Powered By Blogger

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Apple Blossoms

This week has been extra busy with little time to write.  Today we took a car drive along back-country roads to clear our heads and refresh our hearts.

I am fascinated by the beauty of the tree lined roads.  Thanks to sparse human population, the deciduous trees hug the shoulders, in all shades and sizes of green, leaves and blooms waving in the strong breezes, as we pass.  There is play in the patterns of shadow and sunlight.

Ferns dance in the ditches and at the edges of fields, tall, willowy, extravagant green touched with brown.  Long slender grasses undulate, quivering with new life.

The tamaracks are filling out again with supple green needles, looking healthier than their prickly winter selves.  Evergreens stand proud and dark in the deep woods.
The highlights of the drive are the overgrown and abandoned orchards.  The apple blossoms are out.  Loveliness!  Pale pinks and papery whites are sprinkled with delicate gold-dotted centres.   Rosy ripe buds unfurl on gnarled grey branches and grizzled trunks.  

I see the abandoned houses and tumbling barns of former homesteads, each reclaimed by nature; overgrown with creeping mosses and clutching vines, wind tossed weeds and small shrubs.  Human signs disappear, the natural world triumphs again.  And everywhere the apple orchards follow their own will and natural way, luxuriant flower heads nodding pink, rose, white.

We stop the car and open the windows.  The breeze gifts us with the blessed full fragrance of apple blossoms.  Delicate petals float and twirl in the air around us. 

Apple blossom magic!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Be Contented With What You Possess

Be Contented With What You Possess

Be contented with what you possess in
life: be thankful for what does not
belong to you, for it is so much care the
less; but try to obtain what you need in
life, and make the best of
every moment of your life.

~Hazrat Inayat Khan

This quote seems apt as I reflect upon my mother’s move to her new apartment, in a few days.  She has always been able to shed what she doesn’t need to carry with her, is extremely optimistic about the future and able to enjoy what is happening right now, in the present moment.

Today as I was packing her kitchen into cartons, I heard her talking to neighbours outside.  She had taken a break from packing and was sitting on her deck, feet up with a glass of wine.  A neighbour had come by to hug her and to say his “Good-bye.”  I heard her laughing, happily telling him about her move.

I thought to myself, “Now she’s a good sport, focusing on the positive…when inside her place, there lurks a huge mess of boxes and a huge mess more to pack.”

I heard her giggling and telling her neighbours about what she was doing to move; more folks had come by to wish her well.  Her great-granddaughter was also there, blowing bubbles, with a wand (small circle on a stick) and soapy liquid from a little bottle.  The conversations circled like the bubbles, iridescent round and free-floating, silvered with laughter.

Mum has been shedding belongings for weeks in preparation for her move to a smaller home.  She knows it is very freeing to take only what she needs on any journey; the less, the better.

She has always been wise enough to know how to be thankful “for what does not belong to you, for it is so much care the less.”

For information on Hazrat Inayat Khan, click on this link.

The Healing Time

The Healing Time
                                                Finally on my way to yes
                                                I bump into
                                                all the places
                                                where I said no
                                                to my life
                                                all the untended wounds
                                                the red and purple scars
                                                those hieroglyphs of pain
                                                carved into my skin, my bones,
                                                those coded messages
                                                that send me down
                                                the wrong street
                                                again and again
                                                where I find them
                                                the old wounds
                                                the old misdirections
                                                and I lift them
                                                one by one
                                                close to my heart
                                                and I say    holy

                                                               © Pesha Joyce Gertler

Placed first in a national contest in New York Schools, 2001; set to music by composer, Elizabeth Alexander in Ithaca, and performed by numerous choral groups in New York, New England states and Oregon; published in Cross Currents; "Claiming the Spirit Within,:" (Beacon Press Anthology); Pontoon Anthology; appears in "Healing and Empowering the Feminine," by Sylvia Senensky, Jungian analyst, Canada; included in many healing and grieving groups.

To learn more about Pesha Joyce Gertler, click on this link.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Surprises in Bloom

            Today, our yard is full of surprises.  Almost unnoticed under a spreading maple tree, a wild purple violet peeks.

