Helpful, innocent, sweet, informative: four reads

As I write this book review, the presidential election is one day away. Like many of my readers, I have followed the online news regarding this race — the polls, the rallies, the daily barrage of commentaries on who deserves our votes. In the next few days, these weighty and acrimonious conflicts will, I hope, be resolved. 

Becoming mindful in a chaotic world

Last October, I turned 40. It made me evaluate where I was physically, emotionally and personally. About a month after this pivotal birthday, I had my wellness visit at the doctor. I be-bopped in, assuming labs and vitals would be just fine like they always are, but a couple days after the visit, I received a call saying my iron, B12 and hemoglobin levels were all significantly below normal. My mom passed away from a blood cancer so issues with blood and hemoglobin terrify me. 

First the boots, then the heavy lifting

“It is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.” 

I recently stumbled upon this quote by Martin Luther King Jr. It was from a video interview he did years ago. Dr. King, of course, was talking about African-Americans and how it was simply wrong and unfair to free them from slavery yet give them no land, no money, no food and no boots and still expect them to create a life for themselves. 

A poet offers thoughts on life and death

When someone dies, we look for words to assuage our grief and the grief of others. We deliver eulogies, we offer prayers, we console those left behind, we sing hymns or other songs beloved by the deceased, we read from various books — the Bible, poems, bits and pieces of prose — to send the departed one into the earth. Often, too, we gather after the funeral for food and drink, and recollect our dead by sharing memories of their deeds and words while they still lived.

Just sit on the porch and breathe

I write this down in the country again ... seated on a log

in the woods, warm, sunny midday. Have been loafing here deep

among the trees, shafts of tall pines, oak, hickory, with a thick

undergrowth of laurel and grapevines — I sit and listen to the

pine tops sighing above, and to the stillness ...

— Walt Whitman, Specimen Days (1892)

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