Memories

Staying in Focus: Memories of Christmas Past

Christmas memories are some of our most treasured memories because they are reminders of our past, shared experiences of childhood and of family. They speak of a time  when wonder and excitement filled our lives, and we believed anything was possible.

No that I’m older, many of my Christmas memories include loved ones I have lost – my grandparents, my dad, my brother, John, and friends I’ve lost touch with. Within my Christmas memories, however, they walk with me again. I can recall, as if it were yesterday, going to buy our tree on the coldest night of the year. How my dad figured this out remains a mystery, but I can still feel the bite of the cold, our cheeks and noses cherry red, our joy when we knew we had found the perfect tree. The next step was to hang the outside lights on the next coldest night of the year! I remember helping my father string the lights on the bushes in front of our house, the snow coming down and the wind whipping it into drifts. Most of my childhood Christmases were white.

Right before Christmas each year, usually on a Sunday, we would drive up to check on our summer cabin at Lake Wallkill in Sussex County, NJ. We would stop to do a little Christmas shopping in a large department store there. We’d make our purchases as snow began to fall, and once home, rush to hide them from view. I have a clear memory of buying a set of colored pencils there. They were made of clear plastic which made it easy to see what color they were. and by twisting the top of the pencil, the color moved down to keep a point ready to color. Funny, the things you remember.

I recall the smell of the roasting turkey, the tartness of cranberry sauce and the incomparable tasty delight of one of my grandma’s pies. My grandmother had 9 children and she and my aunt lived next door to us, so at Christmas, when her seven sons and their families came to call, they dropped in for a visit with us, too. It took most of the week between Christmas and New Year’s day to visit and be visited by all our relatives and friends.

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The first Christmas I remember was when I was  5, and we traveled to Florida to visit my dad’s uncle. I remember taking a ride in a glass bottom boat in the Everglades. When I was 8, I received a Shirley Temple Treasury.IMG_7847 I still have the book, although I had to make it a new cover for it. When I  was 11, Santa brought me my first camera – a Kodak Brownie. This is the first picture I took with it.

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I recall the Christmas  I received a nine transistor radio.  It was bright red, and I could listen to Cousin Brucie on 77 WABC radio from our backyard poolside deck.  What a marvel! My first tape player, also a Christmas gift,was a reel to reel – long before 8 tracks, cassettes and the i Pod. We would tape our favorite TV shows (audio only, of course), then play them over and over.

During high school and college, I was the local TAP/CAP (Teen Action Program/College Action Program) coördinator for the March of Dimes, and each Christmas we would go out caroling and accept donations for the March of Dimes.  What fun we had strolling along under a dark sky spangled with stars, filling the cold night air with song.IMG_0003

Christmas memories grow more precious as the years go by. New traditions eventually replace the old as children grow, friendships fade, families move, and loved ones pass away but those memories of Christmases past stay with us, as clear and crisp as a winter’s day in late December.

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Staying in Focus: I Remember London

Our Walking Tour of London

 

 

Green Park

Green Park

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Bill and I waiting to chat with the queen

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The ever-present double-deck red buses

 

 

 

 

 

 

alternative transport for busy London streets

crazy roundabouts

people gather outside pubs after work

LONDON HAS MANY INTERESTING PUBS

LONDON HAS MANY INTERESTING PUBS

Winged Victory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t believe it has been a year since our cruise and our stay in London. Sometimes I can hardly believe we were there. But then I’ll remember that park, a little green park we wandered through on our way to Buckingham Palace. It was a Friday – early evening, the sun still high in the sky. People are sitting on blankets taking advantage of the sun and pleasant weather while the children run and play tag among the greenery. Others hurl Frisbees to one another, or practice their moves with a soccer ball. This could easily be a scene in any American city, but for some reason it is the first thing I visualize when I think of London.

Perhaps it is because it demonstrates how much more we are alike as people than different. How all we really want is to live our lives in peace, enjoy a simple Friday evening in a pleasant spot beneath the trees with family and friends.

