Capricious Climate

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is SECURITY

The calendar may say Spring starts March 21st, but here in the northern clime we have no security in that. Today is gray, gray, and a frigid blast from the northwest is driving small snowflakes past our window, sometimes lots, sometimes less. My phone tells me it’s -9 C at 11 am. So not spring!

As I looked out this morning I thought of a poem I read in an old IDEALS magazine. Apart from the autumn sky it fits well. This poem, full of personification — at least I think that’s what it’s called — was written by Oliver Herford. (See bio below.) It was included in a poetry book titled An American Anthology, 1787-1899:

BELATED VIOLET

Very dark the autumn sky,
Dark the clouds that hurried by;
Very rough the autumn breeze
Shouting rudely to the trees.
Listening, frightened, pale, and cold,
Through the withered leaves and mould
Peered a violet all in dread—
“Where, oh, where is spring?” she said.
Sighed the trees, “Poor little thing!
She may call in vain for spring.”
And the grasses whispered low,
“We must never let her know.”
“What's this whispering?” roared the breeze;
“Hush! a violet,” sobbed the trees,
“Thinks it 's spring,—poor child, we fear
She will die if she should hear!”
Softly stole the wind away,
Tenderly he murmured, “Stay!”
To a late thrush on the wing,
“Stay with her one day and sing!”
Sang the thrush so sweet and clear
That the sun came out to hear,
And, in answer to her song,
Beamed on Violet all day long;
And the last leaves here and there
Fluttered with a spring-like air.
Then the violet raised her head,—
“Spring has come at last!” she said.
Happy dreams had Violet
All that night—but happier yet,
When the dawn came dark with snow,
Violet never woke to know.

And here’s one I think we can all identify with:

To Music
Here's to Music,
Joy of joys!
One man's music's
Another man's noise.

This bio comes from publicdomainpoetry.com

Oliver Herford, 1863-1935, was a British born American writer, artist and illustrator who has been called “The American Oscar Wilde”. As a frequent contributor to The Mentor, Life, and Ladies’ Home Journal, he sometimes signed his artwork as “O Herford”. In 1906 he wrote and illustrated the “Little Book of Bores”. He also wrote short poems like “The Chimpanzee” and “The Hen”, as well as writing and illustrating “The Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten” (1904), “Cynic’s Calendar” (1917) and “Excuse It Please” (1930). His sister Beatrice Herford was also a humorist.

Of Pathos & Velleity

Several interesting writing prompts are offered today and I’ve decided to tie them together in a not-quite poem, the lament of the distracted artist.

Ragtag Daily Prompt word: FLAMBEAU
Word of the Day Challenge: PATHOS
Merriam-Webster’s Word this Week: VELLEITY
(VELLEITY meaning the lowest degree of wanting to; a slight inclination.)

The Passion Has Packed And Gone

Oh, could the flambeau of inspiration light my life again!
I started with such pathos, eager to achieve
the goals I’d set for myself,
pursued the silver ribbons of success
and for a good while I won them.
Alas, spring fever has cooled my creative passions,
now all I feel is the velleity of “I really should…
And will again…someday.”

Being creative is a noble goal, triumph stirs such passion,
so soon extinguished by this capricious mood of lethargy,
this strange desire for leisurely strolls down country lanes.
Artists are the most moody of creatures,
so I wander along, thinking I should — but don’t –
finish that long-back-burnered novel – or at least
pick up my brush and paint again.
.

Image by adege — Pixabay

Catch-Up Time!

Welcome to everyone and especially to the various people who have just started following my blog. I see it’s been over two weeks since I last posted — and seems like a month — so it’s high time to write at least a few lines and tell you all what’s up in my world.

No, I haven’t had COVID-19 or been sick otherwise. We both have had our first immunization shots and neither of us had serious repercussions, thankfully. I recovered from the minor discomfort of a sore arm after a few days. Earlier this month was in a kind of slump and didn’t feel like doing much of anything.

I did check the writing prompts this month, but nothing inspired me. Actually, don’t you think SLUMP would be a good writing prompt? I think everyone feels rather slump-ish at times. 🙂

Maybe our weather has something to do with my outlook? We all keep looking out for rain clouds, but they all skirt around us here. This has become “a dry and thirsty land where no water is.” (See Psalm 63:1) We have not had rain once this spring, only a few minutes of spitting. The ground was dampened once or twice.

I’ve been setting out basins of water for a couple of weeks now and refilling them several times a day so the birds will have something to drink. It’s a joy to watch robins, blackbirds, grackles, the odd magpie or mourning dove, and misc sparrows drinking and dunking themselves in the shallow basins.

Most of our sloughs are bone dry; one of the largest in this area has only a small puddle of water now. The air is often filled with fine dust, blowing in the wind or raised by vehicles on gravel roads or farmers seeding crops. This year they’re really planting in hope. Trees are greening up as usual and the dandelions are blooming, though they’re short, scrubby things with small flowers.

In view of the scenery before me lately, I decided to change the header on my blog. That bright little chipmunk in a field of lush lavender didn’t at all fit our landscape. Last night I tried to install a new header but for some reason WordPress wouldn’t cooperate so I went with a picture already in the files. Here were two Pixabay images I chose, but WordPress wouldn’t do the CROP & PUBLISH: Not sure what their issue is. I’ll see what Unsplash has to offer.

