Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rain Runs Down

Splashing against window
flowing from top to bottom
rain runs down
each splash running into another
forming a sheet, coating the glass

Falling onto pavement
single drops mean nothing, almost,
yet run together
forming rivulets and puddles
flooding ditches and dips in the road

Flowing ever downhill
each trickle becomes a stream
rambling along and gathering speed
for the journey ahead, for the giving of itself
bringing needed sustenance to all that thirsts

Now gathering strength
streams wind into each other
becoming a river
flowing smoothly, running swiftly
on the endless journey, going on without end

Racing with force
in time, rivers merge into seas
surging with power
these waters now joined
ebb and flow, changing whatever they touch

Eons of melding
touched by air, wind, and sun
once again changing
soft mist rises up, slowly dissipates
to become separate drops and returns as rain

Imagine if we
would remember those droplets when
rain runs down
and that small, seemingly insignificant, acts
merge together to become the seas of change

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I am humbled and honored to have been awarded the Liebster Blog Award by Sherrie Spangler, a quilt artist and journalist who recently settled in the Pacific Northwest. Although she began her blog as a way to keep in touch with other fabric artists, she soon started "weaving in threads about colorful places, people, food, wildlife, and anything else that might bring color into your world." Her blog was one of the first I began following; I admire her quality of writing, beautiful photography, variety of topics, creativity, and of course her bold use of color. Sherrie says "I'm trying to embrace the rain and gray this year instead of hating it." For those of you who do not live in the Pacific Northwest, this is a very big deal! Her blog, Sherrie Loves Color may be found at: http://sherriequilt.blogspot.com/

This award is given to bloggers who inspire you and have less than 200 followers. The Liebster Award takes its name from the German word meaning Beloved, Dearest or Favorite. In nominating me, Sherrie said: "Sometimes her posts make me laugh, sometimes cry, but mostly they bring me peace." Thank you Sherrie, that is exactly what I try to do.

As part of the tradition it is passed along to 5 bloggers that have motivated and inspired.

To accept the award you must:
1. Link back to the person who gave it to you and thank them.
2. Post the award to your blog.
3. Give the award to 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers that you appreciate and value.
4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award.

Here are my 5 of my favorites:

1. "Confessions of a Tumbleweed" http://truckingtumbleweed.blogspot.com/ Stacy and her husband are professional truckers and as owner-operators, they pretty much live on the road. As she says: "I am the bookkeeper, navigator and chief radio button-pusher." Mostly, she is bright, quick-witted, and hilarious, finding humor in such things as surviving all those restrooms she visits (minus the cooties, of course...) She also writes a column for the Douglas Budget in Douglas, Wyoming and has written for Pilot Travel Center's Challenge Magazine. I love her blog because I get a "trucker's eye view" of this country, she shows me places and things I might never otherwise see, and she makes me laugh every single time!

2. Kathie at "Kathie's Poet Tree" http://kathiespoettree.blogspot.com/ Kathie recently moved from Sycamore Canyon in Tucson, AZ to Andover, MA. The beauty of nature inspires her art, poetry, and photography. I believe that she and I are soul mates as naturalists, artists, and writers. Kathie says that as a child, "I ran wild like an Indian through the woods and daily climbed trees, played in streams, or gamboled over pasture like a little lamb. Nature awed and inspired me and when my heart was broken I would run to her for comfort." I find a true connection to the natural world through her writing and photography.

3. Susannah of " Wanderin' Weeta (With Waterfowl and Weeds) " http://wanderinweeta.blogspot.com/
 Susannah is a nature blogger, from Delta, the Lower Fraser Valley, BC, Canada, is over 65, a lover of birds, green stuff, multi-legged beasties, and the critters that squirm, slither and scramble on those beaches. Again, she and I have quite a bit in common! I love her blog because she covers a whole lot of nature stuff as she wanders about her unique part of the world.

4. Marian of "Elderwomansblog" http://elderwoman.blogspot.com/
She runs a women's group and a writer's circle, is active in her local community, grows organic vegetables, goes for long walks, reads a lot and loves to dance. Having lived and worked on three continents, she now spends most of her time in a tiny, eighteenth century cottage near the sea in Devon, England, where she lives a simple lifestyle and practices everything she preaches (...well, tries to, anyway). I find her "occasional thoughts on green and conscious ageing, simple living, green spirituality, loving the earth ... and life in general" to be wonderful food for thought and much contemplation on living fully no matter your age.

5. Bronwen of "A Snail's Eye View" http://snailseyeview.blogspot.com/
 lives in Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia. Hers is a delightful occasional blog about natural history, travel, books and writing ... and anything else that catches her attention. I especially enjoy learning of the plants and animals of Australia and her special brand of humor brings joy to my days.

