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Poetry Sunday: June by John Updike

Best known as a novelist and essayist, John Updike also wrote poems, like this simple ode to June and summer which perfectly describes my own childhood summers. June by John Updike The sun is rich And gladly pays In golden hours, Silver days, And long green weeks That never end. School’s out. The time is ours to spend. There’s Little League, Hopscotch, the creek, And, after supper, Hide-and-seek. The live-long light Is like a dream, and freckles come Like flies to cream.

This week in birds - #589

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  A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment : A Pied-billed Grebe swims in the waters of Galveston Bay. *~*~*~* There is a strong link between the decline in the number of insects and the use of pesticides . Detective work has revealed that agricultural insecticides are a prime suspect as a cause of the decline. Wildlife experts are urging a reduction in the use and toxicity of pesticides before it is too late. *~*~*~* Labor and environmental groups are lobbying the Federal Emergency Management Agency to declare that extreme heat is a "major disaster."  Moreover, researchers have found that deadly heat in Mexico and the U.S. is made 35 times more likely by global warming.  *~*~*~* Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, more than 1,000 hajj pilgrims have died because of the heat. Around the world, the extreme heat has already affected billions of people . *~*~*~* The Bald Eagle is widely believed to be our "national bird." Nope. In fact, we don't h

Catching up

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I have been seriously negligent about posting reviews of books I have read recently. I blame it all on the broken foot. I mean it is really hard to type with a broken foot! In an attempt to get back up to date, here are mini-reviews of my recent reads:             The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman : This is number four in the Thursday Murder Club mysteries. Once again the crime-solving seniors - Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim - put their skills to work on solving a murder. The twist is that this time the victim was a friend of theirs, an antique dealer who was murdered after he was given an old box that turned out to contain heroin. The elderly detectives are not concerned about the heroin, only about who killed their friend. They are determined to find the answer and get justice. In fact, they won't rest until they do. My rating : 3 of 5 stars.                               The Hunter by Tana French : Tana French is one of my favorite writers of mysteries and her detect

Poetry Sunday: A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns

When I first began to read poetry as a teenager, Robert Burns was probably my favorite poet. And this was perhaps my favorite Burns poem. These many years later it still rates high on my list. A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns    O my luve's like a red, red rose, That's newly sprung in June; O my luve's like the melodie That's sweetly played in tune. As fair art thou, my bonnie lass, So deep in luve am I; And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a' the seas gang dry. Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi' the sun: O I will love thee still, my dear, While the sands o' life shall run. And fare thee weel, my only luve, And fare thee weel awhile! And I will come again, my luve, Though it were ten thousand mile.

This week in birds - #588

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A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment :  Astronaut William Anders who took this most famous picture of our planet while aboard the Apollo 8 moon flight on Christmas Eve 1968 died this week. He was 90 years old and was piloting a small plane, flying alone, when the plane dived into the ocean northwest of Seattle. I suspect it might have been the way he would have wanted to go. *~*~*~* A heat wave is spreading across the continent, affecting at least 250 million people. The  El Niño system that helped to fuel the weather system is ending and that may bring some relief. The dangerous heat has affected as many as 1.5 billion people this year and air conditioning is not able to keep up . *~*~*~* The waters off the New England coast have been hosting an unusually large number and variety of whales recently.  *~*~*~* "Magic mushrooms" are something I remember from the '60s, but they are still out there and still working their "magic." Mor

Poetry Sunday: The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

This may be my favorite of Mary Oliver's poems. It is certainly in the top five. And it is one of her most famous, deservedly so. I am particularly struck by the lines that say "I don't know exactly what a prayer is, but I know how to pay attention," and I can only smile my assent to that. Perhaps that is enough. The question she asks in the last lines may be the most important one that we all have to answer: What will we do with our one wild and precious life?   The Summer Day by Mary Oliver Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean— the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down— who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do