Monthly Archives: July 2013

A DRINK TO HEALTH

doghfrr

WRITING IS A MEDICINE

A SOOTHING BALM AT LEAST

DRAWING OUT THE WORDS

FOR THE TASTING OF A FEAST

BIT BY BIT THE FLAVOURS STOP

AND TOUCH UPON THE TONGUE

EXPERIENCES TO BE SAVOURED

THEIR PRAISES TO BE SUNG

A DRINK TO HEALTH

A TOAST TO WORDS

THAT RACE ACROSS THE PAGE

AND FLIT AWAY LIKE BIRDS

THERE IS NO GREATER GIFT

THAT ONE CAN GIVE A MAN

A WORD, A PHRASE, A SENTENCE

AND THE WORLD IS IN HIS HAND.

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Noisy silence

Do you ever sit in a quiet room and listen, I mean truly listen?  Close your eyes and pay attention.  I can hear the wind off my balcony gently blowing through the trees.  I can hear my refrigerator humming its ubiquitous sound of cold.  I can hear the highway and a steady drone of cars whizzing by.  A bird, a gull I think, probably searching for lunch, loudly.  There’s a banging, somebody doing construction.  Oh yes and a car horn screeching its presence.  Oops, a car alarm screams in protest, at what I do not know.  A truck backs up punctuating the world with his irritating beep, beep, beep, beep…

You see I believe true silence is illusory.  Even when a room is deathly quiet it is not silent.  Spend some time in a library.  It is one of the noisiest places that advocates silence.  Listen carefully.  The librarian is admonishing someone for something.  Someone else is on the phone directing someone to the appropriate department.  With the advent of computers there is a constant clicking of the keyboards.  I can hear pages turning, sometimes in anger.  There is the irritated sigh as someone looks for a book but cannot find it.  Pages rustle and footsteps clack on the uncarpeted floor.  There is no silence here.

Once upon a time our world was much quieter.  We didn’t have cars and computers and the ever present hum of electricity.  Our nights were darker, we didn’t have the light pollution of all the towns around us.  I believe as a people we were calmer.  Now we want more and more.  No matter what we have we crave new and better.  What is that?  What is it the psychobabble of the day is saying: relax, chill, be cool.  Well it’s true!  We live noisy and harried lives.  We rarely seem to take the time to stop and smell the roses.  Even when we relax it’s doing something energetic and noisy.  Ah yes, the sounds of silence:  the ever present white noise that surrounds our lives.  I just heard that they actually sell machines that emit white noise because it is often difficult to sleep when things are too quiet.

I wonder if we would know what to do if all sound stopped.  I wonder if people who are completely deaf actually experienced true silence?  All I know is that my world is noisy and sometimes irritating and I love it all!

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THE DANGLING PARTICIPLE

 

 

 man on edge

ITS DANGLING AGAIN,

THAT PARTICIPLE

OUT THERE ALL ALONE,

IT’S HANGING BY A COMMA

THE NOUNS ARE TAKING NOTICE,

THE VERBS ARE RUNNING SCARED,

AND ALL IS GONE TO PIECES

FOR THE DANGLING OF A WORD.

THEY NEVER FAIL TO NOTICE,

THIS COMPANY SO SUBLIME,

THE WAY ONE SPEAKS

THE WAY ONE’S HEARD,

AND NOW I NEED A VERB.

I HIDE MY SHAME AWAY

BUT STILL I THINK THEY’VE SEEN.

NONPLUSSED I MUST REMAIN,

WITH PREPOSITIONS NOW ASKEW

CONJUNCTIONS LOSING HOLD

THE INTERJECTION STANDS CONFUSED.

ALL BECAUSE A PARTICIPLE

IS DANGLING AS A WORD

Weather related…

We all know that a beautiful summer day makes us feel good.  We all know that a miserable rainy day can make us feel, well, miserable.  In my part of the country we have just come through a very bad week in terms of weather.  It was hot, hazy and humid!  In fact Wednesday was the hottest day with the humidex at 46°C/114.9°F!  For those of you who don’t live in a country where you regularly count the humidex it is simply a means by which they calculate how hot the humid air actually feels.  And I felt bloody hot!

