I stumbled across this Meme over at f8hasit. Nancy is a pretty funny lady, so I heartily laughed my way through her list . As I wandered merrily along my way in the big ole blog-o-sphere, to my surprise I found another copy of it. What to my wondering eyes should appear, but a link to Me over at Suzicate's site tagging me in the game as well! With such beautiful words from her, I cannot help but play along. My friend Suzicate is a pretty funny lady when she wants to be as well, although I think I love her poetry best. The game here is to share 25 things that you didn't know about me or might not have wanted to know at all! Hah haa! This might take a while, but I will rack my brain to see if I can drudge out a thought or two to tickle you with.
1. I was very shy as a child, hiding behind my Mother's legs, until it drove her nuts. Most people are shocked by that, as I have been told that I never shut up nowadays.
2. I have webbed toes. On my left foot, two of my twos are joined up to the last knuckle. People were always teasing me about being a good swimmer and called me a duck as a kid. Haha, I exclaim for the millionth time. Yes, you won't ever find a toe ring here!
3. I did not aspire to be a mini-van driving Mama, but it happened anyway. I was quite content to toodle around in my little Honda Civic and pretend I was a race car driver, but those days are long gone. Now I am the driver of an Idon'tCaravan and I treat it like a truck. I can jam in a Christmas tree, lumber, groceries and hordes of screaming children. Sometimes even at the same time. I just wish for the limousine glass that I could roll back up for privacy's sake. The closest I get is the volume dial on the stereo...
4. I was the teacher's pet most of the way through primary school. I had a very small handful of girlfriends, but mostly kept to myself reading books, studying and pulling off top marks in school. That all changed when I hit high school.
5. When I started high school, I retained some of my quiet ways, but quickly added to my friendship circle. While there was a whack of us who became friends, we were kind of the fringe party of RHHS; Gina, Rocker, Punker, Goth Chicks, Rapper, JAP, Surfer Chick, Smart nerdy girl (Not really even me by the time high school was done!), Churchy girl, laid-back pot-smoking west coaster. A little mish-mash of groups that did not exist in other corners, so we banded together and made it mostly work. Go ahead and guess where I fit in :)
6. I hate to clean. I should be cleaning my house right now, as friends are coming over for dinner, but I am sitting at the computer again. Sigh, perhaps I should finish my list later...
7. I often need the pressure to be on for me to accomplish things, especially if they are not exactly favourite activities. Yes, I got my bathroom cleaned, but the floor did not see the mop. For shame, for shame.
8. At the age of 18 you are legal to vote in Canada. My Mom came home so excited to take me out to vote for the first time. She was shocked to find me in the bathroom surrounded by piles of blonde hair with my sister and step-brother shaving my head. I left some bangs for a chelsea-cut style that I thought looked kind of cool. She did not. She turned around and left and voted without me. Once I brushed all the little hairs off the back of my neck, I went and voted with my step-father.
9. I kept the shaved head for eight months. At that point I jumped into a station wagon with my boyfriend at the time and a buddy of his for a road trip out to BC. I was away from a razor, so turned from a fuzzy peach to a mottled shag. It eventually grew back thicker. As my hair had always been baby fine, I was cool with that. My sister's boyfriend thinks that she should shave her head to make her hair thicker. She has not acquiesced thus far.
10. I have been writing this blog for over a year now and writing most every day for about seven months. I am so proud of myself for sticking with it and love what the experience has brought me thus far. Namely YOU, reading today, your comments and the confidence and skill it is offering my writing.
11. When I started this blog, it was with the thought that it would be another writing outlet and would potentially make me some money. Well, the money isn't exactly pouring in, but opportunities are presenting themselves that offer potential. The best part though is that I am loving the writing and would never have dreamed of the support that is out there! Yippee blogging!
12. I work with an artist, but have so little artistic skill that I wonder why they keep me some days. Again, with practice I guess we get better at everything.
13. I have painted every room in my house, but my bedroom. Aside from help in the kitchen and back doorway (with high ceilings that I just did not feel like challenging myself to), I have painted all of those rooms myself, including the ceilings. Again, I like to think that practice makes for a better skill. Saving my room for last :-)
14. I have used a wet-saw tile cutter and loved it. I cut all the tiles for the bathroom floor in our basement. Girl power!
15. Power tools generally make me nervous or downright scare the bejesus out of me. I have too vivid an imagination.
16. I worked in a body shop (automotive repair facility you dirty people!) for over four years. I sometimes believe therefore that some knowledge about cars was gleaned by me. I will wiggle under my van staring at the undercarriage and realize that - osmosis doesn't work like that.
