Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The shock of bad news, and the comfort of roses

This Pierre de Ronsard (Eden) rose is rampaging madly all over our front garden at the moment. I found it, more dead than alive, in the bargain bin of a garden centre years ago. I bought it on a whim and took it home where Skunk looked at it, aghast. (Any other codependent gardeners out there?) It looked so miserable that no one thought it would survive, but it has, and it rewards us with spectacular shows of long-lasting double blooms that fill the garden with colour and scent from May to mid-November each year. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Surrey County Council private car park sign was given to me by a friend who 'liberated' it in her student days. Honest.

These roses are Nature's way of reminding me not to lose hope when I think the sky has fallen.

Had a nasty shock yesterday morning. Skunk, barely 3 months into his new job - the wonderful new position he found after being laid off last autumn by the company where he worked for almost 20 years - was told by his boss that he was now surplus to requirements, so they were letting him go. I was crushed by the news because his new job seemed to be going so well. He was enjoying the work, his new employers had told him they were delighted with him, he looked like a new person. I felt as if the rug had been pulled out from under us. How dare they! Why now? And more importantly, what were we going to do? 

Truth is, I simply don't have any answers right now. The sun is shining but the world suddenly feels like it has gone cold. I know it's natural to feel overwhelmed by fear and anger and self-pity when these things happen. It's important that I face today's feelings rather than deny them. It's even more crucial to reassure myself that the situation will eventually change, that something will turn up, another door will open as this one closes, and my family and I will be okay. We've been through worse, and we'll get through this as well. I know that happiness lies not in our circumstances, but in what we make of them.

I'm going to hold on to that.

This much I know -- life is full of surprises, like this climbing rose.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

In Arcadia

This is my favourite private garden. It's beautiful in all seasons, even in the gloomiest part of winter. In spring, however, it's glorious beyond compare. It belongs to two close friends, J (who's 80) and her daughter B. The two of them do all the gardening on this property that's almost 2 hectares in size. They are my gardening heroes. I stop by every chance I get. A visit to their garden inspires me to redouble my efforts with ours. But I also come away feeling a bit despairing of the ordinariness of ours which is a fraction in size. You might understand how I feel after seeing these photographs.

[Double click on the photos to see them in better detail. I have a great new camera and am still learning to use it. By which I mean that I've given up swearing at the instruction manual and am figuring things out in my usual manner, through trial and error.]

When J and her husband bought this property some thirty years ago, it was an abandoned farm with nothing on it but some walnut, apple and beech trees. The garden was entirely designed and planted by J, who's English and comes from a family of passionate gardeners.

Acid green leaves of a variegated maple make a nice backdrop for dark pink magnolia flowers.

This is the woodland part of the garden. Rhododendrons and azaleas will soon set this corner ablaze.

Even the composting area (the wooden structure partly visible on the left) is pretty.

On the path up to the wood, this copper beech is just coming into leaf.  

I love this spot at the end of a long path bordered by tall hedges. If you look closely you'll see 'Et in Arcadia ego' carved into the bench. I think it roughly translates into 'Even in Arcadia I exist.'

One of three living willow sculptures by B, who's a sculptor. This willow igloo (we call it a wigloo) has a bench inside it. My children made this wigloo their playhouse when they were younger. J and B also encouraged them to build a fort inside one of their big conifers. Legs and Noodle would collect material for their fort in the wood. We used to hear their woodland skirmishes - the crash and snap of swords and grenades (fallen branches and pine cones) punctuated by loud yelping and hooting. 

Under this huge linden (or lime) tree is a bench that's perfect for post-prandial naps. Its branches swoop all the way down to the ground, so when it comes into full leaf in a few weeks, this bench becomes almost invisible, making it the perfect place to hide. 

A closer shot of the secret bench under the linden. There are a few other linden trees in this garden. When they bloom for a few weeks in late June - early July, bees will forsake most other flowers to flock to them. Linden flowers have the most haunting scent. Their fragrance fills the entire neighbourhood.

Three ewes and three lambs owned by a local farmer keep the grass down in the apple orchard.

This inquisitive little fellow tried his best not to show me he was interested. He trailed me around the apple orchard at a safe distance while I pretended to ignore him while taking photographs. Once I was safely on the other side of the fence, however, his curiosity got the better of him. See his newly shorn mama lurking next to him?

Two local bee keepers, one of them a Druid, keep their hives in this garden. The beehives sit between the apple orchard and the bluebell wood. We're big honey lovers, and all I can say is that the honey from J and B's garden is the best we've ever had.

