Kisses From Above

precious white rain
every flake a kiss
a promise

I don’t know if this is a haiku or not, but it’s definitely a celebration. A nice bunch of snow flurries came down yesterday and continued off and on all evening and into the night. The sun is up so they won’t stay long, but they will do a good work in the short time they are here.

I’m also thankful to be alive and well this morning. Yesterday as I tootled along Circle Drive in Saskatoon a semi coming up the ramp from the right skipped the YIELD sign and pulled right into my path. Thankfully the left lane was clear and I could quickly pull over. If there’d been traffic in that lane, and this on the bridge of the #11 Hwy overpass… It only takes two seconds to change your life completely!

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Isaiah 52:7

Relatively Speaking

Good morning everyone.

In our patch of the province we have a lovely morning with brown lawns crisp and frosted; skies are clear with no sign of the rain/snow we were supposed to get. Rain and/or snow were in the forecast last weekend and clouds have rolled over, but the precipitation fell elsewhere, leaving us dry as dust and still praying. Not quite this bad, though.

Courage.Sergey Klimkin

This spring reminds me of 1976 when there was no snow all winter; in February the dust was blowing in the streets where we lived. Not a sign of rain until the end of April. Good thing we did have snow this winter and there was some runoff, or the sloughs would be completely dry. Yesterday I saw a really sad sight: two mallards waddling along beside a tiny strip of ditch water — what’s left of the slough that was almost over the road two years ago. Where will they find a place to nest, and swim, and drink?

Enough of weather woes. I’ve said how our children gave us DNA test kits for our birthday and we sent off our samples a few weeks ago. Bob hasn’t got his results yet, but mine are in — and I now have a list of 1000 long-lost cousins who’ve also done the test. I told friends yesterday that I now have a thousand people to ask “How are we related?” 🙂

What came as a real surprise is the 9% Swedish and Norwegian. I had no clue! The other 91% is, quite predictably, British Isles.

Some names I expected:
On Mom’s side I find Harmon, Falconer, Working, and Smith.
On Dad’s side there are a few Vances, Turners, a Smith, an Allen, a Watchorn, an Alexander.
But most of the names I see, I have no clue where they fit.
The first person on the list was my cousin Laurie in Alberta. We match quite well because her grandma married her first cousin, so Laurie has double Turner genes. I also see mom’s first cousin’s daughter and mom’s sister’s grandson.

I also found a Falconer second cousin living in California and contacted her. Hopefully she’s interested in exchanging info. As you can see, my interest in genealogy has been revived. For what it’s worth. Names on a list don’t say much about the people, and you can’t help but wonder about their lives.

Fire in the Wind

Hello everyone,

I read an interesting tidbit the other day from one of these life-coach-advisor types: If you have goals in life you really want to accomplish, or if you feel like your time management ability leaves something to be desired, leave the internet alone for the first three hours of each day. This includes cell phone calls and messages.

He claims most people who’ve achieved success in life don’t start their days online. They rather spend those first prime hours reading, meditating, focusing on goals and planning their day. Conversely, people who start their day hopping and skipping around the internet, reading e-mails, and leaving short comments or messages, tend to carry on through the day with the same lack of focus and end up not getting much done and feeling very unsatisfied.

I’ve decided to follow his advice and see how it works, as I’ve been very frustrated at my tendency to be distracted, or lack of self-discipline. So I tried it this morning: I left the computer alone and read some devotional thoughts about Easter — then focused on some needed housework.

The upside: I feel like I accomplished something today. 🙂
The downside: Morning is my prime writing time. If I got busy with other things, I don’t get to my computer until the evening. (Mind you, it dosn’t help that I have a jigsaw puzzle on the go right now. 😉 )

Now, on to the Fire Wind:

Today was warm and the wind gusting high at times — and it’s been extremely dry here this spring. I was outside for a few minutes around 5 pm and thought: a bad day for a fire. As I’ve mentioned, over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to burn our “trash pile” of dead and/or pruned branches. I had a little fire last Thursday, but then the municipal Fire Ban went into effect and we can’t burn ANYTHING now. Small wonder, though: last week Saturday our volunteer firemen were called out to three big fires in this area, and we heard there was a bad one near Saskatoon last Saturday.

