April Morning

In honour of National Poetry Month, I’m going to post two poems by one of my favourite poets of long ago, SARA TEASDALE

MORNING

I went out on an April morning
All alone, for my heart was high,
I was a child of the shining meadow,
I was a sister of the sky.

There in the windy flood of morning
Longing lifted its weight from me,
Lost as a sob in the midst of cheering,
Swept as a sea-bird out to sea.

This next one is from her “Vignettes Overseas”

STRESA

The moon grows out of the hills
a yellow flower;
the lake is a dreamy bride
who waits her hour.

Beauty has filled my heart,
it can hold no more;
it is full, as the lake is full,
from shore to shore.

STRESA appeared in The Collected Works of Sara Teasdale, first published in 1907.

Early Morning Haze

For some reason I woke up just before 4 am this morning. I was having a dream of some kind, though I can’t remember anything now. Maybe that woke me up or maybe it was the soreness in my back from lying too long in one position. At any rate I decided I needed to get up and move around — and it has definitely helped.

Of course our two cats wanted to go outside and see what’s happening in the yard, so I went out with them, stepping out on the small deck by our front door and enjoying the atmosphere. The moon’s just over half full right now, so was shedding a fair bit of light on our earth. The heavens above us were clear and the stars brilliant. A jet was heading somewhere, leaving a trail in the sky over by the moon. I speculated for a moment what important trip this jet and/or the people on it would be taking, to be off before 4 am.

The temp was about 0 C. It’s great to be able to stand outside and enjoy the scenery without needing a jacket! We’ve had such warm weather this past while our snow’s about all gone, and today is supposed to be another warm one with a high of 14 C / 57F.

I checked my incoming WordPress e-mails and saw that the Ragtag Daily Prompt had arrived. Today the prompt word is HAZE. It didn’t apply to my world at that moment, but by 6:00 a fog was starting to roll in and there was a haze around the moon. I checked again fifteen  minutes later and am amazed at how fast the fog has enveloped our countryside; it’s 6:30 now and our yard is surrounded by a grey fleece.

My brain is starting to feel a bit hazy, too — as if I got up three hours too soon. By now it’s time either for a nap or another cup of coffee. Before I go, here’s another haiku, this one drawn from an observation a few days ago:

the old dog watches
sparrows foraging nearby
live and let live

Writer’s Clock

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“Oh, what a beautiful morning!
Oh, what a beautiful day!
The suns is so cheerily shining
and snowbanks are melting away.”

(With apologies to the original songwriter.
And thanks to Pixabay for the ClipArt Vector)

A week ago spring came back to our land and has settled in so pleasantly. Today I even saw half a dozen Canada geese overhead. Mind you, they were going south, and might have been some who wintered over down by the dam. But still, it’s the principle…

It’s been a few days since I last posted — not that I suffer from WRITER’S BLOCK so much as WRITER’S CLOCK. That is, not enough time to sit down and write everything I’d like to, especially now that the days are so spring-like and the house needs a good cleaning.

Our cats definitely have spring fever and want to be out…in…out…in…out… all day long. Our lawn is slowly appearing and the gravel road by our property is nice and firm for walking on now, though the driveway is still slushy and spongy.

Wandering the internet for awhile this afternoon, I discovered another online haiku journal, the Wales Haiku Journal. Interesting! In fact I even dared submit a few of my newest verses. Perhaps with a nod to my gr-gr-gr-grandmother Jones from north Wales. Having a Jones from Wales, John Smith from London, and John Turner, an Orangeman from Ireland, among my forebears, I feel very standard-issue. 🙂

This past week I’ve been working quite a bit on my book of haiku, have transferred it to Kindle Create and set it up. I’m inserting some pictures now. Soon, soon…!

Monday night I hit the silliest glitch: I could not insert the copyright symbol. I tried every which way and listened to a couple of instruction videos supposedly explaining in detail how to create a Kindle e-book. Alas! They both slid through the front matter in a few sentences.

I enjoyed watching the one young fellow wave his hands around, though — in real life he must play a piccolo. Several times he said, “I’m sure you’ve all worked with this type of program before and know all this,” and I wanted to yell, “Would I be listening to you if I had?”

Note to wannabe self-publishers: If you’re doing your book on Kindle Create — and it really does work well — it’s best to have the Title page, Copyright info, Dedication page, and Preface or Foreword, all written up the way you want them, as well as the actual book pages, before saving your e-book document as a pdf that you will transfer to Kindle Create.

At any rate, I discovered that it’s really very simple to add that little © — once you know how. 😉 Actually, so many things in this old world are so simple once you know how!

This includes tossing out. As part of my spring cleaning urge, yesterday I opened a cupboard that I haven’t looked in seriously for a long time — and bravely threw out all those 5″ floppies and 3.5″ hard disks I squirreled away about 7 or 8 years back, when I got my new computer. You know the rationale: “A person never knows when this new flash-drive system might break down and we’ll need to go back to these…” NOT!

I hope you are all enjoying lovely days, too, dear readers.

Blogs, Books, and Slough Water

Good morning everyone!

You will notice that my site looks different — and it’s not an improvement. This morning I sprang for the upgrade WordPress was offering … and somehow lost my ability to customize the background of my current theme — and my pale yellow background. Either that or I lost the “all across the page” choice of background. The center strip reverted to the default grey, so I changed the yellow side margins to match. At any rate, the pretty pale yellow has been replaced by plain old grey and I’m not happy.

