Thursday, October 8, 2015

October Bids Summer Adieu

National Poetry Day

October Bids Summer Adieu

Shadows deepen across the way
As trees their foliage shed
Wagons groan by laden with hay
As the harvest is laid abed

Crisp air unravels the spider's thread
Belies warmth promised by view
Cotton ball bunnies cavort overhead
In a sky impossibly blue

Night knocks early upon the door
Evening chores beckon anew
As once again as in years before
October bids Summer adieu

~Ellen Apple 10/08/2015

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Seven Days of October

October 1 

October, October what is going on? I thought you were supposed to be a mellow, things winding down from the Summer sort of month? Oh, no - you have to act up on us. Oh yes, a hurricane? Seriously? Floods and rain and high winds? Not nice, not nice at all! And what is it with a shooting in Oregon already? Upwards of 10 dead? No, not liking this day at all! Now it is time to get back on track, and fast! We want our sunny afternoons and pretty fall foliage and sweater weather evenings around a bonfire. Can you please do that for us?

October 2 

So, if I followed all the hacks and tips I read on Facebook ...

I would have to invest in industrial sized containers of hydrogen peroxide, vinegar (white and cider), rubbing alcohol, and Dawn dish detergent.
The nooks and crannies of my house would look like the remnants of a food fight because of the coffee grounds, walnuts, salt, crystals, black pepper, and eucalyptus leaves left scattered for pest control.

I would need to have the kitchen rewired to have space for all of the slow cookers.

I need to find a restaurant supply store, or at least take a trip to Sam's for big containers of pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and turmeric.
My yard would be decorated with paper towel and toilet paper cores, cut out to resemble scary critter eyes and lit with glow sticks. And ice balls with glitter in them.
Lord, I am tired just thinking about it!
Guess I'll just do my laundry, clean, cook, and decorate the way I have been doing for years.

Facebook - where you learn that hard-boiled eggs are baked in the oven and baked potatoes are slow cooked for hours ... Hint: You can bake the potatoes in the oven for a significantly less number of hours, and once the water boils for 3 minutes you can turn the burner off on those eggs. Save your time and electricity, people.

October 3 

HA! I just went to the mailbox in fleece pajama pants, an old CWA shirt, a lavender hoodie and wearing Birkenstocks and socks. I looked like a refugee from reality.

The weather while to many may be a "downer" to me prompts introspection, and a different perspective on things in the yard, and I do enjoy a brisk feel to the air as opposed to a heavy one. All of the wind and wet have washed the atmosphere, for me, and my allergies are taking a respite this afternoon. I am enjoying my afternoon quite well!

Random thoughts about me and food and diet:
  • I am trying to develop a habit of not getting something to eat every time I feel just a wee bit hungry. Even if it is a healthy alternative, I find if I wait a bit the urge will abate.
  • I have noticed that when I do eat it is taking less for me to feel "full". This may sound silly to many of you, but it is a major accomplishment for me.
  • I have always been a stress eater, as well a boredom or a restless eater. Often, if I occupy myself cleaning the kitchen it will work as an appetite suppressant.
  • I have almost completely quit buying chips (crisps to some of you) over a period of time. Another major move on my part.

Probably more than any of you really wanted to know!

October 4 

One heartbeat, one breath, one step, one decision at a time. That is how life is lived. Not in the regrets or glories of the past, not in the dreams and dreads of the future. But in the here and now. Today.

It is what it is ... Today would have been my 29th wedding anniversary had I not divorced my first 2001 He passed away about six months after our divorce was final. Life sure is interesting sometimes.

Sentimental Sunday
Driving home from work this morning, I was listening to Tavis Smiley on NPR. He was having a conversation with Johnny Mathis. Made me feel sentimental because Sandi and I spent many teenage angst sessions listening to a tape of Johnny Mathis. Chances are ...

October 5

Monday Morning Musings 
A new week, a new month - a new resolve to be in the now. Just finished gathering up to throw away 3 large bags of stuff that accumulated over the past months, years even - hidden in nooks and crannies throughout the house. Taking a truckload to the dump, and then running a few needed errands in town. Trying to make the most of this day off. Tomorrow is 3 weeks since Roger's surgery. He is doing really well, and keeping to the restrictions he is under. He has more side to side mobility in his neck day by day and the derma-glue is coming off of his incision well.

When I first started out on Facebook, I think it was about 6 years ago, I was Facebook friends with mainly a few people I went to school with and a smattering of people from work and a relative or two. In the intervening years my Facebook "family" has expanded in places and ways I would have never imagined. Coast to coast and border to border in the US, plus several countries other than the US and at least three continents in addition to North America. I have become good friends with such an eclectic and fascinating group of people. In the space of just a few hours I can read multiple viewpoints of just about any topic you can imagine, and I try very hard to respect the full spectrum. I have reconnected with a few friends from years passed that I had reconciled myself to never hearing from or of again. I have found acceptance, humor, and compassion. I have had my views and beliefs challenged, expanded, and changed. Facebook can be a pain, and there are times I could scream in frustration, but at the end of the day Facebook for me has become a rich and fertile form of interaction and information. Wow. Quite the post, huh?

