Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Nature

In April | Rainer Maria Rilke

Here’s a small poem packed with beauty and hope. An invitation to pay attention to what’s happening right before our eyes. It’s Spring here in the USA. Time for reminders of new life in the midst of huge loss, suffering and anguish.

As most of you know, we’re in for a tough two weeks or more. It’s easy to get drawn into the drama around COVID-19. Easy, and not very uplifting.

Each morning I receive a poem in my mailbox. Here’s today’s poem, with a bit of hope for each of us.

In April, by Rainer Maria Rilke

Again the woods are odorous, the lark
Lifts on upsoaring wings the heaven gray
That hung above the tree-tops, veiled and dark,
Where branches bare disclosed the empty day.
After long rainy afternoons an hour
Comes with its shafts of golden light and flings
Them at the windows in a radiant shower,
And rain drops beat the panes like timorous wings.
Then all is still. The stones are crooned to sleep
By the soft sound of rain that slowly dies;
And cradled in the branches, hidden deep
In each bright bud, a slumbering silence lies.

This poem is in the public domain.
Published in Poem-a-Day on April 5, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

Praying you’ll experience a calm heart this week, and enjoy the beginning of Spring (or Fall). I fell off the wagon a bit this past week. Too much attention to news outlets, and not enough to nature and my own beautiful, grown-up self.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 5 April 2020
Photo found at worldbirdphotos.com

Beneath trees of my childhood | Photos

Beneath trees
of my childhood
memories flood
my eyes with
dreams and sorrows
packed within
the space of one life
gazing at tamed
and untamed beauty
underestimated
until this moment
of imminent loss

Below are photos of old trees, including palmettos and water oaks, plus the river in front of the house my family lived in during the 1950s. Even though years have passed, and the old house has been turned into an elegant piece of real estate, the trees we played under are still standing. The final photo is an unexpected gift from one of our visits—a mama carrying her two opossum babies.

I grew up under these trees every day from age 7 l/2 to 13. The Spanish moss is probably the same moss, or at least its prolific offspring.

I’ve included one photo from 1996, the year Sister #3, Diane, came to Savannah for a last visit. She had learned weeks earlier that she had ALS. At her request, we drove out to the old Montgomery house for her last visit, this time in mid-winter, at low tide.

Nature and old photos have a way of cleansing us. Cherish your old photos if you still have them. And remember that someday you, too will be cherished in old photos.

Happy Monday, and thanks for visiting.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 30 March 2020
Photos taken near Savannah, Georgia, by DAFraser in 1996 (Diane), and 2010, following my father’s memorial service

We don’t marry disaster | Happy Monday!

I wrote this poem in September 2017, nearly one year after our 2016 Presidential Election. The situation today is no better than it was then. Even so, there’s reason to hope on this Monday Morning, March 2020.

We don’t marry disaster
It marries us
Unrelenting drought
Genocidal ethnic cleansing
Polio and opioid epidemics
Avalanches of pain and anguish
Wild fires breathing fury
Hurricanes and floods of destruction
Nature’s fury turned inward
Human fury turned outward
Multiplied exponentially

See the pictures in my scrapbook?
Like pages of a newspaper
Good news one day
Disaster the next
See that man who’s smiling?
That beautiful woman over there?
Those precious children looking your way?
The young people who think no one is looking?
There they were just yesterday
And now…..

What’s to become of us?
The ‘us’ that doesn’t exist anymore
Families torn apart
Friends for life now foes forever
Enemies within and without
In whom do we trust?
In whom do we place our hope?
False saviors arise from glowing ashes
Snake oil dealers hawk their sleazy wares

I get up in the morning
And look outside, up toward the heavens
Where the bright face of a newly waning moon
Reflects the light of a new day just dawning.
Two birds swoop silently together into an oak tree
High overhead a silver airplane leaves a misty trail
Fluffy clouds drift beneath a deep blue sky
Signs of hope and reason enough to get up
And live yet another day in my small corner
Of this world filled with small people,
Large hearts and infectious smiles.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 8 September 2017, reposted 23 September, 2020
Waning Moon image found at moodymoons.com

another free concert

Feeling my way
down unexplored paths
nature surprises me
with unexpected glory

Songbirds clear their throats
early in the morning
tuning up for a day-long
cacophony of competing trills

Trees once bare lift up
spring’s new growth
reaching for the sun
to warm chilled bones

Here and there
early-bird trees burst
into bloom eager to be
the first with the most

Unorchestrated beauty
combines its collective throat
to offer another free concert
no tickets required

There’s much to be said for living in the moment. There’s also much to be said for the orderly parade of seasons. Not because they’ll always be with us, but because they remind us we’re in the hands of a Power greater than ourselves. A Power already present whether we see or feel it right now.

Nature’s annual spring gala invites me to take deep breaths and exhale. I’m not responsible for holding everything together, or changing the course of world history, or what other people do or don’t do, no matter how distressed I feel about it.

Praying each of you has a day filled with unexpected beauty.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 22 March 2020
Photo of Spring in Bucks County, Pennsylvania found at wallcoo.net.

Sunrise | Mary Oliver

You can
die for it—
an idea,
or the world. People

have done so,
brilliantly,
letting
their small bodies be bound

to the stake,
creating
an unforgettable
fury of light. But

this morning,
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought

of China,
and India,
and Europe, and I thought
how the sun

blazes
for everyone just
so joyfully
as it rises

under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?

What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it

whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter
fire.

c. 1992, Mary Oliver
New and Selected Poems, Volume One, pp. 125-126
Published by Beacon Press

Dear Mary,

The deep breath at the end of your poem got me. No, make that the repeated deep breaths you would take for all of us. Not just for yourself.

