Of Birds and Bruises

“They are not brave, the days when we are twenty-one. They are full of little cowardices, little fears without foundation, and one is so easily bruised, so swiftly wounded, one falls to the first barbed word.”
–Daphne Du Maurier, from her novel Rebecca

Remember those days?

This morning I scanned the writing prompts, hoping someone would have posted BRUISE or GROUSE as a prompt word so I could write about my latest sightings. Nada. Well, I’ll just file them to use someday as prompt words over at RDP.

Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning: TAX
Fandango’s FOWC: ENSCONCED
Word of the Day: CORYBANTIC

WORDS LIKE BRUISES

Because I was thinking of bruises, I searched the Goodreads quotes to see what I could find. Here’s an intriguing one from Anne Sexton’s poem, “Words”:

“…they can be both daisies and bruises,
yet I am in love with words.”

I get that — being a lover of words myself.
I’m also getting bruises. Right now I feel somewhat like the “she” in this tale:

“She was so delicate that, while we sat beneath the linden branches, a leaf would fall and drift down and touch her skin, and it would leave a bruise.” – Roman Payne

When I saw a cardiologist last week Monday, he asked about my family history, especially heart and diabetes issues. I told him that my birth mom had diabetes and heart trouble for years (she died of a heart attack), my next-younger sister Donna’s had diabetes for some years now, and my third-youngest sister had a heart attack 8 or 10 years ago. Not the kind of history that will cheer a cardiologist! Also I had cancer (1980), leukemia (2014-6) and Rose died of cancer last December.

After I’d done the treadmill stress test, he said there were some little irregularities and thought I might have a bit of plaque in my veins. I’d already told him I never take aspirin because it makes my veins pop, but he prescribed the low-dose “baby aspirin.” Well, maybe…

Nope. I’m getting blue. I have an odd – and very itchy – wiggly line that marks a vein on my tummy for several inches. Yesterday I had a bruise on the sole of my foot and when I was doing my hair I noticed a huge pink “blush” circling my elbow, which has now turned to a gray-brown bruise. I won’t think about what internal bruising I may have — that would really make me ‘blue’. So I’m unilaterally un-prescribing the aspirin.

ANOTHER TYPE OF GROUSE

The small wood to the east of our home hosts a variety of birds. A family of grouse, likely ensconced in the shelter of the trees at night, wanders through our yard now and then. I’m not sure if they are corybantic (beside themselves with joy) at the chance to run around in the open, but it delights us to watch them.

About five days ago I happened to glance out the back window toward the newly harvested field behind the house. Between our trailer and the field is a strip of lawn and some small trees we’ve planted; there I spotted a group of small grouse frolicking and sparring with each other and generally enjoying life. A few moments later they’d heard the call to smarten up and get ready to move. All heads went up, they gathered in a group and advanced across our lawn.

Yesterday morning Bob called me to look out the window and there they were again, advancing across our driveway. He grabbed the binoculars while I tried to get a head-count as they straggled across the road, snatching at fallen seeds. I counted sixteen initially, and the same number later with the binoculars. They wandered among the poplars for a few minutes, then mom must have ordered a march. Their heads all went up, all facing south, and they scurried down the driveway.

I’m calling them lesser prairie chickens because of their red “neck sacks” when they flashed at one another. Apparently these are considered an endangered species, and rare, so we were quite privileged to see them.

Because it’s been so dry, I’ve put dishes of water in the garden: two deep dinner plates and a huge plant saucer. They empty out quite fast since the birds use them to bathe in as well as drink from; I clean and fill them twice a day. I can call it the tax I must pay for having the birds linger in our yard.

I wonder if the grouse have been drinking there, too? The smaller birds must be harvesting the local bushes, as I always find a number chokecherry seeds in the bottom of the plates. Yesterday I noticed the water from the cat’s bowl outside had been splashed all over the tiles, indicative that some birds had been having fun. The garden plates were empty, but the smaller birds have discovered the cat’s bowl and occasionally use it as their fountain. I saw a magpie drinking out of it one day, too.