17.While I don't mind getting my hands dirty in the garden, I HATED getting my fingers dirty eating dinner as a child. I wouldn't eat wings, ribs or most things you had to pick up with your hands. I still won't eat ribs, unless I am being polite.
18. As a good Canadian, I am polite most of the time, but I will refuse your bacon every time.
19. I so want to get my motorcycle license. I figure that I will have to wait until the girls are older or I get myself a side-car bike. They would be the coolest kids in kindergarden to be dropped off by a side-car bike. Yeah!
20. While I have visited many, many countries over the world, I have only ever lived in Canada.
21. I have eaten worms, grasshoppers, deer and ostrich, but do not like olives no matter how many times I try to give them a chance. I will take my martini with a twist, thank you.
22. I love my book club, but probably picked the worst book of the year for us to read when it was my turn. An embarrassment, but they haven't kicked me out, so I'm okay with that.
23. I played french horn for 2 years in primary school and trumpet for two years in high school. Unfortunately, I don't think my rhythm is any better than my painting skills. Ohh!
24. I hate horror movies. When I was a kid, I used to hide under a blanket and wait for my "younger" sister to tell me when it was safe to look. She always lied to me. I still hate horror films.
25. I cannot believe that I came up with 25 things to share here! Not sure if anyone made it to the end and I applaud you for it, if you did. I have to admit there were some brain cells scraping and firing away, but there you have it. A little stick-to-it-iveness from me.
While the suggestion was to tag people, I think I will leave that in your hands. I want to thank Suzicate again for poking me to play, as I had fun. Don't we all want to think about ourselves for just a minute? Yeah, you know you do. So if you DO decide to take a whirl at this here Meme, let me know. I would love to be nosey and read up all about you. Come again! You never know what you will find here tomorrow...
I would whine, but really I am just happy to get stuff out of my house. Once it is in the driveway, the rule is it does NOT go back in the house. Kijiji is where the desk will hopefully disappear to, but Goodwill welcomed our beautiful seconds with open arms. Someone will re-purpose and give those errant stuffies and stools good homes I am sure. For some lucky visitors there were great deals to be had. You other cheap buggers out there drive me nuts, but it is done for another year. Now I have a smidgen more space to add more NEW beautiful junk of my own. Happy Saturday!
She wandered through the long grass, eyes searching everywhere. Her candy-apple red Mustang convertible shone in the hot mid-day sun, but its glare faded behind her as she slowly walked further and further away from it. From behind her she heard the beginning of the tune "Material Girl". She had left her cell phone in the car. Any other day, she would have been in a panic to flip open her life-line and primp for the call. Today, it did not matter though.
"Where was it?" she wondered to herself , stopping every once in a while to scan around her. It seemed she had looked everywhere and was beginning to lose hope that she would find it. A pout crossed her face and she was tempted to stomp her foot. Looking around her, she found her audience coldly unfeeling to her plight. No one cared. She was alone in her search with no one to direct to do her bidding. Her petulance dissolved in a huff. Her eyes stared flatly at the markings around her. Thoughts of tears were wasted here. This too would bring no assistance, although a single pearl slid down her cheek. She stumbled across a tree branch and crumpled to the ground. A small cry escaped her lips and she winced in pain. Finally her self-pity got the best of her.She shuddered and flung herself to the ground erupting in the tears that now were too real to control. It was too much. She sat hunched over in the grass letting the sobs escape her.
The wind whispered in the trees around her. Slowly she slackened her torrents and sat up. The whispers seemed to call to her. A brisk wind blew through an oak that hung its branches down to the ground. Its movement drew her eyes and she slowly lifted herself, drawing towards where the branches swayed. Her hand reached up to still the branch that hovered. The energy that flowed dropped her to her knees again. Her gaze took in the soiled pantyhose, then focussed beyond. She had found it. Desperately she scrabbled through her purse. Her fingers finally found the sought after item at the bottom; an old tooth brush. With shaking hands, she scratched at the soft limestone covered in ancient mosses. The letters emerged unwillingly one by one, until at last they were all revealed. Her expensive polished manicure was a memory left in yesterday's visions. She stared at the name written in front of her. Her mind blew hollow, as the wind drifted away. The sun retreated behind a cloud-cluster that had formed rapidly over top of her. Hard droplets splattered on the stone at her wrist. The brush clattered to its surface
Well, it looks like the Poet's Rally at Jingle's is no more. As her closing last hurrah, she posted up the Poet of May Awards. I will take it to display with pride. I know that for whatever issues Jingle has, she worked very hard at the rally that she organized. I find it amazing that she always managed to visit so many poets and always find even more every week. She was diligent about commenting and visiting everyone that joined the rally, which I applaud her for. She also visited all participants after the rally was done to personally hand out any awards. I hope for her sake that the troubles that have befallen her give her opportunity for pause, reflection, change and regrowth. She inspired many and created a great community where people could come together to appreciate each others work. For that reason and because I know that others have appreciated my work, I post the Celebrate the Poets of May award and congratulate everyone who put themselves out there for so many to appraise and praise over the days, weeks and months past. May your love of poetry continue to flourish.