At the base of a mock orange shrub, a swath of white and blue forget-me-nots sways in the breeze.

At the edge of an unweeded front pathway, slender stalks of white violets grow in random patches.

Hanging onto grout that needs repair, half-way up the chimney, a tenacious dandelion blooms.  I wonder what colourful extravagance will appear in our yard tomorrow.

These four photos are mine.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Bang!  A loud thud at the window, then a blur…

We looked and saw lying, unmoving on the deck outside, a ruby throated hummingbird. He had smacked hard into the window pane, bounced back and landed on the deck.  He lay on his back, cradled in one of the spaces between grey deck boards, feet in the air, unmoving.  Was he dead?

He was so frail and lovely.  His bib was iridescent red feather petals, overlaid like scales, sides were dark brown and iridescent green, still, still, shimmering in the light.

We fussed about what to do.  Gradually, his dark wings quivered and fanned out slowly to each side, then folded back in, fanned out slowly and folded in…

His chest began to move, tiny heart beats throbbing and quick breathes.  What could we do?  What should we do?  The wind was picking up again, rocking him as he lay in the crack.  Would he blow off the deck in his fragile state?

Little by little, he started to move his head, his thin black bill weaving, like a downed wrestler, gingerly shaking his head trying to regain consciousness.

K walked out on the deck, thinking he would sit beside the hummingbird and shelter the poor shaking body from the gusts of wind.  The injured bird could feel the vibrations in the deck boards as K walked.  With great effort, the hummingbird lurched out of the crack and rolled, ending up…beak and chest down in another crack between boards.  Now, he seemed truly stuck and even more vulnerable.

K gently grasped the tiny bird with his thumb and forefinger, carefully placing him on a solid board and sheltering him from the wind, with his hand.  The little hummingbird was no larger than K’s thumb and not as thick.

The shimmering, shivering bird turned and looked at K with deep dark eyes.  Sensing K meant no harm, the hummingbird rested on the deck, allowing himself time to recover.

Surprising us, the tiny bird rose with helicopter wings in slow motion, flew to the nearest evergreen and landed unsteadily on the lowest branch.

His tiny feet clutched the swaying branch; he flipped 360 degrees before he righted himself, his brown and green blending into the brown and green of the tree.

We watched this small round shape sitting, still, compact, hanging tight to the wind buffeted branch.  We watched.  The wind blew.  We sat and he sat, nearly 30 minutes.

Abruptly, he flew off the branch, up and over the porch, darting, wings a blur, an iridescent streak over our heads.  Relief!

Just as quickly, he was back, hovering in front of the window, red and green feathers flashing, drawing close and pulling away, over and over and over.

What was he doing?  Trying to figure out what had just happened to him?

In the end, he simply flew away, and we returned to watching the wind-tossed waves on the river’s dark surface, pleased that the ruby throated hummingbird had survived.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saucer Magnolia Tree

Six years ago Gary’s mother died.  In memory of his mother, his co-workers at NavCanada gave him a generous gift certificate from a local nursery. 

They knew that we had just moved into a home that was in desperate need of landscaping, and knew that Gary would appreciate planting a tree in memory of his mother.

We bought a healthy, seven-foot  Saucer Magnolia Tree.  This was an appropriate choice because Gary’s mother loved pink flowers; the magnolia tree promised to bloom in lush, showy pink blossoms, every spring, just in time for the anniversary of her death.

We planted the young tree in a sheltered area, where we could enjoy it from our kitchen window.  The first winter was hard on the new magnolia.  That first spring when the snow left, the tender tree had been split down the middle to the ground, cracked right through.  We were upset but did homework on what might save this precious tree.

Our garden centre advisor told us to trim the broken branches and duct tape the base together, leave it, cutting the tape as the tree grew and needed to expand, reapplying until the tree mended itself.

We’ve nursed our tree along, taping, cutting, trimming and wrapping as needed for four more springs.  This year, the magnolia has started to bloom again, vibrant rosy blooms, not many, but a start. 

