Universe in Verse

The Ragtime Daily Prompt this morning is UNIVERSE
and I’m cheating. I went through my Dropbox and found a haiku verse I’ve written but never posted.

Image by Henryk Niestraj — Pixabay

January night
a starless universe
oppresses the earth

Then I found some verses I did post back in 2018. I’ve edited them so today I present the abridged version:

Lunchtime

onion on cutting board
white flesh exposed, waiting
dissection at noon
my surgical imprecision

cheese slice slithers
on mayo, topped with lettuce.
the Orange and the Green —
a battle on my bun
?

meat comes next — salami —
by appointment to HRH!
Does the Queen eat salami?
I chew on the thought

biting my sandwich
I ponder the complexity
of our vast universe
as time stops for lunch.

Image by Rene Lehmkuhl — Pixabay

Snowbirds

snowbirds
come here to bask
only -30

Actually, it’s -32 C (-25 F) as I write this at 6am. The poor snowbirds will be shivering even if it is warmer here than in the northern lands they came from. They are such cute little birds. The flocks of mostly white, brown-dabbed snow buntings add a nice touch to our winter scene.

Actually -30 isn’t unbearable in itself, but if you add even the slightest breeze, the cold becomes unbearable. According to Environment Canada Saskatoon, the wind is 12 kmph (7 mph), which drops the wind chill factor to -42″C, so they’ve issued an “EXTREME COLD WARNING.” That kind of cold usually closes the schools — which in turn will likely cancel our church ladies’ Sewing day as moms stay home with children.

And, once in a lifetime…

on a Tuesday
I get to practice my 2's
writing today

White, White Everywhere!

Clipped By A “Clipper”

“Alberta Clipper” is an interesting expression for a blizzard. Maybe more quaint than saying “a snow storm coming in from the northwest.” I actually like to watch a snowstorm, but you don’t ever want to get caught out on the roads when a “clipper” blows through.

We didn’t see it coming, though Bob did see in the forecast that snow was to start in the afternoon. The temp read -4 C when we headed off to the city Monday morning with the confidence that “snow starting” couldn’t be that bad — at least not until after dark. We’d be home long before that. We had a proper lunch at Boston Pizza, seeing fat flakes drift down; before we’d finished our meal it was snowing fairly seriously. “We’d best get our groceries and head for home before the wind picks up,” Bob said.

I hurried through my shopping but by the time we were loading the car it was snowing heavily and the wind was a force to be reckoned with. As we left Saskatoon around 1:30, the main highway was still okay. Visibility was reduced and drifts starting to build up on the few curves but our lane was okay most of the way to Delisle. Still, we knew we were heading into a genuine blizzard!

By the time we reached Delisle traffic was just creeping along with visibility almost nil. When we turned onto the highway south, heading home, we faced a complete white-out. Not a trace of a road anywhere. We barely saw the tip of a stop sign and the top of the railway crossing. It was a real challenge to get turned around without getting hit; we were very thankful when we made it safely back into Delisle.

We called friends who live there but they were in the city, just starting for home. The storm had moved eastward rapidly, though; they soon turned around and got a motel room in the city. There they met their boarder who was likewise storm-stayed. Rays were kind enough to let us stay at their home even if they weren’t there. Even getting to their place wasn’t easy, with big drifts building up on the more open streets, but we finally made it and settled in for the duration.

All highways hereabouts were soon closed. Our daughter, in another town for an appointment, had tried to get home but gave up and ended up getting the last motel room. After seeing emergency vehicles heading to accidents and calling 911 for a driver who drove into the ditch in front of her! I’m so thankful none of us had to spend the night in our car in a ditch! This storm blew in so suddenly, though, I wonder how many people did?

The temp was -33 this morning, slightly breezy with brilliant sunshine. Ah, the variety of a prairie winter! 🙂

Season’s Greetings

It’s still Christmas Eve here where we live, so a good time to send warmest wishes to my friends, readers, and fellow bloggers all around the world.

I hope that those of you who are gathering with family have a great day, and those of you who –like us– intend to spend the day by yourselves, I wish you pleasant hours doing something you really enjoy. Plus some time for reflecting on the meaning of Christmas, good times you’ve had in the past, and your dreams for the future.

I expect my time will be divided between a bit of housework, reading, and working on a long-put-off sewing project. I’m in the process of piecing a blanket top from left-over fabrics. Since it’s supposed to be about -22 C I will leave outdoor activities for a milder day, but will trudge out a time or two to feed the sparrows that gather on our hedge and peer in hopefully.

We had a fresh snowfall yesterday, which will give us a lovely white Christmas Day, but it makes foraging difficult for the birds. People who read my blogs have said “You’ve got -30 C! (Our predicted low tomorrow night.) How is it everything isn’t frozen solid there?” But the sparrows — tiny, flimsy things, with bare feet even! — survive temps of -50. I suppose a scientist can explain it, but I just marvel.

