“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


A New Road on the Map

Cats speak to poets in their natural tongue,
and something profound and untamed in us answers.
~ Jean Burden

Perhaps it is the poet in me that holds her so close,
perhaps it is the poet in me
that knows she needs the house a bit too warm,
and turns the heat up,
and just takes off my socks.
I prefer bare feet anyway.

Yet another hard weekend for her,
apparently unable to tolerate a new medicine.
3rd time is all the proof I need.

She is one tough cookie. She doesn't look it here, she looks fragile and giving-up, but she's not. And I must make a decision, have, in fact, already made it, to not give her the medicine, which brings up fears and unknowns, this medicine replacing another discontinued but well tolerated and extremely effective drug. There may be no other to replace this. And in the doing of that, in this power I have, what decision am I really making? In her natural tongue she is telling me no mas, por favor y let us see what happens. We will continue the fluids and the B12, we will talk to her veterinarian, and we will see what happens. But no more hard weekends like this because I have allowed a pill to be given to her, no more, no mas, indeed. It is a new road on my map of the year, a major road, one I didn't see coming, but one I share with this cat who holds a part of my heart, and we will walk it together, and if I have to carry her sometimes, I will. That's what you do with life and love. You carry on.

The ever-wonderful Michael is a pilot - have I ever told you that? - and he once, many years ago, told me that people, the general non-flying public, seemed to not understand something very basic about airplanes, which was that they didn't just fall out of the sky if something went wrong. He said if any emergency comes up, your first emergency procedure is to keep flying the plane - if the engine stops, you keep flying the plane, if the cockpit catches on fire, you keep flying the plane. You keep the plane in the air and try to figure out whatever has gone wrong. You don't give in, you don't give up, you approach the situation at hand and keep flying the plane. You carry on.

A lesson for this would-be navigator. This Maggie road will take us who knows where and at an unknown speed, but I have my compass, I know North, and so know the way home. If you see us passing your way, if your house is on this road we are wandering, please wave as we pass; I know a couple of birds who will keep us company as we make our way, but a friendly face here and there would be most welcome.

She is a bit better tonight.
Last night I made a pallet on the floor
and slept next to her for a while,
laid my hand on her foot
and fell asleep
listening to an almost silent purr.
but a purr nonetheless


The Last Leaf Before The Leaving

Just yesterday morning this leaf was still here,
the last of the dogwoods outside the front door.
But there were winds last night
they stole it away as they flew by,
and I feel like Forrest Gump saying
and just like that it was gone.

But just like that it was gone,
who knows where?,
but gone away, gone ahead, gone.

There are pictures of snow on the television, and my jaw that always hurts when the wind gets up and the air turns cold is hurting, pain spreading through my teeth and the left side of my face and even along the side of my nose; who needs the weather channel except for numbers? and, of course, scenes of destruction, things gone away, and I keep the sound off as usual unless it looks exciting, and flip through the stations, and find a station talking about the spending freeze, which makes me laugh in more ways than one, and on another they are discussing whether Hurricane Katrina might've been a good thing, for which I admit I have to turn on the sound, apparently the Education Secretary said it was?, and suddenly everyone on the station supports school vouchers, and at that I have to turn the sound off because I remember when they didn't, when they thought it was a ridiculous notion, but those opinions are gone, gone, in fact no doubt never existed if we were to ask them, we have always been at war with Eastasia.

The television goes off, I can only take so much, and I once again turn to the scene in front of me, the cold outdoors, neighbors walking dogs, squirrels running across the yard, the greens and grays and browns, and empty trees that block nothing from my view. It is quiet when it's cold here, you would almost think we had snow, so different from a springtime Saturday morning or summer, when everyone is up mowing their lawns before the heat sets in, and I hold that thought close, that this cold will soon be gone also, I see summertime ahead and flowers in trees, more than Mary's already blooming white camellias, and that's what this is really all about, I think, this long ramble about nothing but gone-ness. I think I am healing - not my jaw, though that pain is almost gone also, but healing from this last year, and yes, about time, you might say, but I have never been fast at this sort of thing, always bad at letting go. But I feel it, I feel a slight change, a slight ease, even when I look out the window and see Mary's house so different, there is still an easing of the hurt of last year, truly almost a year ago, just a couple of weeks away. There are stories to tell, conversations to be had, and the year ahead holds good things, some already begun, some just waiting to be said out loud, still secrets at the moment.

