Mary Beth Writes

The photo is Karen P's mom, Joan, who has been in quarantine in an assisted living residence since March. Her birthday party was a few months before all this began. Light for hope. Hope for light.


Yesterday I wrote “I liked figuring out the best way to position my stance in order to frame whatever it was I wanted to focus on.”

Point of View. 

I was thinking about this. I know what I meant – when taking a photograph it makes a HUGE difference where you, the photographer, stand. The tree trunk may be awesome, but is it more awesomely textured from this side, or can you see the ridges better if you stand a couple feet further to the right or left?  When taking a photo of another human, you can do it straight on, subject staring at you like school photographers and Diane Arbus do (did). Or you can line up your family members but then walk to the end of the line and have them all turn their heads to look at you and now you have a humdinger of a photo. 

Point of view is critical. Think media networks - NBC, OANN, FOX, PBS. Consider what holidays mean to others. What Christmas meant to you when you were a child and what it means now. Think what our flag means. Think about how you remember the drinkers, users, and abusers in your parents’ and grandparents’ generations. What you know will often change if you walk around it.

Your assignment (hah) for today is to pay attention to one tree, or fellow human being, or news story that you encounter today. Walk all the way around it to see how the light falls.

“and what I know from my studies and from my life is that there is no such thing as a true event. We know dates and times and locations and participants but accounts of what happened depend upon the perspective from which the event is viewed.”
― William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace

Jennifer B.

“But somewhere in the vault of our hearts, in a place our brains can’t or won’t touch, the worst is stored, and the only sure key to it is in our dreams.”
― William Kent Krueger, This Tender Land


 Jennifer B.

“I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.”
― Abraham Lincoln

“I am his Highness' dog at Kew;
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?”
― Alexander Pope

From the Internet: NYC 

“For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel
like home.”
― Simon Van Booy, Everything Beautiful Began After

“Don't worry about finding your soul mate. Find yourself.”
― Jason Evert


Susan L - LA at dusk.

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?” – Wizard of Oz  

Mary Kay F, from the Seven Bridges section of a park (I forget which park) in Milwaukee.

Tell me again I need to know. The forest had trees, the meadows were green.
The oceans were blue and birds really flew. Can you swear that it's true?

John Denver “Whose Garden Was This?”

“Hope is never lost more than we are”
― Slaven Vujic


Karen P’s grandson hunting at dawn in Indiana

“What catches your attention can change day to day.
But what catches your attention day after day is what you should pay attention to.”
― Khang Kijarro Nguyen

Susan L

This is the most powerful photo today. This is a small brush fire that started a few lots over from Susan’s house. She called the fire department, they said they were on their way. She asked if she should do something. They said to defend her house. She went outside and turned on her hose and stood there with it. The fire department arrived right then and put out the fire.

This is in the hills around Los Angeles.

I now have lots of photos. Thanks!! I have them stored in on-line files and will get to many/most of them in the next few weeks. Please keep sending them! If your photo is something you took in these days we are in right now, let me know.  I love old beauties but I’m also curious what we see in this season.






Truly enjoying these posts about light and all your comments and the story you write with it. I am honored I have 2 places in your post!

So filled with reflections. TY

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Quarantine Diary #308 1/15/2021

My life is pretty fine, and I bet yours is, too. Warm place to live. Food to eat. Friends to share and laugh with - even if we have to do it via Zoom.

At the same time, who isn’t feeling anxiety and dread? Will the white supremacist insurrectionist knobs attack the inaugural? Will they screw up state capitols and infrastructure? One lone guy blew up Nashville a mere three weeks ago. What the hell is going on?

Quarantine Diary #307 Brain Names

Remember when there was no autism? Sure, there were kids in our schools who were weirdly able to remember stuff, or were hard to control, or whose emotions triggered at the oddest time. We generally ignored those kids. Those of us who were kind did, anyways. Others bullied. 

Remember the mopey kids in high school who knew too much about depressing art and angsty music and sometimes killed themselves?

Quarantine Diary #306 Hunched Over & Paying Attention

I am going to write some Quarantine Diary entries again. There’s a lot going on and sometimes it helps to hear a small voice as well as the big voices of journalists, pundits, networks, the other public media we follow.

I have had a small headache off and on for days. I worried that I might have contracted Covid, except dang it, I haven’t gone anywhere! And then, thinking about it, I realized I am hunched over my phone much more than usual. These mild on-again, off-again headaches are from eyestrain and weird posture.

Rime and Treason

These photos were taken by Len on Monday in that other time and world that existed before the Trump gorgons mobbed the Capitol. (Gorgons existed in Greek literature. Gorgons are the poisonous siblings with hair of living snakes. Those who beheld them face-to-face turned to stone. Or were killed by being beaten by a fire extinguisher.)

I have been trying to write about that but it is too hard. There is so much that is clear and is informative. You are reading it as much as I am. Blessed be the journalists, right? 

Quarantine Diary #292 New Year's Eve

Many of us feel as if we are in limbo until Biden takes office. I don’t think you need me to say a lot about how long and hard this year has been; we’ve been in this dentist’s chair together.


Did you see how many days quarantine has lasted? 292 days.

So far.

This week I read a remarkable essay. On Natural Landscapes, Metaphorical Living, and Warlpiri Identity, by Barry Lopez. Life is weird. The day after I read it, Mr. Lopez died.

Advent Light Post 12/24/2020

Judy Saunders. Photo of a Rose.

Lo, how a rose e'er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung,
Of Jesse's lineage coming,
As folks of old have sung.
It came a flower bright
Amid the cold of winter
When half-spent was the night.


Len and I were delivering presents to Chicago yesterday. Social distancing, with masks, but we did it and we saw our kids’ faces and there’s your Christmas, Ma’am.

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