the words within me flow freely, soar softly not for thee, although I love that you see.
I hold heart exquisitely, tenderly with words that flee across pages free every time I want to be heard lovingly.
For it is ME that I write for Me that heals my soul me that needs release and finds it with the words on the page.
You are just along for my ride, but I hope you enjoy the journey. ~Peace~
I did not look back as Durban trailed away behind us. We had parted ways with a fellow traveller, but new blood was added to even up our numbers. After the angst of Durban, we had had enough of South Africa and set our sights on new lands. A sojourn in Swaziland was the next stop in our adventures. We welcomed the change. Technically a new country for us, it was actually considered a kingdom. Swaziland is landlocked and surrounded by South Africa on three sides with Mozambique on the remaining. The South African currency (the Rand) was accepted everywhere, although officially the Lilangeni was the currency of the country. That was not the only difference that we noticed though as we entered this tiny country measuring 200km north to south and 130 km east to west. Mbabane rose in front of us surrounded by the Dlangeni Hills. While it may have laid claim to being the capital, it was a much smaller and more relaxed environment than our former resting place. We breathed a sigh and hoped that the ill winds that had been gathering around us, would disperse in this new terrain.
Arnie slowly putted into Mbabane, as our wandering eyes took in as much as they could of the city. The high-energy of Durban seemed a million miles away from this sleepy city. Certainly, there were amenities to be seen, but the glitz of the flashy tourist attractions were not in abundance. Here was a place to hunker down and get business taken care of, the first business being finding a place to rest our heads for the night. The Lonely Planet guide open on a lap gave suggestions and we cruised into a non-descript hostel that would fit the bill. Once settled into the hostel, we laid out a plan. One of the reasons for visiting Swaziland was to arrange visas for travelling to Mozambique. Obtaining directions, we pushed off with passports in hand to go through the legal wrangling necessaryto get said visas. After long, slow-moving lines we finally emerged from the drab consulate. I blinked at the sunshine that seemed like it should have gone to bed hours before after our ordeal. As they kept our passports to process until the visas were ready, we now had to sit back and stay close to the place at hand. Looking around, we wondered what to do next.
Since we seemed to be in a relatively safe environment, we drifted apart again. Brett and Oliver went off to hike through the nearby hills. Miki and I wandered the city and made our way back to the hostel. We debated a movie. Ultimately, I spent the time catching up on letters. On a following day, I discussed local politics with a man in a church centre that I happened across. He described a recent strike that the country had gone through that had lasted eight days and had effectively shut down the country. Water, electricity and telephones were all affected. I had heard of the strike and violence that came with it, but not the cause; maternity leave and back pay for nurses, amongst other reasons. Valid reasons, but to shut down the entire country was scary. I was glad that we had missed that.
We had our own troubles, though not near on the scale of theirs. Brett had been in a fight the night before we left Durban. I had left my malaria pills behind there. For unknown reasons, Arnie’s starter motor seemed to be on the fritz. Somewhere between Durban and Mbabane, we discovered that turning the key in the ignition did not produce the desired effect. Around False Bay, we found that with a little encouragement in the form of a push start we were able to get in motion again. We looked at it as a trifling annoyance at the time. Add to that the minor gas leak, a bolt stuck in a tire and the fact that the speedometer had stopped at 81km, Arnie was showing his wear. I prayed that once we collected our precious passports back again, we would hit better roads in the future. A sense of fore-boding could not be shaken though, as I noted that Mozambique was still recovering from their ten year war for indepence from Portugal, followed closely by an internal civil war that had lasted 15 years and only ended three years previous. What would we find in this new land, I wondered.