I have had a month of navigating.
A compass pointing north
lays atop a book titled Coming Home,
one of a stack of books holding a lamp.
Things coming.
Not gone.


Words Fall Like Rain

I am starting my day with no picture, just words, just these words here on this computer screen. I will take a picture on my way in to work, this rainy morning after a night of thunder way way off in distance, waking me, unsure if it really was thunder; there is a shutter down on the back porch, one that was just propped against the wall for visual appeal, perhaps it was prowling raccoons that awakened me over and over.

Funny thing about just words, how you toss them out into the Universe and they get heard, and ideas are born and then more ideas and you think yes, you said you wanted to write, but really you are surprised the Universe was so closely listening, so attentive, surprised at the opportunities and possibilities tossed back at you, as if to say really? you want to write? you've always said you have nothing to say, well, here then, look here, a gift, write. And that's really the reason I kept waking, I suppose, new ideas in my head, another new project maybe in the works, one that kept me up late thinking fastfastfast, yes, no wonder it was a sleepless night.

Yesterday was Mary's birthday and if she were still here, she'd've been, what? 96? I missed her all day, her house that was so open to us all now closed, shut up like a tomb though people are living there, sheets and blankets hanging over her windows. I don't know how Charlie the cat can see out and that bothers me, those windows were never covered and he had so many places to lay and watch the world outside, and now does he feel a stranger all over again? Almost a year since she left us all, and he had to readjust to no Mary, then to new tenants - he is part of the house - and now to no window perches, and does he feel it closing in like I do, feel the changes that continue continue continue will they never stop?

There is a camellia bush blooming in her side yard, white blossoms against green and brown and under gray skies and only a year ago I could run over and take all the pictures I wanted, could cut a few for a vase, these first blossoms always a wonder, but those covered windows say keep out and so I do.

And so I write,
and this morning I am not on the couch
where I can see those blossoms,
but propped up in my bed,
watching the gray skies from another direction.
My back to the flowers,
my soul open to the rain,
my heart trying.
happy belated mary


A Short List of My Day

a beautiful piece of light this morning

the scent of an orange on my fingertips
stacks of shimmering blue paper
worn out black cowboy boots still a perfect fit
first names ending in s
white clouds in a blue morning sky

Today was just that way.


Still Moment: Tuesday Night

still moment

black & white movie on tv,
the sound off.

at the store I bought a small bag of clementines,
unable to resist,
thinking not of Mary this time,
but of the ever-wonderful Michael,
who loves oranges and tangerines and all their kin.
i bought green grapes,
sharp cheddar cheese,
raspberry sorbet,
dark chocolate,
and in the fridge are blueberries and olives.
excepting the sorbet, all finger foods, all easy.
a plate of olives and cheese
the perfect supper
for this still quiet moment called Tuesday night.

there was a mood or a minute this past weekend
when i considered painting over the blue walls at work,
those walls I love so dearly,
and so I stopped to gather paint chips,
finding myself reading instead.
reading their colors,
their names,
like fortune cookies or magical spells.
the one pictured above was my favorite,
still moment,
those two wise words slowing me down,
knowing it was just a bit of wintertime spring fever,
saying think it over,
summertime will be better,
you will have more time,
think it over.

wise words indeed.
monday morning I walked into a workplace
full of stuff to do right now
and have been doing it right now for two days,
but 9 o'clock here on this Tuesday night,
that still moment has at last arrived.
i'm not sure I could be unstill if someone paid me.
it is one of those nights full of no doubts,
no questions hanging thick in the air,
a night made for books about africa,
a fire in the heater,
a sleeping cat in front of that fire.
this night after another hurried day
leaves me too tired to second-guess myself,
my shoulders tight
but the heat in the house a comfort on my muscles,
the silence indescribably delicious.

There are not miles to go before I sleep,
it feels quite close at hand.
Not far at all.
colder air also


Almost 13

You can find me at Vision & Verb today.
Talking about the girl in this picture.
Come on over.
Dive in.
The water's fine.
see you there


Me vs. Mornings

I should probably save this for Vision and Verb.
A woman of a certain age, indeed.