The leaves are budded and the tree looks like it will recover.  We’re pleased that the magnolia tree is growing stronger and starting to flower anew, particularly because of what the tree represents to us—a beloved mother tenderly remembered.

All four images are mine.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Packing Boxes

Mum has been packing slowly for a couple of weeks.  It takes time to go through all of her belongings; what to move, what to keep, what to donate, what to throw away.   As she fills boxes, we stack them in piles in her apartment.   What goes by car and what goes with the furniture movers.  There is stuff to be thrown away and stuff to be given away.

We’ve collected boxes and boxes and boxes from the liquor stores, small sturdy ones for heavy items such as books and delicate items like crystal.   The moving company sells used and flattened cardboard cartons, so we have some of those in 2 cubic foot and 4 cubic foot sizes.  Mum fills and tapes and labels them.  Every couple of days, I go over to put together some of these flattened boxes, so she can fill more.

We have to cross out the instructions on these used boxes and write Mum’s directions on them instead.

Today as we reconstructed and taped these used, flattened cartons, we read the notes on the used boxes:  Sam’s stuffed toys, goes to Sam’s room; Hal’s bathroom stuff, unpack first, goes to bathroom; canned food, goes to kitchen; Vicki’s summer shorts, goes to bedroom; Hal’s videos, handle carefully, goes to living room; Sam’s blankets, goes to storage; Vicki’s headboard stuff, goes to bedroom; Vicki’s sex toys, goes to bedroom. 


Mum and I looked at each other and burst into hysterics…laughter!

We have no issues with sex toys.  Who doesn’t love having fun?

It seemed bizarre that “Vicki” would write it on the carton knowing that movers would see it and that the carton would be recycled.

Too funny!  A great relaxing break in an otherwise muggy day of packing!  

Thanks Vicki!

Make Music with Your Life

Make Music With Your Life

~Bob O'Meally

Make music with your life
silver tune
cuts every deepday madness
Into jewels     that you wear

Carry 16 bars of old blues
everywhere you go
walk thru azure sadness
Like a guitar player

This quote from Bob O’Meally is the quote for today published online by inward/outward, an ongoing, online conversation sponsored by The Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC.
ROBERT O'MEALLY teaches at Columbia University.  He is the Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature, and founder and former director of the Centre for Jazz Studies.
He specializes in 19th- and 20th-century American literature as well as African American literature and jazz culture—including music, literature, painting, film, photography, theater, and dance.
To read Robert O’Meally’s full BIO, click this link.
To hear Robert O’Meally speak about Romare Beardon, click this link.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thoughts on Writing

It’s after midnight and I can’t sleep.  My head is busy and won’t rest.

I am making lists in my brain of “To Do’s” so thought to rise, and put the list on paper to cease the jangle of racing ideas.

I want to start writing in a more purposeful and intense way.  If I get up earlier in the mornings, I can spend several hours writing before my other tasks call me away.  If I use that self-discipline, I will be more grounded. 

If I don’t write enough each day, I feel agitated and slightly “off”, with a sort of un-wellness and frustration.  If I don’t write enough, the words roll around inside my head creating uneasiness.  If I don’t write enough, then when I do settle to write, the words come tumbling, dashing, jumbling out so quickly that I cannot contain all of them and some are lost. That feels bad too.

I enjoy blogging and photography and the short windows into my day that these provide.  But blogging doesn’t allow enough scope; I need and want more.  A challenge.

I need to find a way through to the more and a way to capture time away from distractions, to write for several hours in a row, each day.  I’ll begin tomorrow or really, later today at the other end of this morning.

I also need to be clearer about what I want to say.  It isn’t enough just to write, there must be something to say that’s worth saying.

I am tired now and starting to sense that I am talking about my own belly-button lint, the way folks ramble on about the mundane, on blogs…

Before I become really obnoxious, I’m off to bed.

Too late, you say?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Return of the Sun

The sun returned today at suppertime.  I was amazed at how quickly the sunshine lifted my mood, after endless sodden and depressing days.  The slanting gold rays created an enchantment. 

