Poetic Paper Clutter

Hello to all friendly readers near and far. I’ve mentioned this already, but for awhile now I’ve been getting daily e-mails from the FlyLady, with the idea that sometimes I may get serious about following her system. right now I’m working on the general monthly goals, and the goal this morning is to eliminate paper clutter.

She’d be delighted if she could see the big green garbage bag of papers I’ve already shredded this week — but most of that is years-old records hubby has been storing until recently. Now it’s time for me to dig into my own stash of scribbles, weed out and post various poetry and musings. Here’s one I did awhile ago about the COVID isolation:

No Customers

The merchant opens his door
to let the wind to rush in
and a masked young mom
with hurried, worried eyes.
Then a child wanting chips,
her eyes crinkling in smiles,
her mask Sleeping Beauty

She heads home to school;
he turns his sign to OPEN.
The wind flips it back.
What does it matter?
Few customers will come,
this Covid-tainted morning
where lock-down rules.

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. 🙂

Six Words or Wisdom?

Good morning friends. Welcome to another patchwork of Saturday musings from me. A good day to be inside, it’s actually raining here on the prairie, which should suppress the clouds of dust that billow up every time a vehicle passes our place. (We live on a gravel road that turns to powder when it hasn’t rained for a month.)

Because the birds seemed to have disappeared a couple of weeks ago — off to find a drink somewhere, I imagined — I took in the shallow basins of water I’ve had out in the yard for their benefit. But yesterday we saw a small flock of robins in a nearby tree and later one was sitting on the bowl of water I leave out for the cats. Since it was almost empty, poor robin would have barely gotten his beak wet! So I put out the basins again.

We had a hard frost earlier this week; thermometers said -4 C. Squelched my balsam and marigolds, but we’d brought the tubs of tenders inside for the night, so I still have colorful petunias and patience plants blooming outside –and the pansies have withstood the onslaught. Yesterday the temp got up to 30C — a one heat wave that could give us the illusion that summer’s going to stay awhile!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is ILLUSION. While the warm weather may be convincing, when we see our maples completely yellow, and the maple leaves lying on the ground, we sigh and know more frosty nights are coming. It appears most grain fields have been combined already, and huge round bales of straw dot the golden stubble. The sandhill cranes will be along shortly to do the final harvest.

Inside our house I have a “Mexican hat plant” that must have been impressed by Jack & his Beanstalk and decided to do likewise. Bryophyllum diagramontianum, a type of kalanoche also known as “mother of thousands,” looks like this and grows STRAIGHT up:

Whole plant of Bryophyllum daigremontianum.
Image: Dave’s Garden.com
SIX-WORD Wisdom

As to the title of this post: Six Words or Wisdom…what brought that on was seeing another Six-Word Story Prompt from Shweta. The word prompt for this week is MOTIVATION. Here’s the link, if you’re interested in checking out this prompt.

I may contribute something yet, but I’m seldom motivated to do such brief story prompts for the simple reason that it’s such a challenge to say anything really meaningful so tersely. It’s not hard to string six words together, like “No motivation for even simple tasks,” but what does that tell anybody? “Even simple tasks exhausted her now,” tells you something happened to her oomph. But what?

Anyway, once my mind started in that direction, I thought of “He wanted to, but he didn’t.” Six words, but again, nothing much revealed. On the other hand, “He who hesitates is lost,” is only five words but contains a whole chapter from the Life’s Lessons book. In other words…

“Decision is a sharp knife that cuts clean and straight. Indecision is a dull one that hacks and tears and leaves ragged edges behind.” — Jan McKeithen

Consider the six-word sagacity of “A stitch in time saves nine.” The old adage, “Least said, soonest mended,” is brilliant wisdom in four words.

In the past half-dozen decades the idea was: “Out with the old-timers’ cliches ’cause they’re meaningless to this new generation. Toss out the old anchors; this ship is sailing on to new frontiers!” But the new frontiers are getting scary; so many ships have been battered and broken on new-found rocks. Maybe there’ll be a reaching back to those old anchors again, the wisdom that got Grandma and Grandpa through tough times. Hey, I’ve even seen an article in a psychology magazine promoting self-denial!

Blogger Sue over at Jibber Jabber is wishing for a return to The Golden Rule in a Not-So-Golden World. Longing to see common courtesy in comments. She writes: “After all of this rambling on, I guess what I am really trying to say is that we are overdue to go back to our roots wherein personal integrity meant something, stood for something.

