Thursday, August 21, 2014

be


What must it be like to sit for a few hours and watch the ocean and sky?
Always changing and always the same, maybe.
Isn't that what life itself is?
Always changing
different times, different people, different stories
and still always the same, somehow.

Sometimes in my wanderings, I sit on the moon and watch life on earth.
I cannot see the people any more than the couple in the photograph can see the drops of water.
It's good to be grounded in the present day, feet on the ground, knowing who we are.
It's also good to be grounded in the everchanging eternal Now
part of the flow
part of something so huge and awe inspiring that all we can do is...
be. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

practical poetry?



My words haven't been particularly poetic lately, according to my own standards. Perhaps my standards need to be revised...

We rode our usual 10 mile kitty bench ride today. I was able to pedal into a burn and sustain it for a time, and George timed it. Because he always times our rides. He told me it was my fastest time ever. I'll never be fast; it's not about speed. It's instead an indication that I'm becoming even stronger.
Riding my bike, feeling the "whee", feeling muscles doing the work, feeling the happy buzz that follows...that is poetry, too.

I finished hemming and bustling a particularly complex wedding gown, and I know the bride will be delighted. There is poetry in that, too, the feeling of creative accomplishment, the anticipation of joy...

Maybe just being alive is poetry. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

beauty close to home



He's five years old, starting kindergarten in a couple of days. And he's possibly gay. I suppose that's not a given; I'm not, there are none in my family that I'm aware of, so I don't necessarily know the facts. Nor do I need to. But he prefers dolls, pink, and feminine mannerisms. Is that a real thing? Feminine mannerisms? So much I don't know for sure. Nevertheless. He was over here, spotted a doll I had made, and really truly wanted to borrow it for the night. Sure! Just today he was over here again, and we talked a bit about the doll. Yes, she can visit with him for a few more days. Would he like to help me make another one? His eyes sparkled. And then I showed him the bag of fabric scraps we'd use to make her clothes, and I invited him to choose whatever he wants. His mom called me later, saying he's just totally obsessing over this, trying to decide the colors based on what he saw in the bag. So one day he'll come over and we'll work on a second doll. He's a twin, and though his brother isn't into dolls the way he is, he'd like to come over and work with me, too. Sure! Gladly! And their older brother, beginning sixth grade, seems to think I walk on water. Why? I don't know. Maybe because I have that junior high teacher ornery attitude. Anyway, he's coming over one day, too. We'll be making gods eyes, and he's pretty excited about that.

It's been a pretty good day. I may not be able to do big things, but I can do this thing, and it pleases my heart to know I can help create a bit more beauty right here close to home. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street!



Dr. Suess's Mulberry Street. It was one of a big selection of story books that I'd read to my young sons; one on one side of me, another on the other side, and the youngest one on my lap. They took turns choosing the book, and one of them always chose this one. I don't remember the story itself, only the fact that it was the longest story to read to them, and I'd struggle to stay awake to read the whole thing. Out loud. I tried turning two pages at a time. Nope. He'd always catch it.

I think when I'm old and struggling, I'll have a copy of that book nearby, and when he comes to visit, I'll ask him to read the story to me. All of it. Every single page. Every day that he's here. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

71 + 6



71 years and 6 days. When I was diagnosed with my first cancer at age 42, I wondered if I'd live to be 50. I wanted to be around when my kids graduated high school. And then, as time went on, I wanted to be around to see my kids established in their own chosen lives. And then I wanted to greet any grandchildren that might happen. Now, I want to live to see my grandchildren grow up.

One day I'll run out of things like that. I know 71 isn't particularly old. Mom was in terrible health and she lived to be 88. But I've already buried several friends, including my closest friend, who had a heart attack at age 76. Most of the funerals I've attended for my peers have been because they've lost cancer battles. And I've had cancer three times and am in good health. Life certainly gives random blessings and curses, it seems. But you know what? They aren't really blessings, and they aren't really curses. It's just the variations in life.

But today is a good day. I feel muscles growing as they take me on bike rides. Katydids are singing outside my window. A client is very happy to get newly renewed clothes. We'll sleep with the windows open tonight, listening to the cricket symphony. George is still enjoying his singing. My chickies are all doing ok. I have people I love and who love me back. Yes, today is a good day.

May whatever happens to you not be seen as blessing or curse, but as a journey. An adventure, if you will, with no particular guidebook other than the one you might choose to write along the way. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

go to



We spent the day on a bike trail.
Wanna see?
Go to http://wanderways.blogspot.com/.

