Viral Gratitude ~ 4.22.20

I enjoy working with palimpsest poems. Yesterday’s blog was an oldie updated for the current times. 

As I was sitting down to breakfast afterward, my muse beckoned, “Write this down.” I said, “Now? The toast is going to burn.” She said, “I don’t have all day—do you want to do this or not?” And with a long sigh, I pushed aside my morning repast, because when the muse calls, it’s always now or never. Elizabeth Gilbert writes about this in her book, Big Magic. The stories of creatives sparring with their muses are sweet, funny and real. 

So I am offering another palimpsest written with my muse. By way of explanation, when in that creative flow, music, paint and words come pouring out faster than one can comfortably record. There is little editing to do, and Awe wraps an arm around your shoulder or slaps you a high five when finished. At all other times, the writing/creating ranges from labor intensive to procrastive dawdling. This is why all artists, writers, musicians etc. immediately answer the call when a muse invites.

For Earth Day and all days: Let Spring Breeze: Another palimpsest on the poem Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon. And if you have not read Jane’s original poem—you should. It’s cadence and message are inviting, soothing and moving. Google it and choose The Poetry Foundation’s link to it.

~

Let Spring Breeze

Let the tart of rhubarb
tongue the sweet of strawberry, moving
from fingers down to belly.
~
Let the asparagus thrust forth
as a young suitor who begins courting
his heartthrob. Let Spring breeze.
~
Let the Crabapple buds unfurl
to the soft sun spray. Let pink pink
and streams swell over stone and silence.
~
Let fox cubs chase and tumble.
Let dandelions interrupt. Let the light
storm shades. Let Spring breeze.
~
To the worm in the compost, to the robin
on her nest, to the lilac in our lungs,
Let Spring breeze.
~
Let it come, as it will, and give
thanks. Not for Winter’s end,
but for what’s to begin. Let Spring breeze.

~

ag ~ 2020

 

 

 

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.21.20

Let Chaos Be

A palimpsest on Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon

(Palimpsest: a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been expunged to make room for later writing but of which traces remain; using the bones of the original writing as the basis and springboard for the new piece).

In this version, I slightly altered my original palimpsest/poem to align more with current events:

Let Chaos Be

Let tongues wag 140
characters on Twitter feeds,
#hashtag words rife   knife.

~

Let emotions loose
like mice in a field with summer
on their feet. Let chaos be.

~

Let red and blue placards sprout
from neighbors’ lawns. Let fake news
rupture the resounding silence. 

~

Let traffic halt. Let deer graze.
Let great trees fall apart.
Let chaos be.

~

To the microphones on podiums,
to science debates, to viral statistics
let chaos be.

~

Let it be, as it explodes. Fear not.
The pandemic is here to correct
our naiveté, so let chaos be.

~

ag

 

 

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.20.20

A bouquet is defined as an arrangement of flowers. Often given as a gift or carried by a bride on her wedding day, a bouquet has come to signify thoughtfulness and beauty in one form or another. Bouquets tender our souls and our spirit and come in all forms and sizes. I would suggest that bouquets also come in any form of kindness or tenderness when flowers are unavailable. 

Yesterday, and on other days when completely isolated, I received phone calls from friends just at the right time when I needed some comfort. Their voices carried caring, solace and laughter—bouquets of kindness. I would posit that holding a hand, hugs, smiles, a soft or strong shoulder, a listening ear, and withholding judgement to name a few are also gifts of bouquets during difficult times. 

Last night I received via text, a photo of a few wood violets with the words: “This reminded me of you.” A very simple and thoughtful bouquet that lifted my spirit and quelled loneliness.

There are heroes on the front lines in hospitals and behind cash registers in grocery stores and others delivering mail etc. who are deservedly getting accolades and attention for their service and sense of responsibility. However, it’s easy to forget at such a dramatic and chaotic time, that small bouquets of concern and virtual hand-holding can and do ripple into rivers of kindness and grace for all.

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.19.20

Looking at my calendar, (an old fashion desk calendar with photos and sayings), there are many events cancelled—my 50th high school reunion is a big one that was supposed to come up this month. It’s been moved to October. Birthdays and anniversaries are acknowledged, albeit in a more subdued manner; a book club meeting lost in space and sundry other to-be occasions never even recorded. However, I find myself marking in the (mostly) little stuff like COVID-19 isolation begins; my last food shopping trip; tree smashes car; Lucy calls to check in with me; Barbara texts hello; Carol from Maine and I reconnect and chat. Last I spoke to her and saw her was on a serene lake in Maine three almost four years ago; Mary is sending videos of groundbreaking but never acknowledged female artists; and Roger from grammar school posts a video of a virtual road ride through Branch Brook Park showcasing its Cherry Tree blossoms in all their splendor—all the more magnificent due to the road minus tourist traffic. This Sunday park drive brought to the forefront shared childhood memories and reacquaintance. Rather small recordings in our pre-pandemic world, yet significant post-pandemic and isolating in place. Also recorded: my first Zoom meeting with a bunch of right-brain fun and creative artists of a certain age trying on the look of “computer-savy;” my first self-haircut along with a tornado watch and sad passings of friends’ loved ones. All in a three week period that feels like a lifetime. Time is fluid now.

I want to remember the significant insignificant details which usually float into the ether except for this journaling and some Facebook posts. Life is in the details and paying attention takes time and silence. For these moments of remembrance and connection—I am grateful.

Cherry Blossom Fog

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.18.20

Sad news abounds. Death is close and remote at the same time. I now know of three deaths of the siblings of friends. There will be more. Communities grieve for the larger loss. Handshakes and hugs are bygone. Tears flow, and for this I am grateful. When Death and its companion Grief, visit—I turn to the wisdom and sage counsel of poets and prophets. Kahlil Gibran is always a comfort. His healing words from The Prophet::

“Then Almitra spoke, saying, We would ask now of Death.