I have also noticed, over the years, that people’s demeanor is strongly related to what is happening in our weather.  I suffer from migraines when the air pressure changes significantly.  When it is very cold I find people become short tempered and easily offended.  The same is usually true when it is humid and sticky outside.  No woman can feel attractive when she is sweating.  At least not the women I know.  Men however really don’t care.  Of course I’m generalizing!  There are more than 7 billion people in this world I have no idea how even a fraction of them feel.  But I know how I feel.

We have no control over the weather.  We think we can predict it, but even then it’s not 100% perfect.  And I don’t think we even have 70% control over our own reactions to the weather.  We like to think that as Homo sapiens we are in control of our lives and our surroundings.  The truth is significantly different!  We are creatures that are hostages to our emotions.  Men especially don’t like to admit that, but women know the truth.  The weather can wreck havoc with our judgment.  One grumpy person can ruin the day for any number of people.  And they might be grumpy simply because the weather is too hot or too cold or too windy or too calm.  We still haven’t learned how to control our emotions and our reactions to others’ emotions.

I once worked a midnight shift at a Police Department.  I was a civilian manning the computers.  On this particular Friday the 13th there was a full moon.  It was the busiest midnight I had ever worked as well as the craziest!  Now there are those who say people are not affected by the weather or something as silly as the position of the moon.  After working that Friday the 13th I beg to differ!  I’m quite sure the statistics will prove that when it’s hot, hazy and humid burglaries are down and domestic assaults are up.  It all has to do with the weather.

I am not a scientist and I do not have concrete statistics to back up my beliefs, (I was too lazy to do the research) but I’ll bet there are reports out there that will confirm what I believe.  So the next time it’s hot, hazy and humid don’t annoy your neighbor.  And have a nice day!

May June 2013 064Goslings near the lake one hot afternoon

A WORD OF DIFFERENCE

May June 2013 010

NOT A WORD IS SPOKEN

AN IDEA GIVEN VOICE

THAT THERE IS NOT SOMEONE

WHO DOES NOT UNDERSTAND

DO NOT LEAVE THEM OUT

ALONE THERE IN THE COLD

BECKON WITH A WORD

OTHER THAN THE FIRST

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

AND WE ALL NEED SOME TIME

TO UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER

AND MAKE OUR MEANINGS CLEAR

OUR DIFFERENCES AND OUR FEARS

ARE BARRIERS TO THE TRUTH

BUT THAT WHICH MAKES US DIFFERENT

ALSO MAKES US STRONG

 

I want to live . . .

I have never known true fear.  I know that sounds odd.  I have known fear that I won’t get the marks I want on exam.  I am terrified of snakes.  I have been frightened by other people pulling a prank.  But I have never known the stool softening, completely debilitating fear.  My father was in a plane crash once many years ago and my family feared for his life.  By the time I was told about the crash my family had found my father and he was alive.  All I remember feeling is numb.  Having never experienced such an event, I had no idea how to react.  The first thing I did was burst into tears.  When I got a look at myself in the mirror I smartened up.  I know for some people in this world living in a constant state of abject fear IS a way of life.  I have read about such fear and I have seen it in movies.  But I have never experienced it.

You see I have led a charmed life.  I grew up surrounded by family and friends who loved me and protected me.  I live in a country that has not known war on its shores in my lifetime.  While I have known hunger it was simply because of my pride.  I was in university and I ran out of money.  I knew that there was a check coming and I expected it in about four days.  I was too proud to tell anyone that there was no food in my cupboard.  So I survived the expected four days on beef Bovril.  It’s a soup substitute that is used in making gravy.  I cannot get near the stuff now!

I may have known hunger but it is nothing in comparison to so much of the population of this world.  There are people who don’t know if they’re going to eat this week!  My fridge is full.  My belly is full.  My pantry is full of food.  Why am I so blessed?

I don’t know.  But I do know that I have responsibilities to those who are less fortunate than I am.  I give what I can regularly.  It’s the least I can do.  I may have an itty bitty incurable disease but I am protected.  There are children who lose limbs today because of bombs that were left over from wars years ago.

