"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Poem: Finding Your Song

What I have needed, longed for, wept over,
found worthy of thought and written words,
is always evolving and, recalling myself
at 16, 25 or 40, I shake my head, incredulous.

Social cues were my trip-wires.  I walked into 
blunders so egregious that even the remembering
causes me to hide my face, sighing with shame.
Pebbles dropped into water. Lessons learned.

Each of us must find the shoe that fits, somehow.
Some of us can not wear the glass slipper,
nor pay the price it demands. Some of us dance
best in the moonlight, alone, in hiking boots.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

He Who Mocks

Nature's great forces are
Incorruptible, Interconnected,
Written in the stars and beyond.
They do not play favorites, 
Nor can they be bought.
Pressure always seeks equilibrium,
As water seeks the level of the sea.
There are too few of us to matter,
Which makes us dispensable.
I fear we think ourselves Gods.

The forces do not need us.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Winter Chorus Straggles In

     Early last week I noticed a flutter of grey feathers and smiled to see my lovely Phoebes back from their summer travels.  These shy, gray/brown birds sing their own name back and forth, so it's easy to locate them.  In the Fall, the males and young ones will have a gentle yellow wash on their usually creamy bellies. This morning, as I took down the Hummingbird feeders (yes, they've gone), I noticed quick movement in the fading leaves of the Cottonwood. Two pair of Black-capped Carolina Chickadees have returned as well. Hooray! The band is coming back together again. Everything is in seed here, so there is plenty to eat for everyone.  I will fill one feeder with Oil Seed Sunflower seeds soon anyway, so they'll know they are more than welcome.
      Yesterday morning I was the hostess for a Let's Fix This meeting in Enid so I headed that way early, to make sure everything was in order, and to make time for things that weren't. As I drove toward the square I realized everything was blocked off because they were having The Great Land Run this week-end.  I assumed (there's that word again) the run had happened last week-end, along with all the other Cherokee Strip activities. Wrong.  I hiked in, lugging my bottled waters for the group, and reminded the librarian that we had a reservation for the room that morning. 'Oh yes, here you are! I had forgotten.' Exactly what I was afraid of.
      Andy and Katy showed up and we set up the table, put out the pins and clip-boards......and waited.  I became convinced no one would show; you know how it is when you're throwing a party. Then, at 10 o'clock sharp, people showed up. The best part was: my friend Cass came!!  What a treat to see her and to meet some new people who want to be a part of moving this state forward again. One of Enid's State Representatives, Chad Caldwell, came as well and visited with us about how things work down there in chambers.
     We asked direct questions and he carefully danced around the answers. It's such an elaborate tap-dance that must be done in order to not say a. single.thing. that might possibly be misconstrued or twisted or turned some other way by someone who is in the room.  It seems as if it might be so much easier to simply speak your truth in a straightforward manner.   He relaxed as the time marched on and he realized we were all perfectly harmless, ordinary people who were honestly interested in the mechanics of his job and what he thought the prospects might be for rounding up some money with which to keep the state running for another year.  A willingness to compromise seemed to be the element that is lacking on both sides of the aisle.  We all agreed.
       I hit the sack at 8 last night and slept "the sleep of the righteous" for the next eleven hours. Oh, my stars and garters!  It has been a long while since I slept that soundly, let me tell ya.  I'm more rested today and have been outside checking on the flowers, filling fountains, pulling weeds, counting pumpkins. The usual drill.
         It was while Marsha and I were leaning on the porch rail, contemplating spraying the pumpkin vine with an anti-fungal,  that we noticed the Chickadees and the lack of Hummers.  More than a week ago, I was sitting on the porch swing one morning and one of the Hummingbirds stepped out of attack mode and flew right up to me, hovered in front of my face for a few seconds, and took off again.  I remember thinking that he might be saying good-bye for the year.  They hung around however, gorging themselves morning and night on flower nectar and sugar-water, and then zipped away while we were in California this week.  Safe travels.  We had three pair this year. I hope they make the trip safely and come back to stay the summer with us next year.
    I    have yet to see the Juncos or the riot of sparrows who will come fogging in here soon, no doubt, with all their noisy relations.  The Cardinals are around, they never leave, but spend a lot of time down by the creek, lazing around with the Wren families and that Kingfisher crew. I imagine them staying up late, telling stories, listening to the coyotes sing, and steering clear of the owls.  Songbirds make a tasty little snack for an owl, if he hasn't managed to snag a rat scrambling through the grass.
     I've had a pair of Blue-Jays this summer, and our resident Red-Bellied Woodpecker pair is still here.  The two and a half pair of Morning doves are around too. That one guy really needs to give it up and find another mate. She's not coming back.  (She was snatched off her nest atop the trellis one morning last spring. Yep. Hawks.) Maybe I'll catch a glimpse of the Cedar-Waxwings again this year, or those wacky Yellow Headed Blackbirds. Surprises await all birders in the Fall.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

My Crazy Weeks

     Time seems to fly past, sweeping by in chunks of a week at a time, although clicking along at the same pace as always.  What I'm doing seems to determine how time passes, whether it creeps or sprints. Here are the last three, completely different. Maybe that's why they go so quickly, because they are never the same from one week to the next.  They didn't seem to fly when I was teaching, going to the same place, doing similar things each day, each week, each month. This is a different time. I'm sure your weeks are much the same....but different.