I remember London

A warm day in July

The double-decker buses

And the crazy roundabouts

we find a pub

and I order fish and chips

Bill orders a Big Ben Burger

we also find a bookstore

I buy a book of sonnets

by the Bard…

 

we pass a park of green

where people relax

sitting on blankets

enjoying the sun

tossing Frisbees

and practicing moves

with soccer balls…

 

outside Buckingham Palace

people sit around the statue

of Winged Victory

awaiting the announcement

of a royal baby’s birth

tomorrow we’ll do the touristy

things, but for today

we enjoy our walking tour

of  London on a summer

evening in July

(pc 2014)

Staying in Focus: My Eye Upon the World

I didn’t get this polished and finished for writing 101, but wanted to share it anyway. The topic was to write about my most valued possession.

If I had to choose my most valued possession, I’d have to say it is my camera. Not that my camera is an expensive, professional piece of equipment, by any means.  It is a digital camera, a Canon Rebel XSi and I have several lenses for it including  a large telephoto lens. It takes excellent pictures. I consider this camera. or any camera that I’ve had over the years, my most valued possession because it is my eye on the world. It is through the lens of this camera that I define my world, from the big picture the smallest details. It captures those fleeting moments my eyes fail to see and it preserves memories in the pictures I take, giving me a visual record of my life, from childhood to senior citizen.(Now that is  a lot of pictures! ) My camera is the first thing I grab when it starts to snow, or a butterfly alights on a nearby bush. IMG_8548a Photo05_3I keep it close at hand to catch the light from the setting sun as it paints the color of the houses across the street a rosy glow.

a path of gold from the sun to me

a path of gold from the sun to me

It was my camera that witnessed with me my first sunrise at sea in the waters off the coast of Alaska.  It caught the plume from a humpback whale, and the play of light over the ocean off the coast of Scotland. From majestic mountains to a close up of a flower petalIMG_0015 - Copy, from cloud formations to bubbles in the sky, my camera and I make art where we find it, preserve memories as they happen, inspire my poetry and essays to Photo01_1 Photo01_2 - Copy Photo02_1 - Copy - Copyshare with my readers. I first became interested in photography when I received a Kodak Brownie camera for Christmas when I was seven or eight years old. My family began taking road trips when I was twelve, and each summer we travelled the USA, Canada and Mexico. My little camera got a lot of use. In my teens I had a rangefinder camera, but it wasn’t until I was married that I received my first SLR from my husband for Christmas. I still believe that camera, a Canon Rebel G,took the best pictures of all. I was leery of all this digital stuff taking over the world, but now I wouldn’t go back for anything. Digital cameras are amazing. Within minutes of returning home from vacation, I have my photos downloaded into my laptop, uploaded to Facebook, WordPress and Snapfish. I can run off albums using Photoshop Elements 10, make calendars and books on Snapfish, and have 8 x 10 s framed and displayed before bedtime. I haven’t really explored photography using smart phone or my Kindle Fire HD-X tablet but I imagine technology will nudge me in that direction sooner or later. Someday when I may have forgotten much of my life experience, someone might slip a book of my photos on my lap and the pictures in it may spark a memory here and there. My camera, my eye upon the world, is valuable to me because it  has helped me leave a legacy, a story in photographs of one who lived and what she loved. Here are a few more reasons my camera is my most valuable possession. IMG_0003 IMG_0004 IMGa IMG_0003aIMG_256a5IMG_2893IMG_3067stonehenge

 

SURPRISE!

SURPRISE!

 

 

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Staying in Focus: Escape from Mount Sanctuary

ANNOUNCING the release of my novel for children:

 

 

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Although written with children in mind, the story is one you will never forget, a story of friendship, acceptance and tolerance for those different from us, of family and courage and sacrifice. It is a cautionary tale written to remind us how beautiful, yet fragile, is our world,  and how important is our stewardship of  it. It is  a story of  a boy coming of age, for readers of all ages.

 

Escape from Mount Sanctuary now available from the Kindle store at Amazon.com. It’s a bargain at only $.99. No Kindle, no problem. Simply download the FREE Kindle app  and you can view the book on your computer.  Here’s a link to the site:

http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Mount-Sanctuary-Imagine-discover-ebook/dp/B00JYJ5AZI/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_dnr_2

 

On the lower right hand corner of the page you will see a link to the free Kindle app. The book will be available in print on demand in the coming weeks if you prefer traditional books.