Happy honey bees!

The more formal part of the garden. Both J and B are masters with topiary shears. I just like to stand and gawk.

The part on the right that's in shade is a wildflower meadow.

Snakeshead Fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris) have naturalised under a walnut tree.  Here's another look at this tree earlier in the spring when it was surrounded by a carpet of daffodils and crocuses.

 B's vegetable garden or potager wakes up from its winter sleep. Everything is organically grown.

The potager overlooks the apple orchard on one side.

Double, deep pink hellebores.

The view from the terrace of J's house in late afternoon sun. 

Some of these large box and hebe domes started out as cuttings.

Impossible to resist stroking these box topiary balls by the front door.

Climbing roses on the barn wall.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Finding chocolate redemption (and a recipe!)

Some people I know have declared that they're giving up this, that or the other for Lent. The odd thing is, none of them are particularly religious, or even all that disciplined, so I wonder why they do it. Has Lent become just another trending thing, like being disgusted with Tiger Woods has become a trend? How does giving something up for 40 days make one a better person, or change the world? Surely it takes much longer than that. Does abstaining from something like alcohol or dessert or shopping mean we give up the deeper emotional hungers that lead to these cravings in the first place?

Not knowing the answers to any of that, I baked brownies. When I'm in doubt about anything - anything at all - I bake. In fact, I baked two, just to give abstemiousness a kick up the backside. Abstinence and Catholic guilt have failed me as both moral compass or slimming aid, so I abandoned them a long time ago. I've been a happier camper since.

I'm not giving anything up for Lent, except the artifice of Lent itself.

Over the years I've experimented with dozens of brownie recipes. I found a few I really liked and tweaked them until I came up with a version that really rocked. Everyone loves my brownies. They're complex, fudgy and aromatic. People fight over them. Girlfriends hide them from their husbands and children. I get invited to dinner parties on the off chance I might bring some. Once, someone asked to marry me because of them. I kid you not.

Use the best quality dark chocolate you can get. Therein lies redemption.


This recipe makes two pans of brownies because chocoholics never bake just one. You can half the recipe if you wish.


185 grams / 6.5 ounces unsalted butter (If you substitute margarine, I'll hex you.)
170 grams / 6 ounces best quality dark chocolate (I use 74% dark chocolate)
2 cups / 400 grams white sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-raising)
2 tablespoons ground almonds
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Optional (nah, not really):
1 cup walnuts or pecans or a combination of both, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup or more dark or milk chocolate chips or a combination of both (If you can't get chocolate chips, simply medium chop some good chocolate with a knife.)


Adjust oven rack to middle position. Heat oven to 325 degrees F / 162 degrees C / gas mark 3.

Butter and flour two 8- or 9-inch baking tins (square or round are both fine).

Spread chopped nuts evenly on baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, about 5-6 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk to combine flour, ground almonds, powdered coffee, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

Melt chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely-simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, folding in with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth. Do not overbeat, unless you want your brownies rigid like Victoria Beckham.

Transfer batter to prepared pans. Using spatula, smooth batter into sides and corners of pans. Do not resist the urge to lick the spatula when you're done. Sprinkle toasted nuts and chocolate chips over batter.*

Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Turn out into a serving plate, slice and serve.

Store leftovers (leftovers??) in an airtight container at room temp, for up to 3 days. Storing them in the fridge will give them an even fudgier texture.

* Sometimes I like both nuts and chocolate chips on top. Sometimes I mix the nuts into the batter but sprinkle the chocolate chips on top, as shown in these photos. Or vice versa. Whatever turns you on.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Archipelago of my affections

This wretched blog has been in a coma for the last three months. Can't say I've been a busy mum, because there are women far busier than myself who blog daily. While busy certainly comes into it, so does distracted, uninspired, undisciplined and most of all, lazy. That's it, mostly. Lazy.

