Saying Adieu to a Prince

My husband, after reading the news online this morning, informed me that Prince Philip has passed away. I can’t let this special and sad occasion go without offering comment and condolences to the people of Great Britain on the loss of a great statesman, a talented diplomat, and a truly regal gentleman. Plus a loyal, discreet husband and beloved father.

The Queen has referred to him as “my constant strength.” When I think of all the ups and downs the Royal family has been through in the years I’ve been old enough to know much, she has definitely needed such a pillar to lean on. Internationally he seems to have always been quiet, sturdy, tactful, an example of the “old school.” A Royal carrying out his duties to the best of his ability without spilling his feelings and complaints all over the media.

We bid you a fond adieu, sir.

Click here to read the CNBC news release.

“Fight the Good Fight”

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The Letter F takes its place and stands tall amongst all the other letters, for it starts many a great and noble word. The feisty F has proven itself quite useful for alliteration, too.

Some folks are FOOTLOOSE and FANCY FREE
Others talk of FREEDOM, FIDELITY, and FRATERNITY.
They rally round their FLAG and FIGHT what they consider to be the FORCES of oppression. (However, opinions on “oppression” differ.)

The Apostle Paul urged the followers of Christ to

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The flexibility of the letter F is also useful for this cute
little verse my mother-in-law liked to quote:
A flea and a fly were imprisoned one day in a flue.
Said the fly to the flea, “Let us fly!”
Said the flea to the fly, “Let us flee!”
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.

F can stand for FIRST. And this week I’ve seen some first-class spring signs:
the first butterfly
the first robin
the first meadowlark

But watch your step, because F can also begin:

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As in this poem I’ve called “FOLLY”

Fools are always rushing in
where another fool’s already been,
the path well trodden by the feet
that think temptation’s end is sweet.

Christine’s C Collection

Today I’ll share a few choice words starting with

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And we shall go from…

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Convolute (verb) means to coil, twist or entwine
Convoluted (adjective) is something quite COMPLEX and difficult to follow.
Our word originated centuries ago with the Latin verb convolvere, meaning to roll together, to intertwine.

Yesterday I saw this fine example of “convoluted” in the book I’m reading. This multi-published author normally produces polished work, but this sentence slipped past somehow:
The customers at both tables were openly staring at them with curious expressions on their collective faces.

BUT…
– We’ve already been told there were diners at two other tables.
– Faces is already a plural noun. Scratch COLLECTIVE.
– Where else would they have curious expressions but on their faces?

My suggestion: The other customers eyed them curiously.

Here’s the opening sentence of an article in a Christian newsletter. Brief but rather twisted:
“To read what Jesus said when He prayed for our oneness with Him and the Father gives one many thoughts.”

I can’t think of a brief way to clarify this, but here’s my suggestion:
Many thoughts come to us as we read Jesus prayer (John 17:21-23) where He asks his Father to bless his disciples with a unity of faith and purpose.

If you wish to curry favour
when writing your latest novel, dear,
do your best to trim the excess;
make your meaning simply clear
.

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Another of my favourite C words! Doesn’t it even sound a bit sneaky? A clandestine meeting or operation is one done secretively, especially if the activity is illegal.

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CENTI-anything means one hundred, but has anyone actually COUNTED all the feet on a centipede, or is this just a rough guess? This CRITTER’S colour CLASHES with his environment.

Background by Kytalpa — Pixabay

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Last but not least, if you want to impress your doctor with your grasp of medical matters, ask him if you have too much CERUMEN in your ears.

A Sad Day For Us

The loss of a small creature can leave a big hole.

Last Sunday our pastor mention at the start of his sermon that just about any verse of the Bible might generate a long and meaningful sermon. Which made me think of the shortest verse, “Jesus wept,” and how much ink has been expended on those two words.

“Why did Jesus weep,” scholars have asked. He knew He was going to raise Lazarus, so why did He join the mourners in their sorrow? Because that’s what He does, writers claim. He joins us in our sorrow.

There’s sorrow in our house today, as our beautiful, lovable kitten, Tuffy, was killed on the road last night. I’ve been weepy all morning, ever since our neighbour texted that they saw him lying there, because I know how much we will miss his lovable ways. I’m thankful for every day we were able to enjoy him.

About eight months old now, he came to us one night last November, a day after the big snowy weekend we’d had. When I let our other cat out early that morning, a little black nose and two black ears poked out of the cat shelter. Fearless and friendly, this small kitten scooted into the house and made himself to home. He’d obviously been someone’s loved pet, but he couldn’t have just wandered half a kilometer down a country road.

His lively antics and cuddle-ability made our COVID-restricted winter so much brighter. The grandchildren enjoyed his fun nature, too, whenever they came to visit. And once the weather turned warmer, he loved being outside. Though I worried about predators and wondered how much “street-smarts” he had, it would have been cruel to keep him in.

“The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” This was Job’s answer, after learning how he’d lost so much, including his ten children. He realized that he’d brought nothing into this world; everything he’d gained in life was a gift for him to enjoy while he was here but he could take nothing with him to the grave. Scripture tells us he never accused God or became bitter about his loss.

People do ask, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” Why COVID, why cancer, why this and why that? We’re so inclined to lament the bad and forget all the good. “Why?” is frequently asked, but no answer comes except that this is life on planet Earth. Life is a rainbow: there’s health and sickness, joy and sorrow, winning and losing, life and death. And we cry because we love.

