Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Years ago someone in the AOL homeschooling discussions said she never liked to think of "a bad day," but only a bad moment. The next moment might always be better.

That changed my life.

Last weekend, I was thinking a lot and talking a bit with some others about moments, about the value of moments, and hobbies, and work and activities. Moments have different value to different people, certainly.

I'm heating my hot tub, which uses wood. It's right at 100 and I'm aiming for 105 degrees F, and the moon's coming into view through some trees and I was reminded of a Robert Louis Stevenson poem about the moon in a bucket.

Today I was reading a book called Your Brain on Music, and yesterday I was reading some very cool reviews of the top 200 songs of the 1960's, because I went to see what others might think about the residual value of "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5, which has a really great bass line and chord progression. It was #2 on that list I found. #1 was "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys, which is the closing theme in "Love Actually," a sweet and funny movie with a parody of "Love is All Around You" by the Troggs.

Last weekend I was thinking about moments, about how many hours of preparation or travel or build-up precede every magic moment in a life, and what makes a thing "worth it."

When, standing stirring my hot tub, I saw the moon this evening, with the past few days' thoughts shuffling and settling in my head, I understood something about haiku for the first time ever. The good ones describe a moment, a perception—one point in time, and the breathtaking thought of an instant.

My next-door neighbor's name is Harry. He was in the Navy in WWII, on a submarine in the Pacific. He was young, and far from Pinos Altos, New Mexico, his boyhood home. He said the officer on watch invited him up to look out at the surface of the ocean, and he saw the rising moon's reflection like a silver road to the horizon. The day he described it to me I got a shiver.


It was stars in a bucket, not the moon:

...and the pail by the wall
Would be half full of water and stars.

from ""Escape at Bedtime"

Top Ten of the 1960's (part of a top 200 series, with very interesting notes on the songs and photos of the artists from the time)

my hot tub (but without the moon and the beautiful darkness)


Anonymous said...

Hi SD--wonderful blog. I came across your blog while looking into strewing. As a blogging Dad with a 3 1/2 y.o., I've been very interested in all forms of learning for my lttle one.

I'm just reading other parts of your blog and look forward to reading more.

I'd like to link with you (I think my readers would find your thoughts interesting), if that's OK?

Thank you for sharing!

Sandra Dodd said...

I figure anything this public is a fair candidate for links or quotes or whatever, so sure, go ahead. Thanks for the nice words.

I reformatted, so some of the older posts will have mysteriously too-small photos, I guess. All the content is there, but the formatting is probably nothing like it once was.

Anonymous said...

Four to five years ago when I was new to unschooling and reading the lists voraciously you wrote about it only being a bad moment in an email response to someone. Wow -- what a change that brought about in my family! I used to write daily in my journal - years of simply noting down all that was wrong in my family instead of all that was right. I got so caught up in one thing going wrong and then having it ruin the next and the next etc. That comment stopped me dead in my tracks and truly began to turn things around. I recently read through much of those old journal pages and was appalled at all the negativity and sadness in there. I wanted to toss it all - DH suggested we have a ceremonial burning of it and celebrate just how far we have come. Last weekend while at a favorite camp spot we did just that. We each read some here and there and tossed each page into the fire while saying goodbye to that old life. We are still a long ways from where we hope to be but are enjoying the process now and are happily moving forward together one GOOD moment at a time.

Sandra Dodd said...

Jin, that is a great story. I hope you don't mind I've enshrined it here:

Ren Allen said...

I love the thought of the moon or the stars in a bucket....and the hottub makes me yearn for a wood-fired anything.:)

The photos of the hot tub moments are awesome. It made me happy that Hannah got to hang out in a wood-fired hot tub with happy people and glow sticks.