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There’s nothing as good as farm fresh eggs, except tender ripe corn, cooked on the cob, or beefsteak tomatoes still warm from the sun sliced and sprinkled lightly with salt, or just baked peach pie surrounded by old fashioned, ice cream, home made from scratch.
There’s nothing as good as the fragrance of lilac, or roses, or lavender, or carnation, or orchid, unless it’s the essence of cedar and cinnamon wafting upon a fresh salt sea breeze, or bedding that’s been dried on a sunny laundry line, or yeast bread still in the oven, and bacon sizzling in a skillet.
Nothing’s as good as bare feet in damp sand,
except winging angels in drifts of dry snow,
or running through sprinklers on hot afternoons,
or the touch of a pet as it asks for attention,
or a hug from a friend, or a kiss from a loved one,
or working and sweating at labors of joy
and warm soapy showers to cleanse all away.
Nothing compares to deep sleep at nights falling,
unless it’s arising refreshed in the morning
with joy and a light step to enter the new day,
or consciously resting, subliminally aware there’s no need to stir.
What matches the song of
Samba’s in summer,
of frogs in springtime,
of birds in the morning?
What sound compares with
train whistles at midnight,
or cicadas clacking,
or waterfalls splashing?
Whatever compares to
Pacific waves crashing,
or frozen limbs cracking,
or children laughing?
Does dawn’s sun in the bay
with it’s purplepink hue
trump the sunset gone down
in crimson and blue?
Can the green of this leaf
mean the white of this rose,
has nothing to offer except to the nose?
To compare and contrast has value and charm
long as all are loved, and none incur harm.
It was clear there was a storm approaching. Huge banks of steel gray clouds pressed relentlessly from the west snuffing out the last rays of late spring sunlight.
While I lingered on the deck, engrossed in drawing a Columbine blossom, cool air pushed out warm, setting the leaves quivering, as birds darted from branch to feeder to cover.
I might have taken a cue from them, but lingered until the wind whipped steadily through the tall firs, raining torrents of burnt orange catkins over everything.
Then the deluge broke forth, accompanied by deep booms of thunder and flashes of lightning.
I hate surveys. Evaluation surveys in particular. And especially those that include me. And even more those that come from a population that has no stake in what the evaluation will or won’t do.
So of X surveys, there was one negative, and one extra-negative. It would have been OK, but both were toward me. I sulked in my brain all evening and then thought about the positives I’d received: “The best counselor I’ve ever had.” And thank-you notes from thoughtful young women whose college aspirations and scholarship applications my words of praise have helped to ensure.
Licking my wounds.
Our formica kitchen table was white in the middle with a chartreuse border flecked with black and white, and a stainless steel rim bolted on. It was attached to the wall underneath a window that looked out on our back yard and the orchard beyond. Most meals were served there on yellow melamine dishes. It was a perfect middle class home in the mid 1950’s.
The one negative memory I have of that table was when I wasn’t excused until I finished my meatloaf. Usually OK with the dish, this time I couldn’t swallow it. Starving children in China.
In this profession I am blessed to be part of the lives of many wonderful young people. When they make a special effort to express their gratitude and sense of loss at moving on, I am encouraged and warmed. I don’t get sad anymore, probably the result of twenty-seven seasons saying good-by, good-luck, God speed. But I do remember them, and miss them, and pray for them.
When parents extend thanks and acknowledgment I’m proud that my influence has made a difference in their child’s progress and their family’s well-being.
I see that influence arcing positively into our communal future.
Just when things are working right, decisions are made that send whole systems into nightmare tailspins. There’s not enough money to sustain it all, so positions are eliminated, people lose days, secretaries wait to learn what assignment they’ll be bumped into. No more happy campers.
“It will never be the same,” I predict sadly to myself and my colleagues. What we’ve had here has been so perfect, now it will be messed with, resentments will mount, and self-interest will take precedence over team spirit.
I feel it in my spine; the tightening that shortens my breath, my patience, my desire.
At the end of his eighth grade year, ready to move into his prime, he collapsed while jogging on the track at school during second period PE. Classmates and teachers rushed to assist him administering CPR until paramedics took over.
He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
She was attending the traditional “senior class breakfast” on her graduation day when the text message flashed: urgent, meet us at the hospital now! Mom.
Tonight she experiences the joy of finishing an important phase of her life and the sorrow of losing a beloved brother on the same day. Life’s not fair.
Camcorder, new model, perfect except I don’t have the software needed, and that software is only available in a suite, none of which will function in my current operating system. Can’t upgrade the OS on this not-that-old iBook G4. To be able to use the free-to-me camcorder creatively, I’ll need to spend ~$2000.00 for a new computer.
Reminds me of my first dog, a sweet Beagle, named Scooter. She was a gift from my parents when I was 40. Which Beagle was her father wasn’t known, so she cost only $70.00. The fence however, came to $2000 and my labor!