Windows opened.  Lawn chairs came out.  The air filled with bright sound, birds trilling and singing, bursting joy, lawn mowers buzzing and whining in a steady wave and trough of cutting through thick and thin patches of grass.

Suddenly neighbours were out walking their yipping dogs, calling, “Hello, great to see the sun!” from grinning faces, their conversations loud with laughter.

The warmth carried a scent of new-mown grass and of fragrant barbecues, grilling delicate chops and succulent chicken, juicy hamburgers and savoury onions.  

Someone could hear his motorcycle calling, “Come out for a ride, and forget the chores!”   He left, loudly, exultantly roaring out the driveway and down to the street, joining others who had already responded to the call of the road.

I walked around the yard surveying all that had grown during these long wet days, and was greeted by enthusiastic swathes of dandelions.  I thought, “If, I didn’t know they were weeds, wouldn’t I be glad to see these cheerful yellow faces?”  

I said, “Yes”… and so I was.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Morning Routines

I started to download a blog entry early this morning and couldn’t.  A note came up on the computer screen saying, “Blogger is not available”.  Further explanation—temporarily shut down for maintenance.  Frustration!  Not that I mind the concept of maintenance, it’s always a good idea.  It’s merely that I like to start the day with a blog post.  It’s my routine.

Oh well!  I go downstairs to get the newspaper and anticipate reading it, fragrant dark coffee in hand.  I brave the early morning wet and wind to search the mailbox.  The paper isn’t here.  It’s late…again.  Hmmm, I wonder if the newspaper printing plant is down for maintenance, too.  It is so often.

The sky is odd looking, a rippled low ceiling of clouds, whites and greys; like a freshly-ploughed field, all furrows and ridges, and a weak whisper of pale blue sky.  The wind is gusty, carrying the scent of rain and a deep chill.

A steady drone of car traffic on the street below is punctuated by the throaty rumble and vibrating down-shifting of motorcycles at the traffic lights.  Everyone is hurrying to work or appointments or coffee shops.  The early morning freight planes are low down today, reverberating thunder over the roof top as they leave airport runway number twenty-four, roaring out, on their way to everywhere.

Nicholas vocalizes kitty-chirps and tiny mews as he keeps me company and watches for this morning’s birds to arrive at the feeders.  We each have our waking rituals.  He sits hypnotized, meditative and waiting.  The other two cats are staked out on the floor, near the kitchen sink in hope of the clatter of their food dishes.

The house is quiet.  The clock ticks.  The world starts to wake, birds are trilling, calling to each other.  Nicholas is attentive.

The tall lanky paper boy comes trudging up the steep front driveway, bent over slightly from the weight of the Thursday paper with its heavy ads.  His blue hood nearly covers his face, sheltering him against the unpleasantly cold dampness; all that shows is a piece of his thick black hair.  The metal lid clanks as he wrestles and squeezes the thick paper into the mailbox.  He turns and plods out the even steeper upper driveway and over to the neighbour’s house.

Ah, morning routines!

Closet Cleaning

I cleaned my bedroom closet today.  It took just over three hours.

It seemed like a great rainy day activity and I needed to make space for my summer clothes, coming out of storage.  I live in hope that warm weather will eventually come.

Normally, I am orderly about the house and meticulous with my clothes. I have one bad habit. It is possible that I have more than one, but this is the only one I’m willing to own up to today.

Once in awhile when I am rushed at straightening up messes and there is a time pressure, I will chuck things on to the floor of the bedroom closet to hide them. I always mean to get at cleaning, sorting out and putting away directly after someone leaves, or after the perceived deadline is passed. 

However…once I start doing this, I can get worse and worse with it, until the closet is decidedly in a muddle when I open the door. And thank goodness there is a door on my closet; otherwise contents would spill out everywhere, in disarray.  

