Some Types of Folly

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was FOLLY

Merriam-Webster defines folly as a lack of good sense or normal prudence and foresight, a foolish act or idea, or an excessively costly or unprofitable undertaking.

Some acts of folly bring a chuckle to those who hear of it. Like the young man who thought he’d rob a local pharmacy and get away with drugs — and hopefully some cash. He attempted to gain entrance to the building after the store closed Saturday evening by crawling in through an air vent — but he got stuck. A unique way to spend the weekend! When employees opened the store Monday morning they heard him calling for help, and called the police.

There’s bureaucratic folly. I considered it a bit of folly on my government’s part when they sent me not just one, but TWO letters telling me they’d overpaid me (in my pension) by $1.40 and that I should pay it back by cheque ASAP or they would “deduct the entire sum from your next pension cheque.”

I guess the notice was computer-generated; no human looked at it and said, “You know, it’s going to cost $1 for the stamp to send her this. And logically, is she going to spend $1 for a stamp and whatever for the cheque fee to pay us back? Will she suffer that much hardship if she gets $1.40 less on next month’s cheque? Should we just file this?”

Which is what I did with it. Common sense should prevail, don’t you think?

Today my thinking went to a different kind of folly. We each have one of our own, perhaps? I’m a pack rat. Would you call that a type of folly?

When we moved my mother-in-law in with us over twenty years ago, I inherited a lot of her smaller things, like the handcrafted item she’d made over the years. Mom crocheted and embroidered card table cloths, made doilies, etc., and I’ve kept these stored away, wanting to keep them nice. Thinking someday to pass them on to the grand-daughters.

But what happens to things stored away? They may fade, the fabric threads weaken along fold lines, creases form that never can be ironed out. Fabrics get musty; elastic may disintegrate as soon as it’s stretched, after being stored for years. So many stored things get damaged by smoke, storm, or insects. And then, when you go to pass them on, you realize that the younger generation has no memory of the great-grands who made those things. Mom’s things are precious to me because I knew and loved Mom.

Some things are worth storing and passing on as antiques, but I’ve realized it’s folly for me to store these things for years, seldom using and enjoying them myself for fear of stains or wear. Our children have more than enough things of their own to store.

Image by Annie Spratt — Unsplash

The Elusive Wren

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today was STALK

THE WREN

I stalk him in the lilacs
and round the poplar tree,
that elusive little wren
who sings so cheerfully.

House sparrows, on the other hand,
I toss them out some seed
and they're my friends forever.
They greet me eagerly.

The little wren is patient;
he waits the morn's first light
to harvest on my doorstep
the insects fried last night.

Many’s the time I’ve tried to get a look at the wrens in our yard and only saw a fluttering and movement in the leaves. But first thing in the morning, sure enough, here’s the wren cleaning off our deck, feasting on bugs that got too close to our porch light.

Image by Naturelady from Pixabay.

Feeling Oorie on a Lowering Day

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was OORIE – Also spelled OURIE, says Lexico.

Never heard of it, but it’s supposedly a word Robert Burns used in one of his poems. Since I think a lot of Bobby Burns, I won’t knock it. I frequently quote his ”The best-laid plans of mice and man gang oft aglay.” The story of my life, it seems. 😉

Lexico’s definition of OORIE: dismal, gloomy, cheerless, miserable (as a result of cold, sickness) Nowadays we’d say, “I’m feeling rotten.”

Yesterday I was definitely feeling OORIE. At times my brain seems to be firing neurons at random, which makes every task feel overwhelming and the general outlook gloomy. Haven’t painted for six weeks. Nor written much; maybe I should give up blogging indefinitely? It didn’t help that I lost my car keys the day before.

We had our belated Christmas dinner with our children and grands on Sunday. Chewing on a caramel candy after dinner, the best-laid plans of mice and man went aglay when I bit on something hard – which turned out to be a piece of my back molar. Leaving a jagged hole for my tongue to rasp against. On Wed I was finally able to get to my dentist and have that smoothed down to bearable and “let’s leave well enough alone for now.

