I Often Think the Night
Is More Alive
And More Richly Colored
Than the Day.
~ Vincent Van Gogh
All Images: NASA
Is not to Seek Love,
But to Face the Barriers
You have Built
~ Rumi (paraphrased)
2.) Gerald Robinson Photography
3.) Brian Stevens
All that is Gold
Does Not Glitter
Not All Those Who Wander
Are Lost ~
The Old that is Strong
Does not Wither
Deep Roots are Not Reached
By the Frost.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien
All Images: Pinterest
Is like a Strong Wind:
It Tears from Us All but That
Which Cannot be Torn
So that We may
As We Really Are.
~ Arthur Golden
2.) Markus Weggässer
3.) We Heart It
5.) We Heart It
When One Tugs at
A Single Thing in Nature ~
One Finds it Connected
To the Rest of the World.
~ John Muir
The Bialbero di Casorzo – the Double Tree of Casorzo – in Piedmont, Italy, consists of a Cherry Tree growing atop a Mulberry Tree. Also called Epiphytes, large ‘double-trees’ are a rarity as they require root connection to the ground, often through the hollow trunk of its host.
1) Giulio Colla
3) Enzo Isaiah
Never Cease to Stand
Like Curious Children
Before the Great Mystery
Into which We were Born.
~ Albert Einstein
1.) Francesco Mariani
2.) Kolbein Svensson
3.) Lurie Belegurschi
4.) Jari Johnsson
5.) Wayne Pinkston Photography
Quite frankly, Sister Madly had never seen the Professor run so fast; it made her think that she should be running as well.
How it happened she cannot say, but somehow Sister Madly found herself tagging along with the PhD’s for a round of golf- or, as the Professors like to call it, meditation, thus disguising a form of inhumane torture as a spiritual practice.
Well, Sister Madly was getting spiritual, too- and by that, she means adding shots of Fireball to her cider. You see, Sister Madly hasn’t had interest in meditating ever since she sold her soul back when she need some quick cash. As she now prefers the transcendental practice of throwing chicken claws at random strangers to golf, the world is starting to realized that Sister Madly has been living with a cheap, knockoff soul for several years. It’s much like discovering your sweetheart has pawned a diamond ring and has been wearing a duplicate made of sparkly glass.*
* Knock-off souls look much like nougat.
Now this type of spirituality often leaves the seeker in quiet contemplation over complex mysteries, such as why does nature not permit birds to cross-breed when she grants that freedom to domesticated canines. Just think of how magical this world would be with hummingbird-sized peacocks, or with cardinal-colored crows stealing scraps out of the garbage. While the Professor’s ‘meditation’ compels one to be present in the moment, that particular moment is a dreary game of golf and who in their right mind wants to be present in the middle of that?
It was at that moment that the Professor rose out of the sand trap like a majestic phoenix in a pair of extremely unbecoming
golf meditation pants. An errant swing had sent the meditation ball down to the bog, where the Professor was attacked by a swan-
A swan? What’s a fine, discerning creature like that doing at a golf course?*
* Then again, Sister Madly is also a
fine discerning creature, herself, and SHE’S at a golf course…
The Professor proceeded to embarked upon a lengthy dissertation over the Swan’s unwarranted aggression and its arrogant disregard for
golf meditation- basically getting himself into a tizzy over issues that would better be addressed with heavy sedation and months of therapy.
Perhaps it was angered by your fancy pants.
Now, don’t you go thinking about her in that tone of voice, Professor! All that Sister Madly meant was that she is constantly amazed that golf pants do not provoke more feral attacks; she’s fighting that primal instinct, herself…
…that is, until Sister Madly caught sight of this ‘swan.’
Professor… that’s a goose.