I think if I would just quit plucking my chin whiskers (I call them my crone hairs) I could grow a very respectable goatee.

October 6

Thoughtful Tuesday
Life happens. The unexpected. The unanticipated. Moments of inspiration. Shooting pangs of remorse. This is not revelation, knowledge previously undiscovered. This is life. Whether by rote, by instinct, or by outside influence we all face, and deal with myriad situations and decisions daily.
There is no magic formula, no easy path. We sometimes look at others and judge their lives and actions. We always know what they 'should' have done. We always know what they 'should not' have said. Yet when others turn that same judgmental eye on our lives, our words, our actions we bristle.
The fault lies in seeing only a part of a situation, knowing only what is above the surface for public ingestion. Jealousy, envy, regret, greed - these also play a part. Resentment at times of the perceived advantages and privileges that another may enjoy while our own life seems to be in a constant state of flux and struggle.
How often do we miss opportunity for encouragement, increased empathy, deeper personal connection because of this? I cannot see in your heart, I do not know your bank balances, your complete medical (physical and mental) state. I was not there for all of your previous struggles, defeats, victories. I do not know the prices paid for you being where you are at this point in your life, just as you do not know mine.
When we do not reach out, pause for understanding and a more complete accounting of the situation we are seeing, we are harming ourselves as much as the other person.
Just a few of the things banging around in my head this Tuesday afternoon. Be blessed, and bless others in the blessing.

October 7

  1. you are not afraid to let others see your need
  2. your first instinct is often to share, not keep
  3. you try to see yourself through eyes that love you 
  4. you will cuddle a cat or a dog with no hesitation
  5. you are brave enough to let others read what you write
  6. you still hold concern for others when they have none for you
  7. you unwittingly say things in a humorous way, causing others to laugh
  8. you can transport yourself to other worlds within the first paragraphs of a book
  9. you tell the people that you love that you love them
  10. you have learned to watch your words more carefully

*** ten things I have learned to love about me, because if I cannot love me, how can I anticipate anyone else can ***

The world is going to end today
Some prophets have decreed
Engulfed in fire and smoke they say
Judgement on sin and greed
Somebody's world will end 'tis true
Of this I have no doubt
With crack of heart and toss of shoe
Being left of love without
Someone else will fold in pain
Crushed by news of health
Wondering if they will ever again
Put all their trust in wealth
In all this grief and sorrow is born
Portent of hope and light
Bringing a smile to a soul forlorn
And joy where once was blight
A world will end, another burst forth
It happens day after day
From south to east and west to north
People at work and play

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Plaintive Cry from Distant Shore

Plaintive cry from distant shore
Too wearied to wage battle more
Calling home
Calling home
Outstretched hand a silent plea
No bed for rest on storm tossed sea
Calling home
Calling home
Echoing through each endless night
Besieged by life searching for light
Calling home
Calling home
Each face a tale by terror worn
Each tear a frozen promise to mourn
Calling home
Calling home
Who will offer the sojourners rest
To be called citizen not just guest
No more to roam
At long last home

~ Ellen Apple 09-30-2015

Calling (Me) Home

September 27

I  traveled distance to meet my friend only to discover I was travelling in time as well. Being early as I often am, and my travelling companion being early as well, I took opportunity to visit a few scenes from my early life. As we drove towards Bluefield, Va., I impulsively said, "Turn right at the next road". 
The distances had shrunk over time. The narrow road now paved that in my youth had been a teeth-rattling washboard of compacted gravel and water worn potholes all too soon revealed the sturdy white house perched on a level spot on the hill. 
The now century old farmhouse perched on the mountainside where my mother grew up, and where my grandparents lived until age and ill-health forced them off the land and into a "more reasonable" situation in town.
This place in distance not 100 miles from where I now sit, this place in time holding clear memories some of which are 50 or more years ago. The barn where I learned to milk, the orchard that at this time of year had trees hanging heavy with fruit. The impossibly large limestone rocks that hosted our picnic lunches with dolls and dogs. The mountain spring that poured forth the coldest, sweetest water to quench a laborers thirst. The wide and deep porch from which MawMaw would stand, calling with hands cupped around her mouth "Roy! Boys! Dinner's On!"
This place, these mountains, these ridges and valleys and farms and rivers that were calling me home for the 20 years I lived "away".
These memories that are calling me home still as I try to make sense of where I was then and where I am now and why my life has transpired as it has.