No matter what complaint we have, somewhere, someone is in much worse shape than we are.  Somewhere, someone is watching their life blood seep through a gaping wound, alone and frightened.  Somewhere, someone is watching as a loved one slowly succumbs to a painful and deadly disease.  A woman is raped and beaten, killed.  A man is shot dead by a stranger for his empty wallet.  A woman feels the hands of a lover on her throat tightening. Children are shot by children, men and women are tortured, planes crash, people are dying of hunger, disease and greed.

You have a choice.  I have a choice.  We can give in, be victims and wallow in our own self-pity.  Or we can take what quality of life we have, embrace it, relish it, enhance it if we can, and live.  I want to live.  I will live.  I am living.

WRITER’S BLOCK

 

WORDS THAT WILL NOT COME TO ME

MY BREATH IS SHORT WITH FEAR

IS THIS PERHAPS DENIED TO ME

THE WORDS NO LONGER HERE.

 

WHY I WONDER IS IT SO

I HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY

THE PAPER JUST STARES BACK AT ME

TO WORDS I CANNOT STRAY.

 

CLOSED IS MY MIND TO HAND THIS DAY

AND EVERYTHINGS AMISS

BUT SOON I HOPE THIS FOG WITH LIFT

AND GIVE ME BACK THE WORDS I MISS.

 

PERHAPS A SPARK WILL SOON APPEAR

AND BURST UPON THIS PAGE

IF NOT I GUESS MY TIME IS DONE

THE END OF SUCH AN AGE.

 

AND SO GOODBYE I SAY TO YOU

TIS SAID WITH HEAVY HEART

BUT NEVER FEAR I WILL RETURN

I WILL NOT JUST DEPART.

vista dark

I remember… I think

Memory is a funny thing.  We can have a memory of an event that we swear is exactly how it happened.  And yet other people remember it differently.  Memory is a wonderful way to edit the events of the past.  And yet we hold to our memories as being truths.  Why?

Our memories validate our journey.  I have a wonderful memory of a pivotal event in my life.  I was about 16 or 17 years old.  I was on a training weekend with my Boy Scout troop. (At a certain age boy scout troops can go coed) We were preparing to go on a weeklong canoe trip and we needed to check out some of the younger members.  I was in one of four canoes on the water about a half a mile from shore.  I was the most experienced canoeist.  Eight young women in four canoes.  On the water sometimes storms come up in seconds.  That is exactly what happened.  A canoe is a wonderful mode of transportation but it is not the safest.  In choppy water it can be quite tippy.  There was no way for the canoes to make it back to shore before the storm hit so I made a decision to ride it out.  I’m sure your first thought is: was she absolutely nuts?  But you see I had a plan.  What impresses me about this is that I was still so very young and yet what I did was the absolute smartest thing to do.  How I knew that, I don’t know.

Here is what we did.  I had all four canoes get close to each other side-by-side.  Then I had the young women sit on the bottom of the canoes and swing their legs over the gunwales.  Essentially we were tying the canoes together using our legs.  Myself and one other young woman sat normally in the outside canoes and steered what was essentially a raft.  I also saw to it that we sang, loudly.    The others really thought I was nuts.  But I also knew that sound carries over water.  Our singing alerted the people on the shore that we were okay.  The storm only lasted about 10 or 15 minutes but it felt like an hour.  When the storm had passed we unlinked the canoes and paddled to shore.  We were all heroes.  It could have gone so terribly wrong, but it didn’t.

The thing that gets me about this memory is that I have no idea who was out there on the lake with me.  I remember some of the people on the shore but I have absolutely no memory of the faces or names of the young women in those canoes.  I’d have thought I would have remembered them.

Why this memory is so important to me is because I think it’s probably the first time I ever took charge of a situation and I did it with such confidence.  I was not a confident person.  I questioned everything I did.  I just assumed I was doing something wrong.  There is a part of me that wonders about the other people that were there that day.  How do they remember what happened?  I wish I could contact the young women in the other canoes to see how they remember it.

So for now this memory will remain mine.  I share it because it makes me look good!  And we all need a little stroking every now and then.  If I have bored you, I apologize.  If you enjoyed my little walk down memory lane, then I am glad.  We should all hold on to our fondest memories.  If we don’t write them down then eventually they will change over time.  Sometimes that’s a good thing.