As others have said, it is difficult choose only five, because there are many bloggers who continually inspire me. I hope you enjoy getting to meet them.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Ayes of March

When after the Winter alarmin',
The Spring steps in so charmin',
So fresh and arch
In the middle of March,
Wid her hand St. Patrick's arm on...
~Alfred Percival Graves

After a week of mixed snow and rain, March wiped her nose, dried her eyes, and broke into a magnificent smile. Oh, well maybe that was me, but the sun definitely broke through. The promise of Spring lured me out the top o' that morning, even with a crispness still in the air. Out to catch the arrival in action, even though I knew I never could, and there were bits an' pieces of it scattered all over.

Here were deep purple crocuses ready to burst open, and I sensed an excitement that was hard to explain. Some things are better kept to oneself, perhaps.

Vision is the art of seeing things invisible
Jonathan Swift

Scattered about were primroses already abloom, with a subtle hint of intrigue which I couldn't quite put my finger on. What is it about them, that warms my heart so?

Small daffodils nodded their buttery heads amidst the brown of last year's leaves strewn asunder. Unsettling, is what it was - that feeling of some invisible presence.

The world is seldom what it seems;
to man, who dimly sees,
realities appear as dreams,
and dreams realities.
Thomas Moore

Rich colors caught my attention and pulled me to the woods where branches lush with lichens and rocks matted with mosses shouted "Look here, no here, look everywhere - there is a stirring in the air!"

It is not the sort of thing that you can capture and hold in your hand - not a thing to plainly show others and say "Look, I found Spring and here it is."

No, it's not that sort of thing at all... Still, there is something about buds building toward the bursting point that makes you want to shout out loud. And laugh - laugh long and hard that winter is almost over and you survived it, yet again...

Laughter is wine for the soul --
laugh soft, or loud and deep,
tinged through with seriousness.
Comedy and tragedy step through life together,
arm in arm...
Once we can laugh, we can live.
Sean O'Casey

Something spoke to me - blew in my ear, whispered on the wind, transported me to another place and time - turned me upside down and inside out.

There was a place in childhood
that I remember well,
And there a voice of sweetest tone
bright fairy tales did tell.
Samuel Lover

Some primeval power grasped me by the heart and would not let me go... until - in spite of myself - a smile crept in. I rolled in the green, absorbed the sun, drank the rain, filled myself to the brim with new life.

I ate the day deliberately,
that its tang might quicken me all into verb,
pure verb
Seamus Heaney

It is an ancient urging, this need to come through the night into the day; to crawl out of the den and stretch; to look around at the world and see that it has changed - or know that I have.

Where I am not understood,
it shall be concluded that something
very useful and profound
is couched underneath.
Jonathan Swift

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

May your home be bright with cheer,
May your cares all disappear,
May contentment come your way,
And may laughter fill your day.
Irish Blessing

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bus to Nowhere (Melting Ice)

Grizzly Bear reared up and, towering above me, gave his most menacing look - claws at the ready, teeth showing, grimace and growl threatening. I cowered down, covered my face, and the growling stopped. Slowly, I uncovered it and peaked around the corner - "GGrr!" He erupted into giggles and fell to the floor as only a young child can. Then he climbed back into his seat and the game resumed - "GGGRRR!". It would be a long ride home...

When a freakish snow and ice storm wreaked havoc on the greater Puget Sound area of Washington, we were stranded in Seattle. Unable to fly out, we were forced to take a small, local Airporter bus back home. Due to a series of unforeseen circumstances, a ride that normally takes two or less hours dragged on for eight. Although I was going through my own private Hell during this time (See my previous post: Bittersweet Ice), I found the others, crammed together with us on this journey, each had their own story.

In one of the front seats sat Mellow Man, whom we first met back at the airport. In the course of that two-hour wait we did a lot of visiting, as people tend to do when sitting next to each other for an extended period of time. He was a retired truck driver returning home after a visit to relatives back in Michigan. He'd had heart surgery a couple of years ago which he nearly didn't survive. He said that experience changed his life and he now took nothing for granted. "I'm far more patient now, you know? I'm not in a hurry to get anywhere cuz' time don't mean nothin'. I just value what I have, right here, right now." One thing he had was his lovely lady at home, whether a spouse or girlfriend we never learned; he called her often on his cell phone to apprise her of our progress and before the call ended he told her he loved her - every single time. The bus was not large and we could hear much of what others said; my final memory of Mellow Man is of his last call just before we arrived at his destination. "Almost there, honey; I'll see you soon - I love you."