September 29

Today has been one of those Fall days here in my beloved mountains. The clouds were thick and low this morning by seven, and by ten there was a steady fine rain falling across the ridges and hollows. The thermometer may have indicated 70 (21) most of the day, but there has been a chill to the air, that harbinger of the December and February that lurk just around the corner. 
I moved away from home in the Spring of my 24th year. I missed home, and honestly thought that the pangs would lessen, but they did not. My father was in his late 60's, retired, and ill. My mother worked in the County school system and Daddy was home alone during the day. I soon discovered that the best balm for my homesick heart was to call Daddy, oh about ten in the morning, and chat for a while. Ha always gave a brief weather report, and I would respond in kind. I mentioned February above because it was the relentless gray, brown, wet late winter rains of February that I had anticipated I would miss least about home, and those were the weather reports that pained my heart the most. 
Daddy passed away in April of 1986, three years after I left home, and 15 years before I would come home again to stay. On mornings like this morning, when the clouds drape heavy and gray across the mountaintops, and a fine steady rain settles in for a nice long visit, I miss calling home, and hearing that voice. Calling home was a gift I never appreciated until he was gone.

September 30

Today my thoughts have once again turned to my childhood years, and how deeply I enjoyed this time of pause between the heat of August and the gradually chilling days of late October. Football Friday nights. Afternoons still warm enough and daylight late enough to begin end-of-summer chores outside. There is a particular beauty to the trees and flowers as the time of Fall color is almost, but not quite here. The green changes hues, and some  impatient leaves are already swirling through the air, propelled by unseen currents. Shadows are longer and darker, and when the sunlight filters through the partially disrobed trees the patterns on pavement and grass are delicate and ephemeral in their beauty. 

Apples and pumpkins are the star of the dining table. Cider, apple butter, and molasses will soon be for sale by those who still honor their heritage and toil in orchards and fields here in the mountains, It was during this time of the year that there would be held a Fall Festival of sorts in Tazewell, VA. at the County Fairgrounds. The Lord's Acre Sale. I believe it was called. Now this may still be held, I am not really sure. I live in a different county now, and my memories of The Lord's Acre Sale are at least 40 years old. In my mind's eye I can still see the booths, attended by various church and civic groups, with such a selection of items for sale. Hand crafted, home made. Apple butter. Fried apple pies. Honey with and without the honeycomb. Hot dogs. Molasses. Quilts. Aprons. Crocheted and knitted doilies, dishrags, and dolls. Aprons and potholders in gingham and calico. Hot chocolate and coffee. Cakes and pies and candies on paper plates covered in plastic wrap. Ham biscuits and homemade 'light bread'. A precursor to the Farmer's Markets of today, but extra special because it only came once a year. Without all of the entertainment and other bells and whistles of the festivals and such that many towns and communities 'put on' now. 

Now keep in mind that these are memories from decades ago, and the details and particulars were more than likely outside my ken at the time, but I believe the purpose was for fundraising and not individual profit, The members of civic groups and churches would bring the first of their harvests, the best of their labors, and sell them to fund the at home and at large missions and projects that were so germane to their existence. A time of community and fellowship that was in preparation and highly anticipated weeks in advance. 

As the calendar turns and we head into the last quarter of 2015, these have been my thoughts.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I Am the Sineater

I am 
the sineater
the scape goat
the black sheep

I am 
the outspoken
the blunt
the attention hog

I am 
the shoulder to cry on
the advice dispensary
the money giver

I am 
the wearied
the worried
the almost done

I am

~ Ellen Apple 09/27/2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

Thorns Pierce My Heart

This day thorns pierce my heart
September 11 always stands apart
I need no rose no ribbon to wear
No towering monument at which to stare
Ever present in my memory's eye
Contrail free and ice blue sky
Solemn mood from city to town
As all paused the towers fell down
Mindful journeys I know we espouse
Careful observation of squirrel or mouse
But not today - not in my soul
Worldwide Peace a lofty goal
Even as bombs and governments fall
Hardened hearts hear not the call
Plaintive cries from near and far
Ever more the earth we scar
Ever more lives count for dross
And frozen teardrops mark the loss

~ Ellen Apple 09-11-2015

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Labor Day Upon Us Falls

Labor Day upon us falls
As Autumn's notes begin their calls
One last chance to go to the lake
As preparations for Winter we make
Storing away the sun kissed days
Watch on gridiron well planned plays
School bells have begun to ring
Homework's tearful dirges to sing
Pumpkin spice and cinnamon sticks
Leaves to rake and windows to fix
The longest nights will soon be here
When we snuggle with family so dear
Smoke fills the air as dead-fall we burn 
And once again the wheel doth turn

~Ellen Apple 09-05-2015