I've lived in Belgium for 23 years and have Belgian nationality. But there's little doubt that my heart's home will always be the Philippines, the archipelago of my affections. I still call those 7,107 islands home even if my last visit was 6 years ago, and a shaky bank balance reminds me that the next visit is far off. I call it home, though I regularly feel desperate and angry about how things are over there: the grinding poverty, the natural disasters, the Catholic church's continuing ban on birth control which is criminally irresponsible given the country's population of 97 million with a growth rate of almost 2%, the shocking corruption of politicians from the President on down, the malaise of the educational system, the non-existence of healthcare, the utter disregard for the environment - the dumping of garbage everywhere, unchecked urban sprawl, the rape of coral reefs and pillage of old growth forests, the unquestioned sway of the West, particularly America, on Philippine culture, and the consumerism that shouts from billboards and gropes pinched pocketbooks in sprawling malls. It shocks me that rich friends think nothing of giving a 9 year old child a 3G iPhone or buying their daughter a $6,000 Louis Vuitton handbag for her 16th birthday, while people who've lost everything in recent floods huddle in shanties closeby. And it saddens me that families spend less time enjoying healthy, home-cooked meals together in favour of eating junk-laden burgers and drinking soulless caramel brulee lattes at Starbucks cafes which have sprouted like a rash all over the place.

Living half a world away and railing about the pitiable state of my homeland does not help much. At most it brings me fleeting relief from frustration which lasts five minutes, if that. In a feeble, angsty First World way, I wring my hands and commiserate with the plight of my fellow Filipinos, for all the good it does them or me. I can get really hot under the collar or feel righteous or shouty or guilty; often all those things all at once. Powerlessness - seeing it in others, and feeling it in myself - is hard.

The joy of seeing comes from being aware that life brings its own little corrections to any given situation, if I take the time to look beyond myself and my overblown judgements.

I came upon this beautiful gem of a video yesterday, and found it starkly moving. It was directed by the artist-activist Mae Paner and shot by Boy Yñiguez, a first rate cinematographer who also happens to be a dear friend. The small group that made it worked for free and produced it themselves. Sadly, there have been no takers for this video among cinemas and TV stations back home because it doesn't have any famous actors or politicians in it. Shame on them. If you like it, please share it with others.

It is simply about a poor boy who finds a paper Philippine flag in the dirt, dusts it off and climbs up an abandoned flagpole with it. The song in the background is the Lupang Hinirang, our national anthem, delivered with sparkling dignity by a children's choir instead of the orchestral bombast that usually accompanies it. That is all. And yet. It gave me pause and made me cry. Everything I love about my country IS in that boy - in the purchase of bare toes on slippery metal, in his unflinching ascent, in the shy smile of victory he allows himself when he reaches the top. He is golden like the morning.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Brave and Startling Truth

I have always loved this poem by Maya Angelou. In light of recent events both personal and global, its meaning resonates ever more deeply. Maya Angelou was rushed to hospital in Los Angeles yesterday evening. Maya, beloved lioness of my heart, may you make a successful recovery, or find serene passage.

A Brave and Startling Truth 
by Maya Angelou  (1928 -  )

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn and scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

..... and I think I've got problems?

Skunk lost his job yesterday. When he got home he told us that the company where he's worked for twenty years no longer needs his services, effective immediately. Yes, just like that. When someone delivers bad news in real time, my senses go into slow motion, my mind blanks and a leaden fear seeps into my bones and settles into a hard, immovable knot in my stomach. That's how it felt when he broke the news yesterday. Noodle, crying a little, said, "Oh well, at least we'll have more time to play board games together." This, from a boy who's never liked board games. Legs began to jabber about mundane things that made sense only to her. We clutched each other for solace and muttered clichéd things that were so lame they fooled no one. Then I fled to the kitchen to choke back tears. I washed dishes that didn't need washing, and then cooked the most dreadful soup of my life. Cream of sludge with cremated bacon, I think. It was vile.

It's morning. I'm clear-headed despite the reckless quantites of vodka and red wine I drank last night. Legs and Noodle are in school. Skunk's gone to the office one last time, to tie up loose ends and wish his colleagues well, including the bastard who fired him, because that's just the kind of person Skunk is. The house is quiet and I'm finally alone. I've wallowed in the luxury of an outraged, self-pitying weep. I needed to. At least a dozen tissues' worth of tears, snot and seething frustration. My bag lady demons are back. Their talons are scritching at the door, they're cackling to be let in. They lie in wait for moments such as these. One wags a bony finger and sniggers that we have no savings. Bitch. As if I needed reminding. Another hisses in my ear that neither Skunk or I will ever find work again, that the fantastic company-sponsored health care and pension package we've enjoyed will dry up and we will grow ill and hungry and poor and end up on the street, that our children will stop loving us because we won't be able to give them the holidays and cool teenage stuff their friends enjoy.

Fuck off, demons. I know you too well. You're not going to win this time.

