Mary Beth Writes

The photo is Lake Michigan, taken by Mary Kay Friedel. 


It’s fantastic to receive your photos in my email; I will try to post most of them in the next few weeks. I assume that since you sent them to me, you will be okay if I use them going forward; I’ll always attribute them to you. If you have more photos of light you would like to share, I’m right here, opening emails like a kid at Christmas.

I suppose it’s not a huge surprise that almost everyone has sent one or two photos of Lake Michigan or the ocean. I remember discussing baptism in seminary. Paul Hessert (professor of dogmatics) furrowed his eyebrows at us. “Do you think it is happenstance that one of the most profound elements of religion is water? Instead of telling others what baptism means, pay attention to their lives and yours to see what water means in peoples’ lives.” He said more than that. But that’s what stayed with me.

Don’t tell people what water means. Watch them, you will see it.

When my kids and their friends were little and were having a rough moment, one of the things I learned was to “get them to the water.” Give a kid in a highchair two cups, one with water in it. We had one of those blue plastic pools (probably in some landfill right now). The kids would play in it like maniacs while I gardened. When we were done I’d turn on the hose. No preschooler is cranky if you let them water flowers with a hose. The parent is usually in a pretty good mental space, too.

Remember big family dinners with mountains of dishes and pots and pans? Remember how daunting it was to approach cleaning up, but then how okay it became once you and your partner and maybe some friends rolled up your sleeves and lowered your hands into the warm sudsy water and started in?

When we don’t know what to do next, get to water. We can try to say why it’s so good, but words will fail. IMaybe we love it because it reminds us how good it feels to feel good.

Photo by Susan Lawrence, along the California coast.

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It's always our self we find in the sea.”
― e.e. cummings

Photo by Jennifer Beiriger. The Atlantic. 

I took this photo last year at Fundy Bay in Canada. The tides shaped the rocks.

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall; it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad

Jennifer Beiriger. Florida.

Ocean, n. A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for humans — who have no gills.”
― Ambrose Bierce

Jennifer Beiriger snagging a grandchild

“And I say also this. I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes.”
― C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

Karen Poe, from her resort balcony in Maui.

“All the water that will ever be is, right now.” —National Geographic


 I took this photo at Copper Falls by Ashland, WI.

“Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet.” —African Proverb

“One cannot answer for his courage when he has never been in danger.”
― Francois de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims


 Susan Lawrence.

 “When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away - even if it's only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.”

― Kurt Vonnegut




Love the entire post!

Love this post. Patricia

The Native American water protectors of Standing Rock desperately try to remind us that Water is Life, a common provision for all living things to be honored. For my part, I feel so amazingly fortunate to live on the Great Lakes. We drink from Lake Michigan every day. We swim in it when it finally warms up in June. We watch the sun sparkle on its surface in the morning like a million diamonds. We watch its waves crash before us, thundering across on the shoreline. We contemplate the quiet ripples reflecting an everchanging palette of colors like a Monet painting.

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What are you doing November 3-6 and/or November 11-13?

Do you

Three Things - Birthday Moments

10/21/2021  Three Things

My birthday was last weekend. This is my question for you; have you celebrated a birthday lately that seemed extra fine? I wonder if the quarantine year reset our happiness scale. I don’t remember being miserable last year, but this year felt so rich.

Quarantine Diary # 584 What We Expect & Don't Expect


Note: The Covid Diary is not, apparently, going away this year either.

One of the confounding realities of the American Covid-19 crisis is this. So far (I just looked) 695,000 people are officially reported as having died of Covid, though it is suspected the actual number (not disguised by other sicknesses or conditions) is 804,000. Deaths. Our current population of 330,000,000. So about 1 of every 400 Americans has died. (Source here)

A Letter about DOGS to Third Graders.

Dear Kids,

I asked my website-reading friends about their dogs. These pictures and explanations are about their dogs.

"Brotherhood" by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr - A Book Review


“Brotherhood” by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr is the most compelling novel I’ve read this year. I read the first half as if I was reading a book for the first time; it felt as if the writer was expressing a story so powerful he called it fiction just to get it out, to me, to us. 

I skimmed the second half because I was exhausted by the impossible trauma and decisions the characters would need to endure and try to survive.

Let me say right here than many will survive. Not all.

Thanks & Now Let's Do Pups!


 Thank You!

I sent our collated list of “Ways to Help My Community” to the Third Graders this morning.  Laura has already shared it with them; I just received this from one kid. This was really cool and helpful thank you for coming back to me so quickly well you always respond quickly like all the time and also I like hiring (hearing) from you always make me smile from writing to pictures I love them all.”

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