How Are You?

So many ways
To say hello
A smile, a wave
Subtle nod
Raised voice
Not due to anger
Simply passing
At a distance
How are you?
Do I really
Want to know?
Will I slow down
And listen?
A choice to
Walk past or
Walk closer
Study expression
Notice position
Discern
Whether
Or not
I’m fine
Is an honest answer
Or a cover
For the heart
Desperately
Wanting to say
I could use a friend
Do you have time to talk?

How often do I allow the busyness of each day to hinder me from listening? Listening to myself, family, friends. It is those moments of intentional listening that remind me of the beautiful connections possible in this life. And the knowledge there is power in the simple act of stopping to listen.

A Time to Talk by Robert Frost https://poets.org/poem/time-talk?mbd=1 ❤️

Simply Sunday

Surprise!

Months on the calendar
Always the same
Each day moving
At the same speed
No single one
Able to outrun
Another
Logic says it’s so
So why is it
All of me
From head
To heart
To toes
Feels surprised
When certain
Times arrive?
In the heat
Of summer
It seemed
October
Would never
Show its face
Yet here it is
Teasing us
With hints of
Cool breezes
And hopes for
Beautiful colors
I’m sure to be
Just as surprised
When it says goodbye

Writing Circle

Sharing two poems I wrote in a recent poetry circle facilitated by Ali Grimshaw https://flashlightbatteries.blog/. I continued to be amazed at the beautiful connections made across many miles over computer screens. ❤️

At Seven

It is difficult
To remember
The me who
Once was seven
Do you find
The same
To be true?

Oh, there are
Glimpses
Flashes of
Childhood
Aided by
Photographs
The reciting
Of stories at
Family gatherings
I believe at seven
Happy outweighed sad
And freedom came
When swinging
To the sky
Then bravely
Jumping out
It is difficult
To remember
The me who
Once was seven
But I am grateful
For her spirit
Continuing
To reside in me
Even when
I’m afraid
To jump out
Of the swing

Tiny Boxes

Hours spent
Together
Make me want
To remember
Not just the present
But every visit past-
Each block of time
Long or short
Places another box
Inside my heart
Tiny boxes
Full of surprises
To open when
Days are long
Mind-wandering
Tiny boxes
Fighting battles
Threatening
To take away
Focus, purpose, joy
Tiny boxes
Filled with
Memories
Of loving and
Being loved

Simply Sunday

There and Back

How far is too far?
To travel
For one
Conversation
Over a meal
Or a cup of coffee
For one hug
Combining
Both greeting
And goodbye
Considering time
As the crucial
Measurement
These may
Seem minor
Unimportant
Except for years
Of living
That reveal
In certain times
With certain
Loved ones
That one conversation
Over a meal
Or a cup of coffee
That one hug
Combining
Both greeting
And goodbye
May hold the key
To a treasure trove
Of memories
Enough to
Last a lifetime
Face to face
Heart to heart
No thought
Given to
Time
Distance
Or the drive
There and back

Summer’s End

Sweltering heat
Suffocated
The entire
Afternoon
One step
Outside
And I was
Immobile
In the still
Stifling air
Surely, I
Would not
Wish away
A summer day-
Quite
The change
From early
This morning
When, after
One look
At the calendar
I realized
Summer was
Slipping away
And began
Wishing
It would last
Just
A little
Longer-
Now I wonder
How many days
Will pass before
A cool breeze
Blows the wisps
Of loose hair
In my messy
Ponytail

Remain Seated

The clock ticks
One second
At a time
The sun shines
One beam
At a time
And yet, with love
One second
Quickly becomes
One thousand
One sunbeam
A multitude
Flooding
Darkness
From the heart
As two sit
Together
In this space
Of time and light
Giving no thought
To the ticking clock
Or the sun’s rays
Only the desire
To remain seated
And experience
The transformation
From the measured
To the unmeasurable

Growing Up

My husband likes to tell people I was raised in a commune. I was not. I suppose, however, that a simple description could be misinterpreted. Let’s see.

Picture a two-lane country highway winding through small towns. Between two of those towns, turn onto a narrow paved road with thick trees lining both sides. Drive about a quarter of a mile until you see a clearing. My house was the first on the left.

Here is the unusual part. My grandparents’ house was in the center. And at any time over the last fifty-plus years, between four and six of their nine children lived nearby. Not a typical neighborhood with straight streets and cull de sacs. More like a valley. When standing in the middle, you could see almost everyone’s home.

Of course, we were free to come and go as we pleased. 😉 And though I left at the wise-old age of seventeen, there is no other place I would have wished to grow up.

Growing up there meant family. It meant security. And no, it was not a peaceful utopia. There were disagreements. But none that could not be solved over a cup of coffee or a few days of staying home.

My mom also grew up there, though, during her childhood, there were more forests for exploring. And with nine children, they needed the space to roam. The original house was small, with only two bedrooms and an outhouse.

I have heard stories of sleeping sideways on the bed, lots of giggling and being scared to go outside at night. Mom remembers as a small child when men came to dig a hole for their first electricity pole.

As you can imagine, they were hard workers. Whether planting in the field or washing clothes on a scrub board, there were always chores to be done. But there was also always fun to be had.

Some days, her dad would come home with a pocket full of penny candy. Enough for everyone. On Fridays, they would have chili dogs and ice cream. Can you imagine dividing a carton of ice cream for nine children? They would open the entire carton and cut it into equal squares.

My mom is now in her seventies. Four of the siblings (including my mom and dad), some grandkids, and great-grandkids live in the clearing today. Only one of her siblings, her oldest sister, Pearl, is no longer living.

Mom recently shared some thoughts that touched me. She described being overcome with emotion thinking of how hard her mom worked to make sure the kids had fun times. She was so young herself; it could not have been easy. Mom said the older she gets, the greater her appreciation for her mom grows. I think I am beginning to understand…

Noticing

How could
I have missed
Such variety
In its shades?
I suppose
When I was
Younger
Other things
Received
My attention
Easily distracted
Time spent
Looking down
Running ahead
But seldom
Looking around
Taking it all in
Is it possible
The comings
And goings of life
Moment to moment
Day to day
Year to year
Are actually
Slowing
Down
Enough
For me
To feel
All
The
Greens
Of Spring

Bald Cypress, Two Rivers Park
Little Rock, Arkansas

Stargazing

Lying on my back
In the driveway
At midnight-the stars
Were too many to count
Nothing to obscure
Their brightness

Sitting cross-legged
In the bed of a truck
Mountains rising above
Even more stars in the sky-
How could that be
With less sky to see?

Sitting quietly
In my backyard
Relaxing by the fire
Only a few of
The brightest stars
Remain visible

I know the others
Are still present
But their light
Has been dimmed
By the light of men
Even though it pales in comparison

Brothers

Strange how two
Paths begin in
The same place
Moving parallel
Until each one
Branches off
On its own
Criss-crossing
Often or seldom
Depending on
Influences from
Outside and within-
Like siblings, in a way
Inseparable as they
Share the precious
Space of childhood
One following
The other until
Big enough to
Walk side by side
Until time turns
Into distance and
The years add up
More quickly than
Either could have imagined-
No matter how far
Apart they drift
The beginning remains-
Allowing wisdom and
Sickness to reunite as
They travel unfamiliar
Yet once again
Parallel paths
Able to speak
Freely childhood truths
Long forgotten-
I love you, brother
I love you, too