“And he said:

“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun?

“And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its relentless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? 

“Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

“And when you have reached the mountaintop, then you shall begin to climb.

“And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”

~~~

Gibran is asking us to understand this both metaphorically which applies to life and physically for those called to death. 

Viral Gratitude ~ 4/17/20

I believe that the sentiment, “Life is too short to drink cheap wine” is a familiar one. I totally agree with its intention (whenever possible) and also with the corollary that decent wine does not have to be expensive to be enjoyed either. On that note, I have come to add a maxim of my own: “Life is too short to drink chamomile tea instead of something else.” Try as I may for an adult lifetime and more discards of half-finished cups than I am comfortable to admitting—I just don’t like the taste or get enough satisfaction out of it to appreciate its value. It’s possible that packaged chamomile tea has been crapified down too much into “good for you” marketing limpid bags. My grandmother used to brew real chamomile flowers into tea as a tonic for her children. Perhaps the real stuff is worth working with, however all the “sleepytime” marketing and promises just don’t pass muster for me. And the shame of it is that I love the word chamomile and will have to use it henceforth only in poetry or prose. I usually have a cuppa tea next to the computer as I write this around 3:00 AM nightly. Chamomile has been my go-to decaffeinated choice for its calming attributes.

This pandemic has taught me a lot about self-care: with true self-care, comfort and pleasure sometimes outweigh the promise or premise of (puportedly) healthier and healing. In other words, during a pandemic, comfort takes on its own healing modality. We all must judge this for ourselves, and unbridled hedonism does not eclipse healthy choices. Harmony of the two should not be overrated at this juncture.

So it is with some sadness and disappointment that I bid adieu to any more middle-of-the-night cups of chamomile, and while I’m at it, so too rose-hip tea. It is with great pleasure on the other hand, that I welcome back black pekoe (decaffeinated) into my swinging night life. I feel better already.

~

new haircut same face no more chamomile tea

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.16.20

Friends. Our link to Angels and our better selves. They walk with us through the darkest nights and celebrate with us and for us when the sun shines. Sometimes they even lift us when we are in the shade and cannot see the light. We laugh, we cry, we grieve and we birth together. And in the most difficult of times, we honor death together. Despite all disagreements and even some drama, we are better humans because of our friends and friendships (including the animal and plant world). 

Today I am grateful for all my friends, past, present and future as well as friends (strangers to me)  who love and support each other around the globe. I am honored and blessed to be walking this walk with many friend-souls every day. In particular, today is the birthday of my soul sister and Jaguar kin, Vicky, who has repeatedly shown and taught me the true meaning of generosity of spirit and materials. She asks herself, over and over again in the most demanding and difficult situations, “What would love do here?” and for the most part meets herself in that field. And countless other souls besides me have experienced this/her unconditional love through her work and life.

In lieu of celebrating together during this pandemic, and in lieu of grieving together for those who lost loved ones at their last breath, I honor this moment within the grace and mystery that life offers to all of us. AHO. 

At the Farmer’s Market ~ Viral Gratitude 4.15.20

I wrote this in 2013, however my gratitude for the farmers all over the country and one farmer-leader in particular, Jess at Chickadee Creek Farms in NJ, grows every season. Farmers, like teachers do not get enough recognition and payment for their services. Let’s hope that this will change for the better going forward. If this poem sounds a little dramatic–I apologize for the drama but not for the sentiment. I am in awe of farmers everywhere.

Awoodlandrose's Blog

At The Farmer’s Market

On most weekends
are women who farm
wearing a look of dusty denim
and tired smiles.

You exchange pleasantries
with most everyone
as you bag and bundle
the week’s harvest.

There is no time for makeup
and your hair is cropped short
or haphazardly pulled back
without a second glance.

Soil under your fingernails
accent strong fingers and hands
while on your feet
only water and mud-proof shoes will do.

Tee shirts or faded flannel
with rolled-up sleeves
cannot hide your muscled arms
or disguise an earthy beauty.

Musky scents that ripen
with the nurture of birth,
growth, harvest, death and decay
mix into your sweat and laughter.

At the farmer’s market
are women who farm
and walk home after long days
wearing their fields in dusty denim.

With gratitude.

ag ~ 2013

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Viral Gratitude ~ 4.14.20

Yesterday was a rather rough day. I learned that the insurance adjuster totaled my car, while watching out all morning for two workers from our internet provider who worked on restoring wifi and climbed poles during a tornado watch and torrential rains. My everlasting gratitude for their dedication and perseverance despite a tension headache that escalated with each weather report. I had to escort them in and out of the gated nursery (about 500′) to the phone box on the outside of the building (actually an old three-room chicken coop that served as the nursery sales and work rooms in better times). I had to change out of three pairs of soaked jeans.

So I turned as I usually due to cooking and chopping while responding to and monitoring the men on the telephone poles, talking to the insurance representatives and a car dealer. I managed to make an old rustic Italian favorite—pasta fagoli or pasta and with ceci  (chickpeas) in a garlicy tomato and basil broth. 

When the tornado warnings became more localized, I decide to attack the flourless chocolate cake in my refrigerator that I did not get to eat for Easter dessert due to other circumstances beyond my control. And as a “friend” reminded me—I would have a much greater chance of staying grounded in a tornado if I was that much heavier. I also wanted my last meal (if indeed the case) to include pasta and finish with velvety chocolate. 

Luckily for me, I am still here to share today’s blog, heavier but happier that I decided to live in the moment and screw the extra calories. 

~

chocolate on my tongue bittersweet