Book Description

 April 25, 2014
What if you had the chance to discover the world all over again? In Escape from Mount Sanctuary, a young boy named Ke does exactly that. Ke has lived his life in special caverns built to shelter survivors and their descendants beneath the Earth’s surface following a cataclysmic event ages ago. Ke learns that there is an “outside” to his world, a world long thought abandoned. Ke is intrigued, especially when he meets a girl (Mira) from an outside settlement and a wolf named Tip, who possesses special abilities. With this pair of adventurers, Ke and his elder friend, Tuck, embark on a journey into a world far more wondrous, and dangerous, than they imagined. During their journey, Ke, a naïve young boy with dreams of becoming a storyteller, learns much about friendships and family, self-reliance and sacrifice. By journey’s end, they all come to realize that courage is not measured by one’s size or one’s age, but by the conviction in one’s heart. Their story celebrates the joy of discovery, the wonder of our world and the rewards of perseverance. It encourages its readers to follow their dreams wherever they may lead. It is about discovering the world all over again.

Staying in Focus/Daily Prompt: Our House

Daily Prompt : Our House   What are the earliest memories of the place you lived in as a child? Describe your house. What did it look like? How did it smell? What did it sound like? Was it quiet like a library, or full of the noise of life? Tell us all about it, in as much detail as you can recall. 

The house I grew up in…1319 Ringwood Avenue, Haskell, NJ.It was an old house, even back then, in 1953.Photo_0039_3 It was a two story house with a screened front porch, 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, a big country kitchen, living room and a semi-finished basement.  It had a front “parlor” designated for receiving guests, but we were much more casual a family, and everyone gravitated  to my mother’s warm, friendly kitchen. In later years, my father knocked down the wall separating the living room and the parlor, into one large family room.IMG_0003

The three bedrooms were all upstairs, so if we needed to use the facilities, we had to go downstairs through the living room and into the kitchen. The bathroom was located off the kitchen and contained a commode, sink and  a shower. We had no bathtub, and when we were little we were bathed in the kitchen sink!IMG_0001 The tile behind me in the picture was red as was the ceiling. Thus it became known ad Mom’s red kitchen. You can see the red ceiling in this next picture, of a common occurrence at our house -guests.IMG_0004 My mother was one of nine children and her mother, our grandma,  lived next door, so there was  a steady stream of visitors for birthdays, holidays, or to play cards on a Saturday night. The door was always open at Jack and Ann’s. Our friends were always welcome , too. The basement evolved from a playroom for little ones, to a hang out spot for cousins and friends. My earliest memory of the house was sitting on the front porch on parade day – we had them for memorial day, veteran’s day,and the Fourth of July. We’d sit with our grandma, and wave to the paraders, and then later the Struble clan would descend on us for a big picnic that lasted well after the fireflies lit the night sky. Six of us lived in that house, and four of us were raised there. I left only when I married, at age 23. Somehow we all managed to take our showers,  fix our hair and put on our makeup, with only one bathroom.

Today my husband and I live in a house with 3 full baths, one  a master bath with  a big tub and separate shower. We managed to talk to our friends on one landline telephone, no cell phones in those days. By the time   we were dating, though, dad added  a phone in the basement. Despite these austere , in today’s world, circumstances, we did not feel deprived because although old  (it even had  a coal cellar for the days before oil and gas), it was filled with what counted most – love. It started with two loving people who brought up 4 great kids, filled their home with music and books, family and friends and warm memories which have stayed with me throughout my life. It’s with a smile I recall that house, the shouts and laughter of children playing in the yard, the quiet talk of grown -ups sitting on the porch on a summer’s eve, the tinkle of ice in their drinks, I can smell the turkey my dad roasted for Thanksgiving dinner, and Mom’s pumpkin pie. They were a team, my parents, their love strong and steady for nearly 50 years before he passed away . My mom will be 91 in May. She is the last of her family – so many passed on. However, it is with ease that I can close my eyes and see them all in that house  –  a house of  family, friendship,  love and treasured memories.

