Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Winter

Coming up for air

 

Coming up for air
Weary mind and body
Conspire

Catching me off guard
They try changing the subject
Of my latest thought

Which to be sure
I cannot remember in full
Now lost in my dreams

Clouds outside hang heavy
With bits of sleet and weary snow
Frozen and mushy

Like my brain melting
And freezing again drifting
on Shumann’s Träumerei

I’m a bit weary and giddy today. Last night we sent off the (hopefully) last version of my small book of poetry: Without a Flight Plan.

Do I need to publish a book? No. Do I want to? Yes, even though I’ve already said I’m not going to write another book.

So…What happened? 2020 happened. Covid-19. Trump. Black Lives Matter. Social Distancing. And a whole lot more. In addition, my dearly beloved husband suggested last November that I put together a book of my poetry for family members. He also offered to get it ready for printing.

My first response? No way! However, on second thought, last year was one of the most bizarre years of my life. So I decided to let some of last year’s poems speak for themselves (without commentary), along with some favorite Longwood Gardens photos taken by D.

So yes, I’m weary of proofreading. However, I’m excited about having a book this close to becoming real. Especially at this time in my life.

Thanks for stopping by today.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 February 2021
Thanks to YouTube for the video at the top.

How are you doing today?

Our pastor asked this at the beginning of today’s online sermon. It caught me by surprise. It’s also better than a thousand other things we might talk about. So I’m going to begin, and invite you to respond about yourself.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being Great, I’m scoring about 6 or 7 on most days. Why?

~Sometimes winter weather is harsh, meaning no outdoor walk with D
~My health, which requires constant attention 24/7
~The sudden unraveling last March of regular social life (Covid-19)
~Reverberations from chaos recently unleashed on Capitol Hill
~No in-person visits with family members or friends
~Grief that comes with acknowledging I won’t be here forever, which will come sooner, not later

Grief, disappointment, sadness, weariness, uncertainty, loneliness, heartache, fear. I could pretend they don’t bother me. But that wouldn’t be telling the truth.

Thankfully, things like the following bring me joy or gratitude.

~Having enough food (most of it prepared by me)
~Walking outside with David when the weather is decent
~Seeing neighbors and chatting a bit on the street
~Phone calls and email from family members and friends
~Playing with Smudge or holding him on my lap while he sleeps
~Watching birds on our backyard feeders
~Reading a good book and playing the piano
~Listening to music any time of day

Still, good times won’t cancel out down times. Nor do they answer all my questions about life and the world as we know it today. Each day is different. Making plans is difficult. At the same time, Christian faith gives me a foundation I sorely need every day. Scripture, music, devotional reading and journaling.

What about you? How are you getting through this long passage of time, including loss of people you know and love?

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 January 2021
Image found at makeameme.org

The unsung life of birds | Photos

Junco huddles in bare lilac bush one day after the storm

Swarming outside our kitchen window
They take speedy targeted turns
Though not always with good manners
Flocking nonstop to the one thing
They need this season above all else –
A turn at the table set for everyone

The pecking order becomes clear
In the space of about three minutes

Red-bellied woodpeckers take top honors
Clearing the deck and wrapping themselves
Around the feeder in order to get that
One big seed and retreat to the nearest tree

Feisty cantankerous house finches follow quickly;
Swarming house sparrows hog the food and linger
Fighting furiously for the best seat at the table;
Chickadees and tufted titmice land, grab and go;
Red and white-bellied nuthatches often prefer it
Upside-down and are gone in a flash,
Favorite seeds gripped in razor-sharp beaks

Brilliant male cardinals and their mates hover
In nearby shrubs, watching for an opening
Though he frequently shoves her to the
Sidelines where she patiently (?) waits her turn
Beside sweet grey and white juncos sitting
On the porch rail watching for just the right
Moment to swoop in and grab a bite or two

Isn’t it wonderful to write scripts for the birds? I wonder what they would write about us.