After a moment of dull incredulity, the Professor mentioned merely seeing a flash of a long-necked creature as it attacked, therefore assuming…
Once again, Professor, that PhD has let you down. By that definition, anything with a long neck would be a swan:
Now it is common knowledge that geese are territorial, and this Goose had a particular affinity for Sand Trap By-The-Bog. Unfortunately, the Professor also had an affinity for Sand Trap By-The-Bog, despite protestations to the contrary, and any attempt to retrieve the (supposedly) wayward ball was thwarted by the Goose in a spectacle of honking, feathers, four-letter words, and golf pants while Sister Madly enjoyed the show with her Spiritual Advisor * from the safety of the hill. She had no idea that
golf meditation could be this exciting!
* Aka, She Who Manned the Beverage Cart.
“I thought Canadians were polite!”
That’s stereotyping, Professor. Shame on you.
But it was the Spiritual Advisor who enlightened Sister Madly on the matter, as any good spiritual advisor would:
“That’s Max. He doesn’t like obnoxious golf pants.”
Oh dear. Someone really ought to tell the Professor. Someone in safe, muted colors.
Someone like Sister Madly.
And she will.
THEME SONG: Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20 Scène, London Philharmonic
There are Two Ways
To Live your Life:
One is as Though
Nothing is a Miracle.
The Other is as Though
Everything is a Miracle.
~ Albert Einstein
All Images: NASA
Only a Poet
Or a Madman ~
Can Water the Asphalt
And Expect Lilies to Grow.
~ W. Somerset Maugham (paraphrased)
The Important Thing
Is not to
Has its own Reason
~ Albert Einstein
1.) Gerald Rhemann
3.) Michael Shainblum
4.) Dave Lane
5.) Sapna Reddy Photography
The Great Lesson
Is that the Sacred
Is in the Ordinary ~
It is to be Found
In one’s Daily Life…
In one’s Own Backyard.
~ Abraham H. Maslow
1) Saefull Regina
3) Don Komarechka
4) Sharon Johnstone
It’s been said that epiphanies don’t come to those who have all the answers, but to those who haven’t a clue.
Immediately following a round of ear drops, Sister Madly attempted to navigate through the whole of her itty-bitty apartment with her head tilted to the side. It was at that moment that Sister Madly had an epiphany of her own: she would never make it as a halibut.
To be fair, it’s not that she has spent her idle hours wondering what life would be like as a halibut; sometimes the universe just comes along and gives you the answer to a question you never thought to ask.
And clearly the halibut lifestyle is out of her league.
You see, halibut swim upright during the early stages of life; but as juveniles they begin swimming sideways, which cannot be a pleasant way to exist. Sister Madly has no idea how halibut make it through their posh nautical bungalows without getting lightheaded or crashing into the doorframe, but she gives them kudos for doing so.
Yet there is plenty to envy in the life of a halibut: swimming about with no inhibitions, no politics, no leafy greens on the menu. No taxes. No jury duty. No Jehovah Witnesses pounding on the door at 8 in the morning- nothing but that sweet, deep-sea life of mayhem, grand debauchery, and seahorses.
It suddenly occurred to her that she knew an awful lot about the life of a halibut without ever having encountered the fish in its natural habitat, much less befriending one. Such insider knowledge could only be explained by having been a halibut in a past life.
Not doubt these fishy reflections would have gone by the wayside had she not encountered the Professors later at the pub, where a discussion broke out on whether or not Sister Madly had knitted a certain scarf (which she certainly did not.*) The interrogation became so intense that Sister Madly hardly noticed the moment all the pitiless PhD’s agreed on splitting a Fish Sandwich- which turned out to be halibut.
* Neither does she crochet, sew, or do whatever it is that one does with a loom.
Now on any given day, Sister Madly can be found treading somewhere between stone-cold logic and utter psychosis, but that night, she was flirting with the point of no return. Never had she been so tortured over a Sandwich- and not from a ethical viewpoint, which could be forgiven, but that of a hapless soul fearing that she may be noshing upon her own brethren like some aquatic Hannibal Lecter!
So she discussed the matter amongst herself:
It’s just a sandwich, Sister Madly.
