Seasonal lake view

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looking glass lake 1

From my bedroom window
I happen to glance out and spot the shroud of sun
spreading it’s last light over the horizon.
Before it melts into the woods beyond the lake –
a lake we can only view through trees bereft of foliage,
from an upstairs window –
I grab my camera to document the thrill
of this single moment.
One in millions throughout my lifetime,
each observed and stored in its own place inside my head,
to be retrieved later (if I can find it) and enjoyed again.

Remember this? I’ll ask myself.  Wasn’t it spectacular?

In truth, it’s not likely I’ll remember
this particular sunset
any more than others I’ve seen,
or the thousand other moments
that caught my eye or my breath,
and made me pause to savor it.
Like our seasonal lake view,
obscured by the fullness of nature,
the brevity of moments like this
get lost
in the plenitudes of life.

That’s what the camera is for.

n.b. April is National Poetry Writing Month.  If you’d like to try your hand at the form, or just read good words, check out these links.  Here and Here.

Into the Forest (a story in 50 words)

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Trees like a beating heart.

Trees like a beating heart.

Life was noisy.

Snow fell, and the woods beckoned –

It’s quiet here.  Come in.

Sure-footed, she blazoned forth.

Light slanted through the trees like a promise,

A golden haze whispered, Stay.

Standing beside three trees, red as beating hearts

She found a home inside herself.

Quiet to last a lifetime.

 

n.b.  The photo came first.  I wanted to see whether, not only could I write a story in exactly 50 words, but could I create that story inspired by the photo.  I like a challenge.  Thanks to the WordPress editors for this one.  It took me nearly a week to do it.  Hemingway, I am not.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

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Looking onto the courtyard of the Louvre.

Looking onto the courtyard of the Musee du Louvre.

 

On the threshold of old and new, past and present; where art meets the political, and clear panes of glass reflect time-worn stone.  The threshold of the Medieval and the Renaissance; Revolution, Restoration, and the Third Republic.  Surviving two World Wars and the ravages of time.

If you’re interested in the Weekly Photo Challenge, you can check it out here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned

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The Naked Cowboy at Times Square.

The Naked Cowboy at Times Square.

Maybe it’s the long, frigid winter or the fact that I have been feeling under the weather for awhile, but when I saw today’s Photo Challenge I thought of Dante and the gate of Hell.  Specifically the inscription on said gate.

Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

I looked through my photo files to find something that would fit the theme. This is what jumped out at me.  It made me think of an entirely different sign than Dante’s.

Abandoned here:  My dignity.  Feel free to join me for a buck.

 

The sound of falling snow

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View from porch using iPhone & Hipstamatic app with Diego lens & Dixie film

I actually ventured outside while it was snowing for this shot.  Taken with my iPhone using the Hipstamatic app with Diego lens & Dixie film.

It begins as a whisper.

A few tiny flakes whirling and twirling. The Boy and I (back when he was a little-B boy) called them snow fairies. I don’t mind this kind of snow. The light hangs like a pale scrim softening the sky.  Eventally, the snow fairies become a pageant, the twirling, whirling becomes more boisterous, like happy children dancing, their wild hearts aflutter, while bubbles of laughter cling to their lips.

It is a glorious music, like the joyful tinkle of piano keys.

But it doesn’t last.  The cloud cover chases the scant light away.  Burlier snowflakes barge in like tipsy uncles with round cheeks tottering through a party.  They stumble and fall one on top of the other at a steady tick, blustering protest.  They are the noisy jokers who must be heard.  Splop. Plop.  “Out of the way.”  “Move aside.”  They shout at one another, still clumsy, falling this way and that.  Piling up.  Piling up.

And then, nothing.  They are asleep in their piles, dreaming, quietly breathing, dampening the sound of passing cars with their plump presence.

I have been watching the performance, and listening, trying to find something new, something a little creative in yet another bit of polar vortex melodrama. A meager attempt to bolster my already tenuous hold on sanity.  It’s kind of soothing to look at a snow storm this way.

Until it begins to rain.

P.S.  I did get some lovely pictures and a bit of fresh air, so there’s that.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Object

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half face Cardiff 1pmCardiff Bay.
In the dark,
with the noise of
 howling wind and spitting seas
at your back
you stumble and fall
face first
on a braided rug of stones.
Ah, well, lass.  Rest awhile.
No one will mind
if you have a wee nap.
There is time enough
for repair
when you wake.