This week we’ve had ample time to study the seed and suet feeders. Generally speaking (in case you’re wondering), ubiquitous gray squirrels are being deflected from the impenetrable bird feeder, thanks to the recently hung suet feeder. They prefer trying to bite through the suet screen, hoping to break in and grab the whole cake!

David took the photos above and below the day after this week’s wild wind, snow, sleet and ice storm. Enjoy!

The morning after the storm

House sparrows

Nuthatch on suet feeder; yes, the squirrels managed to spring the cage, but not far enough to deliver the whole cake!
Now fully secured, assuming they can’t bite through small padlocks….

Red male cardinal feasting

Female cardinal and a white-bellied junco

I pray this closing week of Advent brings hope and peace into parts of our lives that are difficult at any age.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 December 2020
Photos taken by DAFraser, 17 December 2020

In spite of everything

In spite of everything
The sun came up today
Brilliant rays pierce shadows
Illuminate dust and beauty
Alike without warning
Igniting fanciful thoughts
Banishing gloom and doom
Dancing on airs of expectation
And gratitude for what is
Imminently bloom-worthy

All things considered, today I’m choosing nature’s reality over other options screaming for attention.

Yesterday I had a wonderful, unexpected call from my youngest sister. It was the first time she’s called me since her health crisis on Christmas Eve. Hearing her voice was like discovering a determined crocus unexpectedly pushing up through cold winter earth. Clear, grounded and intent on living.

Happy Monday to each of you!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 3 February 2020
Photo of early spring flowers found at pixabay.com

Dancing across the sky

Dancing across the sky
Northern lights backdrop
the night and planet earth
bundled in white snow
drifting from tree to tree

specks of distant starlight
pierce a silky curtain
of green, magenta and blue —
primordial visitors
to winter’s boreal forest

I love the peacefulness of this photo. Then there’s the harsh reality of endangered boreal forests, and our need for them to remain healthy if we are to be here, too. Mostly, though, I love the peacefulness of this nighttime photo. For more about Canada’s huge boreal forest, check out this link.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 30 January 2020
Photo of Northern Lights at the edge of Canada’s boreal forest found at pinterest.com

Lulled by promises

Cold air rushes into the void gasping
Shaking rafters and startling trees
Grown soft in mild winter sunshine

Radiators crackle and pop
Kitty curls into a ball of white fur
Humidifiers bubble and sigh
Cars rush by with home on their minds

How cruel to be lulled by promises
Whispered yesterday beneath a balmy sky

No major winter warnings. Just a run of bitter cold weather this coming week. Maybe a bit of snow.

OK. I can’t help myself. Fake weather. That’s what it is! Don’t believe a thing you see, hear or feel. It’s a warm, sunny, beautiful day! Enjoy! 🙂

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 17 January 2020
Photo of Smudge hibernating taken by DAFraser, Winter 2014

Breath of God Unseen – revisited

wind-sculpted-drifts-martin-nd-13-jan-2017

I  posted this in January 2017. It’s as true today as was then, especially given world and national events of the past few years. It’s difficult to keep my eyes on what matters most these days, rather than what parades as ‘reality.’ 

Breath of God
Unseen
Artist of my heart
And life
Breathe on me 

The wind is cold
Unyielding
To my vain cries
For mercy
Breathe on me 

Evening shadows
Lengthen
In fading light
Brilliant
and foreboding 

Deep blue sky
Darkens
Trees bend and sway
Breath of God
Breathe on me 

It’s late afternoon. This morning I woke to this photo on my weather page. I thought immediately about my life and the way God’s Spirit has blown through and around it, unseen and unbidden.  

Looking back, I’d say the outcomes today are beyond my wildest dreams. Not that I’m perfect or successful or even ‘special.’ Rather, this is about contentment. 

I’m at peace with myself, though not always with situations in which I find myself.  Or even with my behavior. Nonetheless, things have changed in my spirit over the last several years. 

