Frost & Flame

Prairie Blues

I’m feeling on the blue side this evening, owing to some changes in the air, literal and social.

For one thing, it was a really windy day and the September wind had a bite. When the sky clouded over in the afternoon it was downright cold. Reality blowing in; summer’s gone. 😦 This evening the wind has died down, but the weatherman is predicting frost tonight: -1C should finish off most of our lovely blooms. I’m not rushing out to cover anything, as they’ve been looking straggly for awhile now. They seem to know their season is over.

Here's a poem I wrote long ago about the September Wind:

Damp September wind whistles
through an early August day, chilling
our summer-browned bodies.

Ever the schoolyard bully, it cuffs us
with an almost icy hand.  "Remember!"
It mocks our shivers, our calendar

consultations.  Dismayed, we grab
for hours as they bounce away, August
days slipping out of our lives forever.

With sighs we hunt for sweaters,
check the pockets of our coats,
while we’re at it, wash our gloves.

© Christine Goodnough, August 2012

My husband tells me that, as of tomorrow, here in SK we’re back to wearing masks when we go shopping and to gatherings. THAT is disappointing! When you wear two back-of-the-ear hearing aids, as I do, the last thing you need is elastic getting tangled with the hearing aid’s plastic tubes. But so many people haven’t gotten their COVID vaccination that our province is experiencing another surge in COVID cases.

After a couple of months mask-free, this feels like a giant step backwards. There’s to be a wedding reception Saturday at our church and it just won’t be the same with everyone masked. Another rule will be that you have to provide proof of vaccination before you can dine in a restaurant.

That said, we enjoyed a nice visit with friends from Quebec who came for lunch and stayed awhile this afternoon. And tonight we have a blazing sunset, with a brilliant ring of fire in the west and southwest to brighten up our world for half an hour before dark.

I spent four hours yesterday, give or take, painting another picture; today I submitted it to the Artist’s Atelier on Malcolm Dewey’s website and got some valuable suggestions for improvement. I started doing all my pictures on canvas, but these days I like to paint a “trial run” on watercolor paper and see how it comes out. I always find some changes and improvements I want to make before committing the final picture to canvas.

Well, enough griping. Wishing you a great weekend, everyone.

Fast Fly

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is FOREBODING

And the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day yesterday was EGREGIOUS. Seeing that word, I tend to think of GREGARIOUS, which means sociable, friendly, outgoing,. However, EGREGIOUS means somewhat the opposite: obviously or noticeably bad.

As I sat at my laptop pondering what to write re: FOREBODING, a fly landed near my hand. Before I could terminate his existence he was gone. Suggesting a phrase — the first two lines of a poem, redirected from Joyce Kilmer’s “TREES”? Sure, why not? Bear with me here…

Fast Fly

I think that I shall never see
a fly that’s slow enough for me,
a boldly lingering freebooter
’til I can reach the flyswatter.
One lands, but when I blink my eye
it’s on alert and ready to fly
attuned to my egregious thought
of rendering it a bloody spot.

It seems to feel a faint foreboding
as tiny nibbles it’s uploading;
senses my unkind intention,
anticipates swift intervention
to its dining as I leave my chair
to grab the swatter hanging there.
Yet snails along, as flies are wont,
my sluggishness it seems to taunt.

I lift my swatter, all prepared
to deal with any fly that’s dared
check out my home for food un-grazed.
However, soon as hopes are raised
it will not move ’til I bring down
my swatter – such a crack resounds!
It spooks the cats but, woebegone!
that teasing fly is off and gone.

Home Joys

Many people have written about the joys of coming home, of rediscovering the treasures you were taking for granted, and one wise writer once declared that “HOME” is the nicest word. Yes, it was great to visit dear friends elsewhere, but now we are home again, and very glad to be here. 🙂

The Joy of Getting Home

by Edgar A. Guest

The joy of getting home again
is the sweetest thrill I know.
Though travelers by ship or train
are smiling when they go,
the eye is never quite so bright,
the smile so wide and true,
as when they pass the last home light
and all their wandering’s through.

Oh, I have journeyed down to sea
and traveled far by rail,
but naught was quite so fair to me
as that last homeward trail.
Oh, nothing was in London town,
or Paris gay, or Rome
with all its splendor and renown
so good to see as home.

