The Sounds of Silence?

The Word of the Day prompt this morning is CACOPHONY

Living with two hearing aids as I do, I could write a fair bit about the cacophony I hear when I’m in a crowd and everybody’s chatting. 🙂

Sometimes when a word pops up as a prompt and nothing special comes to mind, I go to Goodreads and look it up in the Quotes section, to see how other writers have used this word. which I did this morning and found this rather profound quote to share with you:

“Out of the cacophony of random suffering and chaos that can mark human life, the life artist sees or creates a symphony of meaning and order. A life of wholeness does not depend on what we experience. Wholeness depends on how we experience our lives.”
— Bishop Desmond Tutu

On Fire and On the Move

Our air quality seems somewhat better today. Earlier in the week smoke from northern forest fires lay like a fog on the fields. Today there’s a faint gray haze and the sky’s a solid pale blue, but the sun’s colour is normal. I noticed only a whiff of smoke in the air when I was out earlier.

We’d have had a lot hotter temps this month if it hadn’t been for the smoke screen we’ve been living under, so I guess there’s one small blessing. Yet when I think of vast tracts of forest burning…

I wonder if the birds suffer in smoky air? The hummingbirds are still zipping around, busy at the feeder, especially in the early morning. Since it’s the end of the season I was able to buy a second feeder on sale and they seem happy to slurp from it, too. In just over a week they’ll be gone, so I’m enjoying them while I can.

I was out for a walk a few minutes ago and ONE grasshopper took flight beside the driveway. Can this be Saskatchewan! As soon as it landed I stomped on it — I don’t at all mind some species becoming extinct. Birds can’t eat them anyway, so…

Actually that’s not quite true! One fall morning about six years ago we saw a juvenile great-horned owl, still with his white baby feathers, sitting beside our garage. Mostly silent and observant, he opened his beak now and then to let out a shrill peep. Later we watched him run up and down the driveway devouring grasshoppers. You haven’t lived — or seen “funny” — until you’ve see an owl run. They’re so awkward, hopping as much side-to-side as forward!

poplar shoots
spring up in my driveway
bent on take-over
Birnham Wood creeping
to Dunsinane*

At different times this summer, walking along our driveway, I’ve thought of that phrase from MacBeth. The original owners planted a row of poplar trees on the west side of the property. Theses have grown tall in the last ten years and are no longer content to stay in one neat row. Shoot by shoot they are creeping toward our castle. Bob has been keeping them at bay with the lawn mower, but they aren’t giving up.

Which inspired me with a tanka on the subject. A tanka is a five line poem which, in old Japan, went in a syllable sequence of 5-7-5-7-5. Here’s what haiku master Alan Summers writes about it.

If you are interested in learning more about haiku, senryu, tanka, and other forms of Japanese poetry, courses are being offered this fall. For details, check out Call of the Page.

*The woods near Birnam in Perthshire, Scotland. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, Macbeth is told that he will only be defeated when Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane. Later, his enemy’s army comes through Birnam Wood and each soldier cuts a large branch to hide himself, so that when the army moves on it looks as if the wood is moving.
https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/birnam-wood

Freedom From Anxiety

Lilies

“And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

In Matthew 6:25-30, Jesus taught his disciples not to be overly wrapped up with concern about their daily needs, because God is watching over them and knows what they need. He never said they could just loaf around and everything would be provided, but constant preoccupation with needs is a menace to a person’s mind and spirit.

I’ve written these verses in my own words for anyone who’s interested:

Don’t obsess over the things of this life, like what you’re going to eat or what you’re going to wear. Your life is about more than food and clothes.

Take a look at the birds: they don’t spend a lot of time laying up food supplies, thinking of deprivations that might lie ahead. But God, Who sees all things that go on in this world, knows they need food and provides for them in whatever season. And you people are so much more precious to him than birds. Trust him.

Tell me, can any of you, by worry or scheming, grow a few inches taller? And why spend a lot of time dithering over what you should wear. Consider the lilies, they can’t buy nor sew nor weave, but God has provided them with such intricate attire that even Solomon, with all the glory his riches could buy, couldn’t hold a candle to their beauty.