However, the Word of the Day Challenge today is TWIST. We had a bizarre twist in precipitation, having such heaps of snow last winter and now drought. I can also write about the sudden twist in my month of June.

I’ve been dealing with a health issue — a type of hernia — and it’s been getting more bothersome. I’m finding it harder to be on my feet for any length of time. I called the doctor’s office last week just to check, but the secretary at Surgery Bookings told me an opening probably wouldn’t come up before fall. Groan! However, this morning she called, said they had a cancellation, the opening was for May 25th, and would I take it? Well, YES! She explained that I’ll have to spend a night in hospital and be somewhat laid up for about six weeks, but I’ll sure be glad to have this taken care of.

As it turns out, this spring was a great time to take up painting; hopefully I’ll get lots done while I’ve mostly off my feet for the next weeks. I have so much to learn about the techniques and whatnot.

This concludes my update. I hope you are all enjoying good health and lovely weather. ( And will you folks in the south-eastern US please send us some of that rain you’re being deluged with! 😉 )

An Impromptu Tea Party

Looking for inspiration, I rambled through my STORY files this afternoon and found this mini-fiction scene written ten years ago, in March of 2011. It was my response to my writing group’s challenge of that month: to use the words BROOM, FRIDGE, ALMOND and DOUGHNUT.

And I see Fandango’s One-Word Challenge today is IMPROMPTU, so here goes…

THE TEA PARTY

Spring fever attacked me full force that morning when my little girl begged me to come out and play. She said she’d baked a cake and we could have tea. Who could resist? I threw my “TO DO” list on the counter for “LATER” and gave myself to the sunshine, the little girl inside, and the little girl outside.

When I arrived at the playhouse she was sculpting her “Tea cake” that looked like a huge mud doughnut. Using her sweater sleeve as a broom, my gracious hostess swept off one of the chairs so I could sit down. I donated two elderly chipped mugs and a plate of real cookies to the celebration.

“I wish I had some nice sprinkles for the icing,” she sighed as she shredded some grass blades and tossed them on the cake. I had to agree: the green shreds weren’t very aesthetic.

“I have an idea,” I said, taking her hand and leading her to our flowering almond shrub. “Just a few,” I said, “for this really special cake.” How many times had I told her she mustn’t pick these blossoms because we wanted to see them blooming on the tree? They made lovely sprinkles.

She poured imaginary tea into the cups, then took a pitcher of “cream” from the cardboard box fridge and added some to the tea. “Would you like sugar, too?” she asked, handing me a bowl of ice melt granules.

“Yes, I’d love some.”

She gave me her biggest smile. “Mom, you should come for tea every day.”

I think of what older ladies have often told me: “Children grow up so fast; enjoy them while you can.”

“Well, maybe I should look over my To-Do list and see if I can fit a tea party in once a week,” I agreed. “If you’ll help me pick up the toys after supper every day.”

Her eyes sparkled as she accepted the challenge. We had a lovely tea party — one I’ll remember a lot longer than the folded laundry, the cleaned cutlery drawer and the emptied dishwasher that I did manage to do in spite of taking time out to play.

Down to Earth

white mountains tremble
fall before the conquerors
rays of spring sun

Hello, faithful readers! And welcome to all my new subscribers.

Yes, I have returned to blog another day. For the past two weeks I’ve been like a child exploring a candy store, poking into this case and that, sampling this and that. (Actually I’ve been cleaning out closets, reading, drawing, painting.) Now it’s time to settle down and re-establish the old routine before I completely lose touch. I have some serious things I’d like to write about, but I’ll start by opening a window on our world.

It’s definitely spring in our land. Canada geese are flying over; returning small birds are adding their sweeter notes to the house sparrows’ chirps. We’re seeing a lot of bare ground and our yard, for all our heaps of snow, didn’t turn into a quagmire. Last fall was dry enough that now the snow is soaking straight into the soil without much runoff. We still have heaps of snow in the back yard, but the highest banks through the garden are now not much more than a metre or four feet high — and shrinking back every day. Our cats are delighted to explore the snow-free yard and fields.

This morning I was reading a book of ancient haiku verses, with brief bios of the writers. One of these was Saikaku, a haikai master in old Japan. There’s a legend that this poet once wrote 23,500 verses in one day — which would be almost 1000 per hour! Can it be? Even in Japanese, where one curved pen-stoke might be a word, that’s still an amazing feat, if it’s true. Just for fun I tried to see how many (sensible) haiku I could write in an hour — turning the beauties of our land into poetry — and came up with a dozen. Not to say they’re all poignant and full of meaning, mind you, but it was a fun challenge. I’ll post them in the coming days.

While I was doing this, Bob went for his first immunization shot. My turn comes up March 31st. This morning we read the statistic that to date here in Canada over 90% of the deaths from COVID-19 were among those 65 and over — about like one would imagine. Even at that, most Canadians who’ve gotten it have recovered, thankfully. Precautions and restrictions have done a lot to prevent the spread.

Enough rambling for this time. I hope your world is looking brighter in 2021 than it did last year.

Illustration done by Pixaline at Pixabay