~ Not just any sandwich- a halibut sandwich.
A dead halibut, so what does it matter?
~ But it does matter! What if this filet had once been her best friend? Or one of her descendents? Seriously, this is a deep-fried nibble dish of everything that is wrong with society!
What in tarnation… Do you realize, Sister Madly, that your obsession with a fish is rendering you completely incapable of defending yourself against the grisly accusation of Scarf Knitting? You must not let yourself be thwarted by a sandwich yet again!
“You do realize that you are not actually a halibut, don’t you?”
She may not be a halibut now, Professor, but she may have been in a past life. In fact, the evidence is overwhelming:
Halibut: does not knit.
Sister Madly: does not knit.
Halibut: cannot live without water
Sister Madly: cannot live without water
Halibut: does not speak Swahili
Sister Madly: does not speak Swahili
Halibut: very tasty
Sister Madly: not very tasty *
* Trust her on this one. ‘Bitter’ is her middle name.
Halibut: strange looking
Sister Madly: strange looking
As you can see, Sister Madly fits the criteria of a halibut in 4 of the 5 characteristics listed, which proves that she was a halibut in a past life.* Logic, Professor; stone-cold logic.
* 5 out of 5 would prove that she is one currently.
Naturally, the Professor could not* argue with her reasoning.
* Some would say ‘would not’ but, whatever.
But that didn’t mean the argument was finished.
“Are you quite sure that you didn’t knit this scarf?”
Of course! Halibut don’t knit.
“Neither do wheat threshers.”
You know, you might be on to something there, Professor! Not only to wheat threshers not knit, Sister Madly instinctively knew that, much like herself, wheat threshers have absolutely no desire to learn the skill. Thus the only conclusion to be drawn is that before she was reincarnated as a halibut, Sister Madly was first a wheat thresher.
Logic. Stone-cold logic.
Sister Madly recently told a friend that when it comes to a Crazy Cat Lady, ‘crazy’ depicts the cat, not the lady.
She stands by this claim, by golly.
Now Sister Madly, herself, has 13 cats by proxy- 3 through the Professors, 2 via Tallulah, 1 outside the Pub, and 7 throughout the neighborhood. But this was not always the case; just a few years ago, Sister Madly had but 1: Tallulah’s cat, Caviar.
On the surface, Caviar is all fluff and cuddles, driven by a bloodlust for moths, canned peas, and pine needles, and is as much of a fan of hard cider as Sister Madly. Many a winter’s night he would curl up in her lap, licking cider off her fingers while Tallulah tutted her maternal disapproval, which was largely ignored. Indeed, Caviar was a lazy, languorous drunk.
But if one were to look straight into his soul: madness- sweet, cider-marinated madness. Yes, Sister Madly is proud of that little demon psychopath, having perfected the art of crazy with methods entirely of his own devising. It was most unfortunate that Caviar was not around during Sister Madly’s childhood to pass along some Tallulah-terrorizing tips, although her own signature move of sitting as close as possible to Tallulah- without actually touching- was a wicked success.
Unfortunately, Tallulah was not around for Caviar’s Masterpiece; no, she was out on something called a ‘date’ with someone called a ‘boyfriend’ due to this newfangled thing called ‘love’ the moment Sister Madly realized that half of her shoelace was missing. Had Tallulah mentioned that she would be away for most of the weekend (like a good elder sibling should) no doubt Caviar would have postponed his gastronomic escapade until she was all cozy at home in pink bunny slippers, painting her nails.
One would think that the rancid, I-hope-that-was-mud-I-just-stepped-in aftertaste that all shoelaces possess would have persuaded Caviar to abandon his hearty consumption, but being of the Madly mindset, he reasoned that there could be no funky aftertaste if he just kept on eating.* This resulted in an unhappy Caviar who spent the weekend deliberately making himself unsoft- thus no fun to pet- all the while giving Sister Madly the evil eye as though she had stuffed him full of shoelaces like a turkey on Thanksgiving.