So if your Father in heaven has provided so well for insignificant wild flowers and the grass that grows in the field for a season, then is gathered and used as fuel, how much more can He look after your needs. Have more faith.

Those who haven’t learned to know him will chase after these things, but you should rather focus your attention on matters of the soul and trust your Father to look after the other.

Lily bloom

Another response to the Ragtag community prompt word: FREEDOM

A Fragile New World

Large Soap bubbleWith engines humming at warp speed and maximum forward thrust, the alien creature piloting the craft approached the strange planet. Cautiously the creature circled several times before hovering motionless above one section of the orb. He scrutinized the surface of this new world that recently popped up on his screen before making his decision to land.

The blue streaks on its surface likely indicated the presence of water — hopefully similar to the H2O of his home planet. And the green would normally indicate large areas of vegetation, perhaps even forests. Was there life on this planet? Was it hostile or friendly? Things to be considered before any attempt to explore.

And what were those pink swirls all about? Unusually coloured foliage, like the orange of autumn leaves on Earth? Poisonous gasses? Had some noxious substance under the surface leached into the atmosphere? Was this new world another like Planet Earth, where the inhabitants routinely produced weird colours of clouds over its surface?

Actually, the planet seemed to have no atmosphere — unless its air was crystal clear. Te creature saw no sign of habitation to alarm him. Time to touch down and explore the place. Wings extended, landing gear lowered, he brought his craft down for a graceful landing.

The moment the weight of his craft came to rest on the surface, which seemed to be composed of some unique substance, there was this huge

Pop bubble + word

The force of the explosion sent the tiny craft tumbling back into space. It took serious effort on the creature’s part to right his craft and steer it into a level course again. Having more than satisfied his curiosity — and there being nothing left of the strange planet to explore — the creature continued his journey into space.

He made this note in his mental logbook:
Important data for future reference: mosquitoes unable to land on soap bubbles.
😉

I can’t resist squeezing in a haiku to complete my tale:

silver-blue flash
and a planet appears
child’s play

Soap planet

Writing prompts that inspired my tale:

Fandango’s one-word challenge: SUBSTANCE
Ragtag daily prompt word: BLUE
Word of the Day Photo challenge: CLOSE UP

Love for Exploring + Zest for Discovery

It hits me every now and then, this urge to go wandering. I check out a blog post, which leads me to another, then another. Hop, hop, hop. Usually leads to the joy of discovery.

Come hop, hop, hop with me now as I comment on the discoveries I’ve made:

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge today is LOVE. A great word, easy to write about. A heartening and wondrous word — but we’ve cheapened it, I fear. I recall some dear old grandmas warning about this. “Love is for living things,” they said. “Not for inanimate objects.”

When one teen was enthusing about something she really liked, saying, I just LOVE this —” a wise old grandma told her:

“Love something that can love you back.”

Love is a serious thing, a precious word not to be tossed around  and tarnished. We don’t really LOVE clothes, a car or a house. We don’t LOVE writing or running exploring. We love PEOPLE. So my title is misleading. But I ENJOY exploring, checking out other bloggers’ work.

Ragtag’s daily prompt word is ZEST. Merriam Webster defines it as:
: a piece of the peel of a citrus fruit (such as an orange or lemon) used as flavoring
2 : an enjoyably exciting quality : piquancy
3 : keen enjoyment : relish, gusto; a zest for living

P.S.: If you find big words enjoyable and exciting, their Word of the Day is ORGULOUS. And if you toss it into casual conversation, people will think you are orgulous.

As I said at the start, once in awhile I get this excitement, this urge, to explore, instead of ABIDING (Word of the Day’s prompt) here at home.

I popped over to one blog and saw a listing of a dozen different blog awards. One of them was ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD. Curious, I Googled “One Lovely Blog Award.” Up popped ten pages of posts from people who wrote about — usually because they’d received — this award.

