I like coincidences. They give the illusion that things are connected when we ourselves are probably the connectors not the events.

It’s one of my pet theories that what humans do is make meaning. We can see meaning around us and if it is missing we can manufacture it. It’s what we do.

I watched as Ruth my sub organist discovered that Rhonda’s Dad had taught at a college whose retired president she had known in Florida. Coincidence.

Later when I mentioned to the piano trio that Hovhaness had been a strong admirer of Sibelius and that you could possibly hear some of Sibelius’s influence in the trio movement we are performing Sunday, Amy, my violinist, mentioned that thirty years ago she stood in the house where Sibelius had lived and where Hovhaness and his first wife had visited him in Finland. I then mentioned that I had recently been asked by a local choral conductor if I knew of a good setting of Sibelius’s Finlandia with different words than the ones usually used. Coincidence.

This morning after studying Greek, reading a bit of Shostakovich and Shakespeare, I turned briefly to the poets I am reading these days. First Derek Walcott and a charming poem called “Choc Bay.” It begins

Slowly daybreak is blown
Through the conch shell’s horn
To the sea, waking with birds;
And slowly that mote
In the heaven’s eye climbs, the hawk
Over the falling town,
Then down, dropping down
Over the water with its foam and curds.

Then I read Jamaal May’s “Thalassophobia Fear of the Sea” which ends like this:

… today I learned something old
about the sea. Even the conch is a bit

of a blade, coiling itself around itself,
spiraling to a point, so that all we find

lovely in its folds forms
the outline of a dagger.


Walcott ends his poem in a lovely way:

It was all a wise
Hoax to my sunblind eyes,
The belled leaves chimed away my days.
O Time, what if I gave the wrong things praise,
The wildest sorrows about?
All that I have and want are words
To fling my griefs about,
And salt enough for these eyes,
For the trapped wheeling of the holy birds,
And my barefooted flight from paradise.

Man, I love that. It’s practically Shakespearean to my ears.

How a Guy From a Montana Trailer Park Overturned 150 Years of Biology – The Atlantic

This guy had to go to Europe to get free college. Paid off.

That Green Square (or Circle) in Mexico City Might Save Your Life – The New York Times

Planning for disaster. Pretty cool.

Updated Brain Map Identifies Nearly 100 New Regions – The New York Times

Brain map 1.0. Very very cool.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Recipe –

Last night I grilled spicy shrimp and Portobello Mushrooms. Served them with potato salad and rolls. Yum.


4 thoughts on “coincidences

  1. Obviously, grilled portobello mushrooms are delicious. But I recently discovered that one can put a portobello mushroom in the microwave for a few minutes (along with say, feta cheese and breadcrumbs – actually your only limit is your imagination) and it’s a great lunch with no real cleanup to speak of. But yes, grilling would be better.

    We bought a gas grill. I put it together but haven’t actually used it yet. Maybe this weekend if it gets a little cooler outside…

    1. Great idea on the microwave…. We’ve had our gas grill for a few years and it’s very easy to use and convenient, especially when it’s hot. I grill veggies for me and meat for Eileen.

  2. Oh, and I keep meaning to send you this poem by Jamal May that I like:

    There Are Birds Here
    For Detroit

    There are birds here,
    so many birds here
    is what I was trying to say
    when they said those birds were metaphors
    for what is trapped
    between buildings
    and buildings. No.
    The birds are here
    to root around for bread
    the girl’s hands tear
    and toss like confetti. No,
    I don’t mean the bread is torn like cotton,
    I said confetti, and no
    not the confetti
    a tank can make of a building.
    I mean the confetti
    a boy can’t stop smiling about
    and no his smile isn’t much
    like a skeleton at all. And no
    his neighborhood is not like a war zone.
    I am trying to say
    his neighborhood
    is as tattered and feathered
    as anything else,
    as shadow pierced by sun
    and light parted
    by shadow-dance as anything else,
    but they won’t stop saying
    how lovely the ruins,
    how ruined the lovely
    children must be in that birdless city.

    Jamaal May, “There Are Birds Here” from The Big Book of Exit Strategies. Copyright © 2016 by Jamaal May. Reprinted by permission of Alice James Books.

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