Thursday, February 21, 2008


Viewing conditions were perfect for last night's full lunar eclipse, and the moon hung unobscured above the trees. I set up our Meade mini-telescope, which was about the right power for the viewing. I was watching the Coen Brothers' movie, "Miller's Crossing," on DVD but stopped it intermittently to step out into the driveway and check the eclipse. When it was fully shadowed, though still dimly visible from refracted light, it looked more like an actual three-dimensional ball than it normally does, burnt orange in color. The proximity of Saturn and a couple bright stars added to the strange effect.

The last eclipse I remember clearly was an eclipse of the sun shortly after we moved to Columbia. Janne and I took the girls with us to Greenville, where the view was supposed to be better. A list of eclipse dates tells me there was a solar eclipse visible in the Eastern U.S. on May 30, 1984. That must have been it. Here's a poem I wrote, roughly based on that memory:

Remember how we drove six hours
to see the moon's shadow
forge across the sun and leave
a black hole in our daily light?
Our earthbound bodies
were in transit as we rigged
our telescope and camera
to record the crossing over.

Nothing lasts: our career
among the stars made us reel
with the earth and spin
from the moon's umbra quick
as we felt cool midday twilight,
that hint of how the sun
may go. No way to make
the moon or sun stand still.

We knew the danger
in such darkening:
the corona round the moon's
black disk could seem
a harmless wreath of fire,
while one short glimpse
would ruin eyes
as blue as yours.
One woman's blog: 200 books in a year

Monday, February 18, 2008

Iowa City

University of Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories - designed by Frank Gehry
Staircase in the Old Capitol - University of Iowa
I've just returned from several days in Iowa City, where I was consulting with ACT (American College Testing) for the English portion of the college admission test. While in the Cedar Rapids Airport, I saw a wall-sized poster ad for Maharishi University of Management, which is located in Fairfield, Iowa. Its founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, recently died. The poster was a reminder that the guru, who has lived in the Netherlands in recent years, was a entrepreneur as well as a spiritual guide. Back in 1971, Janne and I paid the student rate to undergo training in Transcendental Meditation, which was led by a TM disciple traveling through Auburn, Alabama, where we lived at the time. The trainer,actually wound up staying with us at the farm house for a night or two. He wore a neat sports jacket and tie and brought with him a bag of grapefruit. We meditated for several years, and I still think that I'd probably benefit from twice-daily meditation. My mantra--assigned to me during the training and supposedly a secret--surfaces in my consciousness from time to time, and I still chant it to myself when I need to relax.
David Orr on poet Mathea Harvey
A reading by Naomi Shihab Nye, who says "We are all born poets. Some of us just keep it up."
"A writer is a person who would not have written what he wrote if he hadn’t started out to write it." William Stafford
My essay, "Radiation," is finally available in Drunken Boat

Monday, February 11, 2008

Flannery Tucker Bosher (Annie)

Annie Bosher
Born Wednesday, February 6 at 2:42 p.m.
Weight: 6 lb. 11 oz.
Richmond, Virginia
Parents: Tess Autrey Bosher and Matthew Paul Bosher
Grandparents: Ken and Janne, Bill and JoAnne

Saturday, February 02, 2008