Bob’s car key clicker (automatic door opening button) wasn’t working well, so at one stop I gave him my keys. He gave them back once we were in the car and I must have put them in my coat pocket, thinking he’d need them again. We went to the food court at a mall for dinner. Walking out afterward, I couldn’t find my keys. Went back to our table. Nope. Emptied my purse. Nope. Checked the car floor. Nope. Phoned the mall lost & found. Nope. They’d gone aglay big time.

Today feels more hopeful, in spite of a grey sky. For one thing, it’s warmed up a lot – relatively speaking. It was -33 yesterday, only -23 this morning, and now, at 2 pm, the temp reads -18. Our cats are even wanting to step outside, where yesterday the frosty breath of winter discouraged them as soon as the door was opened a crack.

I also woke up this morning with a cheerful chorus running through my mind: “I want to leave this things behind me, want to climb to higher ground…” Great plan, don’t you think?

Some fine snow again today. Our grandson plowed our driveway for the second time this week. We wanted snow – now we’re getting it — almost daily since Christmas Eve.

Speaking of the weather brings to mind the word LOWERING. With the long oh sound (as in go), lowering means coming down; to lower something is to put it down. But with the ow sound as in flour, we get the second definition:

Lowering, also spelled louring, means dark and threatening. Cloudy, hazy, heavy, overcast. At least I’ve only ever seen it referring to dark menacing clouds.

Which makes me wonder if LOUR and OURIE spring from the same linguistic fount.

And then there’s GLOWERING, again with the ou as in flour.
An angry or brooding look. To look or stare with sullen annoyance.

These words all came into England from Scotland – so might they be cousins? The word GLOWREN has been in use in Scotland since the late Middle Ages. Originally referring to staring intently or in amazement, the meaning shifted to stares of annoyance or anger rather than astonishment.

Beyond that, etymologists have determined that glower is a distant relative of Middle Low-German glūren, which means to be overcast, and of the Middle Dutch gloeren, meaning to leer — the origin of our word GLARE.

Spiralling Thoughts

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is COIL.

Which of course calls to mind small coil-bound notebooks; I’ve half a dozen of these kicking around with misc verses and inspirations, abandoned or to be polished and posted someday.

I was given this small notebook as a Thank You for helping with a writers’ workshop. I immediately started filling it with haiku — a style I learned about at that workshop. It’s a cheapie but its hard cover made it easy to take along while travelling, so many impression were captured fresh from the stream. Here are some scribbles waiting to be spiffed up and posted someday.

Do you have a similar collection of scribblers holding your assorted thoughts? Maybe January’s a good month to deal with some of this under-developed inspiration? One at a time eventually gets the job done. Or, as Solomon once said, “Who hath despised the day of small things?”

City Snow Globe

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word this morning is SCINTILLATE. This word calls to mind lovely, twinkly things like the glitter in a snow globe. However, this morning my thoughts are on another side of those snowy winter scenes.

The Snow Globe

The old man shelters
under layers of newspaper,
wishes for a less drafty spot
as heaven’s snow globe
turns upside down.

Scintillating lights
and bouncy night tunes
flash through his alley
but the emanating warmth
drifts some other way.

Relaxing at Home

Part of the Christmas story we never hear:
“And when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem, their camels finally got a much needed break.”

The Ragtag Daily Prompt yesterday was BREATHLESS and today it’s RELAX.

I trust you folks who’ve been rushing around breathlessly getting ready for family gatherings and/or tying up year-end duties at the workplace will soon be able to kick back and relax.

I have nothing original to say about these prompt words, but I do have this poem by Edgar Guest. I’m very fond of it myself.

NO PLACE TO GO

The happiest nights I ever know
are those when I’ve no place to go,
and the missus says
when the day is through, 
“Tonight we haven’t a thing to do.

Oh, the joy of it– and the peace untold
of sitting ‘round in my slippers old,
with my pipe and book
in my easy chair,
knowing I needn’t go anywhere.

Needn’t hurry my evening meal
nor force the smiles I do not feel,
but can grab a book
from a nearby shelf,
drop all sham and be myself.

Oh, the charm of it and the comfort rare;
nothing on earth that can compare!
And I’m sorry for him
who doesn’t know
the joy of having no place to go.

by Edgar A Guest
Image by S-wloczyk-2 at Pixabay