I was going to extol the virtues of spending time in nature with family. Some bleeding heart stuff about activities with kids and how it brings you all closer together with memories; blah, blah, blah.... I could have even gone further with delightful pictures of the girls and I angelically stirring a bubbling pot of jam on the stove. Yeah, coulda. If I hadn't just spent the last hour scraping that bubbling jam off the top of my flat top cooker. Did you know that jam turns to concrete when cooked in such a way? mmmhhmm, it does. Yup.
Well, I still have to put out the garbage and maybe take another crack at some of the concrete embedded into the stove. It might just be one of those memory spots, but hey, the floor under the stove got swept and swiffered when I pulled the stove out to wash the f#@%$#^#$@$#!!!! jam off the side of it. I still have the largest basket and one of the smaller baskets to deal with tomorrow. Perhaps I can manage to splatter the ceiling or walls with red droplets of goo that will make me tear my hair asunder and cry like it is the end of the earth. That is another day though. Happy Father's Day.
The night sky is dark, as I wind down my editing. A few changes have been made. Most will not notice, but I do. Tonight I am troubled by a post I read in the blog-o-sphere. A blog I follow found itself at the center of a particularly eerie and nasty bit of harassment. It seems that a follower of WaystationOne has sprung the bounds of decency and invaded personal comfort levels. It would seem it is a scary case of cyber-stalking that has left many shaken, including myself. I quite like the world of blogging and am thrilled at the new-found friends I have made. Really though, in this world a facade is presented that only holds what the writer wants or cares to show. Many people are anonymous or use pseudonyms in the blog world and beyond. Social media and networking are huge pieces of the world today and they enter our world like never before. I like to think that most people are honest and decent human beings with the best of intentions, but unfortunately that is not always the case. There are some out there that mold the world to their own vision of what they want and do not see through a social filter. They forget about what their actions mean in the greater scheme of things. Other's thoughts and feelings are a mute point that does not compute into their own world. A cry for help perhaps? Maybe, but aggression and salacious behaviour are never the way to go. I hope that his handling of the situation rectifies things for himself and potentially for others that may not have come forward, but are suffering the same way. For every voice that is heard, how many others remain silent, but struggling. For myself, I have wandered through some old posts wondering what I might regret sharing, if a similar situation arose for me. I am what I am though. The words on the page are me, as are my thoughts. I cannot edit me in my own space, my own home, but perhaps I can just remember that caution has its place in the world. I will return tomorrow and offer my voice to the world. It is my voice, however big or small. I will not deny it, but have to remember that sometimes all that glitters is not gold. Peace to you. Travel safe and well.
I was inspired by a new style of poetry that I was recently introduced to. This is my interpretation of a Cinquain poem. My little monkeys were inspired by a climber in a friend's back yard. Climb higher, reach farther, dream further my little ones...
My baby has a smile that will melt your heart. I look into her eyes and see myself, love and everything that could be for tomorrow. She gives incredible hugs and loves with all her soul, as I am sure that most three-year olds do. She also has very distinct thoughts, feelings and emotions that she is not afraid to let pour forth. This might illustrate itself in her saying "I don't want to" to anything and everything, in her carrying the cats around upside down by their back legs to show that she is a big girl and she can, to giving tender hugs and remarking on people's tears when they are sad. Above all else she cares and I was reminded of this a few nights ago.
After a mostly pleasant and reasonably quick dinner outside, the girls pulled out their bikes to practice riding in the street. I was encouraged to get out my bike, so that I could show the girls "some tricks". I wowed them with figure 8s, but with slightly flat tires let them do all the entertainment and fun. Our neighbours returned home, so the girls proceeded to show off their prowess on their rides to a new audience. Nibbles of ice cream was their reward, as well as a fluffing up of my tires for a future ride. The evening wound down with pointing out hot air balloons and remarking on greenery in our garden tour across the street. Before I knew it, the bedtime hour had come and passed. We waved goodnight, with sticky-sweet smiles from their strawberry patch and raced to get on pjs. I noted that it was late and a school night, so there was enough time for brushing teeth, but unfortunately no stories. As I tried to tuck in my littlest bundle, she showed her displeasure by kicking at the blankets and yelling "NO!".
Now I know that there are many soft and wonderful Mamas out there that would take this in stride with angelic smiles and wonderful solutions. For me, it was late; too late. When I hit the end of the night, I do not want to deal with my little angel's antics any more. Not one little bit. Unh, un. So I tried to play nice Mommy, failed, threw up my hands and walked out of her room, closing the door behind me. I know that I cannot win the war with her some days, so I just don't even try. I went to my other daughter's room and tucked her in. I covered her in kisses and hugs and told her I loved her, as I left her room. With no noise from the younger, I went to peek in on her. She was still sitting on her bed where I had left her, with a frown upon her face.
