Words to Live By

Albuqurque, New Mexico at a Deli

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.
– Aristotle

There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors. – Adrienne Rich

A Day at the Beach

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

I love the beach
It’s a special place for me
I take naps
Listen to waves
And walk along the sandy edge of the ocean,
Watching children make castles in the sand.

Dreams of the inhabitants flood the beach
My dreams, their dreams, everyone’s dreams.
The salty water of the tide moves in and out
And sweeps up all these dreams
and moves them back out to the sea.
Back and forth, back and forth, 
dreams tumble like shells with the riptide.
Dreams that may never come true
Dreams unseen in real life
Except in the minds of those who dare to ponder 
that which is possible.

A small girl with blonde hair to her shoulders
Builds pyramids by the seashore with her dad.
Chichén Itzá comes to mind.
The re-creation of a place they never heard of before.
Maybe shown in a picture, at some time,
By some teacher, from who knows where. 
And it stuck in their mind.
As the tide moves in at about 4 o’clock,
Most pack their bags to go.
Begrudging the work that lies ahead
Their feet kick up their dreams in the sand.
The lifeguard stays on,
Talking away with an older female friend sitting down below. 
She keeps him company for the day.
He talks about the sea, the wild sea so ‘bravo’ from the full moon rising in the sky.
Gentle souls were he, and she.

And the small blond girl stood before her pyramids
Arms extended from East to West
Absorbing the current through her veins, eager to gulp her up like a whale.
But she stood strong, and firm, 
Impermeable and invincible against the steady gust of wind,
As she overlooked the sea with its fierce and raucous waves. 
When her father said “Aria, it’s time to go,”
A loud and thunderous “No” came from her tiny back turned body,
Resistant to a thief who would dare to steal her dream.
But she acquiesced leaving her castles behind, like the friendly couple
Sitting nearby, she too packed up her things to return to her camp at Burlingame Park.

A single colored, sleeping woman, with a indigo bandana, tied like a crown on her head, was awoken from her dream.  Startled to find her dry little island in the sand 
Surrounded by the water, the encroaching tide told her she must flee -
To save herself from getting totally drenched.  Her dream clung at the edge of consciousness
As she raised herself from the ground.
The small girl was still standing in the distance with her parents.
We caught her eye and waved, she waved back.
Then they were gone. Disappeared as if they had never been there before.
Their effervescent dreams dissipating like mist into the air.

The beach was empty.
Only the friendly lifeguard high in his chair was left chatting away,
With his older female companion sitting below.
Relating his stories of the sea.

We too thought it time to go,
Reluctantly, we gathered our things.
As we stepped away, I searched my pocket filled with two white rocks
To see if I had room to take everyone, and their dreams home with me.
But no, I too, like Aria had to leave my dreams in the sand.
At least for another day.

By Georgianna Rivard

Two Odd Americans

Dr. Gatewood of Chicago, and Mr. William Perry of Audubon, both died in June 1938. Dr. Gatewood was 51, Mr. Perry was 86; they had nothing to do with one another, but there was something odd about each of them.

Dr. Gatewood never had a Christian name. His parents were unable to agree on one they liked, and decided to wait and let him choose his own. And he never did.

William Perry said nothing for fifty years. He wasn’t dumb. But on his wedding-day, when his bride jilted him, he vowed at the altar not to speak a word till she came back; which she never did. And kept his word.

“The New Book of Days” June 6 by Eleanor Farjeon

This is part of the work…

We are designed to encounter this life with amazement and wonder, not resignation and endurance. This is at the very heart of our grief and sorrow. The dream of full-throated living, woven into our very being, has often been forgotten and neglected, replaced by a societal fiction of productivity and material gain. This is part of the work of honoring our grief …When we fully honor our many losses, our lives become more fully able to embody the wild joy that aches to leap from our hearts into the world. – Francis Weller

Friday, Feb. 11, 2022

In February, Spring was in the air.

Roaring water in the brook cascaded down around the rocks forming small waterfalls.

The reassuring sound of splashing and gurgling put my mind at ease.

I felt grateful for the trails with the beautiful surrounding nature.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mom, Mary Geraldyne Severance Rivard, was born April 7th, 1925, in Casper, Wyoming. She died July 13th, 2015, and today would be ninety-seven years old. Her Memorial Service took place August 15, 2015 in Glenwood City, Wisconsin and was attended by many friends and relatives, whom I hadn’t seen for years.

My mom was smart, very smart. Valedictorian of her high school class from Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, she got a music scholarship to Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, but didn’t complete her degree because she fell in love with my dad, married and moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he finished his law degree. They soon settled in the town where they raised seven children, and where my father practiced law.

When my mom was unable to have anymore children she decided to return to college at the University of Wisconsin River Falls UWRF. She pursued a degree in Art Making and Education and eventually got a teaching position at New Richmond, Wisconsin. She was an accomplished artist in all mediums, and a highly admired teacher. Her students loved her so much they called her Ma Art which was shortened to Mart. Only in first grade when she returned to school, having a working mom meant I had to make my own lunch, which didn’t always happen, but mostly I was proud of her effort to pick up the pieces and go back to school and to work. She got up every morning and drove one half hour in the ice and snow to school. An accomplished teacher, she set up a student teacher program through UWRF and mentored many young artists and budding teachers. Not only that, the variety and creativity that flowed from her own students was astounding.

Mary continued to love music. My cousin John heard her sing Silent Night at St. Anne’s in Turtle Lake, and said she sounded like an angel. As a member of the community she served as choir master of the St. John’s congregation in Glenwood, as well as artist of the church creating banners to be hung on the main altar for the liturgical seasons. A multitalented person, we have in our possession today, many paintings and objects of art she made.

As a person Mary advocated for people who suffered due to a lack of opportunities. She abhorred racism and any forms of injustice committed against people who weren’t part of the in-crowd, so to speak. A free spirit, one of her favorite poems was the following by Robert Frost.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in the wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

My mom will be remembered for her loving and generous spirit, for her gifted hands and clarity of mind, and above all for her undying patience in the midst of the storm. And though she isn’t physically on this earth, her presence is felt in every footstep I take, for she is the one who taught me to walk.