Poetry

Saying in Focus: It’s Never to Late to Learn

 

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Once more I must apologize for falling behind in posting to my blog. I had envisioned my retirement as a nice, leisurely time of life, maybe even having too much time on my hands, but that hasn’t been the case.

I have been able to slow down the progression of my pd  (parkinson’s disease) by keeping abreast of the latest developments and guidance from doctors and physical therapists and implementing them in my daily life.  Exercise of all kinds seems to be one of the most helpful tools, but it does take up time. Recently,  I happened on a website called http://www.invigoratept.com founded by Sarah King, a physical therapist. There is a wealth of information about exercise and nutrition on this site and I have joined Sarah in her challenge to exercise daily, for at least 2.5 hour a week. Today we begin week 3 of the 4 week challenge. She is also doing a series of live videos through her Invigorate Physical Therapy and Wellness Facebook page about nutrition and how what we eat affects pd. I’ve found her links to You Tube video sites of exercises developed specifically for pwp (people with parkinson’s) most helpful.

But physical exercise is only part of the picture. The brain must be exercised as well. My husband, Bill, and son, Steve, and I are into crossword puzzles and word games on our electronic devices, which help me slow down the ‘loss of words’ associated with pd.

I had never mastered Algebra in high school, so I purchased a book entitled “No Fear Algebra”and can actually say it is beginning to make some sense to me. Working out simple equations is like solving a puzzle.

I have always wanted to be able to draw, but was always too intimidated to take a class with other people. But I recently received one of the Great Courses videos – a gift from my husband – on “How to Draw”. This is perfect for me because I can pause the video as often as needed and I don’t have to rush or try to keep up with others. So far I have learned much about line and shape, aggregate shape, volume, figure-ground and positive – negative shape. There are thirty-six lectures with accompanying  lessons so it may be years before I finish.

Finally, throw in my interest in photography, poetry (see previous post for my latest) and reading, and that’s where the time goes. In a sense, having pd has determined the way my retirement will unfold, but if one has to combat a disease, why not learn a little something during the process? After all, it’s never too late to learn.

Staying in Focus: We the people

 

We the People

the malaise spreads, as the shadows descend

to bring an end to all we believe in,

our lady now weeps for those who would seek

the light of her torch in the dark of the night,

we are fast losing hold of the dream we were told

of liberty and justice for all,

 for anger divides as much as a wall –

and united we no longer stand;

the land of the free must rally once more

from mountains to desert, from shore to far shore,

and erase all the lines that are blue or red –

We the people can color them purple instead,

if we embrace compromise and compassion

we can begin to heal our nation

 and strive once more for our ideals,

if not, soon, we will rue the day

when we let the dream slip away.

pc2017

Staying in Focus: Mother Nature, Master Sculptor

This weekend Mother Nature swept in with cold temperatures and a buffet of precipitation. We had rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow.  Needless to say, the roads were icy, schools and businesses had to close and many people lost power.

Mother Nature, however, left me and my trusty camera a gift – the sun came out on Sunday and lit the ice-covered world with a crystal glow.  Mother Nature revealed her talent for ice sculpture, and I tried to capture some of it for you.

with icy fingers Mother Nature

paints each bush and tree

with silver gilt she so creates

a winter fantasy…

then I await the morning sun

with rapt anticipation

as it ignites a crystal world

beyond imagination

-pc 1998

 

 

 

Staying in Focus:Re-springing Your Step/Mountain Weekend

Daily Prompt: Tell us about the last experience you had that left you feeling fresh, energized, and rejuvenated. What was it that had such a positive effect on you?

 

The last experience I had that left me feeling relaxed and rejuvenated occurred last summer, when my husband and I and our friends, Kathi and Don, spent a weekend at the Cabins of Willow Winds in Asheville, NC.IMG_3539

Although last summer was not exceedingly hot or humid at home, the weather the weekend we were in Asheville was absolutely wonderful. We were worried because the forecast was for rain, but all we had was a brief shower one afternoon. It was in the evening that we really noticed the difference. The cabin had floor to ceiling windows, which we cranked open, and the most delightful breeze of cool mountain air flowed in, carrying with it the sounds of nocturnal creatures, insects and frogs and the like. Those sounds brought back memories of the summers of my childhood spent in a cabin near a lake. There, I would be lulled to sleep by the nighttime chorus of frogs and katydids.

