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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Quarantine Diary #507 YES #507!

Didn’t I announce back in March that my Quarantine Diary was done?

Argh. Never say never.

I assumed after two vaccines it was okay to meander the world as long as we are mindful of kids and people with fragile immune systems. So put on the mask in public places and don’t be overtly stupid.

Making Memories?

This morning the Washington Post has an article about how we make memories. Interestingly, just because we say we are “making memories” doesn’t mean we are. Most little kids will not start making many memories until they are around age 8. Memories get stuck in our mind if they involve several senses and we are going slow enough to pay attention. If one WANTS to remember something, stop paying attention to everything else that is going on, focus in on the thing you care about using more than one sense. Recall it again later. Deep sleep on it overnight and good luck with that.

Three Things & One Announcement 7/16/2021

Thinking Outside the Box: 

Len once told me this WWII story. The first generation of bomber raids from England to Germany resulted in a terrifying number of bomber planes being shot down. Experts carefully examined the returning planes to create detailed reports of the bullet holes as they tried to understand how to reinforce the planes to make them safer.

Three Things 7/7/2021

Israel’s Health Ministry this week announced that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — one of the world’s most effective shots — was offering only 64 percent protection against infection and symptomatic illness caused by the delta variant.

The vaccine was still highly effective at preventing severe illness and death, the ministry said.

(I read this in the Washington Post, though it’s other places also.)

7/5/2021 Three Things (Don’t miss Highland Mitzi)

Last year was the Covid quarantine so most of us didn’t do very much over the 4th of July holiday.

This year, with half Americans now vaccinated there’s more freedom to do things and be with people.

Three Things (Well, Four) 7/1/2021

Bill Cosby is out of prison on a technicality. The judge said 40-year-old Britney Spear still can’t run her own life. Yesterday 88-year-old war criminal* Donald Rumsfeld died comfortably in his bed.

My gut is twisting. How are you? Power, injustice, and money still row the boat that we’re all on. This nation is playing whack-a-mole with justice, hope, and human rights. It feels ominous. I thought I would just mention this in case you thought it was just you that felt assaulted this morning.


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