Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Summer

Sunflowers and Cicadas

Lost in a crowd
Wondering who I am
today and what will
become of us

A sunflower dropped
into the earth by
accident or design
pays no attention

Cicadas raise their
shrill chorus and fall
back into waves of
welcome silence

Hot sunrays pierce
the haze of dawn
with a vigor I cannot
mimic or resurrect

Climbing a small hill
and moving from shade
to shade I wake up
to this burning day

What is progress? I hope I’m making some today. A recent appointment with my integrative doctor produced more follow-up than I like. It feels like being in half-here mode. Living between what I’ve been and whatever comes next. It’s pushing me back to hard questions about what I will and will not agree to at this time of my life. And, more important, what I want to do with my time right now.

In the meantime, I’m mesmerized by our impromptu sunflower family springing from the earth beneath last winter’s large bird feeder. You’d think I’d never seen a sunflower. Nevertheless, it’s magical to find unplanned beauty right in our back yard.

Hoping you’ll find beauty in small things today.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 July 2021
Backyard photo taken by DAFraser, 25 July 2021

Slogging

Heavy air
Crushes lungs
Dragging
My body
Up the hill
In hot
Humid air

No elation
Just the
Steady beat
Of aching feet
Meeting hot
Pavement
Despite
Beauty all
Around
Begging
For attention

This morning’s humid air was heavier than I am, bearing down relentlessly despite my determination to finish walking through the neighborhood.

I do not consider the above to be one of my better poems. Which is just as well, given the circumstances. Nonetheless, it is the full truth about this morning’s usually cheery walk filled with happy bird-song.

Slogging. My word for the day. According to Merriam Webster it means “To plod (one’s way) perseveringly especially against difficulty.”

So here’s the irony of aging, which I put in the ‘difficulty’ box:  The smarter we get, the slower we go.

That’s it in a nutshell. The great conundrum of senior wisdom based on experience, now trapped in aging bodies. Which, when I’m honest, can also be encouraging. Not the slow part, but the smarter part.

In other words, I like to believe my life experience (good, bad, ugly, disgusting, heavenly) has taught me more than I ever learned in school, at home, or even in the church. This is true whether I’m able to remember and articulate it, or not.

For now, I’m sticking close to home which has its own slogging work to do!

Here’s hoping you’re still in one piece and thriving at the end of this week.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 July 2021
Photo found at mentalfloss.com

Monday morning trilogy

calm of new morning
just born and alive with hope
seeps into my pores

curled into a ball
white fur with pink ears sleeps
oblivious

down to earth robins
pull juicy worms from soaked ground
business as usual

Happy Monday!
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 29 July 2019
Photo found at freestak.com

red fruit vanishes

red fruit vanishes
into bulging chipmunk cheeks
summer’s final fling

Seen from my kitchen window this morning. Not the squirrel above, but our resident chipmunk.

For several days I’ve watched birds and squirrels raiding our giant yew shrub. One ripe red berry at a time. The shrub is loaded with them. This morning our small chipmunk was storing them up for a feast. He lives inside one of the large concrete blocks that form a low wall in our back yard.

And…in case you don’t already know. Yew shrubs and trees are totally poisonous to humans except for the red flesh on the berries. Don’t swallow the seeds! And, above all, don’t try the bark or the shiny green needless. You can read more about this right here.

This morning we’re still getting a bit of rain from Florence. Hoping for clear skies and a chance to walk outside soon.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 September 2018
Photo found at pinterest

Tripping out at the Zoo | Photos

Yesterday we joined at least a zillion happy children and their caretakers at the Philly Zoo. The weather was great, so the Zoo was the place to be! If it were polite to take pictures of children’s faces, this post wouldn’t have a single zoo animal in it. Nonetheless, as we were leaving the grounds, we passed a group of children sitting on the edge of the fountain just inside the entrance. All dressed up for a day at the Philly Zoo!

As you know, D takes the photos, and I get to pick my favorites to share with you. So today it’s almost all about Zoo animal faces. I often wonder what’s going on inside animals’ heads. As in, “Who orchestrated this bizarre parade of human beings for us today?”

Here are some of their faces, beginning with a squirrel monkey watching everyone coming through the front gate. Plus a few photos of his/her small furry relatives.


Here’s an unlikely assortment of water-lovers, beginning with an otter. Note its sharp little fangs! Followed by penguins luxuriating in their brand new digs–which includes cool, clear water. Chilling out. Followed by a behemoth hippo that’s also a graceful floater. And, of course, a lovely trumpeter swan.

The Zoo recently welcomed a new baby giraffe. Here he is, checking out Zoo visitors, followed by a few more large animals that thrive in summer heat–as long as there’s a watering hole nearby.

Finally, four photos I like just because of color, faces, feathers, fur and/or general quirkiness.

Here’s to a cool weekend for all creatures great and small! Including you, unless you’re pining for more heat.

Cheers!
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 August 2018
Photos taken by DAFraser, 23 August 2018, at the Philly Zoo

late afternoon sun + Emily

late afternoon sun
catches courting butterflies
dancing in mid-air

I was out for a walk and there they were. Not the two above, but doing the same dance. Circling each other as they drifted through the air.

Almost as wonderful as seeing them was finding this butterfly poem from Emily Dickinson!

