The road ends, but the journey continues...

Category: Agrodolce Vita (Page 1 of 6)

yes, life is bittersweet

Bye, Bye, MMXX

vonnegut quote

It’s been a hard year.

To borrow the March proverb and apply it to our domestic and worldwide on-going state of affairs, I like to think that as 2021 ‘comes in like a lion’ it will ‘go out like a lamb.’

In the meantime –

I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.

Mary Oliver

This 2020 virtual choir video edition of How Can I Keep from Singing makes me feel less alone – its message, its virtual human presence. It seems just what the doctor ordered to usher in a dose of courage, strength and continued commitment to stay the course during these unrelenting times.

Being raised Catholic, and then doing the Jesus People street theatre scene in the 70s, my knowledge of purely Protestant Hymns is limited. Yet, here in the midst of a 21st century Pandemic, it took a Unitarian quilter blogger buddy to introduce me to this encouraging and joyful Hymn (thank-you, Zippy).

My life flows on in endless song above earth’s lamentation.
I hear the real, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.
No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock, I’m clinging. Since love prevails in heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

– Keep singing –

We all need more Christmas

(this year especially)

The fresh-cut tree stand down the road from us always sets up shop around November 11th and sells out of ‘fresh’ stock (highly contestable IMHO) around Thanksgiving. This has always confused me as the thought of needle drop before Christmas proper and indoor dry tree syndrome does make for a huge holiday fire hazard, if not messy house.

After living in the deep south for almost a decade, I’ve learned it’s common to start with the tree-in-the-house aspect of Christmas decorating to begin not the day after Thanksgiving – which has always seemed strange to me, too – but instead often several days before Thanksgiving. I’ve gotten used to this and kept my thoughts about this seemingly local quirkiness to myself – to each his own, right?

This year, that same stand began displaying its wares around the 17th of November. A tad later than usual. And, those trees did indeed sell out several days before Thanksgiving – after two full tree-lot re-stocking of product!

Meanwhile, I found myself spontaneously delighted to see the emergence of such local ‘normalcy’.

Perhaps it’s just me grasping at snippets of Joy. But why not lean into Joy – however seemingly small or passing?

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it . . .

. . . Joy is not made to be a crumb.

from: don’t hesitate, by Mary oliver

Hubby and I agreed that maybe this year we’d get going with Christmas decos earlier than usual for us.

Almost two weeks ago, as I tidied the house up for our Thanksgiving ZOOM family feast, I also cleared away the place where our new 4ft, pre-lit, artificial tree would be set up for this year’s Christmas.

Why?

It felt good.

It made me happy and expectant.

Because:

We all need more Christmas.

This year, especially.

Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Nehemiah 8:10 niv

Snowman table topper pictured in the featured image made by quilt-buddy Roseanne. (Flash wanted his picture taken, too!)

Finding Home (Poem)

Finding Home
by Laura Bruno Lilly
© 2020

I’ll know.

When it feels right.

Deep down in the dark moonlight

filled with desert delight

and

mountain might.

Finding Home.

Where past meets now and future hopes crystallize.

Where how and why are captured

kept as secret gardens – growing spirit – with a side of fruit.

A slice of juicy watermelon slaking my thirst.

I belong.


inspired by Gavin Luke’s piece…thank you poetic muse

Memorial Day 2020

Please Honor Memorial Day

Find the cost of freedom,
Buried in the ground.
Mother earth will swallow you,
Lay your body down.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Memorial

I humbly believe this tribute does not take away from the honoring of our Veterans – My Dad, 2 Uncles and Father-in-Law served in WWII, hubby & 2 cousins during Vietnam and various nephews served during and since the Gulf War. My Sister-in-Law, 5 cousins and a niece are essential health-care providers during this war against COVID-19 – thankfully our family has not suffered any casualties.

NYT-front-page-05-24-20-COVID-19

RIP David Olney

David: I didn’t know your songs until you passed away and I watched a CNN short video in tribute to your life and contributions to the musical world.

