Friday, August 27, 2021

When It Feels Like Fall

It feels like fall
in spite of the date
which tells me it's
August 28th.

It feels like fall
in spite of the sweat,
and the sauna heat
says it's not fall yet.

The corn says it's fall
as it rustles and whispers,
as its poor little stalks
grow crisper and crisper.

The leaves say it's fall
as their greens become brown.
They look tired of summer
and long to fall down.

In the early of morning
when the wild geese call
when the new mist rises
It feels like fall.

by M.K. Christiansen

Thursday, August 19, 2021

We All Learn to Fear

 When I was a young woman I learned to be afraid of the public school system. I was taught this in a variety of ways from a variety of people, from the time I was a school girl all the way into my 40s. People in my "group," my "tribe," convinced me in quiet ways and very vocal ways, that the American public school system was evil, and that at all costs I should try to keep my children out of it. I believed them.

I never attended public schools. I married a man who had attended nothing but public schools until he went to the private college where we met. He did not seem any worse for wear, but he freely admitted that he considered his academic training to be inferior. So we decided to homeschool. Or rather, I decided to homeschool, and he readily agreed with me.

I picked something to fear. Everyone does. Right now, various Americans consider quite a few entities to be Things to Fear:

The government
The church (any denomination, just pick one)
The environmentalists
The young people
The old people
Black people
White people
Any race of people other than your own
City people
Country people
And sadly, Your own family members

All these fearful people have one thing in common: they're terrified, and they cannot be convinced otherwise. It takes a lot for people to change their minds about their fears. They have to admit their fears are unfounded, that they were wrong in their assessment. Then they have to accept the entity they used to fear, and see it as less harmful, perhaps harmless.

I could have saved our family a lot of grief if I hadn't been so afraid of the public school system, and so stubborn in my fear. Some of my kids might have been happier. They would have had more friends. I would have had more friends. We might have stayed settled in one place longer, and we certainly would have felt more a part of the community. Instead we slogged our way through two decades of homeschooling and various teaching stints at private schools. That wasn't all bad either, but we made educational decisions based on fear, which is never a good basis for decisions.

I didn't think I was afraid; I thought I was wise and well-informed. Perhaps the hardest traits in ourselves to admit are fear and stubbornness. When I find myself giving something a very wide berth, I must ask myself, "Am I afraid of it?" If the thing I'm afraid of it a large group of people, an organization, then almost always my fear is unfounded. It's too general. There's no way that all the individuals are evil, in a group of hundreds, or thousands, or tens of thousands of people. If I am afraid of an individual person, I also have to ask myself if my fear is valid, justified. If it is, then the  appropriate response is forgiveness. Forgiving them is the only way to free myself of the damaging effects of my fear.

On social media, I see so much fear, but it is expressed in anger. Usually when people sound angry, they are actually afraid. I'd love to get rid of my fear because then I could feel contentment and peace again. Fear crushes love, and drives out peace, and eats away the soul of the fearful.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Today, it's raining.

 The high today will be 76 degrees. It feels like fall. I know it's early August, but everything within me longs for autumn. I know we have two months of heat remaining, but it's so easy to imagine that today is October, that today I will put on a sweater, that today I will walk among the fallen leaves.

So in honor of October-that-is-not-here, I'll share this poem ... again.

by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake, if they were all.
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost.
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost --
For the grapes' sake along the wall.

There are many elegant poems whose every word seems wondrously and perfectly placed, but to me, I think this is the most perfect poem for subject, rhythm, technique, and effect.

The rain is not insignificant. My chicken pen is a mass of soggy mud, and the hens don't know where to go, to get their little feet out of the wet. Their feathers droop with sogginess. Brownie is being broody and is in the final days of sitting on a clutch of a dozen eggs. She is the only dry hen, hunkered in her broody box with her feathers fluffed over the eggs.

Beau and I are on the couch watching the Olympic runners give it their all in Tokyo. It's a day to stay inside, so I think I'll go back to painting, which I've taken a break from for a couple of weeks. Instead, I've been weaving and making youtube videos, which is creative in its own right.

It's been exactly a year since Adam was diagnosed with his illness and we began this long road of treatment. This morning he is at the internist's getting lots of blood drawn for various tests. One of them will determine whether he is heading into remission and can come off of his immunosuppressant medication. (Most organ transplant patients take between 1500-200 mg of this med each day; Adam takes 4500 mg daily.) We are very eager for him to be off this drug, and give his immune system a chance to work again. He has been full of so much anxiety lately regarding all this. We hope for good news.

But today -- I'm loving the sound of rain outside, and a snug, dry house inside. Time for a good, hot cup of tea and some time in my studio. I may paint. But I may stare out the window.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Jolly the Postman Flies Away!

 Today was the day when Jolly, our postman friend, boarded his plane (well, was handed over to the postmistress at my local post office) for his LONG flight to England! Lucky Jolly ... I wish I were traveling to Norfolk!

I am sorry to see him leave. Jolly was an excellent house guest. He watched the Olympics with me.
He was politely interested in my weaving.

But he took a hearty interest in knitting and asked if I would teach him, so I did.

He made himself a sweater! And since he is actually a small fellow, it didn't take many stitches.

You see that he became a little more comfortable with Trixie and Beau - yes, he did! He learned that a dog inside its own home, with a guest, is quite docile. It's only when Jolly used to approach their homes outside, that they were defensive of their beloved humans.

In addition to his wonderful dates in Oriental during his time here, Jolly also visited the chickens with me each day, helped me make pear butter, and learned to make pancakes from scratch. He had a busy time!
Jolly loved looking at Brownie, the broody hen, who is sitting on a dozen eggs that are ready to hatch any minute! He was rather sorry to leave before any of the chicks were born, and asked me especially to let him know how the hatching goes.

Now Jolly goes off to visit Angela in Norfolk, and I know they will have loads of fun together there. Bye, Jolly! Be safe on your long, worldwide tour!