This is me, morning not my best friend, an image I've had for a while. Since last summer I think, my hair is longer now, and I am wearing a white gown thingie, but other than that not much has changed. My hair is up, pushed off to the side where it moves as I sleep - I cannot sleep unless it is pulled up - and those big old glasses that actually allow me to read, how attractive are they?

Yesterday I posted on Facebook that I am thinking of implementing a rule at my house, not allowing anyone but the lovely, lovely Katie to call me between 8 and 9:30 a.m., unless it is an emergency, and by emergency I don't mean asking me where to buy a tankless water heater, or telling me that someone I am kin to but have never met or even heard of has died. I am supposed to be at work by 9:30, and though it is not always or even usually the fault of phone calls or texts that I rarely make it by then, it is often enough. I am not a morning person. I stumble around, I knock things over, I feel rushed. This morning I spilled a coke before even having a coke, and spent my new sitting-with-the-morning time cleaning the carpet.

I don't want texts from anyone either - again, the lovely, lovely Katie is exempt because her calls, texts, or even visits are always interesting and when I say to her I have to take a shower she says okay and goes on her way. Not true with other people who can't understand why I sound aggravated after mentioning a shower 2 or 3 times, or saying I really have to get dressed 2 or 3 times, people who call me later and say are you feeling better? Which actually kind of annoys me right now just thinking about it.

I want to buy a muffin at Brady's without engaging in conversation, I want to get in my Jeep and not have a discussion about anything with up-on-the-corner-Dan. If I see something I want to photograph, I want to photograph and be left alone, and yes, sometimes I look exactly like that picture above while running around the neighborhood - pajama pants and hoodie added for modesty.

My laptop is in the shop, my usual reading-of-the-blogs and emails delayed until I get to work, no morning blogging on my part, even that feels rushed now, trying to squeeze it in between jobs, or, like now, instead of doing what I really should be doing, and I am made suddenly aware of how relaxing it was to start my day with y'all, in silence, Maggie on my lap.

Ah well.
It is now 11:38.
I made it to work by 10.
I look much better than that picture above.
thank goodness


A Fabulous Day

There is rain in the air
and an 8th church fire.

But still,
I feel fabulous.
I can breathe.
I can dance.
No coat needed.
No socks.
Maggie the cat feels it too.
An early false spring brings smiles even to cats,
and she was outside on the footbridge,
watching the water below.

Storms are coming.
They always are.
I refuse to worry.
What will be will be
and winter will return, it still being January.
Sepia light pours from the sky,
going gray in advance of those storms,
the color of pale fog.

But still.
A fabulous day.
dance with me


In the Company of Purrs

She keeps me company.

We had a long weekend,
this cat and I,
time creeping up on us,
and she stayed near.

I have moved the blue table
and replaced it with a bench
here behind the couch,
piled it with art papers and other goodies,
moved the table farther back into the room,
trying to find more "studio" space,
though I haven't painted a drop since last June.
I am sitting at the table taking this image.
And it is Saturday afternoon.
Now it is Tuesday night
and she is curled in my lap,
suddenly asleep,
her loud purrs gone silent.

It was, as I said, a long weekend.
She felt bad and I stayed near.
There is,
after all,
nothing like a warm lap when you need one.

She is better now and I am once again amazed at her resilience, her stubbornness, her determination to squeeze every ounce of life from each day. There was 70 degree sunshine to sit in today, there were cardinals in the yard and squirrels in the trees, pleasures that more than made up for the weekend indoors, for the bit of rain.

My life lately is the other side of that couch pictured above. It is where I sit now surrounded by all I will need for a while - cell phone, land line phone, laptop, tv remote, Coca Cola on ice, books, anything I can think of so I won't disturb her unless absolutely necessary. It is my bed for my first few hours of sleep, a close spot to keep an eye on her, but she is better and perhaps tonight I will find 8 hours of shuteye in my bed bed.

In the meantime, however, the couch is our island,
afloat in the living room.
Can islands float?
Never mind.
I am learning to navigate
in all sorts of places.
first mate asleep in my lap


7 Churches

This was the 7th,
and this is when I decided
to take my phone out of my pocket
and start taking pictures.

7 church fires in the last 3 weeks.

5 in areas near us - within a few miles - and 2 here in town. The 6th Saturday night, the 7th last night, less than 24 hours later. 4 of the the first 5 have been ruled arsons, and the 5th? Remember this? Only the sign is left, but it was an act of God, so to speak. Hopefully.