I checked out a few for curiosity  and landed on the Fractured Faith blog, done by Stephen & Fionnuala Black, a couple from Northern Ireland. I’ve seen their lovely icon before, as they’ve liked some of my posts. On their Home Page, in the list of their recent posts, I saw this unique Flash Fiction Challenge. An imaginative way to nudge the old muse. I don’t LOVE, but I really LIKE, your idea and am doing a pingback to your challenge. 😉

I’ve found the odd receipt but my imagination was dozing at those moments. I never derived a tale from my find like you did. I did find a wallet once — actually saw it fall out of the man’s pocket as he exited his car. I hurried over, scooped it up and located the man in a nearby store. When he discovered his loss, and saw it in my hands, he gave me a big hug. Definitely worth it. Loved the hug.

I think you can love a hug — even from a complete stranger. 😉

And now back at home, I shall abide awhile by my hallway window to watch the hummers. They may not be able to love us back but I believe they’re as thankful as their tiny brains can be for syrup provided. Then my hands had best abide in meal preparation, as it’s almost dinner time. 🙂

Free Food Always Draws A Crowd

Fandango’s word prompt : TREAT
Word of the Day prompt: BLOSSOM

What goes around comes around they say. If you treat something well, you’re generally treated to some interesting reactions. Around here we treat the hummingbirds well and they in turn treat us to amusing aerial displays.

I was treated to one at 6am this morning. I looked out our hall window to see if the three little hummers we’ve seen buzzing around were at the feeder. And I saw…wait a minute! There are four…no five!…buzzing around the feeder, getting in each other’s hair. Non-stop motion.

Have you ever tried counting hummingbirds while they’re darting up, down, and sideways trying to chase each other away from the food dish? I did manage to count six…and later I thought I saw a seventh hovering around. I did see four feeding at one time, but in a minute one would decide the place was too crowded and someone else had to leave. Right now. I can’t imagine how many calories they burned up just fussing at each other.

Their wings stirred up the air so much they ruffled the petals on the nearby hanging planter. A basket of petunias and some other smaller flowers hangs only about a metre away from the feeder and hummers harvest nectar from those blossoms, too. I try to choose flowers they’ll like but today’s hybrids don’t seem as juice-full as flowers used to be.

Unfortunately our feeder attracts wasps, too. They don’t get active until the sky is lighter but there seems to be one wasp that thinks this is HIS dinner plate and he’ll chase the hummingbirds away. He can’t be on both sides of the feeder at once, though, so the hummers will grab slurps from the other side while the wasp is nosing into the hole, trying to get his own swig.

I’m so thankful our air quality has improved overnight. For the last several days we’re had a smoky haze from fires in northern Alberta and BC; yesterday it was like a gray fog hanging over the land in spite of the high wind. The smell of smoke smell permeated everything; I even smelled it while sitting here in our office.

This morning another treat for me was turning on the computer and going through the collection of incoming e-mails from WordPress. I enjoyed reading new posts from other bloggers as well as comments on my posts. I wish I had more time to post the thoughts that pop into my head as I read, and to follow more faithfully, but there never seems to be time and I have priorities I must observe. Chronic problems for all of us! Plus, I sometimes get to following one track. Speaking of which…

I see Tree Top Haiku has another follower — and I am going to start posting there again. I have so many little verses scribbled on scraps here and there. I’ve considered just posting them all on this blog, but how many of my readers would like that? My husband once told me that haiku is in a class all its own and I definitely agreed, so I started Tree Top Haiku. Now I’d best end this chronic indecision and stick to that plan. 🙂

Once you start seeing and thinking in haiku, you see so many wherever you look. I even came up with one as I watched my hummingbirds. I’ve made it into a challenge: two lines are provided and you can suggest an ending if you like. If you’re interested, CLICK HERE.

On Wednesday we went to Saskatoon to do some shopping and I bought a second-hand Toshiba Tecra laptop. Bob is enthused about the speed (3 GHz) and has been checking out its capabilities (loaded with Windows 10.) I want to try doing some, too, but I was occupied with cooking some meals at the Villa (seniors’ residence) last week. No shifts this week, so I can try it out, too. It will be a treat to sit in the recliner and read my incoming e-mails. 🙂

Hope you’re all having a good weekend and enjoying this last month of summer.