Sunday, November 16, 2014

worth more than

I got to thinking about the Lady of Shalott this morning.
She couldn't stop weaving.
And she was all alone in a tower.
Some people think Tennyson wanted to say something about the creative process.
How those who paint or write are isolated.
And compelled.
That although life surrounds them, are separated by the very task set before them.
It has made me ponder the message of all art.
The personal message of the artist.
Seeing life only from a distance as the Lady of Shalott did, as a reflection in a mirror seems a terrible fate.
And it was for her.
Sir Lancelot for all of his bling and jingle jangle really wasn't worth floating down a river over either.

I think when the mirror cracked from side to side, she should have jumped up and cried, "Hooray, I'm off to the market," instead of seeing 'curse' written over her in black letters.
I guess that is part of my personal message.
The color of everyday life is worth more than a tower full of woven magic or a fleet of glittering knights.

then I realized

As I was driving this week,
homeward bound along a narrow country road
I realized I was feeling something...
something just beyond grasping...
What?
What was I feeling?
And then I realized it was happiness.

tooth clencher

A dinosaur with clenched teeth bars the way.
Really.
Out on the street in front of our house.

Our neighbor's work truck, topped with ladders is casting the most amazing shadow.
It fills the street.
A giant tooth clencher.
Probably a T-rex, or maybe a fearsome dragon.
The shadow just beyond is equally amazing in it's appropriateness for the moment.
It looks just like the tower of a castle.
Like a turret.
Castle and dragon.
I'm pretty sure there is a princess or two and probably a knight out there.
Out in the shadow.
Does the dragon sense it?

P.S.
The angle of the setting sun made the dragon grow and grow until it crossed the street AND the sidewalk.
Then someone came and parked on the turret.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

sound of courage

My Dad loved bagpipes.
He was proud of his Scottish heritage and that pride influenced the musical climate of the home I grew up in. Ballads and anthems, pipes and drums, they swirled and eddied around the living rooms of my childhood.
When my parents came to live with us here in the city, we trekked off to hear bagpipers whenever we could,
watched them compete,
watched them march in parades.
We especially loved the Delta Police Pipe Band. 
Their evenings were always a wonder.
When it came to the place in the program where the lone piper entered the darkened auditorium, my father always gulped back tears.
He was a veteran and I know that bagpipes made him remember.
It's because bagpipes are the sound of courage.

Veterans are gathering outside businesses for the annual sale of poppies.
As I waited in line to pay for my groceries this week, I heard pipers somewhere out in the parking lot.
There is a wildness to that sound, an irresistible call.
I felt a surge of unexpected emotion and tears rising like a tide.
I felt such sorrow for the suffering here and around the world, now and ever.
The battle for freedom is waged against forces of darkness with such immense courage and sacrifice.
On that day, it seemed to me, bagpipes were the soundtrack of freedom.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

carry the torch

Is October supposed to look this fresh?
All up the street, lawns lie green as ever.
The sun is slanting down from a summer-blue sky.
Roses still bloom, a haze of pink on branch tips,
while the white anemone flutter like a dozen butterflies.

My pumpkins glowing at the edge of the garden say 'autumn' loud and clear though.
And so do the blueberry bushes.
Blueberry leaves don't just turn color, they flame.
Blueberry bushes carry the torch for Autumn.

gentler on the skin

Sometimes I feel like I'm tumbling in a clothes dryer.
I'm feeling the heat.
I don't know which way is up and which is down.
I'm getting a glimpse out the window from time to time but that's about it.
Mind you, there are lots of stories that way.
Life feels very eventful that way.
It's just that if I don't write them down, they become part of the swirling color, going round and round.
And when I finally get to them, some are kind of wrinkled.
Some have shrunk a bit.
But some shake out as fresh as the day they were new.
Better even.
Softer.
Gentler on the skin.

we did

I wanted to be early.
You know.....that psychological advantage you get from being early, from being able to take your time, to settle in, to get the lay of the land.
And to know for a certainty that you won't be LATE.
I left home in plenty of time.
I drove the fastest route.
I parked as close as I could.
I hastened straight and true to the right floor, and the right room.
Others had clearly felt as I for the room wasn't empty and continued to fill.
I turned on the computer.
I unpacked my textbooks.
I lined up my pencils and eraser.
I signed on to my student account.
I signed on to the library.
I signed on to my favourite data base.
I signed in and signed in.
There was a brief emergency whence I couldn't remember one of my user ID's. Gadzooks! Why is it always the simple ones we forget.
The room took on the hum of commiseration, common before exams.
The hand of the clock jerked ahead.
Almost time...almost time...
And then, there in the doorway, the voice of doom.
We had all been told the wrong room.
The entire class, settled and poised for action must move across the campus to a distant building and an unknown room.
And quickly.
Mid-terms are a limited time offer.
As students lept up and headed as one for the door I began to sign out.
Click, click, click click, click, argggghhhhh, click, click, click.
So much for psychological advantage.
Back into my bag went my text books and pencils.
I scooped up my purse and my jacket and my bag.
I galloped out the door with the rest of the harried horde.
As we panted down corridors and  galloped down sidewalks a growing sense of calm enveloped me.
"We're getting some oxygen to our brains," I gasped to the girl, fleeing beside me.
"We'll likely all do better on the test for this."
And I think we did.