The big digital switch. We have high tech, digital TV’s with low tech antenna attached, which have been working fine to bring us both analog and digital stations for almost a year.
All day Creighton scanned to find our local ABC, CBS, NBC & PBS stations. He walked around with the antenna seeking that “sweet spot” where the signals might be received. Frustrating, but in the end mostly successful
We wonder if our hi/lo tech solution will really work, or if this is another ploy to make it impossible to watch public and commercial television without buying a monthly service.
When her husband died in 2004, Abby had to liquidate everything to pay for his hospital care. During his decline, she sought counsel and comfort from Kate, a clairvoyant, spiritual healer. Kate guided Abby through the agony of her grief and loss.
In the aftermath of Abby’s bankruptcy, she accepted Kate’s invitation to share her rented house. It was an excellent arrangement, except the property owner was a sexist. Consequently, they were the first to contact us when we advertised our rental house around the corner.
Mind, these are two strong, interdependent, individuals. They’re not “partners”. They are a team.
So it was a delight to join them on their front deck for wine and h’ors d’oeuvres this pleasant afternoon. All four of us were in fine spirits, and the conversation was lively. Both women are understandably wary of men, but have come to appreciate Creighton who often had Kate laughing uncontrollably at his stories. Abby told us more about her adventures with Wayne; who owned and managed a traveling carnival. I never would have guessed it! They were equally surprised to learn that Creighton and I celebrate our 40th anniversary this year. Revelations, rejuvenations, recalibrations, reincarnations; anything is possible.
Fresh off the vine snap peas crunch and munch; the taste of green. My gardens herald summer; roses pop out in abundance, tomato plants grow up and out, their tiny yellow flower soon forming green orbs, while lilies shyly open, and foxgloves lift long stems loaded with blossom out from their hidden depths.
Honeysuckle vines offer mouthwatering droplets to butterflies and birds from overgrown arbors. Irises have faded as echinacea buds emerge in their volcano cone mystery. The sweet spice of pinks brushed up to fine lavender fill my being with opulence; the richness of touching, seeing, smelling, hearing, sensing.
Students and women fill the streets of Tehran, in public display of civil disobedience, while a corrupt dictator declares an impossible victory. We’ve heard the false claim to power in the USA, and we endured four more years of corruption foisted upon us by a political, judicial system gone berserk. We didn’t march. We festered.
Iran has festered for centuries. Now that technology has entered the kingdom of imposed traditionalism, providing knowledge, insight and communication, it will never be the same.
We watch in support and fear, praying these brave freedomseekers don’t become victims like the Chinese at Tienanmen Square.
It was one of those moments when I notice I’m in myself, and outside myself simultaneously. Here I was, comfortably enjoying a backyard BBQ having spirited drinks and conversation with my school colleagues and then it’s time to go to the Board Meeting presentation.
All along I’d expected I would only have a glass and then go. But this was too much fun. I wrestled with the decision, even had a coin toss, but when it came up go...well I said, no. I stayed, and played, relaxed, laughed, and came home satisfied.
At sixty, my guilt machine’s happily defunct.
So while I was sitting in my lawn chair, after the decision to stay at the BBQ had been heartily endorsed by all, I felt the inside/outside perception most strongly. Inside, a powerful, compulsive drive to be professionally responsible demanded I get up and go. I willed it into submission, but the critical “not reliable” message kept flashing. When someone refilled my wine glass, I began to understand that others wanted me to stay, to let my hair down, to be with them.
Now there’s comfort to a person who continually seeks acceptance, and always wonders where she fits.
Four old friends meet for our annual lunch reunion. We catch up on family news; the health and well being of spouses and grown children, the ages and aptitudes of grandchildren, our bodies changes.
We were the best counseling team ever. Each had strengths and passions; and each valued the qualities our colleagues brought to the team.
We supported one another emotionally through momentous life experiences: John’s marriage and children in his late 40’s, Greg’s divorce that took him to his knees, the death of Ruth’s husband and her subsequent romance and remarriage, and my mother’s illness and death.
And it’s a hard rain gonna fall.
Apres le deluge.
Un grand horage.
The air is still, the ground’s saturated, the pavement steams.
My last day at work for this twenty-seventh year.
Je suis fini, j’ai dit.
Apres un long temps
avant un autre deluge.
Think “Roman Holiday”
Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck
“So tired...” “Thank you...” “No thank you...”
Et, tres heureux aussi.
For the time to be;
to video tape the surging storm
knowing I haven’t the playback capacity to transform it.
Thinking that’s OK
no reason to ignore and not record
my here and now.
To wake up knowing it’s the weekend, but it doesn’t matter because on Monday I’ll wake up and be able to stay home, and on Tuesday, and day upon day I’ll have to do as I wish. Ah the sense of delight I feel to linger at my desk, sipping coffee, writing, reading, drawing, letting the creative energy flow through me. The luxury of time.