That's where I'll be posting bike rides from now on.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

my guy



That's my guy. Look at his face: the quiet amused smile, the focused eyes, his hands ready to aim his camera. That's what the mountains do to us, yes? No frown lines, no stooped posture. Mountain air!
On the other hand, it might just be because the structure behind him is the men's restroom, from which he just emerged. Ha!

This was taken somewhere in the Cascades, specifically near Mt. Rainier.
A short walk takes us to a viewing ledge where we saw the sun playing late day peek-a-boo behind the clouds surrounding that very expressive mountain. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

whee





When I posted pics and a narrative about our latest bike ride, a friend commented, saying she doesn't know how I do it. This was my unwritten answer: I do it for the "whee" factor, and I do it to maintain my health so that I can have more years in which to "whee". 

Friday, August 08, 2014

Hockhocking Adena Bikeway

The weather was perfect (at least for August). We drove to Nelsonville and hopped on the trail as far as the outskirts of Athens. 30 miles (total) was enough, and besides, we had no desire to ride in the city of Athens. Or any other city, for that matter. For some of the time we rode along side a working railroad, though we didn't see any trains...at least not working trains. For much of the time, it felt like the Hocking Hills, with hills and rock outcroppings on one side of the trail, and the Hocking River on the other. The trail was well maintained, with occasional benches, the grass and weeds cut low near the asphalt path, and for the most part any of the road crossings were at little used country roads which didn't require that we stop. We will ride this trail again, hopefully in the fall when the color just might be spectacular.














Thursday, August 07, 2014

kitty bench ride



We rode to the kitty bench today, my birthday. 71 years and still riding. I rode strong today, too; I could feel the strength in my legs, and when we were done George said my speed was greater than usual. So much for aging!

10 miles: not a great distance, but we didn't have time for more. I guess I scared an old woman by not calling out "on your left" soon enough. And when I did, she turned to see me and oops, there I was speeding past her. But all is well. At the other end of the spectrum, we had to slow down for little girls riding tiny pink bikes, all wobbly. But they'll learn.

It is a good day. 

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

summer sounds



I drifted off to sleep listening to crickets and katydids. This morning, before I even opened my eyes, a cardinal began embroidering the air with lovely song. Next up...mourning doves, singing their quiet and smooth notes. Right now a young blue jay is begging for food, though his parents aren't close by. In the background cicadas are buzzing.

birds and bugs
summer sounds
ahhh....August

Monday, August 04, 2014

the taste of sound



I have found a way to explain why I don't like women singing barbershop. It has nothing to do with who they are or the kind of songs. I find the sound of men singing the same songs a lot more pleasing.

George was listening to a women's quartet,which I could hear across the room. When I told him I didn't like the sound, he explained why he did. Precision, mostly. He said high pitched vowel matching and singing in tune is much harder than when the voices are lower pitched, and he gave a bit of explanation.  It sounded like a chapter from a physics book, and I appreciate his intellectual appreciation. In addition, he appreciated the youthfulness of the group, that they should have such command at such a young age. I told him I could listen intellectually and appreciate the precision, too. However, that being said, my ears don't like the taste of the sound, if you will. He understood that.

Brain wiring. Fascinating.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

buggin'



Bedbugs. That's what I'm afraid of. Not spiders or snakes or rabid bats. Just bedbugs. They aren't venomous nor do they spread disease. They just bite. You don't even feel them bite, and they're considerate enough to only bite while you're asleep. And why should I be considering bedbugs? Because we've returned from vacation, where we've slept in a snazzy hotel, a rented house, and a motel. And now I have bites. Fear not, they're mosquito bites. I should probably fear mosquitos, since they do carry disease. But they just annoy me.

Other troublesome tiny critters? How about chiggers. I sure am glad chiggers can't fly. Ditto ticks.

Are you feeling itchy yet?
Sleep tight...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Bridge

This journey began with the city's notice that the pedestrian/bike bridge over County Line Road is now open. Of course, we had to check it out ourselves as soon as we could. Like today.

It begins right here on the outer side of the garage door.


Down the street, turn right, ride a bit, turn left.
Hop onto the trail close to the DQ.




Wind around, follow the trail (it's not hard to do once you cross the busy intersection at Maxtown), and now we're behind the strip mall that houses Giant Eagle et al.