She looked at me and said, "Mommy, I apowogize."
Quiet as a mouse.
My irritation melted. "I appowogize. I shouldn't have kicked you. That wasn't nice. Kicking hurts."
My thoughts flew to daycare and I kissed and loved all her teachers for everything that they did for me and her every day.
Her little face was sorrowful and I was so in love with this big, brave thing she had done. Hugs, kisses and love rushed out of me and showered all over her. I felt like somewhere, somehow, I had done something right and was being rewarded for all the tempers that flared over so many days. Sigh, these are the moments that make me glad and proud to be a Mommy and for this I am forever grateful.
We piled into our baby blue, hippie love van and sailed away from Port St Johns. The days could have quite easily flown by into eternity on its shores, but the road called to us. Feet were itchy and adventure awaited around a new bend in the road. The road that we pointed Arnie down followed the same path along the coastline. The destination was nothing like what we had come across thus far though. We left behind a quiet, rustic, caught in time village surrounded by the rural countryside. We entered Durban, said to be the urban capitol of the area. It is the third largest city in South Africa and has the busiest port in Africa. Traffic lights and high rises clogged busy roads with the din of city life. A vibrant Indian population was a new and interesting sight to behold. This part of Africa was a new experience for us all.
Our first stop was of course to the beaches that touted some of the best surfing around. With the competition of several surfers per wave, the experience was more akin to the familiar swells back home in Australia for our man Brett. Gone were the quiet beaches he had surfed alone or with a small handful of others. Here aggression reared its ugly head, as competition for the best curls was fierce. Miki and I walked the Golden Mile and splashed in the warm ocean waters. Brett took a break and came to sit with us for a spell, but soon enough headed back out to the swells. Taro wandered off to explore our new domain in his own way. After peacefully floating along in our idyllic setting in the Transkei, we all felt a bit out of whack in this boisterous city. The tension seemed to be everywhere, including amongst our little band of travelers. We had been in close quarters for long enough that we all needed some space. It was only a matter of time before we were all exploring this new metropolitan city in our own ways, alone.
I headed out from our home at the Banana Backpackers to gather supplies and discover what intrigues Durban held. I marveled at the mixture of mosques, readily apparent Indian heritage sites, the heavy black population, and of course the smattering of whites around. Here they seemed to mix reasonably well, unlike in some of the other places we had seen. I delighted in my freedom to wander wherever my feet took me. There was a certain underlying tension that seemed to fill the spaces around me, but I drifted along confidant in the peace that I had attained from our last sojourn. That peace was about to hit a jarring halt.
I returned to the hostel from my wanders about the city to relax and catch up on letters and my journal. As I reclined in the airy courtyard, a commotion caught my attention. A man stumbled in breathing heavily and seemingly dazed. He was a guest at the hostel and someone ran over to see what was wrong. He was weaving on his feet and it quickly became apparent that something had happened to him. He was lowered to the floor and that was when I noticed the blood. Another traveler pushed in to the growing circle around the injured man and took charge. An ambulance was called. The shirt that had blood creeping across it was cut open to reveal a stab wound to the man’s shoulder. Cloth materialized that the angel cloaked in a travelling medical aide’s guise, used to try to staunch the wound that threatened to fill the courtyard with the injured man’s life-force. A friend of the fallen took the man’s camera that still clung around his neck. A story emergedof this blithe tourist that had wandered the city in broad daylight taking in all that the city had to offer and being attacked just blocks from our hostel. He was knocked down, kicked about and stabbed in the shoulder, the last unbeknownst to himself at the time. With his camera still intact, it would seem that robbery was not the motive for the attack. What was, no one could say. After an appalling 45 minutes, an ambulance finally arrived to whisk the fallen traveler away for treatment. An air of heavy spirits settled on all those around that lasted through the rest of the day. The space where the man had lain was avoided, as if bad spirits still lingered there. Unease took over our little band of travelers.
