Wishing Light and Love to you as we celebrate the last dark day of this year.
Travel makes you modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.
– Gustave Flaubert
Anthony Bourdain, food writer and cook, died this month. Here he speaks to Patrick Radden Keefe at the 2017 New Yorker Festival.
This picture is about the full circle of spring and the peony, which blossoms, then dies, perennially. My mother died this month. She was 96. Charlotte Sr. was charming and blonde to the end. My daughter, Hadley, read Mary Oliver’s beautiful poem, Peonies, at the Service of Thanksgiving, for her life, was at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was the week of peony bloom. She taught me to value beauty.
This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,
boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away
to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
The images below were taken by the great LIFE magazine photographer Walter Sanders. He was born in Germany but left in 1933 when Hitler came to power, and was employed with LIFE from 1944 to 1961. He died in his home in Munich, Germany. Walter, according to Life Photographer Carl Mydans, played a major role in the making of Life Magazine. He also visited Edisto Island and took these photographs.
I am researching The Hutchinsons of Edisto, and hoping to find more details about the family history. Many of you are familiar with my paintings of this evocative place. My job as an artist is to tell the untold story that I feel as I walk the land. These are stories I hear in the air, which I tried to capture in this painting I call Blue House. If you have family history of the Hutchinson family, or neighboring families of freedman, I invite you to comment or find me. The Hutchinson House on Point of Pines Road, is hopefully being preserved now, by the Edisto Island Open Land Trust, and it will stand, God Willing, to tell the honest truth.
Close to the edge. Almost
bunch up and boil down
from the north of the white bear.
This tree-splitting morning
I dream of his fat tracks,
the lifesaving suet.
I think of summer with its luminous fruit,
blossoms rounding to berries, leaves,
handsful of grain.
Maybe what cold is, is the time
we measure the love we have always had, secretly
for our own bones, the hard knife-edged love
for the warm river of the I, beyond all else; maybe
that is what it means, the beauty
of the blue shark cruising toward the tumbling seals.
In the season of snow,
in the immeasurable cold,
we grow cruel but honest; we keep
if we can, taking one after another
the necessary bodies of others, the many
crushed red flowers.
“Cold Poem,” ©Mary Oliver, from American Primitive (Little, Brown and Company).