March Slice of Life

My 10th year. I can’t believe I’ve been writing in the March Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers for 10 years.

I almost wasn’t going to do it this year. But a decade – that’s pretty cool.

So here I go.

See ya on 3/1/21


Tears

Tears

Tears dammed by dust-mouthed days                                 
storm my eyes and flood my cheeks
as I walk among the barren stalks

left from summer’s harvest.
Snow geese circle and land in the field.
Whispering wings descend

and rude honks crescendo as they stride about
prodding their beaks in the dark manured soil.
Dead ears of corn hang sullenly,

testaments to a season lost, betrayed.
“Elephant’s eye” became “pie in the sky.”
I flick black kernels one by one…

he loves me, he loves me not.
Clouds darken and rain begins.
A misty softness at first,

but soon the plopping and splashing
becomes puddles in the mud at my feet.
I am drenched and my soaked hair

is dripping down my back.
I turn and slog home,
muddy,
chastened,
baptized.

A single snow goose
rises and flies east where
the sky has lightened.


Poetry Zoom class

I’m participating in a zoom poetry group. There are 5 of us who show up regularly and a couple of others who show up sometimes. Three of them are published poets – as in they’ve had things published in print and they’ve been recognized in our county as poets.

I can’t really explain how much this class has come to mean to me during COVID. We meet on the 1st and 3rd Mondays over Zoom. My work is all virtual right now so I’m usually on Zoom up to 5 hours out of every day already – but this invitation to be creative, and vulnerable, as well as seen and heard as a writer far outweighs any downsides of being on zoom for one more hour in an evening.

While it has not spawned a full writing spree, it has warmed up my poetry writing juices and I dutifully attend to our homework prompts so I have something to share at the following meeting.

The most recent prompt had a whole list of categories for birds as a launch: a bird in a song, from childhood, a sports mascot, a migratory bird, bird that’s a symbol. The idea was to just make a list and then see what flowed from that. Since I’ve been going out “bird-not-birding” with my sister almost every other weekend during COVID, I’ve seen a lot of birds. But my most recent experience in a slough in Skagit County was the source for the following poem which I shared at the last Zoom meeting:

The Heron

Light filters through low clouds on this marshy slough of sepia toned grasses, cattails and bleached wood;
a broad landscape of rivulets, mud, and the bare trunks of long dead trees.
Clumps of reeds swirl slowly by with the turning tide.

Yellowleg sandpipers stand together on a floating limb.
Like soldiers at attention, they drift past the heron, who seems not to notice,
but continues to gaze intently in the direction they came from.

The heron’s reflection is a perfect mirror image in the placid water;
his steely dark eyes stare unblinking.

Minutes pass.

Then with familiar choreography,
he points his beak high, opens his indigo wings with a slight shimmy,
revealing the downy white plumage of his breast,
and brings his wings close once more.

Kildeers startle, cry and swirl in a tight circle,
and land beyond his statuesque form in the mud flats.

Unperturbed, the heron steps with deliberation
deeper into the water and stares once again into stillness.


August

the assignment for the poetry class was to write about an abundance of something…..

dusty leaves and vines
creep across the ditch
and clamber up the telephone pole
sending shoots like tentacles
into the road

I reach carefully
in between the thorns
to pluck the berries
abundant and glowing like jewels
juicy and warm
in the hot August sun


Abundance “C”

With an abundance of caution
we headed for the coast,
loading our car
with COVID essentials:
masks and sanitizer,
and a well stocked cooler.
No kitchen required
on this escape from quarantine.
We crossed county lines
at least 13 times
accompanied by campers
loaded with kayaks,
Dodge Caravans with kids,
bicycles and canines.
We arrived at the sea
and unplugged and unplanned,
finding a way
to be cautiously carefree
in a pandemic crisis.


May 2, 2020

I’m in this class,
Covid 19, I’m sure you’ve heard of it.
I have to take it to graduate;
I guess it’s a universal class for everyone right now.