Saturday 9/9
Another week gone by:
The last lake time, swimming,
making the clam museum,
Ann * Scott * Dad,
fishing, driving, blogging,
cats, full moon, remembering,

~~~~~LABOR DAY~~~ (Danny),

giving Iris, planting Iris,
on the phone talking, airport,
insurance, medicare, rates,
driving, bells, singing, laughing,
hair cut, Cathy, Bonnie, packing,
driving, driving, 1st grade song,
cookies and hugs, birthday dinner.

 Saturday 9/16

Another week gone by:
working at the spice shop,
hurricane news, tweets,
cuddling babies, kissing kids,
baseball games, home runs, Moose,
bells, books, singing, laughing,
driving, books on tape, blogging,
calls, Walk-a-Thon, hugs, checks,
shopping, making and baking pies,

~~~~~PIE  DAY~~~~~

aprons, talking, selling spice,
Chef, laughing, tired feet,
visit with Bonnie, gifts,
goodbye hugs and baby's smiles,
driving, packing, driving.


Saturday 9/23

Another week gone by:
flight and a rough landing,
ginger, palm trees, and sand,
boxes, mildew, sorting, carrying,
Marsha to doctors, fish & chips,
blogging, walking on land so I can
walk in the sand.......oh my feet!

~~~~~THE OCEAN~~~~

traffic, airports, people, noise,
stuffed onto planes, tired shoulders,
stuffy head, aching legs,
waiting, meals, and maps,
driving, A. K. and Alice,
driving, driving, hauling,
unpacking, fighting with
phone and PayPal, Tamac,
Let's Fix This, Cass,
resting at the farm,
blog-talking with you.

Tomorrow is another one.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

California Musings

       Here I sit, in sunny California, my feet up, my shades on, writing to you to say Hey and share the experience.  There are so many ways in which the view and feel of this place is different from the feel and views in Oklahoma. First, and always, there is the sea, being Itself to the west of me. (The Sea is always to the West). I can look up from this screen and see it rising, a shimmering grey, creating the horizon, glistening with light as it moves.  Dotting the sea view, are palm trees of different heights and varieties.  They give it a tropical feel, although they are not native to this particular shore.  It is all the different trees that make this area so wildly different from Edmond or OKC.  But it is also the houses.
       In Oklahoma, housing developments are built of houses alike or similar in structure and they all start out with no trees. Like the roads in Oklahoma, which almost always run either exactly north to south or west to east, the houses all look alike (not really, but in a general sense). They march along in a nice organized manner, one after the other. In new developments there is no willy-nilly eccentricities there We don't do that.
    Here, the houses are all different shapes and sizes and crammed together. There are lots of different roof heights and types; some have composition shingles, some have solar panels and skylights, some have terra cotta tile roofs, some are stucco houses with flat roofs.  There are orange and lime trees in most back yards along with Eucalyptus trees and Palms of every variety, short and fat, tall thin and elegant, thick-leafed, feather-leafed.  There are also Pines, some full and dense and others pencil straight and tall) and Magnolias and Cyprus and Fig trees all sticking their hands up into the blue, to waving at the ocean.
     Electric wires criss-cross through all of it, thousand of wires  draping across alleys and back yards.  Lots of the houses have added two story towers, or sun rooms, where you can climb up and see the ocean from your backyard.  Parking is in the back, on the paved alleys, which is where our AirBnb is as well.  Camp Pendleton is just to the north of here so the Ospreys' flight pattern brings them into view regularly.  There are traffic noises, of course, but also lots of people out cycling or skateboarding or walking along the roads.  I can hear talking and laughing almost all the time.
     Marsha says their green and blooming season is just beginning out here so there are trees in bloom with fluffy orange blossoms and hanging vines  bright with purple, red and pink. The hedges are tall and full of flowers and the houses seem to sit at odd angles to each other, as if drawn in by an artist with a free spirit, or tossed down onto a table, by a child,  pushed together and left that way when her mother called her to supper.

    The breezes off the ocean are cool, even though the sun shines, and I gaze at my face in the evening and find it sun-kissed.  We go down to the beach every evening and have fish of some sort. Last night we sat and watched a beach volleyball game for quite awhile and watched lots of families out playing 'jump into the waves' until almost sundown.  I saw a shirt hanging outside the surf shop there that said "Saltwater heals everything". It made me smile.
      We aren't just playing, of course. We came out to take Marsha around to see all her doctors (she has not yet switched docs) and also to go through her storage here and 'work the stack' as it were.  We have a few things to bring back to OK and others to donate to Goodwill, and others to trash.  We're meeting some of her friends for dinner tonight and tomorrow and I know she is looking forward to seeing those familiar faces once again. It is difficult to uproot and move far from people whose lives have been a part of yours for a long time.  But, sometimes it is time to leave, turn the corner, and begin again.  It is good to have a place to live where you feel safe .