* Hearty shoelace consumption causes tummy-aches. For your FYI.
Once Caviar grew tired of that shoelace mucking up his system, he decided to rid himself of it in the most natural way possible- and by that, Sister Madly means the way that Mother Nature had designed.
This turned out to be rather unpleasant for all parties involved.
You see, the shoelace that is ingested whole is returned whole; it does not magically separate inside a cat’s tummy, nor does it disintegrate (as Sister Madly was hoping it would.) Thus the feline that consumes 20 inches of shoelace returns 20″ of shoelace.
Unfortunately, Caviar could only manage 18” on the return, which immediately sent him into a Prima Donna’s tantrum, hissing and caterwauling about the apartment willy-nilly. Sister Madly tried to reason with him, explaining that while his situation was not ideal, it was impossible to run away from the shoelace while the shoelace was still a part of him. She likened it to the few times he had tried chasing his tail, but Caviar was having none of it. Cat logic, you see, holds no respect for the reasoning of mankind.
Now the one thing Sister Madly was told was that under no circumstance should she pull the shoelace out, as it could harm the pathetic little creature. Not that she had any desire to do so; the shoelace made him look like a pull-string doll, and she wasn’t too keen on finding out what Caviar would say if she gave it a tug. She had seen the Talky Tina Twilight Zone episode and had learned a thing or two.
But what’s more is that, thanks to Mother Nature, the returning shoelace was not a clean shoelace, not by any stretch of the imagination. This presented a whole new set of problems as the apartment was rapidly become unsanitary; and as ignoring the problem wasn’t making it go away (oh, how she tried!) Sister Madly- accompanied by Dean Martin’s That’s Amore– spent upwards of 10 minutes chasing Caviar around with a towel, hoping to somehow herd him into the bathroom where he could work out his issues like an adult.
But it was not necessary; throwing the towel over Caviar resulted in a spastic, get-this-neon-terrycloth-horror-off-of-me ritual exorcism, which was enough to free him from the shoelace as well.
Five minutes later, he came begging for cider.
* To those with the horribly twisted minds that Sister Madly so admires, no- the shoelace was not reusable.
THEME SONG: That’s Amore, Dean Martin
We don’t Know
The Weight of the Burden
We are Carrying
Until we Feel the Lightness
Of it’s Release.
More Images at: oddstuffmagazine.com
Seek the Wisdom
Of the Ages ~
But look at the World
Through the Eyes
Of a Child.
~ Ron Wild
And the day came
When the risk to remain
Tight in a bud
Was more painful
Than the risk it took
~ Anais Nin
The Queen of the Night (Night Blooming Cereus Cactus) blooms only one Midsummer’s night a year. The flower takes around 2 hours to blossom, during which it emits a sweet, calming fragrance to the surrounding area. Not long after reaching full bloom does the flower begins to wilt, and has withered by dawn.
Crows have been known to build fake nests in order to fool predators. Sister Madly intends to utilize this strategy the next time she goes camping by pitching a fake tent to fool her friends.
She might even make use of a papier-mâché Sister Madly decoy, which no doubt will go unnoticed for the first 36 hours.*
* Possibly 40, if special mushrooms are involved.
In a rational world, there are many reasons that one would camp out in the wild: to get out of the city, to go on an adventure, to hide a body, or to simply experience nature.
Oh there was nature, all right, in those outdoor adventures of yore…
Professor- was that a peacock?!
While the Professors heard her question, they apparently did not hear the distinctive, prehistoric squawk as their only response was a look suggesting that Sister Madly was treading dangerously close to butterfly-net territory. It would seem that not one of the Professors’ credentials included a PhD in birds.*
* Or anything useful, for that matter.
Furthermore, the Professors must have assumed that Sister Madly not only hallucinated the Peacock’s Song, but did so out of hunger as she was handed a bag of vegan cat treats.