When readers comment on an article they don’t like, especially when they can comment anonymously, courteous disagreement often gives way to nastiness and name-calling. Some of my biggest shocks have been in the language Americans get into when it comes to politics and individual politicians. It’s one thing to disagree with someone, but to call any person — no matter who or for what reason — degrading names degrades the critic, too, IMO.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, but I think this is enough random musing. I’ve gotten sidetracked this week; now I want to get back to my articles about Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

Mom’s Draconian Rules!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is DRACONIAN. I’ve concocted this tale as a response. I’ll admit that, like Tanelle, I’m still learning this lesson. 😉

Tanelle sighed into her cell phone. “I can’t go to the rink this morning, Marnie. Mom says I gotta clean up my room first.”

“Can’t you just tell her you’ll do it after you get home. I mean, she has to be reasonable. You aren’t a little kid anymore.”

“She says work has to come before play.”

“You can’t come roller blading because you have to clean up your room? That’s like…archaic! That’s a draconian rule!”

“Yeah, well, that’s where it’s at. I better go now. Talk to you later.” Tanelle clicked off her phone and went into the kitchen to grab some breakfast and maybe try one more pleading session.

“Marnie’s really choked that I can’t come this morning. She thinks, too, that I could easily clean up my room when I get back.”

“No doubt she does,” Mom replied. “Great minds think alike, right?” She grinned at Tanelle.

Tanelle grabbed a box of cereal from the cupboard. “You realize that my friends are all going to think your rules are draconian.” She poured some cereal in a bowl and got the milk from the fridge.

Mom was quiet for a minute. “Okay,” she said, “Let me ask you something. Imagine a young lady living on her own, in her own apartment, let’s say. And she has all these bills to pay: rent, electricity, maybe heating and water. Plus she has to buy groceries, maybe furniture and clothes. If she has a car she’ll need to pay for gas and licence; if not, she may have to buy bus tickets. Would you call it “draconian” that she has to pay all those expenses?”

“Of curse not. That’s just life.”

“Suppose she spends her money on fun things. She may want to pay her bills, but there are so many fun things waiting to be done and the money doesn’t last. So the bills pile up and credit card companies start calling, demanding payment. She hasn’t paid her rent, so the landlord is ready to kick her out of her apartment. She has no money for gas so she has to walk. Would she be in a big mess? Would she find her situation depressing?”

“Probably.”

“Wouldn’t it be smart for her to pay her bills first, and then use what’s left for fun things?”

Tanelle heaved a sigh. “I think we’ve had this conversation before – or something just like it.”

“So work and play need to balance, just like income and outgo. If you spend your time at play, the work piles up. Learning this lesson is part of growing up and becoming responsible for yourself, your space, your messes. You may say, ‘I’ll do the fun thing now and work later,’ but there will always be some fun thing calling to you. The work left for ‘later’ piles up and in time you don’t know where to start. Like a stack of unpaid bills, the mess will finally depress you.”

“Mom, I know all this!” Tanelle protested.

“Then why is your room in such a mess?”

Tanelle got up with a huff and carried her bowl to her room where she could eat in peace. Tossing yesterday’s clothes off her chair, she plopped down at her desk and cleared enough space for her bowl of cereal.

“Why do moms have to nag so much,” she wondered as she finished her breakfast. Looking around she admitted that, yeah, her room was a tad messy. Then she remembered she needed to find that Style magazine and take it along to show Marnie. She’d been looking at it late last night; it was probably under the bed.

The scene her mom described flashed through her mind. She pictured this really messy apartment with a stack of bills on the table and the landlord pounding on the door. Gross! Well, that wouldn’t be her. She was smarter than that.

A New Carpet

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is CARPET

Autumn scenes will soon be upon us, so I’ll try to illustrate a common scene with this one-line haiku:
golden carpet of leaves floats past the duck’s nest reuphostered

Have you ever stood beside an autumn stream and wished you could be a dragonfly sitting on a golden leaf, going on an adventure to places unknown. Just going with the flow and discovering where all those leaves actually go?
In a month our lawn will be carpeted, too, and we’ll need to get out the rakes. And then there’s this lovely carpet which I wouldn’t mind to have on my living room floor. (If only it were blue. This color would clash big time!) The image is by hjplankenhorn, found at Pixabay