Dying while doing what one loves most is a blessing, but still hurtful for those left behind.
…Wish I had ‘known’ you sooner…

RIP David Olney: March 23, 1948 – January 18, 2020

About ‘Death Will Not Divide Us’

David often draws inspiration for his music from classic poetry and literature as well as The Greatest Story Ever Told a/k/a The Bible. A true troubadour, many of his tunes touch on social issues of the day. This track is one of ten on his album, “This Side or The Other.” While not a concept album, David alludes to several recurrent themes. One of which is the frequent reference to walls.
His essay, “Taking Sides and Building Walls” begins, “The Wall is in the news.Trump’s Wall.”
Then David continues to touch on various other walls, “…the infamous Berlin Wall…the Great Wall of China…Hadrian’s Wall…In the Middle Ages, cities built walls around Jewish ghettos. The rationale on the part of the State was that the walls helped protect the Jews. The Holocaust put an end to that particular line of logic.”
‘DEATH WILL NOT DIVIDE US’ was co-written with Abbie Gardner (of Red Molly). David says, “I wanted to catch the spirit of Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 8, Verses 38 and 39*. I love Abbie’s line, ‘There’s a moment of decision when the ground comes up to meet us.’” The new music video echoes our ever-changing world with one constant, opening with a young girl joyfully dancing as she leads a parade of the past into the future. Her movements are whimsical, flowing and childlike while she dons a jester hat. Others follow her “blindly” dancing through town, wandering through historic sites and Romanesque buildings, trusting their fearless leader.
Personal Note: the bookstore in the video is a landmark in Nashville – McKay’s Used Books. A really cool place!

* Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Ice Cream and Remembering Dad

So, this evening, after a fine dinner of Lemon Baked Spicy Salmon, rice, beets and peppers, I indulged in the last of the Tillamook Coffee Almond Fudge ice cream.

After my second helping – there was just a little bit left in the carton – I thought at first my prolonged craving was induced by the Chardonnay that accompanied the previously mentioned fine dinner.

But a nagging suspicion that there was more to it than that persisted.

Of course.

Today marks the third anniversary of Dad’s passing.

He loved ice cream.

Stories & family jokes abound about his doling out tiny ‘balls’ of the stuff for others while heaping mounds of frozen lusciousness into his own bowl…

Plus, when he was thrust into the role of widower and had nothing much to eat in the house – he always had a freezer full of ice cream. He prided himself in eating his milk in the morning via a bowl of ice cream for breakfast.

I miss you, Dad.

Hurricane Dorian, continued – South Carolina installment

Note: Marty of snakesinthegrass posted a 4-day diary of experiences toughing it out in his St. Augustine, FL home as Hurricane Dorian passed. I decided to continue where he and Dorian left off…overlapping on Wednesday’s entry.

For context, Florence, SC is an evacuation city – a destination for those temporarily displaced during a hurricane. Only 60 miles inland from Myrtle Beach, we also feel the effects of weather encountered along the Atlantic coast, sometimes more acutely and in the form of water-storm surges that can last for days after the actual hurricane has passed.