For those unfamiliar with the species, ‘cats’ are those cuddly creatures that purr when happy and strategically hack hairballs into your shoes without the slightest bit of shame. There are kitties in the wild, this much is true: but they are awfully big kitties, Professor- seriously, are these Treats for the cougars?
“For the… Peacock.”
Now Sister Madly’s parents didn’t raise a fool- a darling rapscallion with latent psychopathic tendencies, perhaps, but not a fool. She was well-aware that when the word Peacock was spoken, it was italicized. So they didn’t believe there was a Peacock in the vicinity; so they were merely humoring her like a dim-witted child. So Sister Madly, in return, humored those hollow smiles by indulging in the Cat Treats herself.
However, it seemed that the Treats were intended for the Italicized Peacock after all, for no sooner did Sister Madly start munching on the Treats that the bag was snatched out of her hand with a serious reprimand.
“If you must eat, Sister Madly, then eat this.”
‘This’ turned out to be a most luxurious lump of something akin to the color grey, of which even the Italicized Peacock would be jealous. As the Italicized Peacock was unavailable, Sister Madly had the luxurious lump- which she ritualistically drenched in ketchup like a petulant 2 year-old- all to herself. The ketchup, however, was all in vain as the lump tasted like a near-death experience.
‘This’ was not something she should be eating. ‘This’ was something she should be playing Jacks with while sitting on the sidewalk, and Sister Madly became very depressed that it was in her mouth.
Sensing her dissatisfaction in the second-hand lump, the Professor engaged in a lofty dissertation on how oysters are a source of vitamins this and that, antioxidants, iron, zinc and oh, they can make pearls, Sister Madly! Isn’t that one of your birthstones? Aren’t you just tickled pink?
Sister Madly couldn’t help but be skeptical of any nutritional advice coming from someone whose daily serving of fruits and vegetables had, until recently,* consisted of whatever was garnishing a cocktail glass. But when she heard that oysters are also said to be aphrodisiacs, she began to suspect that the Professors had ulterior motives.
* This Professor had been a pescetarian for 4 days at this point, and would continue to be one for another 6- because, bacon.
But that’s ridiculous; when one is out of one’s element, one tends to be skeptical of anything unfamiliar. No doubt the Professor accidentally packed the Cat Treats instead of trail mix, and the oyster was simply overcooked. Of course the Professors had no ulterior motives; they were in it strictly for the adventure- that is why they insisted on that rugged fundamental: individual foot-baths infused with salt, rosemary and mint.
Face it, Sister Madly: there are ulterior motives at play. You are secretly being seasoned- what other possible explanation is there? Not even a pampered city slicker would insist on a salted rosemary and mint foot-bath out in the wild- isn’t all the sweat, dirt, and funky foot aroma part of the primal allure?
This suspicion was confirmed by the horror displayed when Sister Madly absolutely refused to washed her feet, and no amount of cider could make her comply. It doesn’t take a genius to pick apart your dastardly plan, Professor: a trail of Cat Treats leading from the woods to a rosemary and mint-marinated Sister Madly* smorgasbord, thus satiating the cougar appetite and calling a truce between the civilized world and the wild.
* A free-range Sister Madly, of course.
“Those aren’t Cat Treats, Sister Madly; that’s eggplant and tofu jerky. It’s been marinated in beer. Aren’t you allergic to hops?”
Eggplant, tofu, and hops.
Eggplant and Tofu…
Definitely utilizing that papier-mâché decoy during the next camping trip.*
* The Italicized Peacock agrees.
There comes a time in every child’s life where one must face that dreaded rite of passage: the ambiguous ‘science project.’
If Sister Madly had known all the loopholes, such as time machine = clock, or better yet, cooking = chemistry, she would have had her mother bake a couple dozen cookies and be done with it. With little hesitation, both parents deemed proving the existence of unicorns impractical to the scientific community, yet supported her decision to dismember her sibling and replace the limbs with butterfly wings so long as Sister Madly was willing to clean up afterwards (which she wasn’t.) In the end, Sister Madly chose an experiment out of some How to Scientifically Take Over the World book that she once found wrapped up under a Christmas tree.