I could ask why God let Tuffy get hit when he was so precious to us? Why did God allow that vehicle to come down our road? (Our gravel country road gets so little traffic, especially now with the restrictions, and Tuffy seemed wary of noisy vehicles. So I rarely worried about the road being a danger.) Why did God allow that driver to get behind the wheel last night?

I could even go back to, “Why did God allow people to invent motors? Just think how many people have lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents.” What with the climate and running out of oil, etc., surely our world would be a better place if we walked or used horses. But the next time I want to go grocery shopping in town, I want the car.

The only answer I get is to enjoy the life we have, the conveniences we have, and take the risks that go along with it. My own life was saved because modern medicine has come up with an effective cure for leukemia. I could – should – ask, “Why do I have it so good?” or “How did God manage to bring Tuffy into our lives so we could enjoy his unique personality during a season when we most needed him?”

“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” Just think how many sermons and funeral messages have been preached about those few words. And because we know “Jesus wept” together with Mary and Martha about the loss of their brother, we know He sympathizes with us in our sorrows and loss, the huge ones and the little ones. He understands why I’m sad today.

Down to Earth

white mountains tremble
fall before the conquerors
rays of spring sun

Hello, faithful readers! And welcome to all my new subscribers.

Yes, I have returned to blog another day. For the past two weeks I’ve been like a child exploring a candy store, poking into this case and that, sampling this and that. (Actually I’ve been cleaning out closets, reading, drawing, painting.) Now it’s time to settle down and re-establish the old routine before I completely lose touch. I have some serious things I’d like to write about, but I’ll start by opening a window on our world.

It’s definitely spring in our land. Canada geese are flying over; returning small birds are adding their sweeter notes to the house sparrows’ chirps. We’re seeing a lot of bare ground and our yard, for all our heaps of snow, didn’t turn into a quagmire. Last fall was dry enough that now the snow is soaking straight into the soil without much runoff. We still have heaps of snow in the back yard, but the highest banks through the garden are now not much more than a metre or four feet high — and shrinking back every day. Our cats are delighted to explore the snow-free yard and fields.

This morning I was reading a book of ancient haiku verses, with brief bios of the writers. One of these was Saikaku, a haikai master in old Japan. There’s a legend that this poet once wrote 23,500 verses in one day — which would be almost 1000 per hour! Can it be? Even in Japanese, where one curved pen-stoke might be a word, that’s still an amazing feat, if it’s true. Just for fun I tried to see how many (sensible) haiku I could write in an hour — turning the beauties of our land into poetry — and came up with a dozen. Not to say they’re all poignant and full of meaning, mind you, but it was a fun challenge. I’ll post them in the coming days.

While I was doing this, Bob went for his first immunization shot. My turn comes up March 31st. This morning we read the statistic that to date here in Canada over 90% of the deaths from COVID-19 were among those 65 and over — about like one would imagine. Even at that, most Canadians who’ve gotten it have recovered, thankfully. Precautions and restrictions have done a lot to prevent the spread.

Enough rambling for this time. I hope your world is looking brighter in 2021 than it did last year.

Illustration done by Pixaline at Pixabay

Spring Fever?

What is so rare as a day in March,
when sunshine knocks out stiff winter’s starch
when the blanket of snow spills into a trickle
and bloggers once faithful to post become fickle?
Eschewing my blog I now lounge in the light
and – making things worse – have been painting at night.

Spring came to our land last week. In a few days the temp went from -30 to +3. The citizens went from parkas to light jackets. We love the sunny skies and seeing more and more of our lawns appearing!

Looking out the back window yesterday, I noticed a black dot like a stone, lying in the deep snow behind the house and realized that it was the tip of the fence post, buried for months under six feet of snow, now poking through. Two days ago I walked through the back yard, picking the spot where the bank was lowest. It was pretty hard-packed, but where my feet sank in, the snow was knee-deep, so we have a ways to go yet before the back lawn appears.

I’m not sure what’s with me these days, that I’ve abandoned writing and posting for a week. Is this spring fever? The utter abandonment of responsibilities? Too many irons in the fire? But I want to peek in today and say “Hi. Yes, I am alive and reasonably healthy.” To my newest followers, “Thanks for following. I hope you’re finding stuff to read in my archives.”

And I’ve gone from blogging every morning to cleaning house, getting rid of excess stuff, and spending a few hours splashing paint on canvas. Mediocre scenes maybe, but I’m just a beginner. After watching a few demonstrations I tried doing an impressionist style – which didn’t impress friends or hubby – but I think I’ll keep on splashing and dabbing. It looks so easy when I watch the pros do it!

OCD I have: everywhere I turn now, I see something I want to paint! So I reach for a new canvas, then my perfectionism kicks in and I’m afraid to start because I may make a mess of it. I spend too much time looking for a picture I think I could manage, but still have to tell myself often, “It’s okay to make an unrecognizable mess. That’s how you’ll learn.” Do any of you readers have these inner battles that keep you from starting some bold adventure?

Anyway, I hope you’re all enjoying life, in fairly good health, seeing lots of sunshine and blue skies wherever you are.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: BLANKET
Yesterday’s Prompt: CLEAR SKIES