Spring Morning

Kisses of Spring

Meadowlark singing on fence post,
ducks dabbling on the slough,
the cry of a pair of Canada geese
overhead, as they hurry on through.

The woods beside us now waken
with sound at first morning light;
I spy a flock of some kind of birds
silent and northward their flight

These are the kisses of springtime,
the sights and the sounds that delight.
Oh no! While I’m here rhapsodizing
our landscape is fast turning white.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Good Morning from our house. The dawn was rather misty when I first looked out and I saw this flock of birds winging over the field beside us. Small ducks, maybe? I let the cats out and sat back to enjoy the coming of spring.

A pair of Canada geese have been around for a week; the ducks and meadowlark we saw Sunday on the way to church. I could hear small birds twittering in the woods yesterday as I went out for a walk. Sunny days and south winds have melted most of the snow in our yard. Last week the driveway was muddy, but by yesterday it had almost completely dried off. Oh, the joys of warmer weather!

As I enjoyed my morning coffee this morning a poem came to me, so I fired up the computer and started to write. I hadn’t quite decided how to finish off, though — until I looked outside again and saw the air full of snow. Our poor cats huddled on the back step, turning white along with everything else.

A sad surprise indeed. Poor little birds! And no wonder that flock was winging it in such a hurry, probably looking for a place to shelter. Oh, well. I shall carry on with my sewing project, a dress for myself, and forget about taking a long walk in the sunshine.

When Cloud Banks Come Together

June 30, 1912

Citizens of Regina, Saskatchewan, a growing city on the Canadian prairie, sweltered in the sultry 100̊ F afternoon. The flags on display for the Dominion Day celebrations the next day hung limp on their poles. Folks sat on porches fanning themselves, longing for some ripple of breeze.

Some young folks and couples were spending the Sunday afternoon in Wascana park, or padding canoes on Wascana Lake a few blocks south of Regina’s business district. A flock of faithful Anglicans were gathered at St Paul’s Church listening to sermons by their local Bishop and Canon Hicks from London, England. Some women fainted because of the intense heat and humidity in the auditorium.

By mid afternoon storm clouds appeared in the south. Folks watched the cloud banks rolling toward each other, one system coming from the southeast and another from the southwest. At 4:30 pm the clouds were moving rapidly toward a collision. Folks began hearing rumbles of thunder; the sky took on a strange green glow; blue and red lighting bolts flashed along the ground. This phenomena was something prairie folks had never seen before. They had no idea what was coming.

The storm systems crashed into each other over the Saskatchewan Legislative Building beside Wascana Lake. There was a roar like two freight trains overhead and a colossal smoke-colored funnel dropped from the clouds. Packing a 500 mile-an-hour wind, skipping around crazily, the twister plowed a six-block-wide swath of destruction right through town, including the business district.

Reading in the book Great Canadian Disasters, © 1961 by Frank Rasky, one particular paragraph in the “aftermath” caught my eye:
Survivors today, with their varied memories, differ strongly on just about every aspect of the tornado’s aftermath: the degree of the onslaught, whether the government was generous (to victims), …the precise number of people wiped out by the catastrophe.

So true of any major event. Our own experience, our perspective on the scene, our general world-view, our position in society — all these make a lot of difference in how we process what’s going on, and later describe what happened, what helped, what hindered.

I’ve sometimes liken the Women’s Movement forming in the late 1800s to the two storm systems coming together over Regina. They came from different angles, when they united they formed a powerful force, and that force blew apart a lot of the status quo of their day. For better or for worse? Witnesses and historians don’t all agree.

I’d call one group the fore-mothers of the feminist movement as I knew it in the 1960s. Their agenda: universal suffrage; equal rights for women, including equal job opportunities and equal pay.

A lot of these women had graduated from women’s colleges in the Eastern States. They were sick and tired of the taboos of their day and did their best to prove these ideas false. I’ve lost my notes on this, but I recall that a number of these ladies met in Buffalo, NY in the late 1890s to form a group, establish their goals, and decide on a course of action.

Some of the misconceptions of their day were rather ludicrous. When trains were first invented some people raise the objections that women could never ride on a train because if women were to travel at speeds over 30 mph they would go insane, or mad with lust. Some “experts” of their day claimed girls’ educations should be limited to the basics because delicate female minds would shatter if forced to handle difficult mathematic equations. (I’m almost sad we lost that one — I’ve never been that good at math. 🙂 )

Some said physical training for girls was out because strenuous exercise would ruin their bodies and especially affect their ability to bear children. (That group should have rather taken a good look at the long term effect of wearing corsets.)

When you start setting up theories that can be so easily proven wrong, you can count on it that someone’s going to want to knock them down.

The other merging ‘cloud system’ was the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. As I’ve already written, this group sprang mainly from a Protestant Evangelical base. They had embraced the ‘Social Gospel’, which basically translates as ‘How Christians should fix the world.’ Their agenda: stable homes; healthy, happy families; reduction of crime; no more war. Each and every one a worthy goal.

As these ladies looked at their society, they concluded that laws were needed to ensure these goals. Thus voters were needed so political pressure could be put on to get those laws passed. Which meant their launching point was getting women the right to vote.

Meanwhile, over in merry old England, feminist suffragettes took a more dramatic approach. Up against a more rigid and long-established social structure, their struggle for the right to vote was long and bitter. They chained themselves to posts, went on hunger strikes, were force-fed.

