A spring day in Philadelphia, April 2021

Originally posted to Twitter

Sparrow incoming! #Philly #urbanbirding #sparrow

A small house sparrow with wings tucked fully in is shown in midair en route to a feeder hanging from a pole. Another small bird is on the other side of the feeder.
Daffodils in our backyard, not far from the feeder. (It's a small yard, so it couldn't be far in any case!) #Philly #spring #urbangarden
A row of daffodils, many in bloom, recedes into the background, where there are houses. There are strips of grass and dirt on either side of the daffodils.
A single precious bloom at Friends Center today. I liked a photo of a previous year's version of this flower so while I got a jigsaw puzzle made of it. #Philly #CenterCity #spring #urbangarden
A purplish-blue cluster of blossoms, shading to white, is in the foreground amid greenery. In the medium ground is brownery, partly a heuchera plant. In the background are brick walls, metal railings, and the windows and shutters of Race Street Quaker Meetinghouse.
Thanks to @robinmsf (currently on sabbatical and off Twitter, but occasionally still blogging), our family made Easter cookies--like Christmas sugar cookies but in shapes like baskets & rabbits. Here are 2 of my sillier ones, set on the last remaining plate from the everday dishes of my childhood home.
Two cookies sit on a white plate with a blue and green floral border. The left cookie is a deranged rabbit head with yellow fur. The right cookie is a pink Easter basket with white eggs outlined in blue.
Note: I enjoyed writing the image descriptions. If I get ambitious, maybe I'll post them to the main text of the blog.


Quaker Bible Study at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting's 2020 annual sessions

Last summer I led two online Quaker Bible studies during Philadelphia Yearly Meeting's annual sessions in summer 2020. It was PhYM's 340th annual sessions, and their first-ever conducted entirely online.

Earlier in the week, civil rights leader and US Representative John Lewis had died, and his memorial services were held as PhYM sessions were starting. I remembered a clip of Rep. Lewis giving words of encouragement to a young man who asked him to record a message for his sister:

For the first session, on 7/31/2020, I embedded the video in my slide deck, and found biblical passages that resonated strongly with many of the phrases he used. In the context of that week, and the presence in mind of Rep. Lewis's legacy, it was a very powerful time together.

Here's the slide presentation from that session.

For the second day, on 8/1/2020, I looked at some passages from Psalms and explored how they may resonate for us today. Here's that slide show.

To be honest, it did not feel nearly as focused as the first session.

Here's an interview that PhYM staff did with me by email afterwards.

Truly, it was a privilege to be able to lead Bible study with Philadelphia Friends. This library of ancient texts from very different cultures and societies can still speak to us today, if we enter into that Spirit that still inhabits those texts.


I was a DJ. Was I what I played?

I once was a DJ for my favorite radio station, WPRB in Princeton, N.J. 

Community-supported independent radio!

Stereo 103.3 FM!

There's even a photo of me from 1985 or 1986 that's used as one of the rotating background photos for the header on the station's website, wprb.com.

Recently I had the opportunity to peek at the studios. They are located in a different basement from where they were when I was a lad, but they are nonetheless still em-basemented.

Thank you to the generations of WPRB-ers who have made it what it is, and opened the door to new musical and artistic perspectives.

Community-supported independent radio!

Stereo 103.3 FM!



Recently I walked through Clifford Park in the Blue Bell neighborhood of Philadelphia at twilight, with the sky's tones shading from the last wisps of sunset to the inky depths of pending night. My phone captured it nicely.

A photo of distant trees, a house, and streetlights, with the darkening evening sky above.




I lived in a castle, more or less, from fall 1984 to spring 1985. I did not live in the tower, but off to the left side of the building in this photo.



Personally, whenever I see a raptor, I take that as a good omen. On Jan. 11, a juvenile Cooper’s hawk paused with its lunch on the wall by the front entrance to Friends Center. So I’ve decided to take this as an auspicious sign for the year ahead! (Fun fact: One definition of “auspices” is “observation by an augur especially of the flight and feeding of birds to discover omens,” according to Merriam-Webster.)

A juvenile Cooper's hawk spreads its wings to cover its prey, while perched on a brick wall with a railing behind it.
Same hawk, different angle.