The mess grows exponentially and quickly becomes a helter-skelter pile of shopping bags and small, lovely boxes, colourful ribbons and sparkly wrapping, bright sandals, plain and dressy shoes, shoe polishes, picture hanging hooks and wires,  a couple of pictures waiting to be hung, white string and silver safety pins, a warm wool blanket, empty gift bags for all occasions, my own small hammer, delicate pliers and numerous measuring tapes, beige files of information on my three cats, old worn suede-covered journals… partially full,  out-of-season purses,  cards I have received and loved, and a bit of grey fuzzy dust, since vacuuming has become impossible in there.

Today is the day to tidy it all up again.  It always feels like a gigantic task, consequently I avoid it, coming up with ever more creative excuses about why I can’t face it.  But…today is the day!

I was going to post “before and after photos” on my blog, but the reality was just too awful…so I haven’t done that.  Instead I searched online for images of “cleaning closets”.  After looking at hundreds of photos of messy closets, I feel much better about mine, even a little superior!

It took me only three hours once I got organized:  
  • a blue garbage bag for “throw-aways”,
  • a cardboard carton in which to pack winter clothes to go to storage,
  • another bag to hold clothes that I will give to someone else,
  • a small box for items, with which I can’t bear to part and yet, don’t know what to do with…so back into the closet they go, albeit in a tiny, tidy neatly-labelled carton.
I’m pleased with myself and admire the way my immaculate closet feels and looks.  Until the next time, when I’m in hurry and needing to store something out of sight, it will stay in pristine condition, all items freshly folded, neatly hung, color co-ordinated.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away

The yard is vibrant, lush green exploding with new growth in the dampness, after days and days of nearly non-stop rain…more to come.   

Only the goldfinches get pleasure from the sopping weather.  They twitter and hiss, merrily flitting between trees and feeders.

I hear the goldfinches communicating, whistling and warbling and trilling.

Indoors, I am inclined to relax and read.  From the kitchen, the fan-club watches, intensely intrigued.

Moving Mum

Mum is moving.  She is enthusiastic about setting up her new apartment at the home of my niece and her partner.

It will be a lively energetic place to live.

They have a charming old farmhouse, where the edge of the city meets the country.  Mum will be able to have a garden and be outdoors and enjoy nature.  She’ll also be able to spend time with my niece’s two children, soon to become three.

Mum is excited.

Family have been helping her to pack and to get organized with the mover, disconnections and hook-ups, mail forwarding, address changes and all of that.

Mum is a brave and determined soul. It has been just shy of 6 years since she gave up her own older, country home, ten miles from the city, and moved to an apartment in the town of Riverview.  She was content there for awhile but things have changed. 

Her current “pleasant upper level apartment, with a picturesque view of Lake Petitcodiac” was purchased by a real estate management company.  The needs of tenants and the upkeep of the property are just business now, with no humanity or real caring in evidence.  The lake itself has become mud flats and even for the good natured, the view is, well… not so appealing.

So, Mum is keen to move back to a more scenic rural atmosphere, and closer to a family she dearly loves.  She’s moving at month’s end, just a few weeks away; lots to do. 

Her current apartment is piled with boxes, some flattened, empty and waiting, some filled with fragile loved objects that must be moved by car and some waiting for the professional movers on the Big Day.  Her whole place smells like “eau de cardboard”.

Family will help her, but moving is still a work-filled change for her.  She is courageous and adventuresome so all will be well.

I hope she’ll be happier in her new apartment.  It’ll be busy at first, as there will be a flurry of --cleaning, unpacking, decorating, nest-making, and gardening.

We’ll see how it goes.  In the meantime, we are collecting cardboard boxes, newspapers, wrapping paper, sticky packing tape, sharp scissors, coloured markers and we’re packing, packing, packing…

 To learn more about issues around Lake Petitcodiac,  use the following  link.  http://lappa.ca/ 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Beth Powning

I met Beth Powning last evening.

She was at the Riverview Public Library reading from her latest novel The Sea Captain’s Wife, which has been short-listed for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, in Canada; and is a Barnes and Noble Award Book for May/June, in the USA.   http://www.seacaptainswife.ca

“Beth Powning’s work has been widely published in books, anthologies, and magazines.  She is known for her lyrical, powerful writing and the profound emotional honesty of her work.” 