Nervous Nick sat near the front, also. A young naval recruit, probably in his early twenties, he was bound for Naval Base Bremerton. We'd noticed him chain smoking outside the airport terminal, but then we boarded the bus for the two hour ride (we thought!) to the Kitsap Peninsula. As we neared Tacoma, traffic slowed and then stopped due to a horrendous accident. Nervous Nick couldn't wait and the driver allowed him to jump out for a few quick puffs. We moved on at a snail's pace, only to stop again due to the bridge closure. Nick jumped out again. Pulling off the freeway to spend a couple of hours at a McDonalds surely led to a sigh of relief for him, but then we had the loong drive back to Seattle. By the time we got to the Fauntleroy ferry dock, Nick was more than nervous - he was desperate. He got a bit of a reprieve, though, as it was Friday night and we'd missed the ferry, so had another hour to wait. As Nick practically leaped out the door, my husband, who only managed to kick the habit five years ago, sighed and shook his head. Hindsight can be painful...

Immediately behind the driver sat Mom-to-Be. Seven months' pregnant, this young navy wife was traveling alone and very anxious to get home. With her husband at sea, she'd been to visit her family in another state, probably for the last time before the baby came and her life changed forever. She spoke of moving across the country to this seemingly isolated base, adjusting to life alone when her husband shipped out, and her anticipation for this baby. With her sweet voice, she seemed like a kid herself, silver tongue stud glinting occasionally as she spoke. Kind, gentle, and self-assured, her eyes sparkled as she spoke of becoming a mother. "I can't wait! I know we won't be in the Navy forever, but at least when the baby comes, I won't be alone so much."

Guam-Mom and her daughter sat across the aisle from us, one seat up. Having been to Guam to visit family, and returning via Hawaii, they'd been traveling for forty eight hours. One of those small, serious, Asian women, whose true age was hard to tell, she spoke little, yet garnered tremendous respect. Her daughter saw to her every need and was very protective of her without being overbearing. Once on the bus, Guam-Mom mostly slept, while her daughter read from her Kindle and quietly made and received calls on her cell phone. They must have had a rather large extended family, for as we finally neared their destination, the rate of her calls picked up. Someone would definitely be there to pick them up and surely everyone in the family knew they were home. Obviously, Guam-Mom was highly-treasured and well-loved.

Student Nurse sat across the aisle from us and was deep in conversation with the equally-young navy man who sat next to her. She had flown in from Colorado, where she was in school, to attend the funeral of a beloved aunt. Although she did not elaborate, she shared that she'd mostly been on her own and pretty much supported herself since she was sixteen. She may have had a rocky adolescence, but her vision was clear and her goal was set - she was studying to be a geriatric nurse. She'd already had experience in this field with some of the various jobs she's held over the years. She was so young, so motivated and enthusiastic, but also wise beyond her years. And why, my husband asked, had she chosen that career? How did she know that was what she wanted to do with her life? "Simple!" She said. "There is such a need and I love old people. And I want to make a difference in the world." Simple, indeed.

Navy Crew sat behind us in the long bench seat across the back of the bus. Just out of basic training, this group of four young men and one woman was headed to their first assignment at the submarine base. During the many hours we spent together, their conversation spanned many topics, with occasional silences when they catnapped. Dressed in their crisp black uniforms, they were obviously on their best behavior and proud of what they represented. As we finally drew close to their destination, they became more animated and strained to see out of the fogged-up windows. Their conversation became a series of questions: "Where are we?" "All I can see is trees and fog; looks like a real no-man's land." "How far will we be from town?" "How big is Bremerton, anyway? That small, huh?" "Dang, what's there to do around here?" "I'm really hungry; do you think there's any take-out places on base?" From the front of the bus, Mom-to-Be's voice rang out - "There's a McDonald's..." I can only imagine how exciting that sounded.

Grizzly Bear must have been all of four years old and was with his mother. It had been a long day for him also, and, unlike many of the children who travel today, he clutched only one small super-hero toy in his hand. The warm animal hat on his head was something he was not willing to remove for any reason. When they took the seat immediately in front of us and he popped up to peer over the top of his seat, I attempted to talk to him. Asking his name, I got no reply - only an impish grin. Several other questions got the same response. "Nice hat you have. Is it a squirrel?" No reply. "I know, it must be a puppy dog." Nothing. "Oh, I see - it's a raccoon." Giggles - "Must be a grizzly Bear!" So began the game of GRRRR! that day - all the way to Nowhere...

Do not dwell in the past,
do not dream of the future,
concentrate the mind on the present moment.