As we recounted the events of the afternoon, other stories emerged regarding other’s experiences of the city. Miki had spied two people struggling in an alleyway the day before, one with a gun in hand. Taro had seen two fights involving bloodshed that very day. Even Brett had witnessed a scuffle. Our illusion of peace and security that we had fostered in the Transkei was broken. We were faced with the realities of violence that were commonplace in this struggling country. This gave evidence to all the horror stories that had been droned into us from so many. We could not ignore it or pooh-pooh the tales any more. Unease set in and we listed the last of the tasks we had to accomplish before we could move on. No one felt like staying on in Durban much longer. It was time to go.
Before we could make our plans and set our destinations, another twist was thrown into our travelling midst though. This one came from amongst us. With little surprise, but some regret Taro decided to part ways with us. He had come with us from Cape Town, but had not entirely committed to the journey with us from the get go. He opted not to go in on the purchase of the van with us and now opted not to continue with us. Travelling with his sister had been wonderful, but also difficult. She smothered him, and he worried her over seemingly obtuse decision making. Neither party was unscathed in their criticisms of each other and their relationship had become noticeably strained. Before anger got the best of them, Taro decided to make his way on his own. The decision pained Miki, but we all understood. We went for a last supper together and offered fierce hugs to our erstwhile companion. His big heart would be missed. His space in the van did not remain vacant though. As we pulled away from the waving Taro, a new hand waved farewells in the form of a German traveler by the name of Oliver. We four headed East and looked towards better karma and a new country.
Here's hoping that the fore-casted rain passes us by. Acme Animal has a booth set up in Wortley Village for the Art in the Village show today. Thunderstorms and high humidity are projected for later this afternoon, but hopefully sunshine will reign until people have been able to enjoy the talent of the artist's community in my neck of the woods. I won't have paint on my hands today, but maybe some green will rub into my friends hands. I shall be joining the Acme gang as soon as the babysitter shows up. Happy 6WS Saturday!
His face turned to the rising sun. Eyes closed, he soaked in the sun's rays feeling the warmth on his skin. Each breath was savoured; every movement, a blessing. It was a gift. Every day was a gift.
He pulled the shirt off his back. Every part of his being reached towards the sky. His feet moved in the direction of the vast ascending orb. It was a glorious day. Blue skies promised life. The shirt dangled forgotten in his loose grasp. Sunshine bounced off his round belly, as he strode along the road way. The passing cars did little to shake the euphoria he felt in this moment. He breathed in the life that fairly vibrated around him. Destination was of no concern. Peace flowed through him and shot in waves off of his gently swaying form. It would be the same tomorrow.
As I made a wide arc around him, I could not help but smile. His energy was strong and had caught me. Many mornings, I watched as he strode down the street bare-chested. His sight always giving me a smile. I carried this bliss with me into the day. My smiles reverberated to those around me. I could see them and felt them cradle me. Blessed be to the Walking Man. His love of life carries sweet contagious feelers. I turn my face up to the sun, smile and thank the Earth for the day I have been offered again. That sunshine holds life and peace for the Walking Man, myself, and you as well.
Old friends walking
down yesterday's path
follow the curve
into today's light.
What binds past
moments into present
days of bliss
worth sharing anew
with all of you?
peace and praise
All a piece
worth carving out
specks of time for.
converge and blend
similarities both stark,
hold words wrapped with hugs.
Today meters on with
lines drawn further
along the page
of history's rhythm
into tomorrow's remembering.
in my mind perchance
to give me youth,
and infinite mortality.
Let us Dance ~
I am honoured to once again receive the perfect poet award from Jingle. This award is for Week 21 of Thurdsay's Poet's Rally. If you dabble in any poetry yourself, be sure to pop by her site and link up. There are some fabulous poets to be read! This entry is for week 22 of the Poet's Rally.
I have been getting my hands dirty the last couple of weeks. Many bushes have been trimmed, including the forsythia, dogwood, cedar hedge and lilac tree. I have planted tomato plants, pickling cucumbers (seen right), eggplant and relocated sunflowers that self-seeded from last year. Last weekend, I even dug out a whole pile of sod and created a new garden bed. The corner was hard to get at with the lawn mower and I seem to always be behind in edging, so this solved an issue for me. Plus, I am always keen on beautifying my space. Must divide, relocate and flourish! Yes, I am crazy (I think my problem is that I cannot bear to let anything go). Time on my hands? Not overly, but I seem to have a problem; a gardening addiction. I am willing to carry that cross.
So here is the newest garden patch.
Doesn't look like much yet,
but when the black-eyed susans,
lady's mantle and sedge grass settle in
with sunflowers towering in behind
it will be a pretty space.
