At the Window

At a Window
by Carl Sandburg

Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!

But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.

(Public domain)



I’ve written and deleted so much blather about windows these past few days.

It’s hard to gather all the loose ends of my thoughts into something — anything, really — that makes sense.

I love this picture I took two summers ago when the milk house was being torn down. One window remained of the broken down building. It had the prettiest view over the valley.

Roger Bacon said,

Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity is the blessing of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction, and the clearer revelation of God’s favor.

The world is so broken.

Yet somehow, in the midst of it, or over it all, a great benediction is being whispered — and it’s that little bit of love. That hand that reaches in to touch me in my dark room, breaking my loneliness.


Now I look through a dirty pane
Where cobwebs
and
The dust of the world
Blur my view

I rub at it
With my fingers
And though my hands
Come away dirty
The grime on the glass remains

If I but drop my eyes
No glass obscures my view

And to my right
A larger scene awaits

Overhead
The sun
(so bright I dassn’t look)
Shines
and
Brightens the whole world:
The valley
The river
The barn on the horizon

Yet I squint
At my dirty pane
Wishing I could see more

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Family Picnic

We had a family picnic a few weeks ago.

Actually, that’s kind of a generous description.

It was a partial family get-together that involved food, frisbee, and talking.

Five out of eight children — that’s more than half the family.

A kind of weird conglomeration of food that included deli meat (but no bread), watermelon, fresh mozzarella salad, chips, and blueberry pie — I suppose that constitutes a picnic. We were eating at a picnic table.

A huge caterpillar.

Future luna moth

Frisbee.

That became layered frisbee.

A walk by the lake.

And lots of sitting around, talking.

The best of life is made up of so many simple moments.

They may not be perfect, but the sum of them is.

 

 

People

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge — Alphabet with a Twist — needs to have two E’s in the topic — peopl(I bolded all the 2 E words.)

When my father was in the army, our family was sent to Kagnew Station, Eritrea, in Ethiopia.  I was very young at the time and my memories are few, but my parents took a lot of pictures. I especially love the photographs of the people.

in a town?

On a country road

Look at her smile!

Clay jar backpacks

In the river

Outside a school?

I have vague memories of children materializing whenever we were out and about in Ethiopia. Those memories came flooding back when we first went to visit our work site in Bosnia. The car pulled in, and a small passel of girls came running out, excited to see “the Americans.”

The smile of a child is medicine for any soul.

 

Drvo

Cee’s Photography Fun Foto Challenge: Alphabet with a Twist marches on to the letter D — 4 letter words that start with D. I added a twist to the twist this week and chose a 4 letter Bosnian word that begins with D.

Drvo means wood or tree.

I was very excited when, in Bosnia, I saw the word DRVO on a sign, because it was one of the words I had learned on the app I used before the trip. The sign was at a lumberyard, so I probably could have figured it out with the words. Lumberyards are readily identifiable by the lumber. Still — it felt like an accomplishment.

I took a few pictures of wood this afternoon — none of it lumber at a lumberyard, although I did drive by our local lumberyard and think about it.

Wooden railing, wooden steps, wooden half-barrel with sunflowers

Remnants of a stump

An old split-rail with a knothole

A closer look at the knothole

A look through the knothole

A red maple my father planted 45-50 years ago

Looking up at the branches of one of the maples

Firewood for winter

In a month all our maples will be wearing their most beautiful colors. We’ll be bringing that firewood into the house. The sunflower will be dried and ready for the birds.

Today, however, is a balmy September day, a good day to snap a few photos.

Cows

 

My like-affair with cows probably began when my parents bought an old farmhouse next door to a working dairy farm.

When little-girl-me pulled up a handful of grass and held it out to a friendly cow, my new bovine friend would take from my hand, drawing my fingers close enough that I could feel her smooth wet nose. There’s nothing quite like a cow’s muzzle.

Teenage me spent a week one year at the county fair, helping with the 4-H dairy judging. Not judging them, of course, but distributing ribbons. I watched, and listened, and plodded around the ring, stepping over fresh cow-pies, handing ribbons to my peers dressed in showman white.

“I really like the dairy-ness of this cow,” the judge said about an exceptional animal, and, to this day, I have no idea what he meant. It was a cow. A dairy cow.