Yet I still feel a sense of urgency, of wanting to get everything done so it is done! So I have nothing left I feel compelled to do. Must get the guilt driven done first.
How did I earn the designation “good daughter?”
Me at sixty, and he at eighty-seven, for the first time I know of, dad has addressed me twice as his good daughter.
First in an e-mail “Good Morning Good Daughter.” That one seemed to flow off his keypad onto the screen, and I smiled as we made plans for our summer fishing trip,
and my visit to him on Father’s Day.
Washing his breakfast dishes when I arrived,
he greeted me with, “How’s my good daughter?”
Maybe he doesn’t remember my name in the instant. Maybe we’re all his good daughters.
Man stops his pickup in the middle
half way across the Columbia River
walks over three lanes
of honking gawking craners
has a knife
has a bow
and an arrow.
gazes out over the thick steel railing
contemplates the turgid cold water
swirling, soothing, inviting
desperate to end the searing crush
in his savage brain.
remembers when he was a boy
that his father taught him how to place the arrow
just right in the bowstring
to send it sailing true
in the bright blue sky
to land on its mark
fell his prey
what use this arrow now?
the hurt of my aging father
and wish I’d granted this grace to my mother
lessons learned too late for her and me
but perhaps in time.
we younger think our aged parent’s hide is tough
but they’re as tender as the babies
they once were
vulnerable as the babies they created
all fragile as gossamer.
to what purpose our judgment, our demands?
what merits have our expectations?
to what end our suggestions, our insinuations, our consternation?
who are we to know better than they
how they might best spend
the little bit of life left to them?
I hate it when I hit a brain to fingertips block. I look about me to see the same lovely grounds, and I think back on my day and realize it’s all so mundane, why would I write about trimming roses and refreshing bird baths?
Who would care that the Raspberry’s are nearly ripe and the newly planted Delphinium is sending up multiple spikes of cobalt blue?
What intrigue would anyone else have in observing two fledgling Black Capped Chickadees splash about in the shallows of the clay dish I’d made especially for them?
Then again, these words are mine.
Gold, orange, calico, and white, the Koi fish circle and glide in my pond. Just today do I finally see all five moving about in a school. When they entered their new home a month ago at 3” long, one of them disappeared. I was sure it had been sucked into the pump and pulverized.
They’re about 5” now, but still small enough to hide in the rocks and they especially like to hang out in the spaces provided by two side-by-side cement blocks used to support a potted Marsh Marigold. It is relaxing to watch them as they forage.
The crows are having a caw fit. I wonder what’s up when it looks like one is in a shrub near the ground. It turns out to be a fledgling not ready/able to fly. I lift it in my gloved hand. It seems not to know what to do. It grasps the sleeve of my shirt and sits upright while I maneuver into a sunny location to warm it.
Blue eyes blink with a silky gray lid. Above, crow parents scream; at me, at their baby. Dogs get curious. Gently, I settle it into the crook of the Willow.
Over two years he’s hauled out ten truckloads of trash, and hauled in fifty tons of rock. I didn’t know the back yard was that big until today when we attended his “unveiling” party, also their thirtieth anniversary celebration. Very impressive, especially since I remember what it looked like before, a scrubby little yard, fenced and ignored.
Butting up against a greenbelt, he’s terraced in gardens that wend down and blend into the backdrop. Justifiably proud of his creation, I compliment him heartily. Well I know the backbreaking work and the creative vision that goes into a project this ambitious.
In the middle of Corcovado, as Bill was engaged in his solo, I looked at him in his surroundings with incredible pride; much as a sister who has been with her brother through white water times and now sees him comfortably grounded.
Having a sociable, thoughtful, creative companion has done wonders for him. He’s moved out of the house which held the ghost of his long passed wife, into one where he and Carol have made a friendly home together. Watching him fondly, as he intensely focused on his guitar and sheet music, I almost missed my cue to sing!
It’s a quirky song, meant to be scatted I suspect, with lots of opportunity for improvisation, but the words kept getting in my way. Couldn’t quite sing it with conviction thinking of the Satin Doll as a her, and how I’m playing it cool while she’s trying to catch me...hmmm.
So I turned it around, tried it sassy and saucy, made the satin doll a him, a he-cat, now the song’s my own. “He’s nobody’s fool...but I ain’t for no cat catchin' me, huh uhuhuh... “ And a swing of the hips with, “doing my rhumba’s...” So much fun!
NPR’s morning edition had a feature about love poems that might wear as well over the next four hundred years as Shakespeare’s have these past four hundred. In a world where the speed of light has been measured, surpassed, bent round the universe, where the written word and real time photos are electronically beamed, where electrons are the messenger and microchips the library of our collective knowledge and thought, what hope has the love poem?
Still, I’d nominate ee cummings: one X one
“we’re everyanything more than believe
(with a spin
alive we’re alive)
we’re wonderful one times one”
The Tip Jar