* * * * * * * 

In other news, people continue to suffer in my beloved homeland. An extreme typhoon packing winds of 220 to 240 kph is headed for the northeastern part of the Philippines and is expected to make landfall sometime tomorrow. The death toll from last week's floods in Manila and neighbouring provinces is approaching 300, with many more unaccounted for. Official figures put the number of homeless at half a million people, although friends actively involved in relief work believe it's much higher than that. Evacuation centres are full to bursting, there simply isn't enough food, water, medicine, blankets or shelter to go around. Cleanup crews are burning out. Peace and order is beginning to fray. While her countrymen drown and starve, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo parties with her sycophants. So many people have lost every single thing they have, and she parties.

All Skunk has lost is a job. I must remember that. I must remember that.

These 3 photos of the flooding in Manila were sent to me by a friend.  Photographer/s unknown.
Click on the individual photos to see them in more appalling detail, if you wish.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Music: CPR for the heartstrings

Music heals and redeems. Not just emotionally but also - to my great delight - physically.

The other morning I stupidly got all hot and bothered about Sarah Palin's latest idiocy regarding health care. In need of a Palinoscopy, I listened to music. Later on Twitter I posted a link to that piece called "Stabat Mater" by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt that had somehow calmed me right down. Someone whose tweets I enjoy made this comment on my post: "What a beautiful piece of music. The human voice has such healing properties - it teases out sadness and restores the soul." I couldn't agree more. We tweeted back and forth about it for a bit, and it led me to this blog post.

I've been fascinated to learn through my study of Jin Shin Jyutsu that sound is the one thing that harmonises our endocrine system. Apparently, the ancients knew this. An endocrinologist has confirmed it to me as well, but the whys and wherefores are too complicated for me to understand fully, let alone explain to someone else. The endocrine system regulates stuff like our metabolism, growth, puberty and tissue function. It controls our hormones and helps determine our moods. Diabetes, thyroid disease, obesity, and heart disease are all disharmonies of the endocrine system. Cancers of the breast, liver, pancreas, kidneys and ovaries are also endocrine-related. I've finally stopped wondering why teenagers seem to be surgically attached to their iPods 24/7, or why hormonal people (not just women, mind) go all wobbly when they listen to certain music. Or why the laments of wolves or the callings of humpback whales touch something elemental in each of us. It all makes sense to me now.

The novelty of learning to embed a YouTube video on my blog hasn't worn off. This is how pathetically amateurish I am when it comes to tech stuff, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Feel free to roll your eyes up at my ineptitude, but I bet not many of you can make a killer Peking duck from scratch either. So we're even.

I LOVE this version of "Deja Vu." David Crosby originally wrote it for the first album (of the same name) that his group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young released in 1970. That was almost forty years ago. In this video, filmed near Amsterdam in the late 1990s, Crosby performs it with his new group CPR, and there's a beautiful story behind it. The video is 10 minutes long, and I urge you to watch it full screen with the volume up. It may be the happiest 10 minutes you'll spend online today.

David Crosby enjoyed great success as a founding member of 2 pioneering rock bands, The Byrds, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. However, a turbulent personal life ravaged by drugs and alcohol took its toll on his career, health and relationships. Destructive behaviour led to his estrangement from many of his fellow musicians and friends. There was a term in prison for drugs charges. He eventually found sobriety but continued to face grave financial troubles and suffered a near fatal motorcycle accident. An earthquake caused major damage to his lovingly restored home, which he later lost through foreclosure. On top of all that, Crosby's years of substance abuse and an undiagnosed case of Hepatitis C led to serious liver damage. In 1995, he was hospitalised with deteriorating health and unless a suitable liver donor could be found in time, he faced certain death.

What happened next can only be described as the most joyous synchronicity. An eleventh hour liver donor miraculously became available to Crosby, and the transplant was successful. Around the same time, a gifted 30 year old pianist and composer named James Raymond discovered through a search of his birth records that David Crosby was his biological father. Father and son were reunited. They discovered their blood ties forged even deeper by a common love of music. This serendipitous union led to the birth of Crosby's new group CPR with papa Crosby on guitar, James Raymond, his son, on keyboards, and guitarist Jeff Pevar on electric guitar. Crosby's biography also states, "In this same short season of miracles, Crosby and his wife gave birth to a son, Django, and James and Stacia Raymond presented Crosby with a new granddaughter, Grace." Wow. Even Dickens couldn't make this stuff up.

Croz is as wonderful as ever in this video. His eyes have the light of serenity I've seen only in people who've made it through the fire. Watch out specially for the tender look of love and fatherly pride on Crosby's face as he looks at his son at 5:57 and 6:17 in the video clip. At 6:17 he taps his left breast with his fist, right over the space where his heart lies.

