No Poem…Yet

An owl perched serenely on
a telephone wire.

This is a line from what I wrote last Tuesday for Slice of Life.

I’d love to see where an entire poem about the owl would go… :) These are words from Paul in a comment on the post. Since I read the comments, I’ve been thinking about where it would go…

I saw that owl so briefly. I was driving down the road. When I saw it, at first I didn’t really believe it was an owl. But the silhouette was so distinctive, I was convinced. It was near dusk, but it was still light out, so I think the sighting was somewhat unusual. I saw it turn its head- a movement which could only have been made by an owl, not another bird. Did I see enough in that short moment to write an entire poem? Was I observant enough, writerly enough? What was it I saw in the owl that led me to describe it as serene?

I think about the associations that might influence my writing about the owl. I think about the owl as a symbol of wisdom. I picture it sitting there on the wire, unperturbed by the traffic rushing by. Was the owl I saw wise?

I have some owl objects in my house, mostly things that my husband collected. A brass bell, shaped like an owl, which oddly has little plastic googly eyes glued on it. A small gourd decorated as an owl. A wood carving. These bring to mind where we were and happy times when we got them. I remember a book we both read quite long ago,I Heard The Owl Call My Name. The book links the owl and death. In the book, a young man dies. I think about how my husband had that owl bell at his bedside when he was fighting cancer and how he, too, died too young. Was the owl I saw a harbinger of death?

I wonder, if a poem takes shape, will it be just the tiny moment in which I saw the owl, or will it continue in imagination to see the owl take flight?

So, I am lost in thought, maybe getting snippets of ideas, phrases that might be right, but
no poem…yet…

Posted in animals, memories, poems, reflections, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Outside the City

I drove out to my sister’s in rural Indiana this afternoon. It isn’t far from the city, really- just a 45 minute drive. The scenery, though, is so different.

Corn stalks in the fields
stand taller than me,
Lush emerald rows of
soybeans hug the land,
Traffic slows as giant farm
machines cross the roads,
Signs sing the virtues of
home-grown produce and brown eggs,
Farmhouses, red barns and white
wooden churches still dot the landscape,
Horses and cows roam
the pastures,
An owl perched serenely on
a telephone wire.

My soul was refreshed
by the beauty.

Posted in SOLSC 2014 Weekly | 6 Comments

Lifelong Readers

I went to the library this morning to return some books. I almost didn’t go. The books were due today. I tried to renew online, but one of the books could not be renewed. I considered putting the trip off, since the fine for one book wouldn’t be much. Then it occurred to me that someone else must be waiting for that book. So I decided I would just run by the library and put the books in the drop box.

I got to the library and almost just slid the books into the drop box, but I went inside instead. I’m glad I did, or I would have missed it. I walked to the desk and spoke to the librarian to let her know about the book I couldn’t renew. As I turned to go, I saw it. The hope that motivates us as teachers.

A white-haired man pushed the button that automatically opens the door. He took slow, mincing- but determined and intentional steps into the library. His wife followed close behind. His progress was painfully slow, but he walked straight to the shelves that hold the large-print books. Once he was there, his wife left him on his own and he was just another reader, looking for a book.

Yet he seemed so much more to me. He is exactly what we hope our students will become- a lifelong reader. A reader who wants a book badly enough to get to the library even when it isn’t easy. So when I am back at school (in less than a month!) and my students are before me, I will close my eyes for just a moment and picture them older, much older- walking into the library.

And this morning, I didn’t rush out of the library as I had intended (after all, I always have something to read on my Kindle)- I took my time and walked out with a new stack of books.

Posted in reflections, school, SOLSC 2014 Weekly, thoughts on books | 5 Comments

Fortune Cookies

My sister said, “Let me take you to a new Chinese place.”

We turned into the parking lot of Walmart and the adjoining strip mall. I expected the usual hole-in-the-wall kind of place with a buffet. Not here, though. China Bistro instead is elegant inside. The décor is black, red, and gold. The dining room divided into sections by walls with lighted shelves displaying vases and artifacts. The menu has plentiful selections. The atmosphere is quiet with music playing softly in the background. The waitresses are polite and attentive. (And the restroom is immaculate.)

We enjoyed egg rolls as an appetizer. Just the right crispiness on the outside and steamy hot inside. Our entrees were Cashew Chicken and Pineapple Chicken (the special was any chicken dish, $7.95!- give us a break for the lack of variety). The Cashew Chicken was salty (not too much) and flavorful. The pineapple chicken was sweet (just right). They were served with steamed rice, the sticky kind…really, nothing can compare to rice that is cooked perfectly.

The waitress brought our fortune cookies as we were slowing down (we couldn’t eat everything, we each had a nice takeout box for the next day’s lunch). My sister cracked open her cookie, pulled the slip of paper out, and burst out, “Really!? That’s my fortune?”

“What?” I laughed. I am usually the queen of lame fortune cookies. I almost always get advice instead of a fortune.

“I am so glad to get out of that cookie,” she read, deadpan. “Really!?” she repeated.

Cackling, I opened mine. “A refreshing change is in your future.”

How about that?!

Posted in home and family, SOLSC 2014 Weekly | 8 Comments

Tears

The tears come, sometimes several times a day, sometimes just once. Sometimes they swoop in unexpectedly, brought on by a random word heard or scent in the air or sight seen. Sometimes they are anticipated, the expected result of tackling certain tasks or facing a now-changed routine. Sometimes they burst out after the fleeting thought of picking up the phone to share a little slice of life is met by the reality- no one is there to answer the phone.

Sometimes the tears are unwanted, resisted, yet every time, they are healing. Every time they offer some comfort.  Every time, the tears give way to a smile as good memories come.

I miss you, Mom.

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Ha! Ha!

I was driving home one afternoon, and traffic was very bad. It was frustrating getting over to the exit lane. I was feeling kind of grumbly. As I merged into traffic off the interstate, a car squeezed in front of me. It was a Smart car. The license plate, directly under the “Smart” emblem, read “Aleck.” It made me laugh out loud!

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

In Remembrance

The moment arrived abruptly
We gathered…we wept
Arrangements were made
The news spread

Family and friends came
There were tears…there were hugs
Memories were shared
Comfort offered

We all joined together
Sang hymns…lifted up prayers
Loving tributes were spoken
A final good-bye

Now I am alone
Remembering…longing
Trying to understand
A grieving heart

Time will pass
Acceptance…hope
Love complete
Death conquered by Life

In loving memory of my Dear Mother, 1932-2014

Posted in faith, home and family, memories, poems, reflections, SOLSC 2014 Weekly | 11 Comments