The upshot of this is that I’m going to be trying out new themes and customization until I get the look I like.

I’m fussy about appearances, I guess. I’ve spent a week trying to get just the right title and the right cover image for my upcoming book of haiku. I finally settled on one Monday and it has been approved by friends & family. But then I was checking haiku books online last night and began to wonder if I was being too high-flying in my choice.

I came across a book titled The River Does Stink haiku and senryu. Intriguing, right? Quite down to earth — no birds and flowers.

My grand-daughters liked the idea of me using something prairie-ish, so how about a title like, Scum on our Slough? Our sloughs can look and smell pretty bad in late spring unless they’re replenished by fresh rain water.

Actually, Stars in the Slough could be a nice prairie-touch haiku book. What do you think? Mind you, after all I’ve bothered my family and friends for their opinion on titles and pics and we’re now all on the same page, they might be ready to toss me in the slough if I change my title again. As soon as I’ve applied for my copyright, I’ll post the cover design.

Our weather is improving every day. Last weekend we had a -34 morning and several days of bitter wind all day. Yesterday was milder, got up to -12. It was -24 this morning — and wind — but the sun has power now and warms us up in the daytime. Our cats take advantage of the sunshine and want in-out-in-out-in-out all day.

Hope you’re having a great week. I’m happy to report that, after the second antibiotic did its work, my skin infection has cleared up. Now I’m off to cook for the seniors at the Villa this morning. 🙂

Catching Up With Ourselves

Good morning, everyone! It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything about our activities so for those who are interested, here’s a brief review of the past week’s comings and goings.

Spring has come to our land for sure. The woods around us are getting greener by the day, more of our summer-nesting birds are showing up every day. Our neighbor told me about seeing orioles a few days ago; they’ve since been over to visit our trees too. Yesterday she saw a hummingbird at her feeder. I’d been planning to get out my feeders so when I heard that, I cleaned out our two feeders — for hummers and orioles — and hung them outside yesterday evening.

Our farmer neighbor seeded the fields around our acreage yesterday while Bob mowed the grass for the first time.

Last Friday morning we left for an overnight trip to Moose Jaw. We stopped for dinner en route and drove out to the Belle Plaine area, east of MJ, to visit an elderly friend who was Best man at our wedding. Joe’s 91-years-old now and somewhat crippled by arthritis, needs a cane, but his spirit is as vital as ever. He’s kept going all these years, refusing to let arthritis immobilize him. This week he was loading up and hauling about 20 head of cattle to the Swift Current market, about 150 kms away. He’s finally giving up feeding cattle.

We drove through Belle Plaine, the town where Bob and I met. He ran a grain elevator for UGG — a company that no longer exists— while my folks bought the local café when I was thirteen. Needless to say, things have changed a lot, especially in the past 20 years. We had trouble figuring out what was what anymore; the café ha disappeared completely. And how can fifty years go by so fast?!

We saw a small herd of antelope on the way to Joe’s home, and I spotted a group of cormorants at a dug-out right near Belle Plaine. This dug-out was made when we lived there, when dirt was needed to build the overpass over the train tracks. So it’s quite a large body of water and there were a number of waterfowl.

We had supper with Bob’s cousin Dennis and wife; in the evening we met my sister Rose for coffee at a Tim Horton’s. All of these live in Moose Jaw.

We stayed night at a motel across the street from Crescent Park and the Public Library + Art Gallery. All day Saturday we attended a writers’ conference at the Library. Met a few people we know and heard various speakers, including a retired Regina police officer. He spoke about how a homicide investigation is REALLY conducted. As you can imagine, he detests all the nonsense shown on TV cop shows. Two other speakers were romance writer Ellie Lynn and mystery writer Gail Bowen.

We came home Saturday evening and attended church as usual Sunday morning, then were invited to our son-in-law’s folks for an extended family Mother’s Day dinner: their three children who live here and in-laws like ourselves.

Tuesday morning our son-in-law and daughter very kindly drove us back down to Moose Jaw to attend the funeral of Bob’s cousin Julia. She’d celebrated her 94th birthday in early February; in the funeral service we heard how she’d enjoyed a long, love-filled, productive life. Her five children have all done well and their descendants seem to have, too.

After the funeral we met and visited with my sister Donna for half an hour or so. It’s been too long since we last connected! I last saw Donna — and only to exchange a quick hello — at our nephew’s funeral at the beginning of Sept 2010. She’s been living in Regina for years and only moved back to Moose Jaw last summer. Hopefully we can connect more often now.

When we got home Tuesday evening around 8pm, we all noticed how much the trees around our yard had greened up just while we were gone. And they’ve continued to leaf out in yesterday’s heat.

Today is cloudy and cooler — and we’re off to Saskatoon later to have coffee and a gabfest with several other writers who live in this area. We’re only about eight who like to touch base now and then — but try to find a date and time when everyone’s free!

Tomorrow we’ll stay home and catch up with some work that’s been neglected while we gallivanted. 🙂 Now I’ll end my “catch-up” post with this short poem by an unknown writer:

The slightest word of comfort
to help us on our way,
the slightest smile from someone
to brighten up our day;
the slightest act of kindness
to lessen care and such
all these cost so little,
but they mean so very much.

Cloud Puddle

I jumped into a cloud
that was lying at my feet
in the middle of a puddle
in the middle of my street.

I splashed it into raindrops
and watched the ripples spread
then jumped out of that puddle
and looked for more ahead.

–C. G.