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If you have ever loved someone or something—a man, a woman, a child, a job, an idea, or an ideal—you probably know what it means to have your heart broken by failure, loss, betrayal, decline, or death. Like most Americans, I love democracy, and like many I know, it breaks my heart when democracy is threatened, from within or without. What else should I feel when “We the People” find our will trumped by corporate money, official corruption, and Orwellian lies? Or when we undermine ourselves by indulging in cheap animosities toward those who disagree with us instead of engaging our differences like grown-ups?
– Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker J. Palmer
“Just look at what happens to poets,” I used to tell my honors class on the first day of school. “Half the time they go mad. And you know why I think that happens? Too much truth distilled to its essence, all surrounding evidence ignored or discarded. And I’m not faulting them for that. They’re just doing what poets are supposed to, and they’ve left us some beautiful works of literature, some of which have lasted for hundreds of years.” – Safe from the Neighbors by Steve Yarbrough
One can only wonder what kind of genius thought of blowing human breath down a metal tube, forming a bubble inside a molten blob of glass. And to think that this molten blob of glass is made only of silica or sand, the most common material in the world, that can be transformed from a solid to a liquid to a solid just from fire. For me it’s the most mysterious and magical of all the inventions or materials that mankind has invented or discovered. Since I was a little boy I always loved glass. And 34 years ago I put a pipe into some stained glass that melted in my basement, and blew a bubble. Since that moment I have spent my life as an explorer searching for new ways to use glass and glassblowing to make forms and colors and installations that no one has ever created before—that’s what I love to do. —Dale Chihuly, 2000
The rare water lily, native to tropical regions such as the Amazon River basin, can produce lily pads or floating leaves up to eight-feet across.
The ‘Longwood hybrid’ is a giant among aquatic plants with its spectacular and spiny lily pads and exquisite white flowers that open at night. These South American natives are found growing in the calm backwaters of the Amazon River where they produce flowers that last only two or three days. This plant’s varied textures, colors, and shapes offer beauty and grace throughout the year.
Victoria exhibits some extraordinary structural characteristics. A notch in the middle of the leaf rim allows rainwater to drain from the surface of each pad. Spectacular sharp spines cover the underside of the leaves, the stems, and the flower buds, protecting the leaves from animals and fish. A web-like structure of hollow ribs supports the underside of the leaves; these ribs are filled with air and provide for exceptional buoyancy. In an experiment using sandbags, Victoria were found to support up to 300 pounds on a single pad. Young plants can grow at an amazing rate, exhibiting increases in individual pad diameter of over eight inches in one day.
WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN I SHALL WEAR PURPLE
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
from the book
When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
Edited by Sandra Martz
Papier Mache Press–Watsonville, California 1987
FREIHEIT, TEXAS. Freiheit, northeast of New Braunfels in eastern Comal County, originated in 1891 as the San Geronimo School community. The school, named for a nearby creek, was on land donated by Henry A. Rose and served the blacklands farming area 3½ miles northeast of New Braunfels. In 1906 a store opened near the school at the intersection of Eberling Lane and Prairie Lea Road. In 1910 Alonzo Nolte, owner of the store, organized the Freiheit Bowling Club, which lent its name to the crossroads community. In the reorganization of Comal County schools after World War II, the San Geronimo School was consolidated with the Goodwin Rural High School. The crossroads on Farm Road 1101 leading to New Braunfels Municipal Airport was still known as Freiheit (German for “freedom”) in 1985.
Oscar Haas, History of New Braunfels and Comal County, Texas, 1844–1946 (Austin: Steck, 1968). New Braunfels Herald, July 6, 1954.
Source: The Handbook of Texas