Old Oak Table

Old Oak Table

as a two year old…

I can walk under you and play with you
you are my house and my umbrella
I can hide under your belly
you help me stand as I lean against you

as a ten year old…

You hold my things – I don’t see you
but I accept you as part of my home
I’m too busy to notice

as a sixteen year old…

I set plates on you for dinner
I think about Tommy

on my wedding day…

You are fine – dressed with lace
a part of tradition

as a grandparent…

We are friends – I know your age
I respect you well.

ag ~ 1989

Woodsmoke

 

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Leaves bounce across the road swirling furiously in sync to the quick rhythm of a broken-heart-country music tune.  The sun is shining through my moist eyes.

Mister turn it on, turn it up, turn me loose” *

I am intrigued by the leaves that seem to be joyously skipping off the ghetto of raked piles free to blow and careen with the wind.

This old honky-tonk sure does feel like home” *

I ride along railroad tracks next to a narrow but long lake as an equally long passenger train rolls alongside headed for the city.  Finally the caboose pulls ahead of me, and I can see the end of the lake.

Louder is better” *

Ole man winter is blowin’ in this Sunday before Thanksgiving.  It’s even too cold for the snow flurries they predicted.  A dusting lingers that fell last night and beyond the reach of the prevailing winds.

I ride to the farmers’ market for the last of the season’s harvest.  The vegetables are freezing on the stands as red fingers hand me back my change.

Always this between the last leaf fall and the first snow, I grow bluesy and melancholy and grieve for all the lonely hearts.

 

woodsmoke

a fleeting feeling

of madness **

ag

 

* song lyrics to “Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose” by Dwight Yoakam

** haiku previously published in A New Resonance Six   by Redmoon Press

Abstracting the Meadow

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I love meadows.  I love their simple beauty.  The wild yet friendly feel to the field grasses and wildflowers that bend with the breeze.   I love the color changes throughout the seasons, and all the insect and animal life that meadows support and grow.   Meadows and fields are also a pause – respite for the eye in the landscape much the same as a pond or lake.

And as hard as I try – I have failed to capture its special beauty on canvas in a representational or impressionistic painting.  Somehow, the poetry of the sun and sky on the field is elusive to my brush.  And yet the meadow does show up in my paintings most significantly through its own spirit of color and movement:

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Meadow Dance   ~ 2013

pastel on paper

ag

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tradition or Transition

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What better time, meal, gathering, opportunity or disaster than Thanksgiving to try to blend, create and respect the old vs. the new?   It’s a new canvas or loaded gun depending on your point of view and who’s actually doing the cooking!

I love Thanksgiving as do most Americans.  It is a part of the holiday season – a gateway as well as the harvest.  Harvest is a wonderful time to gather the fruit of hard-earned labor and to give thanks for the ability to do so.  It is a time of sharing, reviewing and appreciating.

In many households, the meal is the centerpiece – a clarion call for family and friends to share what is better and what is worse.  So food can be an important metaphor for honoring tradition (ancestors) and creating transition (the rest of us).

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In my household, there will be eight females.  Three spirited elders (over 80), four “women of a certain age” and one blossoming sweet girl. Oh, and my female hound dog.  We did this before, the same group in 2011.  In the past two years, we have weathered loss, major illnesses, a blizzard, a super-storm, heartbreak, emotional trauma, new friendships, new directions, courage, strength and so on… In other words, many more reasons to be grateful to be able to gather once again around the table.  My table to be exact.

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And it is in a lovely table in an old, cozy and warm farmhouse on wooded and managed farmland.  The kitchen holds aromas throughout the day of turkey roasting and apples baking.  It is the setting, albeit a smaller, older and female (this year) version of a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving calendar.  In other words – a blended modern family-friend gathering.

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So now, with only about four of us eating an adult portion – I am trying to determine what stays (tradition) and what goes (transition) this year in order to save time, energy and resources without sacrificing the bounty.  Stay with me on this… my big question – do I buy a smallish 14 – 15 lb. turkey from the local farm as usual and continue to support the small and historic farm OR do I buy turkey parts (at the local butcher), roast them and save myself a good deal of time and effort to cook, carve and cleanup the mess.  Do the math – it seems simple: roasting turkey parts = more time + more energy – grease = more fun!   The magazine Bon Appetit piqued my interest with recipes and beautiful photos of breasts and leg served browned to perfection with herbs and carrots on beautiful platters.

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The proverbial light bulb or in this case – sunflower is lit.   Now the idea is to sell it to the elders of the group who shopped, prepped, cooked, baked, served and cleaned up throughout the night-before, day-of, without a dishwasher, electronic devices and kitchen aides etc. and walked uphill (both ways) to school in snowstorms with regular shoes.  I’ve got my work cut out for me.  Keep in mind that I am the one also responsible for initiating several other changes including but not limited to eliminating the ever-popular (even sacrosanct in Italian families) pasta and gravy-meat course, soup with little meatballs (now called Italian Wedding soup) course and fruit and nuts.  Someone has to do it.  As the eldest female – third generation on my mother’s side – I have excercised my right and responsibility to institute many changes that usually involved one or more of angst, fear, anger, and aggita (Italian indigestion).  So be it.  I’ll keep you posted or… not!

LOLOLOL

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ag ~ Early November 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enough Already!

clocks fall back
the dog and I hungry
at the same old time

I am so over this changing of the clocks as practiced in most of the US. Enough already. It was started for the benefit of farmers who were real people not conglomerates with small families who actually ignored the clock anyway to do what had to be done when it had to be done period.

I even have a rogue electric alarm clock by my bedside that was originally programmed to change on the old-time schedule (sic) of April and October. It must have gotten so flustered that it now changes itself whenever it wants to albeit still twice a year thus causing panic on my part whenever this happens. And despite a lifetime of self-improvement work – we are now co-dependent, because I cannot bring myself to smash this seemingly spontaneous bit of quirkiness in my life… unless we get rid of this useless, anachronistic and silly changing of the clocks.

And more to the point… the dog and I are still hungry at the same old time.

ag ~ 2013