Last night's fire was in my neighborhood. A church that has been here for as long as I can remember. A message on Facebook alerted Katie, she messaged me and then she & her hubby were off to see, thinking it was under control, and it was, but the church was gone, the entrance in the image above almost all that remained, all the roofs gone. I began to smell the smoke and decided to walk up, on my way receiving another message - omg it is horrible, was all it said. Traffic was stopped a couple of blocks from my house and within another block the church came into sight; a few more steps and I began to take pictures. Another few steps and I found Katie and our next door neighbors, and across the street we went to stand in front of those last remaining doors, the fire inside the belfry refusing to be extinguished, the steeple hanging by its side, refusing to fall just yet.

7 churches. 4 arsons proved.
All burned to the ground.
These last 2 suspicious enough
for the fire chief to send a message
via tv news
to all the other churches.
Stay vigilant, he said.

We are surrounded by churches.
Several in the neighborhood;
remember the cross on the steeple
where the hawks rest?
2 blocks away.
Our business is downtown,
churches to the south mostly,
but within a block or two,
and a huge one 2 buildings over
to my right as I sit at my desk.

is a question I cannot answer.
I stood in disbelief last night,
my hand over my mouth,
unable to even find words for the question.

We walked home in the cool night air
and I heard sirens for another hour.
the federal government has been called in


A Vision and a Verb

It is my 500th post and tomorrow another adventure begins.

Another road on my map of this year.

It is called Vision and Verb,
and I have so kindly been asked to be a part.

A collaboration of women of a certain age. We are from everywhere, from Tanzania to Texas to Tennessee, from The Netherlands and Sweden and Canada all-over, from Northern England, from the east coast of the U.S. to the west. We are photographers and writers and painters and women who want to be more, our age not a barrier, but an open door. A baker's dozen plus a couple more. We are married and we are single, we are mothers and we are childless, we are straight and we are gay, we are religious and we are not sure. We begin this journey together, not knowing where it will take us, hoping you will join us as we share bits of our lives and worlds. Some of us you already know, some will become new friends. It feels to me a bit like the yellow brick road, not knowing what forests may lie ahead, not knowing who we will gather up and carry with us as we go, but we are not looking for the Wizard. We are old enough to have already seen behind the curtain.

We begin tomorrow,
but bios are already up,
except Robin's -
she has been busy
with the early arrival of a new grandson,
Mr. Henry throwing her off schedule,
but that is what happens
with women of a certain age -
she will have it there soon.

And me?
My 500th post.

I used to tell Michael I had nothing to say
when he would ask why I wasn't painting.
I was apparently wrong.

UPDATE: It is tomorrow. Check us out.


The Art of Climbing Trees

Whose blog were you on,
little almond tree quote,
hiding in a poem,
there almost at the end?
I am lost,
unable to find you,
unable to remember.

you were an inspiration,
sending me to the hackberry tree
a picture in my mind,
a camera in my hand.

Legend has it a little girl once climbed this tree. Whether it is true or not I cannot say, but the nails are there, really screws I think, and have been there for as long as I have known this tree. They are temptations, daring you to clamber on up and find a spot, a bird's eye view, among the branches. Summer would be best, hidden among the leaves, and I know a bird or two who would stop by for a secluded visit.

Do children still climb trees, or is that now a wii game, virtual trees waiting out there, or in there, for them? This past weekend I watched my niece climb atop her bricked in mailbox, despite the age of 13 waiting in the wings, up the 4 feet or so and and then a dance of joy at being just that far up, a face full of uncontained happiness, laughter at the cold air, the cold sunshine, so maybe tree climbing is not yet a lost art. I am sure she would be up those nails in a heartbeat; in fact I now recall stopping her from doing just that when she was 4 or 5.

What I was thinking?

A book to read: The Wild Trees.
I'll give it to her later.
she is braver than i


You're Not Gonna Need a Designated Driver

Wisdom on the back of a bartender's shirt.

I could write more about this question
but I don't think I have to,
I think y'all get it.

I wrote down a phrase this weekend,
the chemistry of ease,
I was listening to Danielle LaPorte at the time
and her 8 second rule,
about how things should be easy,
how you just know.