They also adopted what they referred to as the politics of the broken window pane. Genteel-looking ladies would appear on business streets during a busy afternoon and station themselves in front of store windows. At a given signal they’d pull hammers from large handbags and start swinging. The damage was done before anyone could react and the ladies would make themselves scarce, leaving merchants sobbing.

I don’t know how much the WCTU influenced the women’s movement in Britain but I rather doubt Prohibition was ever a serious goal. In Europe and Britain so many women accepted social drinking and drank socially themselves. Also Protestant Evangelism was never as large or powerful in Europe as it was in North America.

To be continued.

Blogger’s Blue Moons

Once in a blue moon…

— I feel like I’ve nothing much to say.
— I wonder if anybody’s really interested in hearing what I have to say.
— I decide that with so many others wanting to have their say I should just be quiet for awhile.
— I sense my mind just isn’t working properly these days anyway. (Alzheimer’s? Dead brain cells? Scrambled circuitry?)
— I’m overwhelmed with the despair that I’ve never accomplished anything worthwhile in my life and I may as well quit trying to be creative.
— I’m really anticipating spring’s arrival and the temp plunges to -22̊ C, dragging my enthusiasm down with it.
— I’m celebrating some super event in my life, like a 65th birthday, and not taking time to write anything.
— I get so enthused about something else, like reading a good book or my sewing projects, that I neglect my blog altogether.
— I have so much I’d like to write about that I don’t know where to start.

Every now and then all these blue moons come together, as they have this week, and really cloud my ability to write. Do you others have spells like this?

In spite of all these emotions rolling over me at times, I did have a very good birthday week. Our children took us to Montana’s Cookhouse restaurant for supper. Then my daughter threw an impromptu birthday party Wed morning (Mar 28th) and eight ladies from our church came bearing flowers and gifts, to wish me a happy birthday.

This week Tuesday we were in the city and I purchased a few gifts with birthday money given:
— a lovely 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle I found at a book store
— a 300-piece puzzle that took me only an hour or so to finish
— an oblong ceramic baking dish

I also signed up for Kindle Unlimited, a borrowing library from Amazon for which I pay $10 a month. I borrowed two books and have read one already. Browsing through their selection, though, I see so many authors I’d like to read, like Emily Brightwell, haven’t put their books into this system. And of course none of the “classics” like Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. So I wonder how beneficial it’s going to be for me in the long run. How many of you readers have subscribed to this and have you found it worthwhile?

At long last the urge to sew has come over me! Last week I finished one dress I had cut out, so I cut out and started sewing another. Yesterday I cut out a third. I’ll be working on those two today. Strike while the iron is hot! (A very useful cliché. I don’t know what I could replace it with. “Swing while the ball’s in your court?”)

Another cook at Silverwood Villa has asked me to take her place doing supper there tonight, so that will take a bit of time out of my day. Right now there are only three men residing at the Villa and the big meal served at noon; supper won’t involve a lot of time and effort.

Some parts of the province had record low temps one day this week and we hear the southern part of our province experienced a severe winter storm yesterday that caused accidents on major highways. So I’m glad that all we had was a sharp wind and frigid nights. How we wish for spring! I must say, though, I really appreciate the longer hours of daylight we’re enjoying now.

Another Day Dawns

Good morning, Everyone!

I wonder what the weather is like where you are? We had a nice taste of spring last week, but it blew away in a frigid wind yesterday. Sunday the temp got up to 4 C; this morning at 6 am the temp in Saskatoon is -18 C/ 0 F and the predicted high is -5 C or 23 F. Tomorrow is yet worse; the high is supposed to be -13 C or 9 F. Whimper! Pookie, our cat, wanted out first thing this morning but was ready to come back in three minutes later.

My birthday is almost over for another year. Yesterday Bob brought home a dozen roses, then last night our family took us out to Montana’s, a Saskatoon steak house, and we had a feast. I heard a whisper that there’s a little coffee party planned with some ladies this morning at Silverwood Villa, the seniors’ home where I used to work part-time and now occasionally fill in as cook. I think that’ll be the last of the celebrations. So I’ve been well fêted for birthday #65.

And I’m done bombarding you with micro-poems. It looks like my verses pleased some of the people some of the time yesterday. 🙂 Another thing I did was purchase the upgrade for this blog. I hope you won’t be seeing ads anymore.

I’d like to restart my micro-poetry blog again soon — maybe on May 1st. Tree Top Haiku has been dormant since November but I have a lot of new items to post. Last month I was going through my scraps-of-paper scribblings, getting those verses typed into files, categorizing all my files. Next month I hope to schedule a number of posts on Tree Top Haiku so I don’t have to worry about keeping up on a day-to-day basis all through summer.

I woke up before 5am, so should get lots accomplished today, right? Now I’d better get on to my sewing project for today: a new dress for myself. Here’s wishing you all a great day in whatever part of the world you live.

Swallowed by Fog

We’ve been enjoying milder weather this past week, which has given us heavy fogs at night. We woke up this morning to a thick fog whiting out everything outside our yard. I thought I heard a train pass in the night, which gave me this verse — I believe this is called a tanka:

oh fog, how could you
swallow a whole freight train
in your opacity?
only the whistle escapes
to squeal on you