Bench B&W

bw bench

I often lay on that bench looking up into the tree, past the trunk and up into the branches. It was particularly fine at night with the stars above the tree.
-Georgia O’Keeffe

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It Shouldn’t Be Necessary

The Jewish Book Carnival for August is up, hosted by Ann D. Koffsy, with many links for you to browse. DO stop by.

I have been lax in blogging, lately. There has been so much happening, worldwide, in my own life, and in the life of a dear friend, that I didn’t feel the motivation to write a post.

Tuesday’s news regarding James Wright Foley, crushed me. It is appalling, unfathomable, and heartbreaking on so many levels. The family statement is a beautiful tribute, yet through all of the anxiety they have been dealing with for several years, how can they overcome this? How?

When I heard the news, I immediately thought of Daniel Pearl, and his family. I pass by the Daniel Pearl Magnet School a couple of times a week, and each time I do, I pray for him and his family. Now, when I drive by, I will include James Wright Foley in my prayers.

It shouldn’t be necessary…

Here is a statement from Ruth Pearl, mother of Daniel Pearl: “Our hearts go out to the family of journalist James Foley. We know the horror they are going through.” Ruth Pearl – Daniel Pearl Foundation

It shouldn’t be necessary…

The world has turned against itself, it seems. Even within America, due to the events in Ferguson, the anger is prevalent and fueled with discord, and lack of harmony. Fighting, looting, bullying, and defiance are not, in any sense, the answer.

I abhor the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. My people are being held responsible for inflicting harm, yet, no responsibility seems to be called for regarding Palestine’s involvement. Many in the world see some of the events through lenses of cultural preference and/or religious foundations, and not through realistic actions that have been taken.

MH17 with all of its passengers and crew being shot down is a deplorable act, and one that is unimaginable. The families left behind…how do individuals go on from an act of this proportion!?

It shouldn’t be necessary…

So much discord, so many deplorable acts, so much horror is occurring. At times, I stay away from the news, yet, I return, because I want to keep up with current events. It is a lose-lose situation.

I turn towards my photography, towards hiking, towards writing and towards listening to ethnic music. It helps for a short while…

gazebo4

The Gazebo

The gazebo
is a harbor of reflection
of today’s issues
on the days past
the days ahead
on nature’s beauty
roses, petunias lavender
dogwood trees, weeping willows
a place of retreat
to nourish the body
sip a cup of tea
from a floral china cup
bite from a scone
infuse the soul
with quietude and calm
-LM

Shalom…

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Sunday Scenes – August 10, 2014

bug on lily

Beetle on waterlily: The photo above was captured at a local Japanese Garden.

If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere. -Vincent Van Gogh

Sorry for the update. I had to end my quotation “italic”, because it offset my entire sidebar, etc. in “italic” mode.

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Time Flies

monterey 7 25 14

Time flies when you are having fun. And, fun I had, up visiting my brother and sister-in-law, who live on the Monterey Peninsula, in Pacific Grove, CA.

beach side

I intentionally chose not to blog. I wanted to enjoy the time spent with family members, enjoying hiking, lighthouse touring, aquarium exhibits, eating, walking along the beach, laughing, and creating fun memories.

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Red Coat, Seals, Commorants

My love of photography is a passion I have had since I was a child. I am not a portrait photographer, but love to capture people during moments of quietude, that illuminate their passions.

red coat seals

I was looking out the window of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, in Monterey CA, last November, and saw this woman photographing the scene in front of her. I just had to capture her photographing the black commorants and the seals on the rocks.

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Review: The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig

The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig is a combined study on human behavior and Austrian life. Each story examines behavior, with great detail within the boundaries of Austria’s social standards and mores.

The stories were not only period pieces, but social statements regarding ethics/morals, war and pacifism, and the living standards of the elite versus the poor. Most of the characters are depressed, stuck in a rote of life, and give off an aura of tragic lives lived. The stories are filled with melancholy and slices of drama. Drama played a major role in Austrian lives, and survival depended on roles played.

Pacifism is conveyed in the story entitled “Compulsion“. It involves an artist who receives orders to go to the Austrian consulate. His back and forth indecisiveness reflects those who do not believe in war, yet also feel they should do their duty to their country. Responsibility to his homeland is constantly questioned. Should he go, should he stay, should he go?

Religion factors into many of the stories, from Judaism to Catholicism. The individuals, family units and their beliefs are illuminated through Zweig’s writing. The treatment of Jewish individuals is written with insight and cognizance. Secular Jews were not necessarily considered part of the Austrian fold, depending on time frame and location.

The details within the stories are masterful and filled with perfection. The reader is exposed to the psychology of living in Europe during tragic and uncertain times. This psychology includes the poverty stricken individual’s struggle to survive in a world that looks upon them as less than desirable. Their very psyche is affected, in every aspect.

The bourgeois also strive to fit in. They feel somewhat above those who live in dire straights, but feel less confident than the well off elitists. They are the in between people. The elitists don’t necessarily fare better within their financial circumstances, as odd as that might sound.

Each story is a page-turner in its own right. Some of the characters have life-altering events, along with physical limitations, mindsets and philosophies, ideals, fears and struggles. The stories are not connected. Yet they share a time and place of prewar and war, and the situations that result due to war’s impact on citizens and their lives.

The stories cover the years from 1900 through 1935, with two additional stories having been unpublished until 1951 and 1987, respectively. This reader could see the author’s disintegration from society through the written prose. Zweig’s life was filled with disillusion, antiwar sentiment and a depressive state. So much is apparent in his writing, regarding his mindset, controlled by his dreary outlook on life. His work conveys much of his own thoughts, opinions and emotions, vividly. At least this reader thought so.

The film, The Grand Budapest Hotel is based on some of Zweig’s stories and novels. I can definitely see illuminations of that throughout this book. I have read two of his novels, but had not read this particular collection of works. The Post Office Girl is one of the novels, and the film is also based, in part, on this novel, according to the director, Wes Anderson (I saw it clearly).

Stefan Zweig is brilliant with his visuals, minute details, and in conveying emotional content. He was a masterful story teller, transporting this reader to Austrian life during the first three decades of the 20th century. The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig is a valuable collection of works within one book. The historical value is priceless, and I found the book to be a masterpiece.

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