What a great word.

A great concept.

I know people
who cannot relax unless they leave town,
and I wonder about that,
but they are so truly happy
when gone,
that who am I to say?

So to each of us our own way.
Whatever drink you have in your hand,
a toast.
"To Happiness."
Say it out loud.
When I sit with the mornings,
a coke in my hand,
the day awaiting me,
To Happiness, I will say.

No longer
will my map point the way there,
telling me happiness is
away in the far off lands.

Happiness lives here.
It is under my feet.
I've been standing on it all this time,
unable to see it.

And it tickles.


A Wild River Runs Through It

Third try's a charm, they say.

I keep putting this image out there,
keep putting it up,
keep talking about it
and then I walk away,
and it feels as if I've left a brick sitting on the page.

Could it be any heavier?

I talk about patterns and evolutions
and all of it is true
but I just can't get it to say what I feel,
this image with a life of its own,
the words that don't come easy,
and for me,
that is a clue, a hint,
a sign I should know to take seriously,
because the good ones always come easy for me.

And the problem is reading.

Truly it is.
It's why I don't visit museums a lot
when I'm painting,
why I avoid art magazines & books,
not wanting to influence my stuff,
and it's why I work with no music,
wanting only my rhythm on the canvas.

But this is reading,
and it works differently.
I begin to read new blogs,
and it's only blogs for some reason,
never books,
but I begin to read those blogs,
happy, happy to find them,
and my rhythm suddenly feels wrong,
moving with no grace,
and I should know, I should know,
to just stop, to stop,
to walk away,
to stop trying so hard,
but I push the words instead of letting them flow
and then I get up the next morning
and delete the post.

A pattern, you see,
though I hadn't until just now,
until typing those words,
and that's how it should work for me,
how it normally works for me,
for you it may be different,
but for me, that's it.
The ahas! just appear when I let them.

So I had talked about evolution,
about Darwin,
about survival of the fittest,
about changing one's spots,
about changing my spots,
about my own personal evolution,
about how the stripes on Maggie's tail
mirrored the stripes of water
on the leaf-stained concrete,
about patterns
and how we change them.
I'd talked about all that
but it didn't feel right.
I tried twice.

There's a lesson here somewhere.
I am, after all,
making my own map this year.
I must learn to let the river flow where it flows,
it lives in Mombasa anyway.
I will tear down the dam before the floods come,
and let it go.

So the map continues.
Two raccoons.
No dam.
A wild river.

So far I like it.
there are animals in the jungle


The Map Begins: Two Raccoons

A two raccoon morning.

And a lesson in finding my own way.

I'd watched raccoons last night, sitting in the dark of my living room, the only light that of the tv. They'd hurried back and forth past the front door several times for what reason I know not, looking for pecans or a warmer spot or just moving, moving to keep the cold at bay. They were there on and off for an hour, entertainment for Maggie and me, then gone into the night.

This morning I deleted yesterday's post, unhappy with it, I'd felt I just needed to write something, which was true, but no need to post everything. It was in my dreams, that thought it needed to be gone, so gone it was when I was up and the computer on, the virus scan finished. I sat with the morning - lesson #1, I will always sit with the morning a bit, feel what it has to tell me - and was rewarded with a daytime raccoon, no way to know if it was one of my nighttime visitors, scuttling across Mary's yard and driveway, limping a little, a big raccoon. I watched as he rustled his way up through the bush at the end of her driveway, the one whose name I've never known, and then into the tree, I think it's an oak, I am quite terrible at knowing what they are when the leaves are gone, I will ask someone later, but up into the tree he went and I watched, knowing there was a scooped out spot more than halfway up, a raccoon place, I've seen them there before, and then a second raccoon appeared from the same direction, a smaller one, a younger one, caught out in the daytime also, and up he went and uh oh, thought I, only room for one, and so grabbed my camera, threw a jacket on over my pjs and was out the door just in time for the fight to begin, the screaming and scratching and brawling all at that empty spot in the tree, and in just a moment that first raccoon, the big one, was scooching down the tree, stopping when he saw me, resting against a small limb. the small raccoon staring at me from his hard-won place of warmth. A few pictures, a few words with my neighbor, and I headed back to my place of warmth, settling on the couch to see what would happen. Soon, catching his breath, raccoon #1 headed back up the tree and threw the youngster out, who hurried down the tree and headed to the back of Mary's driveway, under cars, behind or under the house.