I felt delight at meeting her.  I cherish the poignant integrity with which she writes, and learned much from her thoughtful, direct answers to questions.  She was warm, wise, gentle and passionate. 

I was encouraged to hear her admit to feelings of insecurity every time she starts to write another novel.  Amazing, considering her past successes:  Seeds of Another Summer (published in the U.S. as Home: Chronicle of a North Country Life); Shadow Child: An Apprenticeship in Love and Loss; The Hatbox Letters; and Edge Seasons.

Beth Powning shared stories about where the ideas for her novels come from, how she does her intense research, her character building methods, her writing schedule, her granddaughters, her husband, her home and what she loves and what she doesn’t love about her craft.  She was welcoming and kind-hearted as she responded to questions.

Writing since she was eight years old, her life-long love of words is evident in the glow of her face and her easy smile.  She does glow, just look at her photo!  In person she glowed too…with wisdom, health, openness, comfort with her abilities, a love of life and a centeredness that was so appealing.

I am excited to have met her, a feeling tinged with envy and flooded with enthusiasm for writing.

If you’d like to know more about Beth Powning, use this link.  http://powning.com/beth

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Another Rainy Day

The rain puddles fat pearls on the window pane.  Droplets skitter down the screens, moving in a zigzag from one square to another square to another, drawn down to the earth.

A curtain of green hangs behind the rain splashed window.  New leaves, frilled pea-green, verdant lawn wildly dark and lush, flourishing weeds gaining foothold in flower beds, new frosted-emerald tips on the evergreens, lacy lime-green hanging in drifts from the rowan tree.  Yellow and red bird-feeders break the viridescence, as they shake and shudder and flash in the wind-driven rain.

Mist-white birch trunks stand stark above the tumbled, grey-glistening stone wall.  And a few hearty, luminous daffodils sway gold, waving in the cold, wet air.

The rough brown cedar fence leans away, away in the harsh wind; a wind that buffets and prods the tousled pink fuzz on black branches of the soaked crab apple tree.

The impenetrable surface of the neighbour’s deep pond is sable, pock marked by the heavy rain.  A mating pair of mallards shelter beneath the overgrown hedge that borders the pond, occasionally venturing out to shake their wings and enjoy the wetness filling the wind around them.

The stormy day pushes at an open window, proffering hints of ripe wetness, fresh scents and new life.  Snippets of wind-tossed bird song; echoes of warbles seep into the house.  

The earth is thirsty, drinking full, stretching and coming alive in the ancient damp rituals of spring.

Monday, May 9, 2011

It Rains

It rains and rains and rains…

It is cold again, sheeting rain drives against the windows.  Rainwater splatters thickly; the window pane is glazed, pebbly and opaque with water.

The bursts of rain thunk, thunk, thunk, drumming on the roof, as though a hundred heavy-footed squirrels are up there tap-dancing.

The temperature, until today seasonal for New Brunswick, has plummeted back to near freezing.  The steady wind pushes the cold into the house and into my bones, aggravating aches and pains.

Across the river, the city lights are water blurred pin-dots of light, orange-gold and blue-white.  The darkness of pelting water swallows the streets and buildings.

Even the cats are disinterested in their usual entertainment of window gazing.  They prefer to cuddle on the sofa and snooze, warm, toasty and resting.

Possibly a sensible idea!

Thank You

Thank you for phone calls and flowers and visits and cards. 
Thank you for rose bushes, pansies and tulips.
Thanks for making me feel loved. 
Thank you for a delicious supper and for good company shared. 

Happy Mother's Day to me!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day 2011

Happy Mother’s Day 2011

I have ten healthy, bright and lovable grandchildren, ranging in age from two to sixteen years.  They each have wonderful, nurturing, loving mothers.  I am fortunate.  I have two amazing daughters and three amazing step-daughters…each one is a creative, capable, talented, strong woman.

Happy Mother’s Day, with much love…to M & M & P & J & J.
You each mother your children lovingly and well, in your own special and unique ways.  Enjoy this day!