I am working on a memoir/scrapbook, and I wrote this prose poem for it:

The Last Stop

this is the last stop  on our tour of  historic houses of Haskell, NJ in fact, this is the last tour ever as these 8 homes are slated for deconstruction to widen the road who could have  foreseen an interstate highway in 1930? some call it progress; I prefer preserving  –  these homes and our connection to a time now past. as you can see, this first home’s primary asset is its 19thcentury charm The wide, front porch brings to mind summer days and glasses of lemonade  enjoyed by neighbors stopping in to “sit a spell” and this large, red  kitchen is, most certainly, the heart  of the  home I can almost smell the bread and pies cooling on the counter , can’t you? off the kitchen here, is the only bathroom, but I’ve been told a family of six managed just fine, living here for nearly thirty years. can you imagine that? and take a look at this big backyard, I can hear the voices of children playing tag on a warm summer’s eve, listen closely, you can hear them can’t you?

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Staying in Focus/Daily Prompt: Always Something There to Remind Me

IMGDaily Prompt:  A song comes on the radio and instantly, you’re transported to a different time and place. Which song(s) bring back memories for you and why? Be sure to mention the song, and describe the memory it evokes.

The song that evokes the most emotion for me is the song we chose to dance to at our wedding reception, “Here, There and Everywhere” by the Beatles.  As I mentioned in my last post , neither Bill nor I were comfortable dancing but it was dancing, or rather not dancing, that brought us together. The year before we married, we were both in his sister’s wedding party.  I spent most of the reception hiding from the best man so I would not have to dance. Bill was also disinclined to dance, and so we spent some time getting to know each other in the hallway outside the reception room. We started dating before the newlyweds returned from their honeymoon.

When we arrived at our wedding reception, the band asked us what song we wanted for our first dance as husband and wife.  We didn’t really have a song we called “our song.” We had not really thought about this, having put the dancing part of the festivities to the back of our minds, but Bill suggested “Here, There and Everywhere”. It was appropriate, as he is a big Beatles fan, even if it wasn’t “our song” per se before the wedding reception.

Bill’s dad had given us some quick dance lessons prior to the wedding, and I managed to get through two dances, one with Bill and one with my dad.

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Touring John Lennon’s house , July 2, 2013

This summer we travelled to England and visited the city of Liverpool. We took a Beatles Tour and actually had the opportunity to tour both John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s childhood homes. Of course, the bus driver had Beatle songs playing while we drove about, and “Here, There and Everywhere” was one of them. When it came on, I said, “Hey, they’re playing our song. “

As we drove along listening to the words, the feelings of that special day so long ago came flooding, back – excitement, nerves, anticipation in beginning our life together.  The future was ours, the path ahead open and inviting. All the experiences we would have together, the family we would create, the ups and down’s of life we would face – all ahead of us, all, yet, unwritten.

The words of the song ring true to us now as they did thirty-eight years ago, on September 4 th, 1976:

Here, There and Everywhere

By John Lennon and Paul McCartney

To lead a better life I need my love to be here…

Here, making each day of the year
Changing my life with the wave of her hand
Nobody can deny that there’s something there

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Bill at Paul McCartney’s house

There, running my hands through her hair
Both of us thinking how good it can be
Someone is speaking but she doesn’t know he’s there

I want her everywhere and if she’s beside me
I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her everywhere
Knowing that love is to share

Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I’m always there

I want her everywhere and if she’s beside me
I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her everywhere
Knowing that love is to share

Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I’m always there

I will be there and everywhere
Here, there and everywhere

A bi tof trivia about the song:  It was named 4th best song of all time by Mojo in 2000. Paul McCartney has said it is one of his favorites, and John Lennon once commented that he thought it was the best song on the album (Revolver).

Staying in Focus:Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance

Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance:In my earliest memories of dancing, I’m under my auntie Nancy’s dining room table, (which had been pushed off to the side of the room), watching my mom, dad, aunties, and uncles all dancing on the hardwood floor to a never-ending stack of 45 records, dropping one after the other. I remember foot-high stacks of 45s all around the record player. The song that I remember playing most? Twistin’ the Night Away by Sam Cooke. Every time I hear that song, I remember auntie’s spontaneous dance parties. What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?