Here is another project that I undertook a few weeks back. There was a sad holly bush, little more than a few twigs really, that got relocated last fall. It survived the transplant, but was getting buried by grass and weeds. I cut out a quarter-circle and added some heuchuras for comfort. Now it is a simple little space to welcome people at the driveway's edge.
Yesterday, I even struck further afield and went by the girls daycare. They have a patch of garden there that is plenty green, but mostly weed. I did some gardening there last year, that was muchly appreciated. With a barbeque coming up tomorrow, a request was put forth last week for my ministrations again. I gladly got in and got dirty digging out weeds and moving stuff around. I was not able to totally bring it up to (my definition of) a beautiful flourishing space, but I did add some irises from my house and offered pointers to potential gardeners in residence there. Maybe I am weird, but I really love to see the difference I can make just be giving a little TLC where needed. As I have mentioned before, it is almost like a meditation, but it certainly brings me in touch with Mother Earth. Always a good thing in my books.
I have not spent all my time in the garden though. We have had so much rain that the ground has been literally soggy at points. They are calling for more rain tonight, so gardening tomorrow will probably be cancelled again. The worst part about that (or probably a blessing) is that I am stuck inside. That usually creates enough of a guilt factor that I end up cleaning. AGHHHHH! Now that project is a never-ending, soul-sucking, task that seems to lack any glory or praise-worthiness. It still needs to be done though. So I will admire my beauties from water-washed windows as I brush dust-bunnies away from their hiding spaces.Somehow it just doesn't feel the same...
Being in Port St. Johns allowed me to stop and think. We had been travelling with frequent stops for the previous month. We hugged the coastline stopping at little surf towns, so that our Aussie surfer dude, Brett, could jump out and catch a wave whenever he spied one. The game parks of Tsitsikamma and Addo sported sighting of elephants, black-backed jackals, kudus, vervet monkeys, tortoises, ostriches, bush bucks and even a rare white rhino at Addo! We met locals who were generally hospitable. I had a chance to visit with cousins in Port Elizabeth that I had met briefly for the first time at Christmas. All of these things were accomplished in a matter of hours or a scant few days. It was exciting and exhilarating, but also exhausting. We pulled into Port St Johns and stopped. We were there for two weeks. It was a time to relax and process the journey thus far.
Before leaving Canada, I had done a little research on South Africa. I had exchanged letters with my uncle and connected with my aunt. I was aware that apartheid had been a significant part of South Africa’s history. I had heard the song “Sun City” and watched the video by Artists United Against Apartheid. I knew that Nelson Mandela had been released from jail and that he was even elected to the position of President the year before I arrived. I felt marginally prepared to embrace this new country to me; my homeland. These were all small snippets of the true reality of the country though. As a visitor to the country, I was able to hear some people’s stories, but could not truly understand the reality that had been lived in the climate of fear that had officially reigned for 46 years (it had been part of the micro-climate for many years before that though). My Father had been born and raised in South Africa. His was a reality of segregation of the races. The fact of his white skin gave him privileges not afforded to others of black, mixed or Indian backgrounds. I did not know him and was not able to hear his stories about his childhood in a fractured and violent environment. I had to make do with the tales I heard on the road.
My South African relatives cautioned me by saying “Don’t go off the main roads onto any dirt roads and DON’T pick up any hitchhikers! Be really careful. Call us every once in a while to let us know that you are okay. We would hate to have to tell your Mom that we let anything happen to you.”
I heard “You haven’t lived here, so you don’t know how it is.” A fact that I cannot deny.
An overheard conversation between one of my travelling companions and a German man expressed anger, “The violence is exaggerated!” “You can see the fear in the white population.” “I feel safer walking around here, than I do in some American cities.” All statements made whilst in the middle of the Transkei.
From yet others, “They are lazy.”
“The maids steal from you,” was a truism put forth from a white woman that had fear written all over her face.
From a white man living in the Transkei for eleven years, I heard that the reputation of violence that the area had was not fully deserved. The incidents of violence existed, but not to the extent that was advertised. The Transkei tried to set up a system of self-government to a certain degree, but the government was just a puppet to the federal government. There was unrest and negative reactions to the white populace in the area. This is where the horror stories started. It was a backlash against the injustices meted out by the white government. The Transkei was a black homeland. The blacks took it back. He happily lived and worked there though.