We took a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, climbed up to the visitor center atop Mount MitchelIMG_3526l and ate lunch at the restaurant there, the wall of windows providing a spectacular view.IMG_3527IMG_3478 IMG_3481 IMG_3388 - Copy - Copy IMG_3392 IMG_3426 IMG_3435 IMG_3437 - Copy IMG_3448 IMG_3456 IMG_3471

We went on a ghost tour, and walked through the botanical gardens. IMG_3542Kathi and Don tried their hand at fishing in a pond on the premises of the cabin and we made our dinners in the cabin. Last year was an especially tense one with family illnesses and other stresses, but those three days in Asheville stand out as a small oasis of relaxation and rejuvenation.IMG_3600 There’s something about mountains that have always had that effect on IMG_3586me.

Blue Ridge

the mountains gather round me

endless folds of smoky blue

and the sun ignites the crystal drops

of early morning dew

wisps of misty water vapor

wreathe a distant mountain peak

and I feel a deep connection

with the spirit that I seek

in the mountains, in the places

of the wild and the free

are the answers to the problems

that quite often trouble me

so I come for grace and comfort

and I come for sweet release

my spirit seeks the mountains

here I find my inner peace

-pc 97

Mountains

When the pressures of life build to a peak

Some people find solace in shorelines and sea

But it’s often the higher ground that I seek

For it’s always been mountains for me

When I stand on a ridge at the top of the world

From worry and care I am free

I sing in the sun with my spirit unfurled

It will always be mountains for me!

-pc’03

 

Staying in Focus: Angels in the House

May you have angels to guide you

And stay close beside you

Each day of the new year to come

May they all gather round you

And gently surround you

With blessings of peace

And of love. -pc 2001

 

My favorite part of decorating the house for Christmas is trimming the trees. We have two, one of which is an angel tree. I am always on the prowl for new and unusual angels for our tree. Here are my favorites:

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Cotton Boll Angel

Woodsy Angel

Woodsy Angel

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Our Angel Tree

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abstract angel

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Pine Cone Angel

 

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Angel on a swing

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Angel Mouse

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Crystal Angel

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Golden  Angel

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Emerald Angel (my birthstone)

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Folk Art Angel

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Snowman Angel

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Spun Glass Angel

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Lollipop Angel

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Baby Angel

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Pasta Angel

Staying in Focus: Focus On: Changes

Today when I went out to water my plants, I found this lying on the grass:

 

The first red maple leaf of fall.

The first red maple leaf of fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes

Surely a sign of changes ahead

The first red leaf falls to the ground

a signal  as one season ends

another waits to begin

autumn is approaching

with its splash of vibrant color

and its days of cooler weather;

we harvest what’s been planted

as the sun beams through the trees

and gives a warm and cozy glow

to the changing leaves

autumn is the season

when nature rearranges

and we anticipate the changes

signaled by a small red leaf.

 

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Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: New Dawn

Daily Prompt: How often do you get to (or have to) be awake for sunrise? Tell us about what happened the last time you were up so early (or late…).

Sunrise Revisited

Those who have followed my blogs for a while now, know how much I love to photograph sunrises and sunsets. This may be a bit repetitive, but it was fun putting all the best in one blog. My photos often inspire my poetry. The first sunset photo was taken of the harbor at Wrightsville Beach with an old style 35mm Canon Rebel G camera back in 1998:

Harbor Sunset

liquid drops of sunlight sparkle in the bay,

and reflect a sky awash in sunset hue,

Harbor Sunset

Harbor Sunset

the trees along the shoreline form a silhouette in gray,

and the clouds amass in shades of dusky blue.

suspended for a moment between darkness and the day,

I pause to fill my senses and renew,

and with deep appreciation I continue on my way

as the sunset in the harbor fades from view.

My next favorite encounter with the sun over water was while on a cruise off the coast of Alaska. I just happened to awaken about 4AM, and saw the faintest light peeking out behind the curtain. I stood there and watched as the sun slowly cleared the sky of the dark shadows of night and let spill in the colors of  a magnificent sunrise. Later that day, the sunset was more the play of light upon the water and not color that captures the eye. These were taken with my digital Canon Rebel xsi.  This experience inspired the following Haiku poem:

Sunrise , Sunset at Sea (Haiku)

we watch the sun rise
light vanquishes the darkness                                 IMG_8448 IMG_8592
and color returns

the calm sea reflects
ribbons of orange and pink
we stand mesmerized

as the sun rises
it paints a path of gold light
for us 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

we 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

 

 

Last summer I took this photo off the coast of Scotland:

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The rays of sunlight  spilled  from the clouds like rain:

 

on a sea of inspiration

cruising round the British Isles

with sailboats as companions

tacking toward the setting sun…

and in coves,  ships find safe harbor

as the captains in their  cabins

dream of voyages  to come…

the sun bids clouds to gather

as rays of gold rain gently down

and  illuminate the sea;  for a

a sunset over Scotland forms

a memory not forgotten

easily.