I hope when my granddaughters and grandsons grow to be adults, they will look back at this time and recognize what opportune childhoods they have had.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mother, who raised five of us…with much struggle, heartache and joy.  And who continues, through the generations of children, grandchildren and great-grand-children, to support and nurture us all.  I love you.

Happy Mother’s Day!

The image is mine.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Letting Go

Letting Go

If you want to love a child
to raise her, you must listen and
be able to hear all that she says,
called truth.

If you want to help a child
to guide him, you must nurture and
know that he will have his own wisdom,
called life.

If you want to parent
to be a mom, you must be patient
with all that you learn from each other,
called love.

Child grows up, guidance not
needed, relationships change.

What’s left are the memories,
and love shining though

lighting the new pathways--
of letting go, letting go.

Writing / words are mine.  Poem form is patterned on:  “#17. Push boat with a flow of water” by Kim Goldberg, from her book called Ride Backwards on Dragon (Pig Squash Press, 2007).   Learn more about Kim Goldberg at http://liuhebafagirl.wordpress.com  

Friday, May 6, 2011

Leaves are Here


by May Sarton

Always it happens when we are not there —
The tree leaps up alive in the air,
Small open parasols of Chinese green
Wave on each twig. But who has ever seen
The latch sprung, the bud as it burst?
Spring always manages to get there first.

Lovers of wind, who will have been aware
Of a faint stirring in the empty air,
Look up one day through a dissolving screen
To find no star, but this multiplied green,
Shadow on shadow, singing sweet and clear.
Listen, lovers of wind, the leaves are here.

I've been waiting for weeks for the leaves to be here. 

May Sarton's poem about spring expresses this perfectly. 
Spring and the leaves have kept everyone waiting
for a very long stretch this year,
in this area of New Brunswick. 

Finally the leaves are here and the world is greening.

To learn more about May Sarton, click here.  These photos are mine.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Giving Advice

Giving Advice

How easily I fall into the slippery pit of offering unsolicited advice.  I think that my opinion will help, or that the other person doesn’t know what I am wise enough to already understand, or I am horrified at another’s choice and veil my emotions in the guise of advice.  No matter the reason, it is never helpful to foist unsolicited opinions on someone else.

I’m not perfect…

I’ve done it, continue to do it, but am working at catching and stopping myself from advising and offering opinions.  And, I’m actually making positive progress.

My older daughter has taught me a great lesson, more than a few times.  “Gee, I don’t remember asking for your opinion” she’ll say, while fixing me with her huge blue-eyed stare and a slight grin.  Stops me cold!

I’ve cut down on freely dispensing advice, unsolicited opinion-giving and unwanted fretful meddling with my mom, sisters, husband, friends, children and grandchildren.

I am not perfect…

It is freeing, this looking after no one’s activities…but my own, working on changing no one…but me!

Now, if someone wants help, or advice, or guidance or an opinion, I do lots of listening.  What do they really want or need? Usually it is the listening; people crave being heard more than anything else.  Most folks can usually sort out their own problems for themselves.

Even though you "don't remember asking for my opinion", I am sharing this one:

Avoid giving advice and opinions, especially unsolicited advice and opinions.

I'm working at this. 

I'm not perfect, so feel free to say, "Gee, I don't remember asking..."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Driving at Any Age

Driving at Any Age

My oldest grand-child just earned her driver’s license.  How exciting!

At the same time, my mother just sold her last car and has decided to stop driving anymore.  How poignant!

My grand-daughter is excited and full of readiness to face her future as she learns new skills and becomes a great driver.  My mother, who is still a competent driver herself, may naturally feel some sadness as she readies to face her future, being chauffeured from place to place.

Life is a cycle.

How wise of each of them to recognize that the time is right to make significant changes.

To my grand-daughter, I say:
Congratulations. Be safe, drive well, and improve your skills as you learn from experience. Enjoy this privilege and the freedom you’ve earned. 

To my mother, I say: 

Congratulations.  Be content, live well, enjoy not having to deal with the expenses of car ownership and revel in being picked up and dropped door-to-door, in any weather.