Sadly, I have no fond memories of dancing from a personal perspective. I have absolutely no sense of rhythm and my mother’s sincere attempt to help me by enrolling me in dance lessons lasted about one lesson. I suppose my earliest exposure to dance was watching the various animated characters waltz and twirl their way across the movie screen in Disney films.  A little later, I was an avid fan of American Bandstand, enjoying the music and the gyrations of people in tune with it.

I love music in many forms from classical to rock, folk to pop.  I was 7 years old in 1960, 11 when the Beatles made their Ed Sullivan début, a time when music and dance wove their way into the tapestry of our lives.  Everybody wanted to be in a band.  We all had ‘nine transistor’ radios. We all knew the top ten hits and grooved with Cousin Brucie.

However, school dances were fraught with anxiety. I wanted to attend, to hear the music and participate  in high school activities, but the thought of trying to dance in front of others filled me with fear.

I tried dancercise with a friend once. I was going left when they were going right and I never did figure out that grapevine step. I know the instructor was relieved when I failed to return, because I messed up her choreography.

My lack of rhythm with dance and music accompanied my inability to sing, as well.  I attended a Catholic school and every morning before school started, we were required to attend Mass. One day, in fourth grade, I think, we attended Mass in the choir loft with the church choir director playing the organ.  She was on the lookout for new voices for her choir. I employed my usual strategy of just mouthing the words, without sound. She wasn’t fooled, however, and brought me down next to the organ so she could hear me sing.  She asked me if I were an Alto or a Soprano. You tell me, you’re the one with the, organ and sheets of music in front of you, I wanted to say, but I just shrugged my shoulders. She listened to me sing the next song and obviously couldn’t figure out what I was, either, because she promptly returned me to my seat, and never asked me to sing again. I was happy though; relieved I didn’t have to pretend to sing anymore. Instead, the nuns assigned me to leave the choir early and go down to the teacher’s lounge and put on a kettle of water for their morning tea.

It’s just as well I decided early on not to pursue a career in the performing arts.  There’s not a lot of need for a tone-deaf singer/dancer with two left feet and Parkinson’s disease!

I did not despair, however. I can exercise to the “Oldies” with panache, stretch and meditate to new age music as I do my yoga and tai chi practices and pedal my exercise bike to hundreds of songs on my iPod. Music and movement are in my life, just not in the form of dance.

We each have our own special gifts. Some people can dance and sing, some people, like me, enjoy writing and photography.  I am most grateful for my special gifts. Speaking of which, I have finished the manuscript of my book and am getting ready to upload it. (See my Focus on Fiction Blog for the latest updates and a sneak peek at Chapter 2 ). patcoyle76.@wordpress.com

Once I received my Parkinson’s diagnosis, I realized there was no going back for certain things – like dancing, and that there was a time to let go of others like tennis and driving. To every season, there is a purpose and mine now is to enjoy the gifts I’ve been given for as long as I can. Still, one can wish…

Belated Wishes

I wish that I had learned to dance

to glide with grace

my feet in place

I wish that I had learned to dance

(long ago,  I had the chance)

I wish that I could really sing

notes as pure

as birds in spring

to be in tune with everything

(I would have loved to sing)

I wish that I could walk with ease

and go everywhere I please

(and never worry my feet might freeze)

Moving now is a challenge, though

Count your steps

Heel to toe

Moving is a challenge

(though it wasn’t always so)

and when I had the chance

I wish I’d learned to dance.

-pc2009

Staying in Focus:Daily Prompt: Good Time

 Daily Prompt:Imagine that tomorrow, all of your duties and obligations evaporate for the day. You get the day all to yourself, to do anything you please. What types of fun activities would make your day?

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/daily-prompt-good-time/

a path of gold from the sun to me You have to see this place!

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I awaken just before sunrise, after a good night’s sleep free of the crazy, Technicolor dreams induced by my medications. I get out of bed, quietly tiptoe across the room, and peek out between the drapes. The sun has just cleared the horizon and the beautiful hues of pink and orange sunrise dance across the waters toward my feet. As I take pictures of the beautiful scene, I enjoy total silence – no one would believe thousands of people surround me. As the sunrises, it reveals mountains covered with snow, their lofty peaks shrouded in mists. Small icebergs float by, jewels of aquamarine. Slightly ahead and off to the right, I am treated to the breaching of a humpback whale.

