Homesick

The mountain comes into view,
As I drive across the river bridge.
A drive I’d love to take today.
To me, a majestic outline, though
Small in comparison to other mountains
Barely high enough to garner the name

Hiking to its peak as a child was
Like standing on top of the world
Peering out over tops of trees
Roads, cars, and houses below
Appearing as toys in a tiny
Land of make-believe

Was home really as small as it appeared?

Time for exploring always
Ended too quickly-never enough
Time to stand on the edge.
But laughter followed as we
Made our way down the steep trail
Into the green valley below

The world again at eye-level
My head forever in the clouds

Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Never too old to feel homesick. ❤

Breathing Life

I hear it first in my memory
Although the words escape me
The tune is clear
One note leading to the next
And the next and on and on
A flawless string of sounds
Floating thru the air
Seamless as a priceless
String of pearls
Made perfectly complete as
The notes in my head move
From my thoughts thru
My eyes, my ears
Traveling the path to
My tired, aching fingers
Breathing life back into
These tired, weary bones

Childhood Memories Kelley Morris, piano

Lingering

Impossible to count
The many notes
Played in places
Near and far
On pianos, grand
And ordinary
Yet, in certain
Circumstances
Melodies hang
In the air of
My memories
As if sounding
For the first time…
I remember sitting
At a familiar piano
My hands playing
Precious hymns
Honoring a life-
My Grandma’s-
The music of both
Joy and sorrow
Where each note
Carries its own tear
Easing the grief
While lingering
In the heart

Some faces are no longer present, but their presence remains strong. Such is true of my Grandma Mahar. I smile, remembering the many Christmas Eves spent at her house. And while this poem is not about Christmas, I hope it brings honor to her memory.

Missed My Turn

Have you ever been headed somewhere and driven right past your intended destination? It is a funny feeling. I have done it many times. On my way to work early in the morning, lost in my own thoughts, a little sleepy, and…oops! Just missed my turn.

I had this experience last week on my way to the grocery store. Even deciding which of two possible stores to go to was a challenge. During this pandemic, I use the grocery pickup as much as possible. This day, however, there were no available times.

So, after much back and forth, I chose the store closest to our house. Even though store two is a little better, I am more familiar with the first store. I headed out with a list in hand.

Music is usually playing in my car, even if I am not going far. My choices are predictable. James Taylor is always an option. The Hamilton soundtrack, Need to Breathe, or the Vince Guaraldi Trio is also current favorites.

For some reason, I chose an Apple created list called “Kelley’s Station” for this short drive. I was curious. What songs did they think I would want to hear? The first several songs were old favorites. I smiled and sang along.

Then one popped up on the screen that I did not recognize. I read the title-Best Song Ever by One Direction. Hmmm…it did sound familiar, but not a regular on any of my playlists.

When the music began to play, there was an instant connection. I could see myself standing at the edge of a dance floor. Smiling, I watched my son, Robert, and his wife, Erin, dancing with all of their friends. They were having the best time laughing, singing, dancing, and celebrating!

As the Best Song Ever continued to play, I continued to remember their wedding day. Such a perfect mix of beauty and fun!

In that few moments of reminiscing, I drove right past store number one! Thankfully, the second store was only a few blocks further. At least I was able to listen to the rest of the song! Truthfully, I was kind of glad that I missed my turn. 😉

Blue Iris

I remember
The colors in
Our front yard
A row of
Beautiful blues
A row of
Bright yellows
The blue variety
Is the one that
Appears when
My eyes are
Closed tight
Not only
Clear images
A sweet scent
As well-grape-
Childhood
Memories
Accompanied
By smiles
Rows of blue iris
And my Mom
Standing in
The front yard

I realize many of us are beginning to feel the chill of winter, some more than others. Yet, it seems fitting to share this poem today. I wrote this during a recent Poetry Circle with Ali Grimshaw. http://flashlightbatteries.blog/

Sometimes memories surface when we least expect them but right when they are needed. ❤

Tomorrow’s Memories

Traditions washed away
Left with a choice-
Create new ones
Or spend hours
Grieving the old
Left with a choice-
Sprinkle drops of
Sadness on those
I love or shower
Them with love
That transcends
Traditions
Left with a choice-
Allow the temporary
To weigh down or
Be lifted up by
Treasures of
The heart
Mingling joy
With sadness
While celebrating
The mysteries of
Faith, hope, love
Family, friendship-
Understanding
Today’s choices
Will become
Tomorrow’s
Memories

Like Flying a Kite

It has been years since I have flown a kite. I remember many experiences as a kid, a parent, and even a teacher. Each one brought a different level of wonder. Running and watching with excitement as my kite took flight. Watching the excitement on the face of a child having the same experience.

