of the blood that flows through veins which lurk beneath my skin’s surface.   I feel it in bruising, and in an empty interior metaphorical room’s walls of the deepest blue.

I’ve heard the down-to-the bone blue in The Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine”: “Well darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable/And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear.

So . . .  Yes, Virginia, there is an indigo.

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The Cone of Uncertainty

Before the Storm, July 3, 2014

The East Coast’s weather conditions led a friend to post this morning that she doesn’t think she likes being in “the cone of uncertainty.”

NOAA has set out a bright blue and green map; within it is a “cone” (which looks more like an elongated teardrop to me) mapping the as-yet-unrealized but likely vicissitudes of Hurricane Arthur’s dire offshoots–including tropical depressions, storms, and cyclones.

Strictly speaking, the shape doesn’t look at all like a cone to me: it’s closed off, not open-ended–more like a deflated balloon than a cornucopia.



The mathematics of uncertainty are dryly recited: “forecast uncertainty is conveyed by the track forecast ‘cone’ . . . .The solid white area depicts the track forecast uncertainty for days 1-3 of the forecast, while the stippled area depicts the uncertainty on days 4-5. Historical data indicate that the entire 5-day path of the center of the tropical cyclone will remain within the cone about 60-70% of the time. To form the cone, a set of imaginary circles are placed along the forecast track at the 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h positions, where the size of each circle is set so that it encloses 67% of the previous five years official forecast errors. The cone is then formed by smoothly connecting the area swept out by the set of circles.”

Well, then. Continue reading

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