As We Celebrate Our Independence…


A little Uncle Walt for you on a holiday weekend:

I Hear America Singing
By Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

I know all the states are in some stage of “re-opening,” but the coronavirus is still VERY much out there. Even if you aren’t in one of the states where it’s become epidemic (Florida, Arizona, Texas), PLEASE celebrate wisely this weekend, best at home with only those you live with, in all cases outdoors, wearing masks, and NOT in large groups.

Original text found at the Poetry Foundation.

Image found here (and you should click the link to learn something that may surprise you about Lady Liberty).

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

Smart People Doing Smart Things

Several of my friends have been doing some amazing things lately.

Dio talks about  astrology in the time of COVID.

Gwendolyn teaches witchcraft like you’ve never heard it before:

Words for Wednesday


In the Mushroom Summer

Colorado turns Kyoto in a shower,
mist in the pines so thick the crows delight
(or seem to), winging in obscurity.
The ineffectual panic of a squirrel
who chattered at my passing gave me pause
to watch his Ponderosa come and go—
long needles scratching cloud. I’d summited
but knew it only by the wildflower meadow,
the muted harebells, paintbrush, gentian,
scattered among the locoweed and sage.
Today my grief abated like water soaking
underground, its scar a little path
of twigs and needles winding ahead of me
downhill to the next bend. Today I let
the rain soak through my shirt and was unharmed.
Picture found here.

Monday at the Movies

I need something light, funny, witty.  What about you?

Reupping a Few Things


Lots going on today and I’ve put a lot of effort into some important posts in the past few weeks that haven’t drawn much attention, so I’m re-upping them:

1. DC Statehood. It’s a civil rights issue, it’s a racial justice issue, it’s important, and it’s being voted on in the House of Representatives TODAY.

2. What does “Defund the Police” actually mean?

3. Two holidays you should know (if you don’t already): International Workers Day and Juneteenth.

Plus I’ve written a bunch of good stuff on how to get through the pandemic you should check out.

Whew. OK. Back to it next week.

Photo by the author. If you copy, please link back.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.


COVID Folklore

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what the “lesson” for humanity will be out of this pandemic.  We don’t always, we humans, take home the right lesson.  After the Spanish Flu, we had the roaring 20s — stock market bubbles, the Great Gatsby, and a turn to hedonism.  But out “at the edges,” important things were happening.  Jazz.  Votes for Women.  The Harlem Renaissance.  A blossoming labor movement in the US.

Folklore is where we often go to store the true messages of our time.  Watch out for people selling magic beans.  You can’t hide your children away from the world.  Be kind to the old woman you meet in the forest.  And I’ve been thinking about the folklore that will come out of this Time of COVID, Time of the Mad King, Time of a Reckoning with the Civil War.

Martin Shaw is thinking about it, too.

What do you think?

Words for Wednesday


For Elaine.


~ John O’Donohue

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets into you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue,
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

Picture found here.

What’s the Gossip in Your Neighborhood?

Here in the Shenandoah Valley, the Summer wildflowers have replaced the Spring ephemerals.  Yesterday I saw mullein and ditch lilies.



Photographs by the blogger.  If you copy, please link back.

Monday at the Movies

Great actors, beautiful costumes, and an inspiring story.  I enjoyed this a lot.

Happy Juneteenth!


In elementary school, most of us learned that Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, officially freeing all enslaved people.

Well, not exactly.

One, the Emancipation Proclamation only freed enslaved people in the Confederacy (remember, not all Union states – Maryland, I’m looking at you – were free states).

Two, enslaved people in Washington, DC had already been freed, as of April 16, 1862. (Ever wondered why you sometimes get an extra day or two to file your taxes? That’s because Emancipation Day is an official holiday in DC.)

Three, news traveled slowly back in the 1860s, particularly among people who didn’t want to hear it (like, say, white enslavers). It wasn’t until June 19, 1865 – two and a half years later, and more than two months after the end of the Civil War – that the Union army arrived in Texas, bearing the news.

Four, slavery didn’t finally and officially end in the entire United States until the ratification of the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865.

You weren’t taught about this in school? Yeah, me neither.

But Black communities all over the US have been celebrating Juneteenth for decades. It’s been an official state holiday in Texas since 1980.

Celebrations often include reading the Emancipation Proclamation, singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (the Black national anthem), reading the works of notable Black authors, and, of course, a cookout where celebrants consume red foods and beverages, which symbolize both the blood Black Americans shed in their struggle to be free and the shared legacy of the diaspora.

Want more?

I got you covered.

National Museum of African American History and Culture: The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth.

The uprisings sparked by the police murder of George Floyd have drawn renewed attention the holiday this year, and a number of large companies have responded by giving staff the day off.

However, I’d like to share a tweet by comedian and activist W. Kamau Bell to provide a little perspective:

Screen Shot 2020-06-19 at 12.31.09 PM

[Text for screen readers: “Just so we’re clear, white people, firing Aunt Jemima & giving us Juneteenth off are not the frontlines of defeating white supremacy & dismantling structural & institutional racism. Better schools, a just criminal justice system, access to healthcare was more what we were thinking.]

Image of the Juneteenth flag found at CNN, and you should follow the link because it takes you to an article that explains the flag’s symbolism.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.