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Synchronicity around the Octopus

Updated: Mar 4


an octopus with its better and worse angels

You know how when you learn a new word or just think of something new and suddenly it pops up all around you--in conversation and the news? That happened this week with the octopus. Look what I found in this week's New Yorker.


Abraham Lincoln Lincoln with the Better Angel of his Nature
Abraham Lincoln Lincoln with the Better Angel of his Nature

That reminded me of this collage I made years ago.


I love that face, but he didn't. When someone called him two-faced he said, "Do you think if I had two faces I'd use this one?" Then I started wondering about "the better angels of our nature." Lincoln used the expression in his First Inaugural Address. This is the last paragraph;


"I am loathe to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

Sounds like, "Can't we all just get along?" worded more elegantly. Did Lincoln invent the phrase better angels? I looked it up and it appears in Shakespeare, (Othello) and often in the 1700's. As for the speech, William Seward, Lincoln's Secretary of State, suggested a reference to the country's "guardian angel" but that's kind of patriarchal and a cliche. I think Lincoln nailed it, and I love the musical metaphor.



I saw an exhibit at the Library of Congress with the contents of Lincoln's pockets on the night he died. His reading glasses and a piece of string. It made me weep.


My Aunt, Mary Jane Swanson is 93. Last year she fell as she was loading her car in the Costco parking lot and drove home with a broken hip. Now the cough that's been bothering her has moved to her lungs and become pneumonia. She's moved to a room at an assisted living place where she can get hydration and antibiotics intravenously. Kate and John, my cousins, reported yesterday that her energy was low and her breathing labored but she was reviewing the blessings she'd enjoyed in her life and feeling that if her life were at an end, she was ready go. Then she looked around and said, "We need to decorate this room!" So they went out to get chocolate, known in our family as a restorative, and roses and today MJ 's feeling better.


Mary Jane and Jack

Here she is at my wedding with her husband, Jack, one of my Dad's little brothers.


Yes, I've gotten off the topic of octopuses and doesn't that sound wrong? You'd think it should be octopi but it's not a Latin word so octopuses. If you Google Ringo, octopus story, or just hit this link, you'll see Ringo telling Jimmy Kimmel how he wrote the song Octopus's Garden. It's been running through my head all week - not that I mind.


You're reading this on March the first but I'm writing it on February 29th, which only comes every four years -- it's a gift of an extra day! How did you spend your extra day?

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I saw an exhibit at the Library of Congress with the contents of Lincoln's pockets on the night he died. His reading glasses and a piece of string. It made me weep.

Now i'm weeping.

S

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Invitado
02 mar

Love hearing about Mary Jane, and the photo is adorable! The Swansons have a legacy of really wonderful people. ❤️ Laurie

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Invitado
01 mar

suh-WEET - So many of my favorite people show up in one letter - MJ & Jack, Big Bob, the Flushing Fireballer, Abe Lincoln!


Thank you Barbara

< you and Kate make the list, too! >

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Invitado
01 mar

Enjoyed the journey. David L.

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