In Jin Shin Jyutsu, that exact spot is Safety Energy Lock 13. It is the place that unconditional love and forgiveness call home.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bad Mama

My friend Pat gave me this very nice but slightly rude t-shirt from a Belgian rock 'n roll band she's friends with. I showed it to Legs and Noodle and told them I was planning on wearing it when I take them to their first day of school next Tuesday.

No. Not really.

The horrified looks on my children's faces made my day. I just can't help myself sometimes.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fred Astaire equals Joy

Fred Astaire stole my heart when I was seven. My grandmother bribed me with a large bag of M&Ms to accompany her to a double feature of "Top Hat" and "Shall We Dance." I could not believe it was possible for two people to move so effortlessly and with so much joy. I watched goggle-eyed, my head flooding with questions. How did they do all that without missing a beat? How did Fred avoid tripping on Ginger's gown? How did she leap and twirl in those heels without twisting her ankle? Why didn't men dress that way anymore? How many years of ballet lessons - which I loathed - would it take for me to be able to dance that way? Listening to Lola sigh through all the dance sequences, I worried she was going to fall into a swoon and embarrass me. She needed a large Manhattan to revive her after the film and let me have a sip of her drink on the condition that I not tell my grandfather or my mother. That was the beginning of my love affair with Manhattans too.

Who can watch this video and not be gladdened by it? Not me. Do turn up the volume and view it full screen. The Vienna-based duo dZihan & Kamien's downtempo beat on "Stiff Jazz" from their album "Gran Riserva" provides the perfect backdrop to Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger's dazzling footwork. However, I think that it might be Astaire's sister Adele with him in some of the dance sequences, although I could be wrong.

No matter, it's all very uplifting. Especially on days when Facebook is littered with the irritating flotsam of Mafia Wars scores and quiz results of addle-pated friends in their 40s or older who are hell-bent on informing me that they have nothing better to do with their lives apart from using sundry Facebook applications as a monumental time-suck. Friend's sample quiz: What Chocolate Are You? Result: Mars bar. Me: Mars bars are NOT chocolate, you pathetic, muttonheaded galoot.

All right, I'll stop grumping about Facebook lameness now and look at this again. Ah, if only I had the fixings for a Manhattan.

My thanks to the clever person who put these film clips and this music together, and to my lovely friend Mnemosyne who patiently explained how I could embed this video onto my blog.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To live as flame

It all began with this picture. It was sent to me by my photographer friend Lito Tesoro who took it at the Los Angeles Arboretum. He said it reminded him of my mum Daisy. It is the most beautiful photograph I have seen of a daisy, ever. Click on the image to see it in all its glory, and you'll see what I mean. On July 19, the anniversary of my mother's death, I posted it on my Facebook Wall together with this poem by Mary Oliver, one of my all-time favourite poems.

by Mary Oliver

It is possible, I suppose that sometime
we will learn everything
there is to learn: what the world is, for example,
and what it means. I think this as I am crossing
from one field to another, in summer, and the
mockingbird is mocking me, as one who either
knows enough already or knows enough to be
perfectly content not knowing. Song being born
of quest he knows this: he must turn silent
were he suddenly assaulted with answers. Instead

oh hear his wild, caustic, tender warbling ceaselessly
unanswered. At my feet the white-petalled daisies display
the small suns of their center piece, their -- if you don't
mind my saying so -- their hearts. Of course
I could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale and
narrow and hidden in the roots. What do I know?
But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,
to see what is plain; what the sun lights up willingly;
for example -- I think this
as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch --
the suitability of the field for the daisies, and the
daisies for the field.

After seeing that, another dear friend, the poet Luisa Igloria left this response to the Mary Oliver poem on my Wall.

(after Mary Oliver's "Daisies")

But if, then, we knew
everything there was to learn,
neither the mockingbird nor the field
overgrown with daisies would move us;
not the sun that sears overhead
in summer, nor its other tokens
that we carry into the year's
different seasons, reminding us
of loss. Having crossed
from hour to laborious hour,
neither do I know what the world is
nor what it might yet be; only
that for the moment it is sweet
to live as flame, to touch and
taste and turn one's face to another's,
grateful for the company.

by Luisa A. Igloria, 19 July 2009

In the Facebook conversation that unfurled, it turned out that Luisa and Lito knew each other decades ago but lost touch. It was a joyous reunion for the two of them. The daisy chain had worked its magic yet again.