Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Abdi on This American Life!


On July 4th our friend and newest family member Abdi Nor was featured on This American Life based on ongoing interviews with Leo Hornak from the BBC.

The story is a wonderful reminder about why people want to live in America, the value of incorruptible police, how difficult life is for refugees, and how much is added to America by it's "outsiders".
The comment section on Twitter and on the Facebook site for TAL are a heartfelt outpouring of goodwill just in case you need a boost for your faith in humanity.

One of my favorite lines is from Hassan Iftin Abdi's big brother, a university student, refugee, and wise fellow. He says "sometimes luck is fair".  It was echoed many times in social media in the days that followed.

Thanks to all who have supported Abdi and Hassan in small and huge ways over time including Dick Gordon, Paul Salopek, Cori Princell, Ben Bellows, Nene Reiley, Margaret Caudill-Slosbeg, Mark Yarnell, John Hiley, and Pamela Gordon. These are just some of the people in our particular Abdi support circle.

Leo reminded me of a message I sent to our Abdi team over a year ago as we were all fretting over his upcoming interview with the US embassy.

Because of the radio …. We met Abdi and started a thing.

What we all have in common is the ear tuned to a good story, a voice over the wire.

I was cleaning the chicken coop today, a job I like better than you might think. It's all real in a chicken coop. All the metaphor is concrete and amusing. I treat these chickens well — not extravagantly but decently. I cannot save the world of suffering chickens through these particular chickens but I can acknowledge that they deserve it and do my part in the ecosystem. One of my parts in the ecosystem.  There is something in how this all adds up in my mind that speaks to why it makes any sense to pick one Somali refugee and say "come" we will try to help". It is not a programme or even a project, it is just one live being that would be better off secure and able to work within his capacities and nature.

Abdi goes to the US embassy tomorrow for a 7:30 am interview. I am restless and alive with anticipation. Can so much and so many people be bound together by one civil servant sitting in an office for a 15 minute "interview"?  If you had 5 or 15 minutes to decide someones fate what would you ask them?

Please listen and enjoy. You may also want to listen to his interviews and shows on BBC and The Story from Dick Gordon "Messages from Mogadishu".

May you feel the love and support of your own circle. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The vernal equinox

It is rounding around to the vernal equinox. Here in Yarmouth the Equinox or "equal night" is today March 16th, 2014. 
Look it up for your location.

Spring is just a notion here-- a tease. The old Farmers Almanac says that on May 2nd we will finally have dropped the probability of a frost to 50%.
Tonight it will be 5 degrees and there is snow coming to the mid-Atlantic.
Flowers on snow. Enjoy the light and shelter your tender blooms of all types -- whether new ideas or the buds of flowers.


Monday, October 21, 2013


She is a Helmeted Guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) also known as a gleanie on our front porch Yarmouth, Maine USA

Ne'er so fair a day as this day.
First was frost which rises in the warming light while all live things are busy with the preparations of fall.

Our house, barn, and chickens, have been adopted by a stray Guinea fowl.  
A feral bird slipping about the neighborhood all summer sleeping in the trees.
But last night she elected to spend the night in the barn with the chickens. 
They are a-flutter with her new-ness.

Today we are an attentive and enamored lot as she eats pomegranates in front of the mirror we set on the porch stairs. 
We play Youtube videos of Guinea hens and she crows in response to the lovely sounds.
We of untrained ear think it is the sound of wood rubbing on wood -- jarring --while she cries with joy.
She preens and pecks at her reflection.
All she really wanted was to be told she is beautiful and special and to be fed fresh fruit and sunflower seeds on a fall day.
Only that. 
And, perhaps to be tucked in safe at night out of the wind.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bobby McFerrin and Friends Omega 2012

Bobby McFerrin Omega Institute Circlesongs 2012
August 2012 Omega Institute Circlesongs workshop with Bobby McFerrin,
Judy Donaghy, Christiane Karam,
Joey Blake, David Worm, and Rhiannon (aka WeBe3)
+ 200 amazing students
...literal lessons about how to listen, how to lead and how to follow. 
Singing without a net. 
Music improvisation is like gardening -- Rich with metaphor
It illustrates nearly every true thing in the world.

See the gallery at Circlesongs-2012 Omega Institute

Learning to sing out loud

Monday, August 6, 2012

Say YES for Abdi at the Embassy In Nairobi

Abdi Iftin
This is our friend Abdi a journalist from Somalia now living in Kenya. 
He has done some amazing reporting from Somalia under the most difficult circumstances. On Wednesday this talented young man goes to the US Embassy in Nairobi for his student visa interview to see if he can come to Southern Maine Community College to re-start his college education.  A group of us, supporters and friends, have written to our congress people, sent letters, and now are holding up a light of hope.
At 9:30 am Nairobi time (or 2:30 am EST) he will attend his interview and find out if he can continue his start toward being a professional journalist. 
Hold him in the light and if you want to hear his amazing stories go to his podcasts heard on good public radio
"The Story" with Dick Gordon. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Duchess of Chickens

Duchess of Devonshire feeding her chickens. Photo by Bruce Weber
Welcome new chickens! 
Two Black sex-linked and four Plymouth Rock pullets. A pullet is a teenaged chicken, in between fluffy chicks and egg-laying hens.   If all goes well we might be eating the most expensive eggs ever.  
We are socializing them by bringing treats, teaching them about the dog aka their protector, and to come when called.

This picture, The Duchess of Devonshire, illustrates my delight with the whole process of Chicken-ing.  I am working on the outfit.  Thanks to Sally Kohler for bringing it to my attention. I am honored it made her think of me.  Here is a poem to go with it.

Woman Feeding Chickens-- by Roy Scheele 
Her hand is at the feedbag at her waist, 
sunk to the wrist in the rustling grain 
that nuzzles her fingertips when laced 
around a sifting handful. It's like rain, 
like cupping water in your hand, she thinks, 
the cracks between the fingers like a sieve, 
except that less escapes you through the chinks 
when handling grain. She likes to feel it give 
beneath her hand's slow plummet, and the smell, 
so rich a fragrance she has never quite 
got used to it, under the seeming spell 
of the charm of the commonplace. The white 
hens bunch and strut, heads cocked, with tilted eyes, 
till her hand sweeps out and the small grain flies. 

 "Woman Feeding Chickens" by Roy Scheele, from A Far Allegiance. © The Backwaters Press, 2010. Reprinted with permission. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy music & Goat Rodeos

Bluegrass music & Yo Yo Ma? Someone isn't sticking to their genre and then you know what happens? ...... Something cool and creative

Here is a leap up and dance song called "here and heaven"

The group is called "Goat Rodeo" and they explain the term as follows--

A Goat Rodeo aka Goat Rope, is a term worth knowing.  It is the most polite term used by aviation people (those in high risk situations) to describe a scenario that requires about 100 things to go right simultaneously if you intend to walk away from it.  As in "that workshop was a goat rodeo" 

 It speaks to the miraculous alignments that can happen occasionally when things work-- the music sounds good, the paper reads itself, the people all smile, the pilot doesn't die, the food is fresh and tasty, and more. When we are part of creating these miracles it may look/feel a lot more like a Goat rodeo than a symphony.

The chorus...
"have we all forgotten that we’re getting old"

Speaking of a Goat Rodeo, well aging is a lot like that.  Lets get old dancing, way outside our boxes and comfort zones. Try something different!

Have something like-minded or like-manifested to share?