Anyway, enough said about bruises and grouse. On now to dinner and house. 🙂

Hunting For Her Glasses

Fellow blogger Judy Dykstra-Brown published a post this morning: Has Anyone Seen My Glasses? This question reminded me of a humorous verse penned by Edgar Guest a hundred years ago.

Your Daily Word for today is RESOUND. Well, I believe this appeal for help in finding lost glasses has resounded globally since spec’s were invented and will continue to resound until Eternity. There, as I understand it, we’ll be youthful again, won’t need glasses, and will always remember where we put things.

 I first posted this in April 2016 so some of you might remember reading it here.

MOTHER’S GLASSES

I’ve told about the times that Ma can’t find her pocketbook
and how we have to hustle round for it to help her look,
but there’s another care we know that often comes our way—
I guess it happens easily a dozen times a day.
It starts when first the postman through the door a letter passes,
and Ma says: “Goodness gracious me! Wherever are my glasses?”

We hunt ‘em on the mantle-piece and by the kitchen sink,
until Ma says, “Now children, stop, and give me time to think
just when it was I used ‘em last and just exactly where.
Yes, now I know – the dining room. I’m sure you’ll find ‘em there.”
We even look behind the clock, we busy boys and lasses,
until somebody runs across Ma’s missing pair of glasses.

We’ve found ‘em in the Bible and we’ve found ‘em in the flour
We’ve found ‘em in the sugar bowl — and once we looked an hour
before we came across ‘em in the padding of her chair —
and many a time we’ve found ‘em in the topknot of her hair.
It’s a search that ruins order and the home completely wrecks
for there’s no place where you may not find poor Ma’s elusive specs

But we’re mighty glad, I tell you, that the duty’s ours to do
and we hope to hunt those glasses till our time of life is through.
It’s a little bit of service that is joyous in its thrill;
it’s a task that calls us daily and we hope it always will.
Rich or poor, the saddest mortals of all the joyless masses
are the ones who have no mother dear to lose her reading glasses.

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

 

Prairie Dawn

Good morning everyone! The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is VISUAL

I got up at 5 am this morning and saw the dawn’s early light coming through the bare branches of the trees to the east of us. The early morning light is one visual sign that spring is returning to the prairie. An auditory sign–which I don’t get much of without  my hearing aids–is the twittering birds and the gabbling of the geese as they wake up and start discussing travel plans.

Dawn.analogicus
Image by analogicus  —  Pixabay

Another sign I get is the cats wanting to go outside the minute I set my feet on the floor. After being cooped up in the house all winter, they love to be outdoors when the weather’s clement. The snow in our yard is finally gone, so they can wander about looking for the visual clues that fresh mice are about.

By now the sun is well up and I’ve had my morning coffee. It’s time to prepare for what other activities today will have in store.

The Pinch of Winter

Good morning everyone.
My journal entry for today will to be “Cold, Cold, and Dry.”

The moon’s almost full but sadly gives us no warmth. The thermometer reads -27 C at 5:30 am. I woke up early from a silly dream, so decided to get up and feed the cats, finish addressing Christmas cards, and now check out internet world.

The first thing I discovered is that we have no water. Not a drop from our taps. We get our water from a local well, so did the pump freeze up? Is it afflicted with some mechanical failure? I doubt the water line has frozen overnight; that hasn’t happened yet and it’s been colder than this.

Have you ever been without water for some reason? One of the first things I notice is that I get really thirsty. I suddenly want to drink lots. Good thing we always keep a Brita-filtered pitcher of water in the fridge so I can accommodate my thirst. And a Keurig machine to supply my coffee — or hot chicken broth — needs.

It doesn’t help that I have a cold and sore throat. Brought on by my own carelessness, I’m afraid. I’ve had a jigsaw puzzle around for awhile; it’s been at my workplace for a long time and I wanted to do it here at home before passing it on. The picture on the box is really nice, a restaurant-front in some Latin land, with attractive big blue doors and a flowering vine draping over. But the puzzle, when I started it Sunday afternoon, proved to be really difficult. By bedtime we barely had the frame and part of the doors together.

I didn’t smell anything while working on it, but yesterday morning I woke up with sinus trouble and a sore throat, my usual reaction to something that carries a bit of mustiness. Slowly I’m learning that I have to be really careful and air out books, papers, fabrics, anything that could be musty. Fresh air is good for almost everything.