My experiences in the Transkei did not reflect this violence. I found people friendly, with smiles and hellos prevalent as you passed them in the street. As I bathed one morning on our hike, I looked up to see cows wander past. The (black) shepherd that was tending them smiled and waved shyly as he followed his cattle. I felt it was a beautiful moment that struck through all the horror stories that had been rained upon me. I felt cleansed in body and mind. I know that atrocities happened in ugly numbers and that fostered a state of fear and anger in the population. In my transient way, I tried to understand and move through this world the best that I could.
Jingle tagged me in a game and I am game to play along.
10 Things I love:
My children (even when they drive me nuts)
My Mother for always being there for me and believing in me even when she hasn't always agreed with my choices or decisions
My sister for always listening to my sorrows and woes, providing me with a best friend forever and never forgetting that a little bit of fun is the best medicine in life
My friends for allowing me the tears that needed to be shed , the time to explain what I needed to pour out of my soul and the wine to wash it down with
My garden for giving me much needed meditation, direction and beauty
Wellspring - as they provided me with so much emotional support when I was lost and soul-less. The hugs, smiles, soggy shoulders and kleenex helped to keep me here.
Yoga for the way it lets the world just wash through me and make it alright. Plus hip-openers are just a beautiful thing. Ohm... ;)
Sunshine for putting a smile on my face all the year long
Seafood, LOOVVVEEEE any kind, all kinds, YUM!!!!!
Poetry and the creative expression that comes with it (check out Jingle's Thursday poetry rally if you are a fan too!) Really, just writing in general. I love my expressions of writing so that I can release what trundles along in my brain. I love these people down here's writing because it makes me laugh, cry and generally smile. Words just fill me up and are generally just great!!!
I am playing along at Six Word Saturday again. Sigh, another day of gray clouds, when all we want is a few rays of Mr.Sun to add fun to our day. The Gathering on the Green is today in Wortley Village. We have been the last few years and the girls love it, to say nothing of Mommy's excitement at getting out of the house. It is a free event that has face painting and creative activities for the children, as well as artisans, a plant sale by the local horticultural society, a silent auction, live music and food. Yippee! We are going regardless and just going to hold our breath that rain clouds do not spoil our fun. Have a great Saturday!
Ha, I have found you my pretties! I have been calling these beautiful flowers "Moon Flowers" for lack of a better name since I found them in my garden. I should explain that when we purchased the house I live in at present, it was obvious that the original owners were avid gardeners. Unfortunately the gentleman that bought the house from those folks, when they could not tend it any further, was not in possession of a green thumb. He lived in the house for approximately a year, then rented it out for about a year. When we moved in and the snow melted, I was excited and aghast. The remains of a well-manicured garden and lawn was hidden underneath weeds and shrubbery that was reeking havoc with the light expectations of the straggling plants underneath. I found a bedraggled peony, that I still cannot get to bloom, abysmal rhubarb, day lilies by the wagon load and WEEDS! I would never have guessed that thistles could flourish so well in the middle of the city.
So over a long period of time, I attacked the project that was my garden. I gave a very aggressive pruning to a shrub that was almost lying on the ground from a lack of pruning and winter snow that punished the untamed boughs. With the addition of light and space, I found many plants, some of which I had to question their lineage. Was that a valid plant or noxious weed? Some I left to explore, some were pulled in the name of order. The Oenothera triloba hid for a while, which I am glad of. It looks remarkably like a dandelion, so would have been pulled post haste. The real beauty and show of this special plant happens at night though. As day winds to a close and dusk encroaches, this relative of the evening primrose family struts its stuff. Literally right before your eyes, you can watch the flowers open! They only last for one night and close up by mid-morning the next day. Do not rue the passing of the flower in too short a span though, as these plants continue to bloom most of the summer. It also makes babies pretty prolifically, so you can enjoy them yourself, spread them around your garden, or share them with friends. They will turn up their nose at your gift of a dandelion until the pretty yellow blooms pop open at night.
Hopefully you have a night full of clear skies where you are. I have to make do with pictures of the outside world tonight, as rain plummets down. May the night still live and hold promise for you...
Here is my attempt at concrete poetry from many moons ago. I thought it was quite clever at the time. I share it here as an addition to my African tale, as it was written in Port St Johns, South Africa. I will also include it over at Jingle's to see if anyone appreciates my whimsy at Jingle's Poet's Rally. I will transliterate below;
STOEP in RAIN.
Pine tree Sprinkled
Wet F o o t p r i n t s
The Toilet Bowl
I spent a lot of time thinking and creativity came back to me a spell while in this tranquil locale. I would suggest it in a heart beat for anyone wishing to travel in a quiet kind of way with nature on your doorstep and all around.