I could sit out here all day; think about how high the sun sits in this open sky. Summer does not shine this bright, humidity this dry, up north. The trees do not dance as freely; the grass does not pull to the sky with such reach and stretch. Even in wilt, the petals rich with pigment, cranberry, marigold, ginger. My boys are happy to be outdoors sitting, running, laughing, swinging their arms and legs in the warm day.
I could sit out here and write morning or night, listen for the breeze brush against each blade of grass, each sun stained petal, each full green leaf. I could read against the pink and orange sunset, turn each page as the sky darkens, wonder why the sunsets in the north do not meet the moon with such rouge.
Today I am thankful for this tiny oasis, these rows of green, these full blooms and dangling branches, a bountiful space outside of a busy week, a moment of quiet and ease.
After the Oklahoma tornado, I watched, read, listened, as the story was still brewing. The cameras panned moments just after winds slowed, to capture the spread of people’s lives scattered for yards, the voices of reporters, victims in disbelief as they stumbled over words. I sat and listened carefully, thoughtfully. I called my mother, talked with my husband, watched my children as they slept last night.
I reflected on how the earth knows no bounds, how the wind can drape a wall of dark and debris, drop its spinning breath among the soil and structure, and how as humans we are present in that narrative. We live among weather, among flood, fire, hurricane, blizzard, tsunami, drought, heavy rain, tornado. In extreme weather conditions, we are often reminded how vulnerable we are as humans on this earth.
My family was reminded of that recently when last year after a series of severe storms and wind, the tree in our front yard fell on our roof. I was home alone and as water poured into the house, I ran to seek safety holding my then newborn baby of two weeks in my arms. It was like nothing I had ever experienced, it all happened so fast. We were somewhat helpless as the winds were still violently stirring outside, but I worried that tree would collapse on us inside. We had nowhere to go. We were lucky, blessed, our house tattered but not broken, our bodies safe and intact. I am thinking about those today who are not.
Last night I needed to process this most recent tragedy before speaking, before acting. And like with many of the world’s weather tragedies, I wanted to do my part to engage with efforts to support those in need. As I watched the images, read and listened to the stories, I did an exercise of collecting words to try to digest the news as it unfolded.
Writing always seems to help me think, slow down, reflect.
Words and Deeds
In these upending, vulnerable moments, many of us wonder about, pray for those affected. And like with any of our other recent weather related tragedies, many of us will contact a charity we trust working in the area that we can support. Do your research, all charities are not the same. And while I do not endorse any one charity, here are a few organizations to consider:
Underneath golden streams and inside cool breeze, weekends were made for finding shadows and standing still.
The petals wind stitched,
gather as clouds, splitting
the blades of grass, slivers
of paper, frayed ribbon
among branch and bloom
As the blooms shift and the petals begin to fall, weather permitting, take a walk through your neighborhood, near where you work, at the park, or anywhere else in full bloom and take it all in: the colors, the smells, the breeze, the soft flesh of petals, trees, branches, the cracked and jagged bark. Be sure to take your camera, your journal, your sketchbook, your wonder. Enjoy the day.
Rays from the sunrise drew forth the buds and stretched them into long stalks, lifted up sap in noiseless streams, opened petals, and sucked out scents in invisible jets and breathings.—Thomas Hardy
Spring in Ohio, partly sunny, gray skies, cool wind. Poetry.
Of needles studding the branches, then opening into little bursts.
And that Washington flower, the pink magnolia tree, blooms now
In little yards, its trunk a smoky gray. And soon the hybrid azaleas,
So much too much, will follow, and the tender lilac. Persia, we
Have much to thank you for, besides the word lapis lazuli. And someone
You know well is suffering, sees it all but not the way before
Him, hating his job and not knowing what to change it for. Have
You any advice to give? Have you learned nothing in all these
Years? “Take it as it comes.”
—James Schuyler, excerpt from Hymn to Life
This morning sun peeled away gray moon
with speckles of lemon and ginger. Birds
warned of warm in duets and trios, bright chirp
amass chimney as some woodwind horn
aimed at the sky. There was music swelling
in that brick channel, ringing among blank streets,
bare branches and evergreen. A presage,
a last note of winter, spring song and sun drop.
There is an abundance of sun, glorious sun beaming through our windows today. With sixty degrees on the horizon and after what felt like a lingering winter, surely this must be a sign of spring.
The seasons blur
in crisp white sketches
and sprawling brown.
Warm cold, warm again,
a spiraling green bloom
caught between winter and spring.
Note: Both of these images were taken yesterday. One photograph was taken in the morning, the second photo taken midday. I’ve learned to accept that Nature has every right to change her mind. Let’s hope she settles on spring sometime soon.
Sometimes what’s growing outside of the clay pot is just as interesting as what’s growing on the inside.
“…vocabulary is a plant of slow growth”—E. D. Hirsh Jr.
“Love is what you’ve been through with somebody.”—James Thurber
Love is an ongoing conversation, like spring, a perennial stance. We go through love. We move through it, like daylight rippling across the surface of water, like splitting wood opening one fine splinter at a time. We stumble through love with ourselves, with someone else, as graceful as roots lengthening beneath winter soil, stretching beyond the soft ground, blooming still.
photo credit: morguefile
After a bit of reading, re-reading, writing, I offer up words and wonder from the past week. I hope your Sunday is unfolding beautifully. Enjoy.
When it comes to you (link)
Good morning Chicago (link)
Orange and Blue (link)
In Love (link)
Love’s tongue is on fire. One foot
out the bedroom door, one ear pressed
against sharp words lost in fault, in strike,
confused by the clutter of crisp interruptions,
awkward run-on sentences, clashing blue.
Weekends, the reminder to relax, revise, to take a moment to rethink, rewrite, and remix life, writing, time. Here are a few posts from this week slightly revised and remixed. Now on to relaxing. Enjoy your Sunday!
DIY Creative: Rainbow Slice (link)
Part of the Celebration (link)
The Company We Keep (link)
“That’s the magic of revisions – every cut is necessary, and every cut hurts, but something new always grows.”—Kelly Barnhill
Just days ago six inches of snow covered the ground. Today there are gray dingy puddles beside those slow melting mounds that circle the playground and mirror the sun.
Like a relationship, in literature, poetry, writing, there are days of tension, short blustery fuses of words and stance, two characters, objects, settings teetering toward resolve, the rush of water and sand against the backs of stones.
The other day in a creative writing class of high school juniors and seniors, we talked about literary tension and how sometimes when we write we want to color tension as riddled only with angst and fury. We went further to discuss how tension can color essay, narrative, lyric, be interesting and beautiful, push and pull words, rhythm, sound, and line, be so much more than a fight.
Where do you find, create, tension in your writing, art, photography?
Well, it’s Sunday and I’m reading, listening, rewriting, revising, relaxing. Hope you are too. A few of this week’s posts (just in case you missed them)…
It snowed all day today. It will snow tomorrow, and the next day…
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself—
—Mark Strand, from Lines for Winter
As seasons change, we drift further apart, scatter like dandelion white in spring.