-pc 2013

Finally, one needn’t be at sea to enjoy a summer sunset. A s the Fourth of July was winding down, my  mother looked out the window and saw this lovely sunset. I took these photos off my back porch:

 

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My favorite chair in my favorite room looks out at the sun rising over the neighboring houses. Until my husband retired, I was up

before dawn and able to catch the sun rising more often . Now I fall back asleep in between my first meds of the day at 6:00 AM and the next bunch at 7:30AM.But each sunrise is so special, heralding the gifts it brings light, warmth, life, and another beautiful day to enjoy, we should not miss it or take it for granted.  As Ke, says to Tuck, in my book, Escape from Mount Sanctuary, upon seeing the sun for the first time, “In all my imaginings, Tuck, never could I have envisioned a world of such glory.” “For certain, Ke, it is a world beyond imaginings.” The awe in his voice matched mine. We stood together then, hand in hand, on the precipice of our new wold. We were spellbound by the beauty before us, and humbled by a grand design we could not even begin to understand.*

If I had not been up early to catch the sunrise after a  rare southern snowfall, I would have missed taking this sunrise photo, my most unusual yet. My garden globe was situated perfectly to catch the sunrise after the storm.

As the characters in my book learn during their journey, we inhabit a beautiful planet, one t hat welcomes the day with the rising sun, and it calls us to rest as it sets.

To read more of Escape from Mount Sanctuary, it is available in print and Kindle editions at:

http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Mount-Sanctuary-Imagine-discover/dp/1499353707/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409335777&sr=1-1&keywords=escape+from+mount+sanctuary

Staying In Focus: Weekly Writing Challenge: Build Your Own: Envision

 

Daily Post:Weekly Writing Challenge: Build You Own:  Choose  a place:  scenic countryside

Choose a first line:  In my dreams I envision a place.

 

During my cruise around the British Isles last year we took bus rides out into the countryside of Ireland, Scotland and England. These photos and your prompts come together in the following poem:

 

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Envision

In my dreams I envision a place

A village nestled in the countryside

Far removed from the rush about pace

Of everyday life.

I sit in my garden, sipping my tea

And the villagers nod as they pass

Some stop by to chat with me

On happenings, this and that

The summer days are slow and warm

The sheep graze on the hill

And if this was the place where I was born

I know I’d be there still.

– pc 2014

A recent daily prompt was to imagine building a  magic tunnel. Where would it lead to? I didn’t finish it because  the appliances in my house, specifically the air conditioner and the freezer both bit the dust on the same day and thre us for a loop. The topic, however, meshed nicely with the  writing challenge.

Of Hedgerows and Tea

Another outcome of my cruise around the British Isles last summer is that  I know exactly where my tunnel will lead. It will lead directly to a small English village located in the pastoral countryside, but not too far from London. This quiet little village will be my refuge from the complications and stresses of everyday life. It will be where I go to rest, to write, to find my muse and refuel my imagination. Once this is achieved, having London nearby will provide for cultural and leisure activities. It’s not far from South Hampton where the magic cruise ships await to whisk us off to see the world.

I plan to have many good years there, but the inevitable will eventually happen and my cottage in the village will become my final.refuge. As I grow older my capabilities will decrease as the PD robs me of movement and other things too scary to contemplate at this point in my life.  So I will spend my remaining days in the garden, sipping tea and finding joy in just being.

However, as we have allowed for the possibility of a magic tunnel, the door  to  a cure for PD is open, we have all the money we need to live comfortably in our cottage , to take cruises whenever we are bitten by the travel bug, and we will live well past 100 healthy years. Now that is my kind of magic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staying in Focus: Singing the Blues

We have just returned from a wonderful week in the Blue Ridge Mountains. If nothing else, the photos I took this week certainly explain why they are named  the Blue Ridge  mountains:IMG_3615 IMG_3608 IMG_3609 IMG_3490 IMG_3493 IMG_3503IMG_3469 IMG_3476 IMG_3477

The following poems were written in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the first in 1997 and the second on this visit in 2014.

The  mountains gather round me

endless folds of smoky blue

and the sun ignites

the crystal drops

of early morning dew;

wisps of misty water vapor

wreathe a distant mountain peak

and I sense a deep connection

with the spirit that I seek;

in the mountains

in the places

of the wild and the free

are the answers to the questions

that so often elude me

so I come for grace and comfort

and I come for sweet release

my spirit needs the mountains

here I find my inner peace.

 

 

when the mountains beckon

I know that I must go

to the places where the

land is lifts up,

and crystal waters flow ;

where what I see brings peace to me

and I at  last can find

a haven where, most easily

I can rest my weary mind.

 

 

 

 

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)