 Wednesday, September 4th:
After yesterday’s gorgeously sunny, though highly humid day, I woke up to a more ‘beginning to look like a storm may be coming’ type of morning.
Just kind of waiting – not wanting the storm at all – but wanting it to pass, to be done with, come what may.
So much depends upon spontaneous trajectory changes during the course of a hurricane. All it takes is a deviance of a few miles in one direction or another to determine the level of devastation it leaves in its wake. Dorian already has a destructive track record so this isn’t something to be taken lightly.
South Carolina’s mandatory evacuation of Charleston and coastal communities has been in effect since Monday with accompanying highway lane reversals and will end this afternoon.
Here in FloTown, it amazes me how polite everyone is, no panicked motorists or freaked out customers in Walmart getting supplies. Just everyone doing what needs to be done. Oh, there are shopping carts piled high with packs of bottled water, cartons of saltines, jars of peanut butter and such, but the crowds move along in an orderly and even convivial manner.
Dorian is expected to arrive in Myrtle Beach sometime tomorrow, with the beginnings of the increased rainfall and wind starting around 7AM.
Thursday, September 5, 2019:
Dorian is on its way – albeit slower than expected – we’re as ready as we know how…including trusting the Lord in all that will come to pass.
This will be the first time for us to experience a hurricane from start to finish.
Last year’s Florence occurred while we were back in Colorado getting Ma & Dad’s house ready to sell and then finalizing that sale.  We delayed our drive back to South Carolina due to the extent of time needed for local and statewide clean up after the hurricane.
Then there’s Matthew. In 2016, towards the end of my Summer of Dad, I was in Colorado awaiting hubby to drive out and join me after Dad passed away and for the funeral. Hurricane Matthew began bearing down on Florence earlier than projected causing hubby to scramble in the middle of the night to leave ASAP – well before his scheduled time. He literally drove through a hurricane to come to me in my time of need.
Joaquin in 2015 and Irma in 2017 we were also out of town.
In all instances, we came back to food gone bad in the refrigerator and blinking clocks – both of which were easily dealt with and remedied. In all instances, our little rental was still standing, surrounded by those huge long needled pine trees native to this area, unscathed and without a trace of flooding.
In all instances, we were immensely grateful to find things pretty much the same as when we left. In all instances, we never took it for granted we’d have anything to come back to…
Friday, September 6, 2019:
Dorian came through our section of South Carolina – Myrtle Beach/Grand Strand area – on the bestcase scenario path. Totally unexpected change in intensity, and totally welcome for those of us here. Dorian arrived then flew the coup without leaving much in the way of a mess. Yes, there is damage, but everyone knows we got off easy. And none of us around here takes that for granted.
Wilmington, North Carolina took a huge hit for the second year in a row. The Outer Banks are ravaged.
This is the height of hurricane season. There are Dorian buddies queuing up all along the Atlantic – any one of them a potential surreal powerhouse destructo-machine.
Lord have mercy – enable the helpers to help. Please comfort the Survivors in the wake of their loss and give them hope and strength to reconstruct their lives.

Keeping you in my heart for awhile…

Note: Something triggered this nostalgic moment and while more on the rough draft side, I thought I’d use it for day three of my “6 years on WP.org” posts.

Denver Mandolin Orchestra Laura Bruno Lilly, Paul Drury, others

Detail of Denver Mandolin Orchestra group photo (circa 1999?) Laura Bruno Lilly (me) – kneeling in front, Paul Drury – tall one in the back


One of the joys of being a performing member of the Denver Mandolin Orchestra was the sense of generational genesis. The turn of the 20th to the 21st century marked my introduction and induction into this motley crew of musicians. A group ranging from violin virtuoso Thereza Stephan doubling on mando; mando greats Eli Karasek, Charlie Provenza, Drew Horton; to mother-daughter and father-son mandolinists sharing music stands during rehearsals and consequent performances. And then there were us guitarists headed by Ron Grosswiler whose collection of historical American classical guitar scores along with Mandolin Orchestra Repertoire from then till now was legendary and not fully revealed until after his death in 2010.
Peppered throughout the DMO’s 23+ musicians, amateurs and professionals alike, we all contributed to the awareness of this largely unknown type of accessible American music. Plus, those like myself who just wanted to play in an ‘orchestra’ with instruments not normally associated with conventional orchestras.
But what I remember most vividly is the memorial service Swallow Hill hosted for one of its own volunteers, and for one of our very own DMO members, Paul Drury, sometime in 2004 (?).
Living within modest means, and one who knew hardship as well as gritty challenges, Paul cared for others. He made sure everyday people got to enjoy simple pleasures – like music. Often, he’d pass on Swallow Hill concert tickets he purchased himself to people he knew marginally (often a little lost in life) – just so they could bask in the healing that is music.
One evening, he died suddenly due to an unperceived advancement in symptoms of diabetic shock…
I hadn’t been a part of the DMO for several years, but was contacted about the jam-session memorial to be held in his honor…an invite to bring my instrument and pluck some of the corny rep we played as a group. And yes, he had a proper musical tribute played by a smaller version of the DMO.
However, it wasn’t until the first strums of Warren Zevon’s Keep Me In Your Heart drifted through the auditorium sound system that the crowd got silent…Paul’s wish for all, sung for the one we had all come to honor that night.

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