When adult me traveled to Bosnia this year, I put together a little photo album of my family to show the family we were helping. Since I had a few empty pages at the end, I stuck in a view looking across the valley from our front door, and a picture of the cows down the road. The Bosnian women loved looking at the photos of my children. One of the Bosnian men got very excited about the picture of the cows. He pointed to the picture, then pointed to me, then back to the picture, obviously asking, “Are these yours?”

I shook my head. “No, they live down the road from my house,” I said. When it was translated to him. he looked sad. Maybe he was hoping to talk dairy.

I don’t know much about dairy, but I do appreciate cows’ wet muzzles, sorrowful eyes, and the clunky gait they have when they run.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge for this week, part of her Alphabet with a Twist series, is the letter C – The C word needs to be at least 4 letters in length. C-O-W-S — yep, that works.

Below is a series taken from a junior livestock show near us.

On the way to the show

Saying hello

Waiting to enter the ring

Refusing to enter the ring

Walking the perimeter of the show-ring while the judge watches

Posing — so the judge can get a good look

The judge asking a few questions

Relief

 

Blonde

Me — about 3

My hair was blonde when I was small
But it grew dark as I grew tall
My mother had the same thing too —
Blonde that darkened as she grew

’tis a funny thing — this natural blonde —
Some maintain, and don’t respond
To aging with six shades of brown
But old age gives its hoary crown

To all in silvery grayish white
Tresses giving up the fight
To stay the hue of summer sun
And let winter overrun

Vanity, you try my hair
But you won’t win ’cause I don’t care


In response to Daily Prompt: Rhyme

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Alphabet with a Twist – B

Fun With Google Translate

I have a word problem. I really, really like words. A lot.

It should come as a surprise to nobody that on my trip to the Balkans I took pictures of words to look up later.

Nor should it come as a surprise that I can spend hours playing with Google Translate.

Forget squirrels or shiny things — these are the rabbit trails I follow for amusement.

For instance, this photograph was taken of the tray back on my Croatian Air flight.

I recognized molimo vas from the language app I used before the trip. It means please. However, I wanted to figure out the rest of the words even though the translation was right below it.

Vežite se dok sjedite means Sit while you are sitting. (Google Translate: Croatian to English) But vežite, by itself, get translated tiePerhaps the literal translation is something about tying yourself in your seat?


The one time I was brave enough to use Croatian was in the Franciscan monastery in the Old City Dubrovnik. “Dvije,” I said to the man at the ticket table, indicating that I wanted two tickets.

“For that you get in free,” he said, in perfect English. He was delighted that I attempted Croatian.

Inside, we visited a beautiful garden and an art gallery. A war scar was framed on the wall.

Udar granate means A missile shot according to the sign below.  Google Translate (GT) says it means grenade attack. Close, I guess, but different.


This one is a mystery.

GT translates ĆIVU FRANA CUNDULIĆA NAROD means THE LIVING OF FRANCA CUNDULIĆA NAROD so maybe it’s a person’s name.

But if I drop the capitalization, the same words mean  a living shroud of crowds of people.

If I drop the “narod” because it’s on a separate line, and just look at the first line in all small letters, it means (according to GT) some cranium brake or the black break crank.

I kind of thought our guide said it was a music hall, but who knows?


I used the public restroom at The Tunnel of Hope Museum outside Sarajevo. There I encountered my first squatty potty. It caught me by surprise, especially when my phone fell out of my pocket. Ew. Thank goodness it didn’t fall in. I took a picture of the toilet itself to show my children, and then this one of the sign on the tank to see how it translated out.

Molimo ne bacajte papir u wc šolju, već u kantu za smeće translates to Please do not throw paper in the toilet, already in a garbage can (GT: Bosnian to English) Not bad, really.


Last, a tee shirt.

I have no idea what the guy thought when I snapped this picture. This was after the soccer game (fudbalski) — and it looked like one of those “I’m with Stupid” shirts.

GT defaulted to German for Er heiratet, translating them he marries.

We were in Bosnia at the time, so I tried to force a Bosnian translation — but GT said it meant Er hieratet.

The other team was from Croatia, so I checked the Croatian translation, and GT said, That’s a heir. I thought GT would know that it should be an, not a. But I’ll forgive GT because the words were, after all, German.

GT couldn’t translate Wir sind nur sum saufen hier from Bosnian or Croatian. In German, however, the words meant we’re just drinking here.

A groomsmen shirt. Wedding humor.

When words are playthings, and Google Translate is available, fun is all around. I found that on my trip.