Two Butterflies went out at Noon—
And waltzed above a Farm—
Then stepped straight through the Firmament
And rested on a Beam—

And then—together bore away
Upon a shining Sea—
Though never yet, in any Port—
Their coming mentioned—be—

If spoken by the distant Bird—
If met in Ether Sea
By Frigate, or by Merchantman—
No notice—was—to me—

Emily Dickinson, Poem #533
Poem found at poets.org, now in the public domain

I’d like to be a butterfly, wouldn’t you?

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 15 August 2018
Photo found at http://www.nhm.ac.uk

startled into flight

startled into flight
the young striped robin eyes me
from a nearby fence

twice it hops away
juvenile instincts awake
it heads for the trees

I’m just back from my morning walk. A beautiful day so far–not so hazy and humid, a little breeze in the air. Well…there was that giant mower roaring across the park hillside. But other than that, and grandparents and parents delivering young children to a summer program at the elementary school, I was blessedly alone. Until I came around the corner of the school and the poor robin, eating breakfast on the school grounds, got spooked.

Still, a great way to begin a summer day. And now I get to write about it. Icing on the cake!

Cheers!
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 30 July 2018
Photo found in the National Audubon Field Guide

distant voices | Mom

distant voices
ride waves of morning air
cicadas drone

Today is the anniversary of my mother’s birthday. Born in 1921, she died in 1999. Today would have been her 97th birthday. Though I’ve done a lot of work on my relationship with her, I’m still finding words to describe the impact she had on my life.

My mother’s main task in life was to raise four daughters and to be unquestioningly obedient to one husband. Though not in that order. For most of her life, loyalty to him came first, not her daughters.

In her last years of life, for reasons I don’t understand, something clicked on for her. More than once she became unusually feisty with Dad, letting him know (with witnesses present) exactly where he stood and didn’t stand with her. She didn’t shut him out completely. She did, however, shut him out and down on more than one occasion. As though she’d reached her last straw.

It’s difficult to imagine Mom as a role model for me in my marriage to D. I don’t have memories of her being particularly affectionate with my father (or with me). Obedient? Absolutely. Quiet and industrious? Absolutely. On his side when he was discouraged? Absolutely. Modest and unassuming? Absolutely.

But not an equal partner given to overt affection. No matter how you describe it. When she married Dad in 1942, she abandoned huge pieces of her one-and-only life. It was part of the deal.

Today I applaud and love her for her courage, persistence, creativity, love of making music, intelligence, resourcefulness, and ability to run circles around my father intellectually without putting herself at risk. She was a survivor whose physical voice and body were impaired by polio from the time she was 28 years old. Yet she rode the waves and storms of life gracefully until she just couldn’t do it anymore.

My one huge regret is that she didn’t advocate on my behalf, or question my father’s beatings of me. I know she knew. Everyone in the house knew. Perhaps she also knew what that would mean for her, and the cost was too high to bear. The lives of women are fraught with life-endangering choices. She made hers, and to her credit, never stopped loving me, even though she didn’t know how to come to my defense.

If she were here today, I, ever the introvert, would take her for a lovely stroll in her wheelchair around our neighborhood, and let her meet and greet some of my wonderfully extroverted neighbors. Then we would go through the neighborhood park, enjoying this lovely summer day together, listening to the birds, and meeting and greeting every friendly dog along the way. Plus their owners, of course.

And I would hug her close, giving her what I can.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 12 July 2018
Photo found at mybrownnewfies.com

riding the north wind

riding the north wind
a train whistle blows my way
chasing after clouds

I heard the train whistle Friday evening when D and I were out for a late evening walk. A welcome sound, since it meant we were in for priceless cool Canadian air (no tariffs involved) over the weekend. We’re just on the tail-end now, headed back toward hot and humid.

This morning I’m sorting things on my desk, littered with yesterday’s brilliant ideas and lists of things I mustn’t forget to do. I’m also anticipating this coming Friday’s open mic night at our church. I signed on to read several more of my poems. A happy prospect.

Most of all though, I’m watching myself and our world with an eye toward heaven and an eye on the ground. This morning I read Psalm 10, a cry from the heart for justice to prevail, with the wicked caught in the very traps they made and set.

I couldn’t help thinking about George MacDonald’s At the Back of the North Wind. God sends the North Wind here and there to stir things up. Not with calm, cool or pleasant outcomes for everyone, yet always for the good of this world God still loves more than we’ll ever understand.

Below are the last two verses of Psalm 10, from Today’s English Version

You will listen, O Lord, to the
prayers of the lowly;

You will give them courage.
You will hear the cries of the
oppressed and the orphans;
You will judge in their favor,
so that mortal human beings
may cause terror
no more.

This isn’t about a magic wand. It’s about us doing with our heart, hands, ears, eyes and feet the kinds of things for which we were created. And in whatever ways we’re able. A faithful, refreshing north wind of interest and engagement is just as feasible as a self-centered north wind of greed and hatred.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 July 2018
Image of the North Wind carrying Diamond found at tor.com

slow motion

outside my window air hangs heavy

yesterday’s rain now stale
drops in slow motion from the gutter
exposed trees stand breathless
caught in damp morning heat

I hear the rhythmic beat
of tires coming and going
on the road beside our house

August is the saddest month
weary of relentless summer
it languishes—
counting the days

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 3 August 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Symphony

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