Hope is a Thing with Feathers

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is HOPEFUL. Which brings to mind this classic verse by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul
and sings the tune without the words 
and never stops -- at all.
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me

I wonder if she got the inspiration for this verse from seeing birds on a winter morning, waiting hopefully for the arrival of someone with seeds? Or pigeons in the park waiting for the old guy that always feeds them?

We regularly feed the birds in our yard, but sometimes forget to refill our bird feeder until it gets totally empty. The local sparrows understand their source of food, so when I look out our living room window in the morning there they all sit in the shrubs to remind me, ever hopeful.

Image by GLady at Pixabay

Lately, if we’re too slow getting the signal, some of the bolder ones will fly onto our front step, either on the deck railing or the stairs. Then when I round the corner of the trailer toward the east side with a cup of birdseed in my hand, you should hear the rousing chorus of “Here it comes!”

Yes, our yard sparrows epitomize the thought that “hope is a thing with feathers.” Unlike Emily’s poem, however, these birds in their extremity (or not) are always asking crumbs from me. Especially on such a frigid winter morning as this.

Another Wintry Tale

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is CHILLY. You might guess that word will bring some frosty responses from those of us in northern climes.

This has been a chilly week for us. On Sunday we here in SK recorded the lowest temperature on the planet. A nice conversation piece to share as we huddle around the fireplace. 🙂

Monday morning was seriously cold, school buses didn’t run so rural schools were closed. In the afternoon the wind came up. I had a meeting to go to and stopped at the mail boxes on my way home. Exposed to the bitter wind, I believe the warning the weather man often gives: “Exposed flesh can freeze in one minute.” Coming from the cooks’ + management meeting at the Villa, I wasn’t dressed for -40!

Someone asked how we dress for this cold weather. Bundled up warmly, with gloves, fuzzy scarves around our noses and foreheads, and thickly lined coats and boots. People who must be outdoors much may wear balaclavas to keep their faces from freezing. But vehicles have improved very much over the years, with heating vents and wires through the glass. You must have a block heater if you live in this country and plug your car in on nights this cold. Below -30 your chances of starting a vehicle without one are pretty slim.

That NW wind carried on all night and most of Tuesday, blowing snow across the north south highway and stranding vehicles in ditches. Blowing in from the fields NW of us, snow filled in our driveway with hard-packed knee- to waist-deep drifts. Looking out into the garden I estimated the snow peaks at 1.5 m or 60″ and an average depth of a metre/40″ all across. I see the “whatever” is still snuggled under the garage with its breathing hole open.

Someone said we don’t have much runoff this year because the dry sandy land will soak in all the melting snow, but our yard will have extra, I’m sure. Our son-in-law came with his big loader Tuesday evening, blasted through those packed drifts in our driveway, and built us a snow hill higher than our garage, to the west of it. Now we have our own toboggan run! The highest drifts he cut through in our driveway were a metre deep. (Just measured. 🙂 )

Wednesday morning the power flicked off as I was working on the computer; it went off about 7:45 am and was out until 10:05. When it’s -35 or -36 you want power, heat, and water. (The electric pump won’t deliver water when the power’s off.) Bob lit the wood stove, which is a smokey old thing, but heats the living room to keep us from freezing. Though we weren’t in any danger for that short a time and the power company were on the ball with getting it fixed again.

The temp yesterday, Thursday, was -38C with a wind chill of -50. Schools have been closed all week. It’s been sunny, though, so we’re not dreary sitting indoors. Good skating weather for hardy souls, I suppose. And today we’re glad the thermometer has climbed to a high of -23C, so a warmer day but still on the chilly side.

Our little Tuffy made a trip to the vet today, to have some of his male aggressiveness removed. Sadly, it’s necessary to neuter even such an attractive cat, who’d give such lovely kittens, but it must be done if we want to have him in the house and peaceful. He’s got a plastic cone around his head now to keep him from licking his incision; he’s not very happy about it, but making the best of the situation with his electronic toy mouse to amuse him.

I haven’t posted much this week, wanting to share brilliant, inspiring thoughts, but not knowing how to start. I’d like to organize and condense the ideas generated from reading several articles earlier last weekend. I prefer to write upbeat things, but my heart has been heavy as I’ve read about the different Christian and political perspectives in the US. I think a lot of people, even internationally, are bewildered and/or fearful where this is all heading.

We have a “Made in USA” calendar that tells me it’s Abraham Lincoln’s birthday today. I guess he could tell us a few things about political discord. The US has survived a lot already, but when I hear about extreme elements, radically right and radically left, fired up and ready to ignite a civil war at the neighbours’, I am troubled.

Mainly I wish with all my heart that the Gospel according to Jesus Christ could be shared in its purity. I’m sure our Father in Heaven grieves over the multiplicity of confusing, contradicting, and all supposedly Christian, theologies people have come up with. I think we’re all agreed on that — but who’s ready to toss out all the embellishments and dig right down to the foundation laid by Jesus and the apostles?

Something for a future post. Keep safe and warm everyone.