      I looked around at some of these trees and wondered if Dr. Seuss lived here when he was writing his children's books, since the trees remind me so much of the trees in his illustrations.  I looked it up and, sure enough, he lived for a time in La Jolla and would have seen these trees out his studio window.  Some of his imaginative creatures also resemble the trees, especially the ones with the muffs around their necks and the feathery hair.
      Tomorrow we go to  Coronado Island to see the beautiful herb gardens there. Then it's back into the air and home to OK.
       There are Tsunami signs on the poles at street corners, saying this area is all trash if the big wave comes and goes, like they do, so you'd better high-tail it out of here when that happens or you'll get sucked out to sea and never be seen again. (They don't say all that. They simply say :Tsunami zone.) It does make you think about things though, seeing those signs. We seem to think we are pretty permanent and here to stay, but compared to the ocean, the depths of the earth, we are merely perched upon the shoulders of the land and there is vastness beneath the seas that swirl around the globe and vastness below the ocean floor; boiling molten rocks that push and shove and move the crust above.  The story of the earth is a long one, with change happening constantly over billion years, continents on the move, mountains growing and wearing away, but always the waters have moved. You can not harness the dragon which is the sea.
       It is a long walk or a short ride back to the beach from most anywhere here, and the ocean is as it always has been: immense, alive, full of mystery, danger, movement and life. The ocean speaks to something primal in us, its waters heal our wounds and its sound, beauty, and the scent of the salt air heal our emotions and hearts. It is, as it has always been, oblivious to our screeching, flapping, tearing ways. We, like the seagulls, fly and fight and come back to the sand for rest and retreat.  
     While I was gazing around at this mish-mosh of houses, trees, people and sand today, I scribbled down this poem for you.

In seeking the serenity which the sea brings, we 
clambered and clawed our way over each other, 
camped on the beaches, hammered in our stakes, 
raised the tents, spread the cloths, opened the wine.
Thrilled that we had arrived at the land's end, at last.

That was centuries ago, and now every inch of space 
from the beach all the way up into the mountains is 
covered with buildings and roads. Vehicles rush and roar,
 speeding people to work and back again, so they can 
earn enough coin to go back and sit on the beach.

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Multicolored Tapestry


We have many different lives hidden inside of our lives, like the patterns in a rug. The fact that we can enjoy the company of  people our friends and family might not care for, or mesh easily with, is telling about our complexity. That's okay; there are many varied, complementary, and contrasting  colors which, together, define our individuality.

     We are a weaving together of who we have been, and been with, in different times of our lives, and the longer we live, the more different groups we gather to ourselves, because we change, over time. Life and circumstances batter, smooth, expand, and mold us continually. We evolve into our truer selves as we continue walking.
    Often connections with people are lost, because of changes in location or beliefs, as well as from misunderstandings. However, we will always own the history we shared with them.
        Love is the energy that is neither created nor destroyed. It can be betrayed and broken and scarred, but it leaves its hand print on our hearts nonetheless. Every life that touches ours adds to the inimitable tapestry of who we are.

For example:

         I met a woman on a retreat a few years back and we both stopped and looked wonderingly into the eyes of the other.  We recognized each other at once.  At some time, years before, she and I had been close, in some way, and we both knew it, but couldn't remember when or where.  Neither one of us could remember the other's name, but the bond remained. I knew I already trusted her, already had shared openness with her.  It was a very odd and spiritual reconnection.  It was nice to see her again.
      There is, somewhere in Iowa, a green-eyed, dark-haired man, the memory of whom my heart still loves, and will always love.
      There is a woman in Minnesota, small and fine, who has beautiful almond shaped eyes, whom I dearly love but seldom see.  She is brilliant and beautiful and creative and full of compassion.  I know that she loves me as well. We shared a room and many months together long ago, and we hold our kinship in our hearts. I will see her again one of these days, and that will be enough. She knows I am here for her.

     My dad sometimes tells me stories about the women who were my mother's friends in college, or before.  He describes them to me, and tells me of the fun times they and my mother had together.  I never knew these women, never even heard their names.  When we leave school and start a family, we move on with our lives and roads divide, carrying us far away from our loved ones. We promise we will write, will visit, but life gets in the way.