Saturday, December 31, 2011


Wonderful, beautiful, my heart is flying. I wish I could share this marvelous feeling with everyone. (No, I'm not taking drugs!)

Sunday, December 18, 2011


These holidays are always decorated with bright flashes of sadness, moment when a sharp memory will suddenly burst in among the Christmas carols to say, "You will have sorrow, too."

Soldier Jacob will not be here, with that winning smile and good-to-all sweetness.

Graduation from MP Training
That was where he met best friend Danny Lee Smith
who grieves with us.
Jacob was a bringer of joy into our family,
when Mother gave his birth
and in every action and word of his too-short life.
The memories he left behind are full and rich and bright.

And I cannot fail to mention the other soldiers who called and wrote to say they also grieve for Jacob, after all these years. The grief never really dies. It is just shared among many.

Little Mother's sweet face and kind heart will not grace all our family doings.

Always the elegant lady.
She taught me that loving one another is the most important music of life.
Her memories wrap around me, soothe me and sometimes
squeeze my heart until it hurts.

Nor will Dad's gruff voice add its dark but sometimes melodic bass note to our voices.

Jacob Finley Siratt Jr
He loves us and showed it in so many ways,
but he fought demons for many years
and sometimes lost the fight.
He taught me so much music.
He loved his Sonny Boy.

Betty Joanne, gone so many long years, leaves lingering, but nevertheless keen, reflections of early childhood.
Betty Joanne, Beverly Gaye, Nancy Lena (Patricia Lois)
Betty learned to read and would read to us,
all snuggled in bed together.
She opened my heart to the joy of reading.

The circle widens as Nina's John Thompson joined our lost ones in 2001 and my Tony Scofield in 2004 and Jesse Bunch in 2009 and Roxie Russell in 2010. I hear, now and then, of cousins of cousins. Those around me attend funerals for relatives I don't even know, but I feel the shadows of their grief. Grief becomes a low drone that accompanies the song of life.

Having said all that, I must add that we are fortunate, indeed, that the human condition is such that we can somehow bear the ever-increasing measure of sorrow. We are lucky that it somehow adds other, sometimes richer, mellower, tones to the song of our lives. We are so very resilient in the face of such an emotion as grief.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This is the very tall, full maple tree just beside Nina's driveway. Taken on October 24, 2011, just as it began to change colors.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's 10:00 a.m., and I've just taken my first sip of coffee.  Not bad, although this is a little late.  I like watching the sun actually rise, but if I don't set an alarm clock, what can I expect?  

October 24.  I watched the video of President Obama telling us the combat troops will be home from Iraq by the end of 2011 -- just as he promised during his campaign.  I wish that included the troops in Afghanistan.


Late last evening, I went out to my bonsai workshop (smile) to work on some of my honeysuckles.  At least that's what I'm calling them until something tells me different.  On the rough ones Nina dug out for me at the end of the driveway, I peeled away old bark and cleaned up a couple of them a bit.  The trunks begin to look like old trees!  Now they just have to keep growing those tiny sprouts that are already showing.  It's time to take pictures of the before looks.  

The other honeysuckle -- the one I know for sure is a honeysuckle -- is a really old gnarly, twisted stump with similar surface roots that I'm about ready to pot.  Last night I trimmed away the top few inches of the nursery can so I could see it fully.  Then I turned it this way and that, propped one side of the can for a different angle.  It's a really fun part of the process.  And it's exciting.  It was already old when Michael (the beekeeper and Tony (my late husband ) pried it off a tree trunk in Wilson, North Carolina and dug it out of the ground for me.  Since then, it has traveled to Maryland, California and Tennessee since 1985 or 86.  If it was only ten years old while still on the tree, add 25 years, and my prize honeysuckle bonsai is 35 years old.  Okay, I know -- more pictures.    (smile)  SilverBee

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn Sights Outside my Back Door

I'm not always thinking about politics and social justice.  Sometimes I'm lost in moments of wonder at the changing beauty out my back door.  Just now the skies are gray, and every now and then a little rain comes down.  When a breeze kicks up, swaying the tops of the tall skinny trees in the woods surrounding the backyard, a shower of leaves tumbles to the ground.  The result of all that tumbling, walnut leaves blanket the patio and walkway, leaves that will resist with what seems like wilfulness later attempts to sweep them away.  Oh, well.  The bird feeders carry on a brisk business, with chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, an occasional bright red cardinal or chacking red-headed woodpecker.  I haven't seen the flock of crows today, but a while ago several doves, ever-present squirrels, and those clowns-of-the-yard chipmunks grazed among the grass, violets, wild strawberry plants and other un-named greenery that make up the mowed yard we call lawn.

Oh, I really meant to talk about the changing colors.  Day by day the many-hued greens of honeysuckle, sassafrass, maple, oak, black walnut, mulberry, and various vines in the woods beyond my open door become golden and tan.  I wait for reds, but I think that may be happening higher in the mountains.  I can still see blue and red morning glories, the red berries of a small honeysuckle tree, the maroon leaves and neon pink feathery flowers of the loropetalum . . .

