Today something happened that, were it the late 1600's and I resided in colonial Massachusetts, I would be shopping for chain mail turtleneck sweaters lined in armor because a hanging was eminent!

That hangee, by the way, would be me.

I was standing on the sidewalk speaking with my friend Steve while watching movers emptying a neighbor's house.

Steve asked me if I knew the previous residents who had occupied that dwelling over the years.   Having lived in the same location for most of my adult life, I responded that I have known EVERY resident who had lived there.

Steve smiled warmly at me and asked me if I had a favorite.

Without hesitation I proclaimed, "That would be Ed. He had a son named Eddie Jr. And a beautiful daughter with long dark hair who lived 'back East'."

I went on to tell him how kind Ed was and that he epitomized what I knew a "gentleman" to be ... I spoke about what a great kid Eddie Jr. was and that I enjoyed watching him go from boyhood to the angst of teenage years ... and that I loved caring for their black cat named "Captain Midnight" when they ventured out of town.

I told Steve that Ed moved over 17 years ago but I can still remember his smile and his laughter.

The movers sat down for a break so Steve went his way ... and I went mine.

Later in the day I was cleaning my front deck when I heard a voice.


It couldn't be. Whew! My skill for recollection must be extremely sharp because I swear it was Ed's voice.

"J? Is that you?"

This time I looked up to see the apparition I had conjured up: Ed was standing there smiling at me.

"Oh my gawd!" I screamed in astonished delight and proceeded through the house and down the walkway to hug the man I had spoken about just two hours before.

After shaking my head in complete awe, I explained to Ed my previous conversation with Steve.

Ed and I lied to each other about how neither of us had aged a bit and then we shared 17 years of life in 17 minutes of conversation.

I actually called Steve and introduced him to Ed because Steve would have never believed me if I told him that Ed had come to visit.

Later, I saw Steve at a distance. He looked wary of me.

"Are you a good witch or a bad witch?" Steve yelled across the lawn.

I smiled, turned, and on a hummingbird's wing ... I disappeared.


[5:00pm MST] [Permalink]


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight for the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday's most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love thee with a passion put to use in my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose with my lost saints,

I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life!

And, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.

- - - - How Do I Love Thee?
        (Sonnet 43 from "Sonnets from the Portuguese")
        by Elizabeth Barrett Browning ca. 18451846


[5:30am MST] [Permalink]


Koala Rescued In Charred Australia

SYDNEY - Local CFA firefighter David Tree shares his water with an injured Australian Koala at Mirboo North after wildfires swept through the region on Monday, Feb. 9, 2009.

It was a heart-tugging scene borne by a chance encounter in the charred landscape of Australia's deadly wildfires: a koala sipping water from a bottle offered by a firefighter.

David Tree noticed the koala moving gingerly on scorched paws as his fire patrol passed. Clearly in pain, the animal stopped when it saw Tree.

"It was amazing, he turned around, sat on his bum and sort of looked at me with (a look) like, put me out of my misery," Tree told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

"I yelled out for a bottle of water. I unscrewed the bottle, tipped it up on his lips and he just took it naturally."

The koala, which turned out to be a female, was in pain but recovering with antibiotics, Jenny Shaw of the Mountain Ash Wildlife Shelter told Melbourne's The Herald Sun newspaper.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Suspicions that the worst wildfires ever to strike Australia were deliberately set led police to declare crime scenes Monday in towns incinerated by blazes, while investigators moving into the charred landscape discovered more bodies.

The death toll stood at 181.

4:41 a.m. ET, 2/10/09

- - - Excerpts courtesy of MSNBC.com 2009 Microsoft

[5:20pm MST] [Permalink]


In Memoriam - Australia

"... the death toll rose Monday to at least 173 in Australia's worst wildfire disaster ..."

"The fires near Melbourne in southeastern Australia destroyed more than 750 homes, left 5,000 people homeless, and burned 850 square miles (2,200 square kilometers) of land ..."

"Blazes have been burning for weeks across several states in southern Australia, common for time of year. But the worst drought in a century in the south had left forests extra dry, and Saturday's temperature was 117 degrees (47 Celsius), the relative humidity was 7 percent, and the wind was gusting to 50 mph (80 kph)."

- - - Excerpts courtesy of MSNBC.com< 2009 Microsoft

[5:50pm MST] [Permalink]

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