I’ve never had a class
that meets every frickin’ day!

And it’s the most complex course –
a constantly changing syllabus,
somewhat self-directed,
mixed media, no reading or writing required.
Sometimes I’m in a big lecture hall,
sometimes I’m in a break-out discussion.

There’s tons of self-reflection work.

I can wear sweats and slippers to class without shame,
and get this! the class involves happy hours,
often multiple nights in row!

But it also begins the minute I get up in the morning.

The best thing about this class is there is no grade;
it’s kind of a pass/fail, but not really.
I get credit just by living.


April 26, 2020

I’m about to head into week 7 of working from home, social distancing, shopping on-line or at least, limiting my trips to the store.  And gas is $1.75.  I wish I could go on a road trip!

I walk into my closet each morning – well, sometimes every other morning – and pull out fresh underwear and socks.  I’ve been wearing the same jeans since the beginning – they were the ones I was wearing on March 15th and so I see no need to pick different pants. I’ve washed them – while wearing sweats or pj’s but for the most part, I’m in them at least 12-14 hours a day. I rotate between a few shirts, sometimes I put on something on top that I really love, but mostly it’s a choice of 3 basic dress tees.

And that pile of shoes in my closet? including the cute new boots and red loafers I purchased in March? I just can’t even imagine when I’ll wear them next.  I’m living in my slippers all day long and only use my runners for outside shoes.

I know a lot of people are enjoying cooking right now, trying out different recipes.  Heck, I hate to cook so I’ve gone back to my early marriage days eating tuna, peanut butter toast, spaghetti and mac n cheese.  We occasionally do take-out at our favorite Mexican restaurant and order pizza.  My parents like food from Olive Garden so we’ll piggy back on an order for them that we deliver.  It’s a sad diet, I know.

People ask about my creative endeavors because they know I like to knit and do crafty stuff.  I have been knitting – but I get bored with my projects.   I’ve been doing some Zentangling – that is fun and calming.

I decided to create a scavenger hunt with my sister because I need motivation to get out and walk every day.  She and her husband are birders so they go out and send me pics of where they are.  I try to guess.  So today they suggested that they leave a painted rock for me to find when they are on a walk.  I went out and left a rock on one of their favorite walks and sent a pic from where I was standing when I tucked it away.  Hopefully this little game will get me outside and moving more.

The silliest fun that I have every weekend comes from creating a new Baby at Home scenario.  This weekend it was to record Baby (me) finishing the episodes of “Making the Cut.” Who did you think was going to win?

baby at home 7


Easter eggs, COVID style

My sister sent out a Zoom invite to everyone in the family inviting us to do some egg decorating together on Saturday afternoon.

I didn’t really want to color and decorate eggs.  So I boiled eggs and made egg salad to eat during the event and then decided to play around doing Zentangle in an egg outline.  Definitely fun for me and I loved seeing all the kids and grown ups coloring eggs together.

zentangle eggs


SOL Tuesday 4-7-2020

slice of lifeI put on the mask my mom made the other day and a set of gloves and head into the grocery store.  I hate the way the mask feels, so steamy, my glasses fogging up.

I’ve never liked stuff on my face.  Even on the coldest nights when we were camping, I kept my face out of my sleeping bag.

Milk, ice cream, half n half, New York Times: a dairy-heavy grocery list today.  Back in the car I pull the mask down to my chin and head over to my parent’s place.  I walk down the driveway and around to the front deck and knock on the window.  My 87 year old mom puts on her coat and comes out to sit at one end of the picnic table with me at the opposite end. My dad sits on the other side of the glass eating apple pie at the dining room table.  He doesn’t understand why I don’t come in anymore, he never will.

This is how it is.

This is how it will be until there’s a vaccine.


Poem

His fingernails hold the edge of the newspaper,

long nail beds with tiny ridges, neatly trimmed.

They are the fingernails I remember on his mother,

holding her morning banana

as she sliced it into a bowl of milk.