apple pickers

camillepissarro-the-apple-pickers
“The Apple Pickers” by Camille Pissarro

The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel –

Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Drying grass,
New books and blackboards
Chalk in class.

The bee, his hive
Well-honey, hums
While Mother cuts
Chrysanthemums.

Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

~ John Updike
(September)

~ autumn equinox ~

Josiah Sweet & Eunice Day

Josiah Sweet (1796-1880) & Eunice Day (1800-1871) ~ photograph contributed anonymously to Ancestry.com in 2010.

Tim’s 4th-great-grandfather, Josiah Sweet, son of Joshua and Eliza Mary (Hurd) Sweet, was born 20 February 1796 in Roxbury (Litchfield) Connecticut, and died 28 January 1880 in Big Spring [now New Haven] (Adams) Wisconsin. He married 20 November 1819 in (St. Lawrence) New York, Eunice Day, who was born 8 June 1800 in (Washington) New York, and died 1 September 1871 in Big Spring, daughter of Lemuel and Lydia (—) Day.

Tim’s 4th-great-grandmother, Eunice (Day) Sweet, also happens to be my 6th cousin, four times removed. Our ancestors in common are Nathaniel Bacon (1613-1692) & Hannah (Mayo) Bacon (1622-1691). From this couple Tim & I are 10th cousins, twice removed.

Eunice & Josiah were the parents of fifteen children, all born in Depeyster (St. Lawrence) New York:

1. Clarinda Sweet (Tim’s 3rd-great-grandmother), born 22 September 1820, died 9 February 1875 in Macomb (St. Lawrence) New York. She married 8 July 1840, Henry Charles Raven, who was born 11 December 1820 in Merrickville, Upper Canada [now Ontario] and died 5 January 1892 in Natural Dam-Gouverneur (St. Lawrence) New York, son of Peter George and Sabrina (Cummins) Raven. Clarinda & Henry were the parents of twelve children.

2. Orilla Sweet, born 3 October 1821, died 28 April 1823 in Depeyster, age 1.

3. Eliza A. Sweet, born 1 January 1823, died 26 April 1891 in Macomb. She married about 1842 in (St. Lawrence), James Truax, who was born 23 May 1820 in New York, and died 5 May 1884 in Macomb.

4. Julia Sweet, born 2 July 1824. She married 5 July 1849 in Macomb, James H. Reed, who was born about 1826, son of Henry and Betsey (Reynolds) Reed.

5. Josiah Sweet, born 2 July 1826, died 8 May 1891 in Hale (Trempealeau) Wisconsin. He married Amelia (—).

6. Hiram Sweet, born about 1828.

7. Eunice Sweet, born 14 May 1829.

8. David Sweet, born 2 February 1831.

9. Stephen Foster Sweet, born 26 December 1832, died 27 January 1906 in (Adams) Wisconsin. He married about 1860, Elizabeth (—), and also married Mercy (—).

10. Olivia Sweet, born 28 September 1834.

11. Celia Sweet, born 9 February 1837, died 29 June 1905 in (Columbia) Wisconsin. She married Amos Landt.

12. Cora Maria Sweet, born 8 April 1839.

13. Edwin Dodge Sweet, born 8 April 1842, died 16 August 1864, age 22.

14. William Dallas Sweet, born 22 June 1844, died 24 May 1907.

15. John Wright Sweet, born 2 July 1846, died 30 July 1913 in Montana. He married Sarah Jane Town.

relentlessly unpredictable

Not all the features of atypical human operating systems are bugs. By autistic standards, the “normal” brain is easily distractible, is obsessively social, and suffers from a deficit of attention to detail and routine. Thus people on the spectrum experience the neurotypical world as relentlessly unpredictable and chaotic, perpetually turned up too loud, and full of people who have little respect for personal space.
~ Steve Silberman
(NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism & The Future of Neurodiversity)

A major source of anxiety for me is any sudden change of plans. Over the years I’ve learned from observation that other people don’t see these as the catastrophes I experience and have at times concluded that there is something terribly wrong with me. Or then I think something is wrong with others, that they’re rude not to stick to a plan. I’ve spent countless hours giving myself pep talks about learning to be flexible and learning to go with the flow. When a change of plans pops into my day I have a hard time telling if it is a reasonable response to an unanticipated development or if it is just someone else’s whim. It doesn’t matter. Either way, I force myself to accept the change and exhaust myself repressing the panic I feel, trying to be “normal.”