 While visiting the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales last summer with friends, we passed this lovely woman.  I wondered about her, she looked so peaceful where she was.  Whoever she was, she looks the perfect object for this week’s photo challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition

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cemetary & city pmThis morning I thought my death might be imminent.  I hadn’t finished my first cup of coffee yet when the carbon monoxide alarm started beeping.  I called my husband at work.  He didn’t seem too worried, and said he’d come home at lunch. “If I’m dead by the time you get here, you’ll know why,” I told him.

I poured another cup of coffee and turned to the internet.  Then I  called my husband back and told him, never mind.  By then, we’d both figured out that the intermittent beeping meant that the device itself was dying (not me!).  So I ordered a new alarm.

There is nothing that lifts your day so quickly as to think you might be close to death one minute, and discover in the next that, nope.  Not today.

And nothing says juxtaposition like the stones that mark a passing as they stand in witness to the life that carries on.

You can check out the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge here.

How I won the Super Bowl* (or a Happy Birthday to the Boy)

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January 20, 1989, roughly 10:30 am.  Picture me sitting in a room, utterly slobberknocked.  My husband has just kissed me on the forehead and gone off to “get some sleep” he said.  Get some sleep?  What about me?  I’ve been awake for twenty-six hours and this is all I get?

Actually, what I got was a 5 pound, 14 ounce package of energy and sweetness that would change my life forever.

The Boy arrived at 10:14 am.  I remember seeing his little face for the first time–his eyes wide open, looking right at me.  I was shocked by the intensity.  A few minutes later a nurse whisked him away, my husband left, and I was alone in an empty room with all this discarded equipment, feeling like I’d just played ten hours of pro football.

Best day of my life.

Fast forward twenty-five years.  Zip past the infancy, the toddler-hood, the childhood that flowed into early adolescence without a hiccup.  The teen years, years of homeschooling, learning to drive, part-time jobs.  Then college, then a first real job.  You could pack it all into a two-hour movie.  Piece of cake.

Last week my husband and I attended an open house at the place where the Boy works.  Throughout the evening, several of his co-workers, including his bosses, took the time to tell us how much they thought of him, how creative he was, what a nice guy he was.  All very gratifying, as well as reassuring in today’s job market. Exactly what every parent hopes to hear.  At one point, the founder of the company jokingly asked me what I had fed him for breakfast, as though how the Boy turned out had anything to do with me.

And that’s the point.  Beyond the love we offered unconditionally, beyond the boundaries we set (and constantly negotiated), who the Boy is now has more to do with who he was when he arrived:  eyes wide open, curious, imaginative, tenacious, persistent, and with a sense of humor.  He loved music and words and laughing, right from the start.

And we are the better for him, his father and I.  He has taught us far more than we ever thought possible to learn.

The Boy leaving for Africa, wearing all his cool clothes

His bags are packed, he’s leaving for Africa, wearing all his cool clothes.

The music that inspired a wish to go to Africa in the photo above.

*NOTE:  I didn’t really.  It’s a metaphor.  The Super Bowl took place two days later.  The 49ers won.  But there was much rejoicing in our house, all the same.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

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Feet with purple toenails pm 4

I like these weekly photo challenges.  They’re quick, I can get on and get off, and still feel like I’m not spending quite so much time on the internet.  Plus, they give me a new way of looking at a word.  Today’s word is family.  A word, which for me, is sometimes so fraught with drama I want to run away and hide, or talk some kind person into adopting me.  And yet, I know that my family of origin loves me no matter what, as I do them.

But family is such an expansive word, and when I read the challenge I thought of this photo, taken at least a decade ago.  Because sometimes family is also a word for the friends who will get up before dawn and ride an hour-and-a-half just to stand beside you to watch the sun rise over Walden Pond.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Window

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Highclere Castle sig 2

Highclere Castle in Hampshire, UK.   Fellow Downton Abbey fans will recognize it as home to the fictional Crawley family and their gaggle of servants.  I was taken with the breadth of all those windows, lined row upon row like mute sentinels — letting in light, while repelling the elements; offering up views of the world outside, while keeping the viewer out of sight.

What I’d really like to know is, who’s responsible for cleaning them?

Interested in the Weekly Photo Challenge?  Check it out here.

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