I came in from outside and puttered around a few minutes, then opened the west side window, since it was so warm — and I got a strong whiff of smoke. Looked out and saw smoke billowing into the sky;  it seemed to come from the farm across the field about a mile south of us. We decided to drive out and see what was happening — after all, the wind was blowing the smoke in our direction and that does make one nervous!  When we reached the road our farmer-neighbour went by in his tractor and headed across the field toward the fire.

We heard later that our son-in-law, on his way home from work, spotted the flames and called in the alarm, then went back to fight the fire. Volunteer firemen arrived and then the firetrucks, and we saw our neighbour going back and forth across the field next to that farm, plowing a fireguard to keep the fire from spreading this way in the high wind.

It burned for at least an hour and now, several hours later, there are still flashing lights at that farm. The fire was burning in their trees, so I imagine some firemen are watching to see it doesn’t flare up again.

I haven’t posted anything in honor of National Poetry Month for a few days, but thinking of fire makes me think of Aussie poet Frank Prem’s book DEVIL IN THE WIND, about the devastating bush fires he witnessed in 2009. This promises to be a fascinating account in poem form! It’s for sale now on Amazon. Here’s the dazzling cover — and the link (Amazon .com)

Devil In The Wind: Voices from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires (Poetry Anthology Book 2) by [Prem, Frank]

 

That Old Thief

Good morning everyone. Cloudy, drippy day here in south-central Sask. Not rain, but the heavy mist that rolled in during the night has made everything damp. I think everyone’s wishing for a day of good steady rain, especially the farmers.

The seniors in our church decided to have a potluck supper yesterday evening and we were among the number enjoying the delicious meal. We were about 25 in all and every lady brought one large dish, so no lack of food.

Some ladies were asking me what I plan to do today to celebrate my 66th birthday. I have a specific goal — my birthday present to me: I want to work on Seasons of Gold until it’s done and ready to be published Saturday. My son-in-law has uploaded an improved cover image to KDP, so now I need to add the manuscript, then can view it all. Then let it sit a few days; there’s always some last minute, “Oh, I’d better add /change …”

Actually the whole file is put together except for maybe a few more images, and to go through and check the spacing of the lines. I don’t know what prompts Kindle Create to do what it does, but it tends to toss extra spacing in here and there. Not a whole extra line, which would be obvious, but .19 of an extra line. Enough that if you look close you can see this poem is a bit farther apart from its follower than the follower is from its follower. If you follow me. 😉

Re: images. I really like the little hand-drawn illustrations in some of my haiku books. Birds, cherry trees, all very old-Japan looking. You know the type:
Birds-abstract

However, I have often used images from Pixabay to illustrate my poems and want to use the same type for my e-book. I’m doing about one small image and three or four poems per page.

Having a sense of humor, I’d like to stick this one in, along with Bobby Burns famous words. I don’t know if I dare be this silly in a book of Japanese-style poetry, but a wry look at human nature is what senryu is all about. In fact, I suspect this picture would have given Issa a chuckle.
Eggs + RB Quote

The Ragtag daily prompt came through at 9:30 pm last night, giving me lots of time to think about a response to the prompt word THIEF. As I consider all these years that have slipped by and wondered, as so many others, “where the time has gone,” I thought of this verse, written by Scottish poet Harvey Scott:

I saw the old thief, Father Time,
Come hirpling down the road;
He had a sack upon his back,
Lost minutes were his load.
He opened it and showed to me
Not minutes, but a host
Of years, decades, a century
And more of minutes lost.
“I want to buy year,” I said,
“And I shall pay you well.”

“If this earth’s mould were finest gold,
To you I would not sell,
For I have minutes stolen from kings,
From Milton, Shakespeare, Bach.
How could you buy such precious things?
Your common gold is trash!”…
He tied his sack and said, “Farewell.
Young man, I’ve got my fee,”
For while I tried to make him sell,
He stole an hour from me!

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