We cross Old County Line, now pretty much deserted.


At this point we've already crossed the new bridge. I decided to take pictures on the way back. It was too much fun "whee-ing" up, across, and over to stop and dig out my camera. Behind us is a wheelchair bound lady who was delighted, as we were, to see the bridge is open.



Thank you, Nationwide Children's Hospital, for helping the development of this awesome trail!


From here to our final destination, I began to realize we have a lot of personal history to think about that took place just a stone's throw from this trail. I thought about my early love of biking, wishing I could ride my bike all the way across the United States. But now I'm on a trail that, when finished (as it almost is now), will provide safe bike passage all the way south to Cincinnati, and all the way north to Cleveland. My goal now is to stay healthy and active until the trail is finished so I can make the journey.

We decided to stop where the trail crosses State St. Westerville. From that point on to where it connects with the Alum Creek Trail is a bit annoying. We can stay on sidewalks, but there's a lot of starts and stops until we descend to the dedicated trail again.


And so we turn back. We stop to remember the time we aided someone rescuing a great horned owl that had an injured wing. It was a bit cold; a woman called out to us for help. She was standing near the owl, protecting it, but needed to renew the circulation in her legs. So we stood guard while she walked a bit. In time, her husband came by with a box and a blanket. He and George managed to get the bird in the box, protecting themselves from those massive talons with the blanket. From there, the bird was transported to an animal rescue facility where the bird continued on in their education program, since it couldn't fly again. This rescue occurred at one of the back fields of South High School. George taught there, all three of our sons graduated from there. Memories.



From there we next passed the school bus lot. I remember them most from my own teaching days. The students would remain in their homerooms until their bus number was called. Our job was to keep them calm and orderly until they got in line to get on the buses. Sometimes we succeeded. Memories.


We're behind the library, now, at the new bike stop built to resemble a railroad station. Artistic bike racks, a restroom, a shelter with fireplace, an air pump, what more could we ask for?





Oh yes, the library. Here's a back view, anyway. It used to be so small! When the boys were babies, I'd check out wooden puzzles for them to play with. They graduated to books soon enough. Then, as a teacher, I'd check out films for my science classes. Those are gone, now. The last day I walked to the library from our home was the day before I ended up in the hospital. I was on chemo at the time, don't remember why I walked - maybe because I'd quit driving for the duration. I returned home, tired, and the next thing I knew I had a fever. The doc sent me to the emergency room where I ended up with a blood transfusion and an 8 day stay on the cancer floor. Chemo drugs can really wreak havoc on the body, but they wreaked more havoc on the tumors, because they're gone...and I'm not! Ha! Memories. May you all have memories of one sort or another related to libraries.



We turn away from the library, and continue north on my memory journey. Doesn't this look inviting?


We pass a lumberyard shelter, and discover that a group is doing some outdoor art. Cool. Part of the planning and funding comes from Westerville Parks and Recreation.



And here's my favorite trail companion...


Moving along, we stop to look at the building where our insurance agent plies his trade. If you walk in unannounced, you're liable to see him barefoot behind his desk. Also, as another Italian, he and George exchange Italian garden goodies on occasion. He's getting older now, we're just as likely to deal with his son, who is every bit as good as his dad. Memories.


And now the memories deepen. We pass the first house we owned, the two story white one. When we moved in, this trail didn't exist; the railroad tracks were still in use. Our first two sons were already part of the family, the third would soon join us. Now they're all in their 40s. Memories. Enough memories for a book.


A bit further and I see ManorCare, the nursing home where I worked as assistant director of activities, and then, later, where George's mother lived her last years. Memories.


Old Westerville folks may remember when this was a corn field on Old County Line Road. The farmer would leave a box nailed to the tree with the price of the corn. We picked, we paid, he trusted we'd be honest. Memories.


My old memories don't continue further north. New memories may, in time. We approach the new bridge over the new County Line Road. It makes crossing the four lane road so much easier. That's George way ahead, taking a video. I still need both hands on the handlebars. Probably always will...


The bridge is off to the left, and here we're looking at a ramp that allows bikes and pedestrians to access the trail from County Line Road. That is a very nice touch.


I'll close with two pictures taken from the bridge.



Thanks for riding along. I acknowledge that I can't ride this trail and see only what exists now. I still see the ripples of the past.
It is good to be able to bridge times past and future, living in this incredible, eternal, sacred place called Now.