Oh, again, the sun just came out, lighting up the world outside my back door . . . and is quickly gone, bringing another rush of leaves.  Well, I suppose that's enough for today.

More on Capitalism

I know there are individual shareholders who want companies to be more concerned about discrimination and about the environment. And I know there are companies with policies that lean in that direction. But, come on . . . the mandate of corporations is to make a profit for shareholders. And look at the state of the world. Corporations grew out of the colonial period when European countries worked on the principle that if they had the power then they had the right. That principle still prevails, as corporations do as they please in weaker countries and against weaker populations. In fact, through political power, they do pretty much as they please in stronger countries and against stronger populations. It's not a matter of asking, "Please, Corporations, will you be kinder to people," or Please, will you take a little bit better care of the environment." It's a matter of making laws to change the basic way corporations are allowed to work. It's a matter of massively changing the economic structure in the world from capitalistic corporations to (my coined phrase) Trade Institutions between people and nations.

I'm still thinking about all this, so there will be more to come as I clarify and define my thinking. I began to think about all this when I read Marjorie Kelly's book, The Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy. I come at the problem from a slightly different angle than Kelly, but our goal is the same: Put power back into the hands of the people.

Getting Serious!

All right, I'm getting serious now! I've fiddle faddled around too long. I've put off writing about social and political issues that mean a lot to me. Now I'm ready. The name of my blog will stay the same, because in a way some of these issues will be coming out of deep ravines inside me, words I've pretty much kept down, and which I'll continue keeping down in my personal living space. I will be trying to get out to events around about, and I will keep writing to representatives and anywhere else I can make my voice heard. Here is my first example, posted this morning on FaceBook: Capitalism (the free market) has been pushed upon us by those who've fattened upon it. One sign that it is collapsing, of course, is the current economic failure. Even so, we're still being told -- get government out of the way and let the "private sector" do what it is supposed to do, make jobs. Oh, yeah? Umm, the private sector has BEEN in the driver's seat for [lo these] many years. Where are the jobs? Freedom and liberty come when government "regulations" assure all the people are treated equally and have access to the benefits of "the market" and who benefit from the resources of our planet. Capitalism has plundered the planet and oppressed people all over the world. Do we need trade among people and nations? Of course. But it has to be done by institutions accountable to the people through government, and, as Abe Lincoln said, so that "Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Today I reached and passed a milestone, at least it feels that way. After years of allowing my writings to gather dust, I've made a move to get out of the writing doldrums (as opposed to writer's block). I joined Writer's Digest Community and posted the poem I Feel a Clearing of the Skies on the Poetry Corner. In addition, I joined the Weekly Writing Motivation group and responded to the prompt A Secret Passage in the Library by writing a short prose piece. What fun it was! And a man named Art said, of my poem, "utterly delightful." Wasn't that a nice first step on the journey?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I love this photo of my grandnephew, Ryan Bunch, with me at Sherrie and David's horse farm.

The CD of The Mamas and the Papas just came to hand, and I put it in the computer while I puttered around. They're just the best. I love their smooth voice, beautiful harmony, and, best of all, I can hear and understand every word. And, one evening after work, I sat in my little gray and white Ford coupe and recorded the entire recording and sent the tape to Jacob, far away in Vietnam. So, of course there were many tears and sorrow as I listened to Monday, Monday with the lines that say,

Oh Monday morning, Monday morning couldn't guarantee That Monday evening you would still be here with me."

Friday is Jacob's birthday, July 15. He was born in 1948, so this would be his unbelievable 63rd. But he gave up his life just after his 20th. He will always be leaving us again, every time we remember some wonderful thing he said or did. He was an incredible companion. Here's what Danny Smith said in an email today:

I know how you feel about dealing with the 15th and the 19th, but isn't it wonderful that someone made that much impression on us. Just think I only knew him for about 4 months and just look at how close we got. I would give anything if you could see in my mind and see Jay on that front row at attention a waving and a grinning when he found me. I can still see it as it were yesterday."

Yes, that it's it exactly.

So, this week and next hold the two dates we especially commemorate -- July 15 for his birth and July 19 for his death. We carry his memory and the love he gave to us in our hearts every day. And we shed tears because there was no guarantee that he would be back home with us.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tennessee Sojourn

My most striking impression of Tennessee is the beauty and diversity of its trees. There are so many different kinds growing, as the old saying goes, cheek-by-jowl, each with its own colors and textures, that it's just amazing that the soil can support them. And in between the trees are the shrubs and bushes and vines. I'll have to post some photos to contrast with the comparatively stark landscape of my California canyon with its golden grass and occasional dark oaks hugging the ground and with tall sycamores along dry creek beds. Landscape that I love with all my heart. I just found that there's room for Tennessee mountains, too. More later.