Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Photo

Loose ends

At loose ends with myself
Weary after a week of pain
Strangely connected to my
Healed yet still broken jaw

Struggling a bit with morning
Light now arriving so early
That my body rebels when I
Try to sing it back to sleep

Heat is piling on this week
Heavy eyelids insist on falling
Down when I want them to
Stand up and fight for me

My attic chair beckons
High above the noise of
Everyday traffic and business
As usual in these strange times

I think it’s time for another
Little catnap from the ups and
Downs of this week perhaps
With my eyes closed snoozing

What a bizarre few weeks. Sharp pains in my left front side—triggered, it seemed, by lifting items or bending over and then standing up. It made sense to me.

Wrong! My doctor says the pain is triggered by tight muscles in my upper body. It seems they’re trying to protect me from the pain of chewing anything too hard or crunchy. Along with some muscles in my face, they’ve become stiff, inflamed and painful.

As of yesterday, I began exercises that seem to invite pain. Not in huge amounts, but as much as I can tolerate. This is followed by smearing my favorite inflammation remedy (arnica cream) on my back. I’ve also signed up for clinic sessions to work on my rib cage and scapula. Though I won’t be as loose and relaxed as Smudge or his distant cousin at the top, I can’t wait to get there.

That’s all for now. Thanks for listening! The attic beckons. Life is good.


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 June 2019
Photo taken by DAFraser, 6 May 2019, Longwood Gardens

Carolina wren

Carolina wren
pierces dawn with song-burst
I smile and hit snooze


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 31 January 2018
Carolina Wren Song found on YouTube,
posted by the American Bird Conservancy


shimmering hope


shimmering hope sprung
eons ago lies dormant
frozen underfoot
trampled beneath scornful words
it wonders and waits


A little poem for you, my friends,
with prayers for a Meaningful New Year of growth,
unexpected beauty, strength of character,
and creative resourcefulness when things don’t go exactly as planned!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 31 December 2016
Photo credit: DAFraser, July 2016
Kinderdijk, South Holland – wild flowers beside the river path

Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Hopeful

fairy drops


fairy drops
leap sparkling in
august dance

* * *

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 4 August 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, August 2014
Longwood Gardens

Dear Dad | What Ifs


To Dad with Love from Elouise

Dear Dad,
I wasn’t going to write about this today. But when I woke up this morning it was already on my mind. So here goes.

Over a year ago I began wondering how I would answer questions like these:

  • What did you inherit from your father?
  • What are you proud of in your father?
  • What’s the best gift your father ever gave you?

I often feel left out when I hear daughters, not just sons, thanking their fathers for being their mentors, their best friends, their coaches in life and their faithful cheerleaders. Sometimes they tell stories about how this happened. Do I have stories like this?

When I was young I was proud that you were a preacher and that you’d gone to college. Besides, you could fix just about anything in the world, and knew the Latin names of most every plant in the world. And could recite poem after poem by heart.

As an adult, I’ve always said I inherited from you a love of theology. Because I became a theologian, this was important to me. Something that set you apart from most other fathers.

At the same time, it was never easy to answer questions about your influence in my life. So when I began my list of things we share, I thought it would be a short list. I also wanted to think about you differently—without denying our sometimes unhappy history as father and daughter. In the end, the list was longer than I thought it would be, and brought back some happy memories.

When I woke up this morning I started asking myself some What If questions. Most of the time I stay away from What Ifs. They don’t seem to get me anywhere, and end up making me even more unhappy than I already was. Besides, they don’t change What Is—what I must live with each day.

Still, my What If questions wouldn’t go away. Here’s how I’m thinking about it.

  • As a parent, I found it distressingly easy to be judgmental and critical. Or to put my children on guard or push them away. I haven’t just experienced it as a child; I’ve done it as a mother.
  • So what if I were interested, positive and encouraging to my children? I know this works better, because I’ve experienced it, too. Not because it came naturally to me, but because I learned how to do it.

So back to you and me. What if you had taken a different approach with me?

When I was growing up I watched you relate to children and teenagers not in our immediate family. You seemed to be a different person! They loved you. They experienced you as their friend and cheerleader. They weren’t afraid of you the way I was. You were firm with them, but not harsh and unyielding.

I wanted you to relate that way with me. Sometimes this happened a bit when our family went on long road trips. They forced us out of our tired, predictable patterns.

Going to summer camps as a family was a bit like this, too. Not exactly the same, but enough to convince me that I’d rather be traveling or camping with you than living in a house with all those Thou Shalt Nots.

I don’t know why you chose to be strict and judgmental. You said you didn’t want me to grow up to be angry like your father was. Today I wonder what it was about you (not about me) that kept you from treating me differently. Since I saw you relating to other children, I know you had the skills to be a different kind of parent.

I used to think your parenting approach was my fault. I don’t think that anymore. I also don’t know whether a different approach would have been possible for you. Either way you’re still my father, and I’m not about to disown you.

Love and a hug,

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 1 July 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, March 2015, Longwood Gardens

serpentine reptile


serpentine reptile
insinuates its way through
beguiling blossoms

* * * Read the rest of this entry »

out for a look-see


out for a look-see
fledgling eyes take in the world
blue-robed male scans sky

(click to enlarge)

* * *

Last week D and I hiked in the Longwood Meadow Garden. While we were at a distance from this bird house, we heard a huge racket Read the rest of this entry »

spring in the air

Red-faced Lovebird


spring in the air

birds aflutter with hope

rehearse the dance


cardinal clears voice

struts around lady friend

it takes a while

* * *

Sorry folks,

no backyard photos.

Just a few observations from

my kitchen window.

The male cardinal’s weak song

needed more practice and warmer air.

The female cardinal

was diffident yet didn’t fly away.

Bored, maybe?

Not sure what to do next?

This photo captures

the tentative, slightly awkward, sweet spirit of the season.

* * *

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 4 February 2015
Photo credit:
Red-faced Lovebird Pair, Erongo Mountains, Namibia, December

rigid white spines


rigid white spines

protect thick upright stem

tiny leaflets shrink

* * *

I don’t have a clue what to call this beauty.
It stands in the Silver Garden at Longwood Gardens.
Living repository of succulents, mosses and unusual trees.
All capable of living with limited water supplies.
The dark area behind it is part of a window frame.

I decided to see whether I could write a haiku
that at least captured what I was seeing in the photo.
Then I searched for cacti images to see what kind it might be.
That’s when I discovered my first effort was off the mark.
I rewrote it accordingly.  I think.

It seems ‘normal’ plant logic doesn’t work here.
The spines, for example, are actually ‘leaves.’
The little green leaflets won’t develop into leaves.
Sometimes they become the source of more spines.
And then there’s that tall upright stem.
Not really a ‘spine,’ though we often call it that.
The function of the true spines (not simply thorns)
is not to protect those cute oval leaflets.
It’s to guard the cactus from predators seeking its treasure–
life-giving, water-like liquid, stored on behalf of the plant.

No, I won’t turn this into a lesson about life or death.
I just want you to know how hard I worked on this haiku for you!

Also, if you’re cactus-savvy,
and can enlighten us about what to call it
or about anything else of interest,
such as statements above that are wrong,
now’s your chance!

This is not a poem.
I decided it looked better this way.

* * *

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 22 January 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, May 2014
Silver Garden, Longwood Gardens Pennsylvania

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