I set it outside awhile yesterday morning and worked on it a bit longer, but it was giving me no pleasure so I tossed it. If I were getting paid by the hour, that would be another matter, but life is too short to spend hours on a pastime project I’m not really enjoying.

So I’d best get prepared to face the day now. Unless the pump problem is fixed pronto, we’ll have to fetch water from somewhere — maybe intrude on our children’s routine.

a pale cold moon
over the frigid prairie
chicken soup morning

Weather and Words

I see that our prompt words today are FALLING, given us by Ragtag Daily Prompt, and NAIVE, from Word of the Day.

I’ve no problem responding to these, as snow started falling Sunday about 8pm — within a few hours we had a white blanket over our land — and I’m not naive enough to think this will soon disappear.

At first the snow was coming down more evenly, but later Sunday evening the wind picked up and we had near-blizzard conditions at times. We haven’t had much more snow, but yesterday’s and this morning’s weather continues with icy wind.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day is LACKADAISICAL, an interesting word for sure. At least I always thought it meant something like HAPHAZARD, or lacking plan, order, or direction. Like my approach to cleaning: do a bit here, a bit there, a bit now, a bit then. It’s what this weather makes me feel like being. 

However, reading the definition I see that lackadaisical has come down from an old English expression, “Alack a day.” A “Woe is me!” type phrase. More like when you haven’t got the heart to start some project. Or when ice, snow, and wind rob you of the spirit or zest to go strolling or frolicking outdoors.

Speaking of spirit and zest, are you aware that NaNoWriMo starts in only three days? At 11:59 on October 31 writers all over the world will be taking their place at their computer to zealously power out their first session. The more laid-back writers will wait until first thing in the morning to begin the month-long writing jag.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Are you gathering facts, working on your outline, plot and resolution? I always get enthused and enjoy the challenge of Nanowrimo, but this year I’ve decided to rather do my own marathon in November. I’m calling it ATCUSS: A Total Clean-Up of my Sewing Space. “Mend it, sew it, finish it, or out with it” will be my motto this month.

Unlike Nano participants, I set my own rules for ATCUSS and can start today. My sewing room tends to be a catch-all —“just until I can take care of this.” You know how that goes, right? Well, I’ve learned that having a cluttered work space is depressing and contributes to a lackadaisical approach to any project, so yesterday I took care of the clean laundry and ironing the sewing room been catching for the last two weeks.

If you’re doing NanoWriMo or some other special project this coming month, I do wish you the Passion, Fervor, Ardor, Enthusiasm and Zeal to establish and carry out your game plan. According to Merriam-Webster, these words ” mean intense emotion compelling action.” You can wish me the same as I begin my project.

A Prayer

Ah, the lovely summer time! My flower pots are in full bloom. The young birds are leaving their nests and flitting around in the woods, which are incredibly lush and green. After several months of complaining we seriously lacked rain, now I have to report that it’s been raining almost every day for the past five weeks. We got another .7 of an inch Sunday evening in a wild storm, then another soaker yesterday left us with .6. Toadstools abound. 🙂

Life has returned to normal here, as my dear hubby came home last night after spending five days in Quebec. He’s on the French-literature proof-reading committee along with three other men from the Roxton Falls area and they find it’s good once a year to get together and devote several days to editing their latest project. I managed okay by myself, but am very happy to have him home again.

I found this poem in my files and hope it inspires you.

A Prayer

by Edgar Guest

Lord, let me do my little part
with courage and a willing heart.
Open my eyes that I may see,
however dark the day may be,
however rough the road I fare,
the purpose of the cross I bear.

Lord, let me wake when morning breaks
undaunted by my old mistakes.
Let me arise as comes the sun
glad for the task that must be done,
rejoicing I have strength to give
some beauty to the life I live.

Lord, let me hear the kindlier things,
the morning song the robin sings,
the laughter of the children near,
their merry whisperings in my ear,
my neighbor’s greeting at the gate,
let these shut out the speech of hate.

From his book The Light of Faith
© 1926 by The Reilly & Lee Co.