And that experiment was to bleach a rose. With sulfur.*
* The book mysteriously disappeared after the completion of this science project.
There was some concern about this project from the onset, in particular the obtaining of the roses. After all, Sister Madly knew just how expensive these flowers could be (He got you a dozen roses?! It MUST be love!) which was why they were so treasured. Growing the roses herself was simply out of the question- to this day, plants refuse to photosynthesize in her presence. She decided that her parents’ budget would allow for 3 roses: a practice run, the actual project, and one unbleached rose to compare. She wouldn’t need more than that because science projects always turn out perfectly the first time around- especially when it involves an 8 year-old playing with fire.
Her parents, however, had a slightly different- and, in Sister Madly’s opinion, utterly preposterous- concern: where, dear child, are you going to get the sulfur?
Contrary to popular belief, one does not just pop off to Sulfur Express to get this element, nor does the average citizen keep a stockpile in the garage next to the Harley. And while certain religious texts believe sulfur* to be an important ingredient in the Lake of Fire, neither her parents nor the school board approved of the lengthy, transcendental holiday it would take to obtain the sulfur, much less the destination. Her school wasn’t very Hell-friendly.
*Brimstone = Sulfur
Then again, she once heard that onions contain sulfur, thus saw no reason why setting fire to an onion would not produce the desired effect. Her parents did not agree.
It was her science teacher, through a connection at the local college, who later obtained the sulfur. As Sister Madly now had all the components, she was quite ready to bleach the rose and successfully take over the world.
However: Rose + Chemical + Fire = Father doing the project while Sister Madly watches.
With her father at the reigns, the project went off without a hitch (although it took a total of 5 roses.) But it wasn’t enough for Sister Madly to walk into school the next day and announce that the experiment had been a success; no, not only was she required to turn in the completed project, she was to present it to the class.
What do you mean that Sister Madly has to understand and explain the science behind this project? Isn’t the fact that a rose transformed from red to white in the seclusion of her own backyard with absolutely no witnesses cool enough on its own? The How to Scientifically Take Over the World book didn’t explain how this experiment worked, only that it does work and quite frankly, that’s good enough for her.
Mind you, when all this occurred, the average family was still several years away from regular internet access. Sister Madly didn’t know any pro-science adults who could explain to her the sulfur phenomenon (she wasn’t very social) and didn’t know where to begin researching it in the library (not that she had any desire to do so.) Faced with these impossible options, Sister Madly decided that it was necessary to bluff her way through, figuring that if she threw enough scientific-sounding words around, she would pass.
And bluff she did, attributing the bleaching phenomenon to static electricity: when exposed to fire in an enclosed area, the sulfur produces an electrical charge which causes its particles to cling to the rose, thus turning it white.
It is not known whether the teacher bought this snake oil sales pitch, or whether he simply admired her audacity, but that day Sister Madly adjourned for recess with not only with a passing grade, but the confidence that school was a waste of time as her science teacher was no more wiser than she.
20+ years later, Sister Madly finally knows the science behind this experiment.* It hasn’t enhanced her life in the slightest.
* When sulfur burns it produces sulfur dioxide- which acts as a bleaching agent- reducing the pigments, thus turning the rose white. Re-oxidizing the reduced pigments restores the color, which can be as simple by exposing the reduced dyes to the oxygen in the atmosphere.
When you become
In your life.
~ Eckhart Tolle
3) Angela Kelly
4) Hope Carter
5) Don Komarechka
I would rather
Live in a World
Where my Life is
Surrounded by Mystery
Than live in a World
That my Mind
Could Comprehend it.
~ Harry Emerson Fosdick
1) Alexey Kljatov
2) Don Komarechka
3) Don Komarechka
4) Alexey Kljatov
5) Don Komarechka