‘Tis good to take these lovely trips,
‘tis good to get away,
there’s pleasure found on sailing ships,
but travel as you may
you’ll learn as most of us have learned,
wherever you may roam,
you’re happiest when your face is turned
toward the lights of home.

From the book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co

When Day Is Done

A poem by Mrs. Roy L Peifer
(nee Mae Belle Feese)

Isn’t it fine, when the day is done,
To rest in the rays of the setting sun,
Gently fanned by a western breeze;
To list to the hum of the drowsy bees,
To gaze at the earth and the skies of blue
And know that it all belongs to you?

Isn’t it fine, at the close of day,
To scent the breath of the new-mown hay
And the mellow sweetness of golden grain,
To stroll in the dust down a country lane,
To watch the moon rise round and gold,
And know that is all is yours to hold?

When all the sounds of the day are stilled,
I like to stroll through the fields I’ve tilled
Where I’ve laboured with brain and heart and hand
To wrest my food from this vibrant land,
To gaze at the earth and the sky’s blue dome
And to know that it all is mine to own.

Oh, I’m glad that you need no gold to buy
The earth or the stars or the friendly sky;
The scent of a rose or a night bird’s trill
Or the sun sinking slowly behind a hill;
Now I am as rich as a man can be
For the whole wide world belongs to me!

I’ve tried to find information online about this poet, when and where she lived, etc. I see she, or her descendants, published a book of poems in 1982. Unavailable, says Amazon.
I couldn’t find this particular verse online, just in a friend’s Summer ‘Ideals’ magazine from May 1955. I see that if you want a copy, you can order it from Amazon for about $7.

Forecast: Dry and Smoky

this sad country
bird bath emptied in the night
by a thirsty doe

The prairies are definitely in a dry cycle this year. Most of our “Possibility of thunder showers” forecasts have evaporated and all the sloughs are dry. Since there’s no water lying anywhere near, I’ve been taking pity on the birds in our yard and putting out several basins of water in the back yard for them. It’s been a joy to watch them from my kitchen window, coming and splashing about, as well as dining on hapless insects floating on the surface.

Last week another creature found my water bowls. Early one morning I saw a doe drinking out of the largest basin so I be sure to top it off at dusk every evening. Several mornings now I’ve found it right empty and a number of telltale hoof marks on the ground. Last night I filled it to the brim around 9 pm and there was only a dribble in the bottom this morning.

Our yard light provides another source of nourishment for the birds, too, judging by how many birds are harvesting bugs on the ground below every morning. This morning I saw robins, sparrows, a kingbird and a brown thrasher feasting there.

There are many fires burning in northern forests; I heard of over a hundred burning out of control in BC alone, plus fires in Alberta and northern Sask.. All this week our atmosphere has been hazy with smoke, sometimes it gets rather hard to breathe. Still, I dare not complain when others closer to the fires are in thick smoke every day and many communities have been evacuated because of encroaching infernos. It must seem a daunting, maybe even hopeless, task to fight fires on every hand, but I’m so thankful for those brave souls out there doing that work.

We’re taking a holiday this week, going to a part of our country where rain is plentiful. In fact, there’s rain in the forecast almost every day this week — I just wish we could bring some back with us! Meanwhile, I hope the creatures around our yard can find another source while we’re away.

Afternoon Storm

A wild electrical storm came up at 1 pm this afternoon, just as I was leaving work. Soon after I got home the system settled right above us for about fifteen minutes. Fierce winds and lightning flashes all around, but the ones right over our heads were worrisome. However, we got at least 3 cm of much-needed rain, so we’re thankful. (Our neighbour’s rain gauge showed 1 1/2″ when all was said and done. Nice! ) A friend who lives +/- 40 km north of us got not a drop.

Now here’s a quickly composed verse about the event:

In constant waves the pouring rain
sweeps over the field, the road;
the tree tops thrashed by the onslaught,
spring back, to be bullied down again.
The overshadowing turbulence
hurls jagged streaks our way,
followed closely – so closely! –
by the cannon roars of thunder.
With each boom we shudder, praying
neither we nor the trees will be zapped,
sizzled or uprooted by the ferocity
clamoring above our heads.
We cringe, yet count this not
the malevolence of a foe;
rather we rejoice in the storm
and bless the sheets of driven rain
bringing life to this thirsty land.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Image by Terry McGraw at Pixabay