Lesson #1. Sit with the morning.

Lesson #2. The cold won't kill me.

Lesson #3. In mapping my own way,
there will be no forcing of words,
of events,
of anythings.
I will, like raccoon #1, stop a moment,
catch my breath, look around.

I remember they were out in the mornings last year,
remember writing about that,
remember thinking perhaps they were Mary's guides
to a new home as her last days were here.
Perhaps they were.
Perhaps she is sending me a sign,
though she was a terrible navigator.

But the map starts here,
this morning,
in the cold.
With two raccoons.


The Quiet Month

the silent month,
speaks in whispers
and the rush of cold wind
through keyholes and broken screens.

It is silence and warmth in my house tonight, a massage earlier, a hot shower, a just right warm bowl of chicken gumbo, Maggie nestled next to my feet, both of us covered with a field of white flowers swirling across a pale blue comforter, pieces of dark chocolate studded with cocoa nibs await me, and my hair smells like lavender and my bed is unmade, piled with square pillows in white shams, rectangular pillows in white ruffled cases, white blankets to snuggle beneath, the cold tonight giving way to real cold tomorrow evening, and I will change the linens to white flannel sheets sprinkled with baby blue flowers, and I will dream of blue flowers, putting away the bad dream of last night, the dream of Maggie which woke me crying and unable to breathe. Tonight there may be sleet and my fingers are crossed, I love the sound of it against the window nearest my bed, candlelight flickering against the ceiling, lulling me to sleep and that dream of blue flowers.

I am barely awake.
The chocolate will have to wait.
. . . and to all a good night . . .


When It's Cold Outside: Jalapenos, Baby

We need a little warmth right about now,
a jalapeno or two,
and did I ever tell you about JY's jalapeno dressing?,
which will wake you up on a Thanksgiving afternoon,
and give you religion
cause you just wanna get down on your knees
and thank the Lord,
never mind JY,
for such food.

See that smoke coming from the smokehouse?,
that smoke that left my clothes and hair
smelling like supper in the outdoors?
Set my mouth to watering.

We are surrounded by these little taquerias
taco shops
taco stands
panaderias full of lovely little gingerbread pigs.

I've been thinking of a series of photos.
I want the mom & pop places,
2 or 3 to a block sometimes,
but they grow fast,
they outgrow their mom & popness,
that's how much we like the food.

The mas.
If you didn't want a taco.
It is cold outside and getting colder.
Green hot sauce will fix you right up.


In Which A Violin Sings Songs of the Soul

He said he played for himself.

Said it was either the violin or something darker.

He said he would play for hours
people would stop and ask
how he was feeling,
standing there baring his soul,
and couldn't they tell? he asked me,
Didn't they know?

He was outside a bookstore in the afternoon sun,
and I didn't ask how long he'd played today,
but his hat had some money in it,
and he hadn't been there when I'd gone in,
only when I came out,
so maybe not too long,
although I spent a bit of time inside.
I dropped a five dollar bill in the hat,
and walked to the Jeep,
listening to his beautiful music,
poetry in the January-warm air,
and picked up my camera,
deciding if he could be brave, so could I,
and asked to take pictures,
just your feet and the hat, I said,
which I think made him laugh,
but he got it,
and I got braver and took more.

The day had been full of omens,
a broken bracelet at the vet's,
tears at hearing the words in the last stages of,
a hawk circling over my car at a stoplight,
slow lazy zeros,
around and around and around,
and I'd gone to eat,
then to spend some Christmas money at the bookstore.

And when I came out there he was.
The Universe hands out gifts.
I say it all the time.

When I got back to the Jeep to leave,
and turned to wave goodbye,
he was gone.
katie saw him weeks ago


The Light of a New Year

An early morning walk led me here.

Headed west, an oonch barely barely to the south,
surprising me,
I would've thought directly west, just a bit to the north.
Much to learn this new year.

These fairy lights will soon be gone,
and the sun has already replaced the gray.
So too will I let it move into my life,
into the corners and closets
and overstuffed purses that need cleaning,
need brightness,
need space.

A weekend for just that.
Then the mapmaking begins.

Happy New Year, y'all!
2010 begins with light.
of course