There’s a dearth of deep breaths these days. Instead we seem to prefer eruptions of hot anger, fury, disbelief and righteous indignation. They’re often carried out via Twitter.

Sadly, there’s plenty to die for these days. Things haven’t advanced that much since you left us. Still, I’m intrigued by your additional way to enter the fray. Instead of offering ourselves up as martyrs, or turning others into martyrs, we might try taking a deep breath and entering the fire by way of ‘fiery’ happiness.

There’s still something to be said for fury. Especially when we’re being deceived by many of our leaders. I fear we have a long way to go, especially here in the USA, before we’re skilled in happiness that knows how to enter the fire.

If you read this anytime soon, we would be honored to have you take some deep breaths for all of us on this planet. I think we need a jump-start on happiness that creates “an unforgettable fury of light.” The other plan, social media burnings at the stake, isn’t working for us, despite the raging fury.

With gratitude and hope,
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 13 March 2020
Photo found at pexels.com

Late winter sun

Late winter sun
Rises early
Without fanfare
Or drumrolls

Streams of light
Bathe new growth
Pushing up through
Thawed ground

Majestic limbs
Reach out
Plucking silent strings
Of my heart

I love simple things that remind me of not-so-simple things. In this case, what touches the strings of my heart.

For several days now I’ve stayed home, tending to a small but stubborn health nuisance. Definitely not what I was looking for just now.

Today’s email brought this pre-season photo from Chanticleer Gardens. It reached out and got me, in the best way possible.

Hoping your week is bringing you fresh beauty, along with everything else.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 10 March 2020
Photo taken at Chanticleer Gardens by Chris Fehlhaber, February 2020

yesterday’s dreams

captured by yesterday’s dreams
reflected in melodious ripples of
water, trees and sky dancing
just beyond our reach
we peer beneath the surface
into shifting mirrors of time and space
overflowing with dreams and promises
each small gem waiting impatiently
to catch the sun and explode into life

I love the haunting feeling of the top photo, and the way it puts us in proper perspective. It’s April 2006. We’re at Longwood Gardens with our twin granddaughters, just below the eye of water (see below). Trees, water, grassy lawns and blossoming shrubs are welcoming the best part of Spring, accompanied by the sound of cascading water in the background.

Since 2006, our lives have taken paths we never anticipated, and sometimes didn’t want. Nonetheless, speaking for myself, it’s been a great adventure. The kind I hope and pray our granddaughters and grandson have as well.

Thanks for visiting today!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 February 2020
Photos taken by DAFraser at Longwood Gardens, April 2006 

On a cold morning

Like clockwork
On a cold morning
in February
the air comes alive

Fluttering wings
and hopeful
wannabes
strut their sweetest songs

A maybe pair
of small song sparrows
flits from twig to twig
male in patient pursuit

While nearby
streaking through air
landing on a dime
and taking off again

beak stuffed with
twigs and detritus
a tireless common pigeon
weaves a crude nest

Fragile hope springs
from the ground
sending up small fireworks
of purple and gold

All seen in my backyard this weekend and this morning. I think I’ve got the pigeon nest spotted, just outside my kitchen window. They’re not the most exotic of birds, and their offspring look like awkward adolescents. Still, I’m won over by the parents’ loyalty and their remarkable ability to endure all kinds of weather without abandoning each other. All in my backyard.

Happy Monday!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 February 2020
Photo of wood pigeon nest found at commons.wikipedia.com

February’s lightness of being

Looking for just the right words
To convey lightness of being
Descending through rainbows
To the ground of our heaviness
Bent beneath cares and sorrows
Though the sun shines brightly
This first and only Monday morning
Of week three and counting down

How do we live with sinking feelings
As friends and strangers known
To us if not by us wither and pass
Beyond veils of mist and ashes
Dying quickly as lines form
At the rear and out of control
If not out of mind and time
Waiting to hear the bell toll

This isn’t directly about the latest virus. It’s about how we get through one day at a time in a world that seems to be falling apart. Virus or no virus. I vote for rainbows and the Creator to whom they point. How about you?

Here’s to a Happy Monday, no matter the circumstances. Not because it’s cheery, but because this day belongs to Someone Greater than ourselves, who loves us and wants nothing more than our faithful presence. Especially when things seem to be falling apart.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 17 February 2020
Photo found at orcaissues.com

Valentine’s Day at Longwood 2016 | Photos

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here are some flower children to brighten your day, chosen because my eyes love looking at them. The couple above make me laugh. Creatures from another planet welcoming us with open antennae and open arms. Or are those gullets? And how about those imposing hats?

All photos in this post were taken at Longwood Gardens by D, my partner for over 54 years. Sometimes I ask him to take a particular picture. Most of the time, though, he just shoots away, and I post whatever strikes my fancy. A fine arrangement.

Here are two photos in gorgeous pinky tones. The second may look like it’s upside down, but I don’t think it is. The small, single-petal blossoms seem to be hanging down on stems, floating in the air.

The next plant, not an orchid, has beautiful pink and orange tones. Muted cool-blue/green background and foreground colors make it a standout. Not a stunningly beautiful plant, but serene and sure of itself. What’s not to love?

Next we have three members of the orchid family, each different, and begging for attention. I’m torn between the first two. The first is rather imposing and sure of itself. Just below, we have a quiet, gentle type. Which shows how little I know about orchid anatomy. In the third photo, we seem to have a family competing for attention. Or maybe they’re celebrating someone’s birthday? Or Valentine’s Day?

Finally, perhaps my favorite. It’s totally calm, serene, and happy in its subdued non-orchid outfit. Elegant. Not flashy.


Wishing you an elegant day no matter how messy things get from time to time. Thanks for visiting!

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 14 February 2020
Photos taken by DAFraser in February 2016 at Longwood Gardens

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