Just picture it! See the kite itself, whipping in the wind, freely flying, having the time of its life. See the person standing firmly on the ground, holding the handle, making it all possible.

The person holds the handle tightly, releasing string at just the right amount at just the right time. Working hard while also enjoying the freedom displayed by the kite.

One time my cousin, Jimmy, and I were flying a kite. It was the perfect day. We held that handle so tight, guiding the kite as it traveled up to the clouds. Such a fun memory!

Until…the kite string, not tied to the handle, ran out. Our kite went on quite a journey! We watched until it flew out of sight, never to be seen again.

I suppose parenting is a bit like flying that kite. I held the kite string firm as my children grew and pulled away. My job was to guide, gradually giving more and more freedom. I was really just preparing to let them go all along.

There is one big difference. The kids often circle back and wave hello. Exactly how it should be. ❤

These ideas have been floating around in my head for a while. Since my youngest son, Ryan, turns twenty tomorrow, it seemed like an appropriate time to share. Happy Birthday, Ryan! 🙂 We love you!

Picture Reel

Frames play
In the back
Of my mind
Blurry, like a movie
Of faded memories…
Familiar, yet,
Not my own-
A young mom
Children at her feet
Gathered around
A black and white
Screen watching
The World Series
An avid baseball
Fan passing along
Her love of the game-
I have seen these
Children before
Though not as
They appear
And the mom?
This version
Is unfamiliar-
We will meet
But she will not
Share her love of
Baseball with me
One of her children
Will splice their own
Childhood images
Permanently into
My life’s reel-
Mother
To daughter
To granddaughter

Beautiful Mix

This afternoon the sun was shining! It has rained steadily for the last four days. My mood instantly changed as soon as I walked outside after school.

On my drive home, I decided to listen to one of the “created for you” playlists on iTunes. No surprise, the very first song was by James Taylor-Angels of Fenway. As you might guess, it is a song about baseball, life, family, never giving up. The melody is happy, the music energetic.  

How is it then that two simple phrases from this song instantly caused me to choke back tears? Again, the song is about baseball! Yet, here I was, driving down the highway, about to cry.

What were those phrases?

Grandma watched from her hospital bed.

It doesn’t feel like a long time ago.

Now, I don’t recall ever discussing baseball with my Grandma Mahar. But I did spend a lot of time with her growing up. She and my Grandpa lived next door.  

Grandma did not have much formal education. She took care of her parents. She also married young and raised nine children. But Grandma loved to read! It seemed like she could discuss anything. Her set of Encyclopedia Britannica was the Google of my childhood. And the bookshelves in her laundry room were always full.

Today, when I heard that first line, an image popped into my head. 

It was my Grandma sitting up in her own hospital bed. She had suffered a stroke. But on this occasion, her bed had been rolled out into a waiting area. And she was surrounded by her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.

It’s funny how some details are forgotten. I’m not exactly sure what occasion we were celebrating. But I know we were celebrating Grandma. ❤

The second line gave me a different thought. So many years have passed. Oh, how I would love to have one more visit. So many questions I would ask. So many things I would write down.  

My heart is grateful for the memories of my Grandma. And thankful for the beautiful mix of words and music that brought them to the forefront of my mind today while driving home in the warm sunshine.

Front Porch Swing

Legs crossed
One foot planted
Firmly on the floor
Securely guiding me
Back and forth
A gentle rocking
Not the flying
To the sky
Back and forth
Of childhood
No-this is
The swaying
Of contemplation
A vantage point
For the familiar-
Scenes now fuzzy
Thanks to frayed lines
On well-worn
Window screens-
Yet, beauty remains
Holding power to
Release a rush of
Memories even
As clarity fades-
New-found gratitude
Blurs my restlessness
With each image seen
With each motion felt
With each moment spent
On the front porch swing