Poem by Louise Erdrich

Love this one! Saw it on Writer’s Almanac today.

Spring Evening on Blind Mountain

I won’t drink wine tonight
I want to hear what is going on
not in my own head
but all around me.
I sit for hours
outside our house on Blind Mountain.
Below this scrap of yard
across the ragged old pasture,
two horses move
pulling grass into their mouths, tearing up
wildflowers by the roots.
They graze shoulder to shoulder.
Every night they lean together in sleep.
Up here, there is no one
for me to fail.
You are gone.
Our children are sleeping.
I don’t even have to write this down.

“Spring Evening on Blind Mountain” by Louise Erdrich from Original Fire. © Harper Collins, 2003.

 

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Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic  –  2005

Dominican Republic - Name

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Boudhanath, Nepal – 1985

Nepal - Man - Good - Name

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Prague – Sidewalk Scene

Saw this guy in Prague, 2005. He seemed to be doing very well for a dummy.

Prague Begger Window - NamePublished: Quarrtsiluni 2011

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Amber’s Swedish History – Chapter 13

 

Amber History 13
Gustav The Great – Sweden Expands

Gustave II AdolfGustav & Queen Maria Eleanora

It looks to me like Gustav and Sweden were both expanding. The growth was very good for Sweden, maybe not so much for Gustav, but who knows. They didn’t call him the great because he was fat. Sweden took a giant step towards becoming a world class power when he was king. Gustav is often regarded as one of the greatest military commanders of all time.
He put together a superb military machine with good weapons, excellent training, and effective field artillery, backed by an efficient government that provided necessary funds.

Gustave II Adolf at war - 1

In 1621, during the war with Poland, Riga, a city of 300,000, was taken. It became the largest city in Sweden, but people who lived there kept on speaking German. Parts of Latvia and Estonia were added in by 1629.

By 1630 Sweden was in into what is now called the Thirty Years War. Sweden was on a roll. They captured a hundred German towns and the best part of the city of Prague. By 1638 they had a colony in North America on land that is now part of Philadelphia, and another one on the Gold Coast of West Africa. Sweden was now as big as it got, but that only lasted for from 1658 to 1660.
Gustav was poised to make himself a major European leader, but he was killed at the Battle of Lützen in 1632.

Gustav DeadGustav at Lützen – 1632

The expansion was all over by 1721. Sweden had spent 111 years at war and around 500,000 Swedes and Finns never came home. Most of them died from disease and starvation before they ever got into a battle. In some places there were 3 unmarried Swedish woman for every single Swedish man. The women started doing all the things their men used to do. The took care of the cattle, plowed fields, built houses and gathered the harvest, but the populating kept growing, so the men that were left must have been pretty busy.

Sweden was now divided into administrative provinces (called counties in the U.S.) and had their first museum, a postal service, and a system of registration for births, deaths and residence. There were 81 towns including Malmo, and an office of foreign affairs. Sweden was Europe’s largest exporters of iron and copper. They founded the first national bank long before the Bank of England came into being, and printed the first European bank notes. There were impressive palaces in Stockholm, and Goteborg. Things were looking good, but it would be decades before the new wealth was noticeable throughout Sweden.

More about Gustav & Eleanora coming in Chapter 14

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Easter

BUNNYThe word “Easter” and most of the secular celebrations of the holiday come from pagan traditions. Anglo Saxons worshiped Eostre, the goddess of springtime and the return of the sun after the long winter. According to legend, Eostre once saved a bird whose wings had frozen during the winter by turning it into a rabbit. Because the rabbit had once been a bird, it could still lay eggs, and that rabbit became our Easter Bunny. Eggs were a symbol of fertility in part because they used to be so scarce during the winter. There are records of people giving each other decorated eggs at Easter as far back as the 11th century.

Wishing you an enjoyable Easter and/or pleasant Passover.

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Herb Caen

 

It’s the birthday of San Francisco columnist Herb Caen, born in Sacramento (1916) whose column in the San Francisco Chronicle began in 1938, when he was 22, the year after the Golden Gate Bridge opened. He continued writing 1,000 words a day, six days a week, for almost 60 years – it was the longest-running columnist in American history. He coined the term “beatnik” in 1958, and he made the word “hippie” popular in the 1960s. He said: “I’m going to do what every San Franciscan does who goes to Heaven. I’ll look around and say, ‘It’s not bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.'”

Caen Clipping From Chronicle

Herb C - 1

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