The day that has just begun will be filled with amazing scenery, more whale watching, maybe exploring a coastal town, say Juneau  or Sitka, followed by a delicious dinner, an evening’s entertainment, maybe some trivia in one of lounges. The sun is unwilling to set in this Land of the Midnight Sun and we are reluctant to stop for the day because this is an imaginary day and tomorrow reality returns.

I am reminded of a scene in the movie Groundhog Day, when Bill Murray, trapped in time and made to repeat Groundhog Day again and again recalls a far better day in his past life and says,  “… that was a pretty good day. Why couldn’t I have that day to live over and over…”

I try, on special days like these, to be present, in the moment, but as hard as I try, the day slips away, leaving only memories. I look at the pictures I have taken on such special days, and think to myself, was I really there?  Why didn’t I pay more attention? But I can close my eye and remember all the beautiful places I’ve seen and one of the most beautiful is Alaska. As I hold to the adage, “Think Big!” I could think of nothing bigger or more  beautiful, than spending my imaginary day in Alaska.  The following is  a poem I wrote following my visit to Alaska in 2012.

This one is a sestina.  It has 6 verses and each sentence of each verse must end in one of six words.  I chose; Alaska, glaciers, aquamarine, paradise, mountains, whales.  In each verse these words move around according to a preset form.  It ends with a tercet (3 lines) and in each of those lines are two of the six words. It is a form of poetry that uses repetition.

And Did I Mention the Water is Aquamarine?

a pristine wilderness, wild and untamed,  a place called Alaska

a land of bears and  bald eagles;  graced with icy glaciers

and did I mention the water is aquamarine?

our ship slowly starts passage into the fjord, a slim slice of paradise

we pass the silent sentinels,  the mighty mountains,

a sudden disturbance in the water;  we are in the company of whales

we spy a spout of steam,  a telltale sign, we watch for the whales

in summer, they come to feed on small fish off the coast of Alaska

fresh water runs in rivers from the melting snows of the mountains

slowly they move, ages old, ever changing,  grinding rock and ice, the glaciers

glow on a rare sunny day in July. We are thankful to be here in such a paradise

enchanted,  we watch the sunlight sparkle on waters of aquamarine

this is a color rarely seen – a translucent version of aquamarine

so pretty when it swirls, and suddenly,  there appear two killer whales

azure skies, the brilliant sun, running waters, crystal ice, this is my paradise

and a dream come true – long have I waited to come to Alaska

to see blue ice glowing in the fissures of the glaciers

and marvel at the snow- capped peaks of lofty, rugged  mountains

beaches are fine, but take me to the mountains

especially those that surround waters of aquamarine

crack! the sound echoes, as  ice splits from the glaciers

in the gold of the setting sun, the breach of a whale

I’ll forever remember the unrestrained beauty –Alaska

has all the facets of a true paradise

I walk in the beauty of this wilderness paradise

where wisps of fog conceal the tops of the mountains,

the leaves strung with pearls of morning dew.  Of Alaska,

I’ll always remember that incredible shade of aquamarine

and that sound in the night – the exhaling  breath of a whale

and those blue icebergs sailing by,  spawned by the glaciers

despite their age, there is a fragile beauty in the glaciers,

which is woven in the fabric of this natural paradise

I can hear it calling to me in the singing of the whales

as it  echoes through the canyons of the waiting mountains

and reflects in the waters of aquamarine

it’s a song of the wilderness,  – the song of Alaska

I came in search of whales, and the snow-capped mountains,

which rise in silhouette above the glacier icefields, in a paradise,

a dream taken form in aquamarine – Alaska.

