The zen of coffee making and persevering


Sometimes I have the foresight to make coffee before I go to bed. I load the water in the tank, pile the coffee grounds in the basket, and apply a sticky note to the front of the machine to remind me that all I have to do is press the “on” button to start the brew the next morning.

There came a morning when I was tired of it all. I dragged myself out of bed out of a sense of obligation and dragged myself around the house, resentful that I wasn’t still dreaming strange adventures or lost in oblivion, and generally ready to retire except for the fact that I had “real-world” obligations hanging over my head.

I grumbled into the kitchen and was caught short by the little sign on the coffee machine.


Oh. Right.Continue reading “The zen of coffee making and persevering”

ten thousand stars

3 ten thousand stars

My E.E. Cummings book 100 selected poems,
purchased at the college bookstore nearly 50 years on,
has a scrap of paper left along the way to
bring me back to poem number 54,
which concludes

“I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance”

and again,
like the first hundred times I read it,
I caught my breath in wonder.

for most this amazing

2 for most this amazing

I just went out to pick a poo that Willow had left near the front door. It is a beautiful night — warm, not hot — comfortable — bright and sunny, the light from the not-quite-ready-to-set sun bouncing off fluffy white clouds against a brilliant blue sky — and it occurred to me I have lived more summers than I have left to live.

It was not a sad thought, because it rarely occurred to me, in all those summer days past, to treasure the moment the way I just cherished this evening. It was a magic moment, even though its purpose was to pluck five lumps of dog feces off the the ground and drop them in a plastic bag — magic because I felt so grateful for being alive to experience it — for having the sense to notice the magic — for having a sweet 11-year-old dog who is still alive and being loved and loving and producing good solid nuggets of healthy waste — for living in this home where Cj and I have made our lives — for the air that I breathe and the love in my heart — for life itself — for the flowers she has grown to bring even more color to this colorful world — for the full tummy from a full meal that so many in this world will not have tonight — as E.E. Cummings wrote so brilliantly:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

And I know how he felt when he concluded,

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

7:15 p.m., July 29, 2020

“You can turn it off!”

1 You can turn it off

This is a little tricky, because I’m trying to reach you amid the noise and the distraction, right through the telescreen. You may never find the message through all the clamor, or if you do, it will have been an accident that you found this — but what a fortunate accident. And here we are.

Mr. Orwell’s prescient book never exactly explained how telescreens appeared in every house, on every street corner — how Big Brother established a system of constant surveillance. Well, you see how it happened now, don’t you, for here you are, reading the words on your personal telescreen, this handy and useful device that cost you hundreds of dollars and you carry with you everywhere? Yep, they made your chains so convenient and attractive that you just had to have them, right?Continue reading ““You can turn it off!””

Thanks, Dad


Richard W. Bluhm, 96, W2KXD, a Chester resident for more than a half-century, died Sunday, July 19, 2020, after a short illness. He was born Nov. 15, 1923, in Summit, the fifth child of Herman W. and Frances M. (Ryszczynski) Bluhm of Millburn.

From an early age Richard was fascinated by the amazing new technology of radio, building his own crystal set and earning his amateur radio license in his teens. When he was 14, he used his radio to help the emergency effort during the 1938 hurricane that devastated the East Coast. He graduated from Millburn High School with the Class of 1940. One of his best radio friends, Henry Elwell, introduced Richard to his little sister, Hilda, and the resulting romance led to wedding bells on Dec. 3, 1944, a marriage that would last almost 62 years.Continue reading “Thanks, Dad”

Look up into infinite possibilities

July 9 2020 - 3

Sometimes, when you’re feeling down, the most obvious thing to do escapes you: Look up.

There is so much sky there. And the Master Painter has produced so many masterpieces in every direction — sometimes I will take four pictures in six seconds and every one looks different, even though they were taken in the same moment.

We’re used to paintings on canvas, so we’re accustomed to viewing clouds in frames a foot or two wide — it’s easy to forget that real clouds are miles long and the sky goes on forever, as far as any human can determine. When they say “the sky’s the limit,” what they mean to say is: There is no limit.

In a world where there are infinite ways to box yourself into a corner and feel trapped by circumstances or lost or alone, the limitless sky reminds us there is no box, there are limitless possibilities, and there is no limit. And in a world of 7 billion people, and billions and billions of other creatures (hear that bird singing over there?), you are never quite alone.

The sky can be a little intimidating — like when it brings storms instead of sun and gentle clouds — and when you consider how tiny you are in the midst of all that infinity — but it also shows us how vast this world and this universe are in comparison to whatever you think you’re facing alone.

So: Keep looking down at what ails you in your little corner of the universe — or look up and see the infinite ways to break out and live. Take a deep breath and choose. My advice: Look up. The possibilities are out there.Continue reading “Look up into infinite possibilities”

The old man and the fancy words

gadsden-flag-dreamstime_s_76381771An Independence Day fable

So what do you think about what’s happening?

“As little as possible,” said the old man.

But it’s so important that we do something about —

“‘We,’ is it? Is that what they told you?”Continue reading “The old man and the fancy words”

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