[Lewis] Carroll’s transitions from chapter to chapter are abrupt and unexpected. Alice is rushed from one scene to the next without any opportunity to stop and process what she has just experienced, or to prepare herself mentally for what’s to come. This kind of abrupt time change, without transition, is similar to how a day at school feels to a child with AS. There is no flashback, no foreshadowing: since there is only the immediate moment, shifts in time and place are disconcerting and stressful. Carroll captures this feeling of urgency and panic very well.
~ Julie Brown
(Writers on the Spectrum: How Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome Have Influenced Literary Writing)

“Alice Meets the White Rabbit” by Margaret Winifred Tarrant

I have a very poor sense of time and an “unreasonable” fear of being late. When I know I have an appointment I rush around checking the clock all day, much like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, and cannot manage to do anything else. It seems like such a waste of time, but I cannot help it. Inevitably I leave the house too early. I watch in wonder and awe as others effortlessly multi-task and juggle appointments and chores in the course of a day. But to me it’s too overwhelming and confusing!

When surprised by the doorbell or the phone ringing I experience an adrenaline rush. I’ve worked hard over the years to not startle or gasp when that happens. Similarly, it is difficult to keep myself together when hearing a horn or a siren while out driving. On the other hand, I love the soothing sounds of foghorns and buoy bells, one of the comforts of living by the sea.

It’s interesting to me that I accept other sorts of change with far more grace, the change of seasons, the stages of life, evolution, or lifestyle changes. Knowing that nothing stays the same or lasts forever makes it easy for me to do things like let go of clutter or keepsakes and accept that children grow up and move away. Perhaps because these changes are more predictable and expected.

self-determination

“Lovers” by Pablo Picasso

How can twins with identical genetics and environment become so different and tolerate these differences so well? J. David Smith suggests that conjoined twins demonstrate an important aspect of human differentiation: intentionality. He notes that the role of self-determination has been lost in the “nature-nurture” debate about whether heredity or environment rules our lives. These two perspectives may appear to be complete opposites, but they share a common deterministic outlook. Even a compromise position still ignores how self-direction shapes our destinies. When we ignore the role of free will and active participation in our own lives, we damage and discourage ourselves.
~ David Schnarch
(Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships)

It was perhaps fifteen years ago when I read an excellent book, Passionate Marriage, quoted above, back when I was very interested in the balance between autonomy and intimacy in marriage and other relationships. And the gist of the above paragraph was etched into my mind as I embraced the idea of self-determination playing as much of a role in the course of our lives as heredity or environment.

Ever since I started this blog I have wanted to find the quote to add to my collection here. But memory is a funny thing. About the same period of time I had read another excellent book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon. I was certain I had read that paragraph in this book! Self-determination can definitely apply to will in the fight against depression, a very cruel disease. Who knows how many times I thumbed through The Noonday Demon, looking in vain for the desired paragraph? Eventually I abandoned the search.

A couple of weeks ago I happened to be rearranging my daughter’s bookshelves when I came across my old copy of Passionate Marriage. I started leafing through it, looking to see what ideas I had underlined all those years ago, before passing the book on to her. Voila! There it was. I was dumbfounded.

Tim and I often joke about our ever-changing memories. I’ve taken to saying that the more certain I am of something I remember, the more likely it is that I am totally mistaken! This was certainly a case in point. 🙂

middle summer

“The Flowers of Middle Summer” by Henri Fantin-Latour

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.
~ Natalie Babbitt
(Tuck Everlasting)