Staying in Focus: Sweet Sixteen: The Bracelet

Daily Post: Sweet Sixteen

Write a post inspired by your sixteenth birthday

On my sixteenth birthday, I received a silver charm bracelet from my parents. Dangling from the silver chain was one round charm with the words “Sweet Sixteen” embossed on it. I wrote this poem last year, for a poetry class I was taking at the time. It is now an entry in my scrapbook memoir.

the bracelet

reflecting the spring  sun

with a delightful sparkle

I move my arm gently

to hear the delicate tinkle

of a single charm

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“sweet sixteen”

dangling alone from a

bracelet of silver links

empty but waiting, like me

to be filled with the moments

of my life;

reflecting the autumn sun in a

burst of brilliance,

so many memories dangle now

filling the links, elbowing for attention,                    IMG_2628

places I’ve been,

milestones, celebrations

an aspen leaf, a graduation cap, a heart

here and there, a  few scratches

mark the passage of time

but the sparkle remains

and the once delicate tinkle

is louder now,  confident

sounding more like wind chimes

singing their song in the

blowing wind,  singing

the moments of my life –

pc 2013

I will leave both my silver and gold charm bracelets to my granddaughter, Evelyn. I have identified each charm on the bracelets, and what it meant to me, so she’ll know a little more about me and the things that mattered most to me, the places I visited  and the hobbies I pursued. We continue to exist as long as someone remembers us and a charm bracelet is a great starting point to adding color to those memories.

Staying in Focus: DailyPrompt: Happy, Happy

Daily Prompt:

What does “happiness” look like to you?


My family makes me happy. Without the love from my mother, sister and brother, their spouses and children, my husband and two sons and my two beautiful grandchildren, I could not be happy.

My friends make me happy – a day’s outing, vacationing together, exchanging letters and email, and sharing good times together – these are the moments in my life I associate with happiness.

But I have had two totally happy moments in my life. moments when what I was experiencing eclipsed everything else, and I stood immersed in the feelings of happiness and joy, oblivious to everything else.

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The first occurred at the top of a lofty mountain peak in Jasper, Alberta. Canada. We had taken a lift up the side of the mountain, and my parents decided to sit and enjoy the view over a cup of coffee. My sister and I decided to climb to the peak of the mountain. We reached the top just as the sun was beginning to drop in the sky.  To the west, the sun set the sky on fire, rays of golden light reaching out toward us’ to the east, clouds diffused the radiance to a gentle glow. The scene just blew me away. I felt a part of something larger, something above and beyond my understanding, a feeling that touched my very soul.  I don’t know if you have ever experienced such a moment, but for me, that moment was pure happiness.IMG_0001_edited-1

Sunrise off the coast of Alaska

Sunrise off the coast of Alaska

a path of gold from the sun to me
a path of gold from the sun to me

a path of gold from the sun to me

The second occurred two summers ago on our first cruise to Alaska.  I woke up just as the sun was making its appearance in the Land of the Midnight Sun.  As I watched the sun grew brighter, rising in the sky and chasing away the shadows of night. I grabbed my camera and caught the sun as it painted a path of gold across the water. In that moment, it was just me and the sun and the ocean and once again that veil of pure contentment settled on my shoulders, and my spirit filled with happiness and joy. We would go on to enjoy the pristine beauty of Alaska, the waterfalls and icebergs,  and even  encounter humpback whales, but it was that moment of my first sunrise at sea  and that sunset  atop a mountain in Jasper, Alberta that I will that I will hold close forever, and remember  as my moments of pure happiness and joy.

My poems:

Summit

standing on the summit

of a mountain way up high,

where only rocks and boulders

rise to meet the mighty sky,

to the west the sun is sinking

and it sets the sky ablaze,

to the east the rolling clouds

diffuse the colors to a haze,

and all the myriad problems

that so often trouble me.

Are forgotten as I witness

nature’s awesome majesty.

Jasper, Canada

1975

Sunrise , Sunset at Sea

 

I watch the sun rise

light vanquishes the darkness

and color returns

 

the calm sea reflects

ribbons of orange and pink

I stand mesmerized

 

as the sun rises

it paints a path of gold light

for me to follow

 

as the sun lowers

bands of dark purple and blue

bruise the evening sky

 

rays of pale sunlight

reach out across the water

the sun bids farewell

 

I watch the sun set

the shades of night seep in

the sky veiled in gray

 

the calm sea darkens

a weary sun now at rest

color fades to black

                              pc ‘2012