Miracle. All of it.

The Great Cold Snap of 2019 has given us a ton of terms we didn’t know we needed: Frost quakes. Snow squalls. Steam fog. Now we can add another one to the list: ghost apples.  Andrew Sietsema was pruning apple trees in an icy orchard in western Michigan when he came across some.  “I guess it was just cold enough that the ice covering the apple hadn’t melted yet, but it was warm enough that the apple inside turned to complete mush (apples have a lower freezing point than water),” Sietsema told CNN.  “And when I pruned a tree it would be shaken in the process, and the mush would slip out of the bottom of the ‘ghost apple.'”…

~ Doug Criss & Gianluca Mezzofiore, Another byproduct of this extreme cold: ghost apples (CNN, February 8, 2019)


Flying Northeast #AA2716. With Birds.

We pulled away from the gate at DFW 30 minutes late, late Friday afternoon. Not bad. Could be worse.

Exit row, reclining seat. God Bless Shara (My Assistant). We’ve been together 6 years now. This seat, this trip, the car pick-up, managing trip expenses – here and there and there, always just right.

Jet engines on this late model Boeing throb, I’m sitting over the wings. We taxi out, make a slow turn, and then…

The engines shut down, and the Pilot comes on the intercom. No. No. No. Yes.

“Folks, I’m sorry. But there is flow control at LaGuardia. We’ve been advised that the wait could be up to 90 minutes. We need to wait on the runway in the event we get cleared sooner.”

Not a free seat open on this plane. A chorus of groans, a shifting in seats. We settle in. My arrival time, now potentially 10pm on Friday night. Shoulders slump, heaviness sets in.

I grab my smartphone and tap in “P-h-o-e-n-i-x:” (in classical mythology) a unique bird that lived for five or six centuries in the Arabian desert, after this time burning itself on a funeral pyre and rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle. 

Let’s skip the funeral pyre part. But, the rest? Bring it on. To rise from the ashes. Live through another cycle. This trip that just won’t end.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday in Phoenix at a firm wide conference. Thursday and Friday with our team in Dallas.

What did you remember? [Read more…]

I yearn to go back…I want the days to be mid-summer all year long.


Notes:

  • Inspiration: Brian Kirk – “I want the long hours back but you can’t give me that. Sometimes I yearn to go back even further, to a world defined by family, fields and railway tracks, the sham abandon of the long school holidays. I want the days to be mid-summer all year long, those childhood games that lasted until darkness fell and twilight was a midnight walk back home with a ball at my feet and my head completely empty. Each night I close my eyes and we are young again, before time dragged us down its hungry maw. On waking I can feel I’m falling, but reaching out into the dark I find you, hold on tight.
  • Photo (via newthom)

Miracle. All of it.

Hello, welcome.

My name is Julie Yip-Williams. I am grateful and deeply honored that you are here. This story begins at the ending. Which means that if you are here, then I am not. But it’s okay.

My life was good and my life was complete. It came to so much more than I ever thought possible, or than my very humble beginnings would have given me the right to expect. I was a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an immigrant, a cancer patient, a lawyer, and now a writer. I tried to live always with good intentions and a good heart, although I am sure I have hurt people along the way. I tried my best to live a full, rewarding life, to deal with the inevitable trials with grace, and to emerge with my sense of humor and love for life intact. That’s all. Even though I am dying in my early forties, and leaving my precious children behind, I am happy.

My life was not easy. That I survived infancy was something of a miracle, that I made it to America, also a miracle. Being born poor and blind in Vietnam on the losing side of a bloody civil war should have defined my life and sealed my fate. Those things marked me, but they did not stop me. Dying has taught me a great deal about living—about facing hard truths consciously, about embracing the suffering as well as the joy. Wrapping my arms around the hard parts was perhaps the great liberating experience of my life.

Directly or indirectly, we all experience the hard parts. The events that we hear about on the news or from friends, those tragedies ending in death that happen to other people in other places, which make us sad but also relieved and grateful as we think, There but for the grace of God…—destructive hurricanes and earthquakes, violent shootings and explosions, car accidents, and of course, insidious illnesses. These things shake us to the core because they remind us of our mortality, of how impotent we truly are in the face of unseen forces that would cause the earth to tremble or cells to mutate and send a body into full rebellion against itself.

I set out here to write about my experience of that, both the life lived and the trials endured—neither comprehensively, you understand, but enough to fully show you the distance I traveled and the world in which I made my life. And what began as a chronicle of an early and imminent death became—if I may be very presumptuous—something far more meaningful: an exhortation to you, the living.

Live while you’re living, friends.

From the beginning of the miracle, to the unwinding of the miracle.

Julie Yip-Williams, February 2018

~ Julie Yip-Williams, “Prologue” from The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything that Comes After (Random House, February 5, 2019)


Notes:

Guess.What.Day.It.Is? (Don’t Miss this 90 seconds…)


Notes:

  • Robert Irwin, 15-year-old son of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, brings some interesting animals to show Jimmy, including  a camel named Wednesday. Thank you Horty for sharing!
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

Super Bowl LIII 2019 Ad of the Year (60 sec)

Experience ASMR with Zoë Kravitz, inspired by beer in its organic form. Introducing Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold.

(ASMR = “ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, and it specifically refers to a tingling, often-pleasurable sensation that people can receive from sounds or visuals that please the brain. Typically, people feel the pleasure in their head, with some people reporting that it travels all the way down their spines.”)

The wind lifted me…like wings.


Notes:

  • Photo: A woman’s red tress blow in the air on a windy day in San Sebastian, in the Basque Country of northern Spain.  (wsj.com: Juan Herrero/EPA-EFE, Feb 1, 2019)
  • Post inspired by Ray Bradbury from “The Lake” in Dark Carnival: “I ran. Sand spun under me and the wind lifted me. You know how it is, running, arms out so you feel veils from your fingers, caused by wind. Like wings.” (via Beth @ Alive on All Channels)

 

Dinner (w Family)

The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal.

– C.S. Lewis, from The Weight of Glory

 


Photo: Gabriel Maglieri with “Family

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call


Photography by Irving Penn (via this isn’t happiness)

Sunday Morning

the mist
moved slowly across
the field held down
by stones, stitch of trees
what colour was the mist
x-ray grey
how still was it
the iv drip before it falls…

I stopped the car to watch it cross the field
black earth breathing its winter breath…

the field disappeared in the mist
still the bison stood

life can become so still

the iv drip
before it falls

earth of the body
where a life grows

the stillness between silence
and muteness…

– Anne Michaels, from “Bison” in All We Saw: Poems


Notes: Poem from Whiskey River. Photo: Winter Morning Mist by Sébastien Mamy

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