Today I have compassion for myself as a child, as a young teenager, as a wife, mother and grandmother, and as a retired professional. I rarely struggle with feeling like a fraud, or with harsh self-talk that belittles me or accuses me of being The Problem with Everything. 

I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m saying I’m at rest with who I am and who I am not. Especially from the inside out. The part that really matters. 

I like what I see when I think of myself as a huge pile of snow, sculpted by God’s Spirit through winds of change. I know, things aren’t exactly spectacular in the world right now. It’s just that today I’m at peace with myself.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 14 January 2017, reposted 1 November 2019
Photo taken by Brian Bender at Martin, North Dakota, USA, 13 Jan 2017
Found at Weather Underground App

Off-balance

Turned tables
Throw me off-balance
Disrupt my rhythm

Stumbling along
Through gray haze
The sun strains to shine

Overcast Winter
Sifts through misty air
Chilled to the bone
Searching for rhyme
If not reason

What would we do
Without daily routines
Holding us together
Like friendly glue
Warm to the touch
Made sweet with
Familiar music
And the sound of our cat
Purring across our laps

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 23 February 2019
“Foggy Mood” oil on canvas painted by Bekir Smolski, found at art.mine.com

Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood 2019 | Photos

Thanks to Longwood Gardens for putting on the best annual orchid show in town! Here are some favorites from D’s prolific photos — nearly 300 photos this time.

We’re in the Conservatory’s spacious indoor gardens and hallways. Imagine the best-kept indoor garden you’ve never had, plus the sound of water flowing and/or cascading down in almost every room.

The photo above shows a passage from the main fountain garden to a quieter area. A small fountain at one end keeps the shallow water moving. Potted palms sit in boxes on the pool floor. Chairs and boxes of ivy and small flowering plants line the edge of the pool. Beyond the windows on the far side (above) are water lily ponds still in hibernation.

For special events the pool is drained, and furniture set up for elegant programs, dining, dancing or other celebrations.

Time for more orchids — beginning with this unusual black orchid from Longwood’s collection.

The ‘orchid curtain’ below lines a passageway beyond the orchid room. The second photo shows the same curtain on the reverse side, this time lining a tropical plant garden.

They next two photos remind me of college days and orchid corsages. That would be in the 1960s, when an orchid corsage or even wrist adornment was the mark of a woman spoken for! Or at least hopeful. We’ve come a long way, baby! And yes, the orchids were lovely — the mark of a caring gentleman.

Several more beauties — a random mix of smiling (sort of) faces and the unexpected.




Finally, one last look at three Conservatory paths. First to the orchid room, then through the bromeliad display, and finally around the edge of the main Conservatory entrance. I wish I could capture the sounds and fragrance of this place. Maybe someday….

I hope your day is sunny, filled with fragrant beauty and moments of calm joy.

Thanks for coming along!

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 13 February 2019
Photos taken by DAFraser, 5 February 2019, Longwood Gardens Conservatory

a day unlike any other

It’s bitter cold outside my window
Venus rises in the Southeast
Smudge nuzzles my warm pajamas
The radiator pumps heat

Saturday
A day unlike any other
Quiet and laid back
Nonchalant

No busy imperious horns
Honking impatiently –
No braking trash trucks
Stopping at every other driveway
Tossing garbage into bins and driveways –
No yellow school buses halting traffic
To pick up almost-late scholars –
No buzz of chain saws
Or construction vehicles beeping
Their way backward down one-way lanes
Surrounded by shouts of men
Wearing noise-cancelling earpieces –
No screaming fire trucks, police cars
Or ambulances racing downhill
Toward the latest health emergency
Or freeway accident –
No droning news helicopters
Hungry to document rush-hour madness
At its worst

Only the chill quiet
Of a lazy Saturday morning

The sun is out, the temperature is down and the wind is up. A good day for indoor activities of the not-too-stressful sort. Such as reading, writing, eating, exercising when and where I choose, and maybe a teeny tiny bit of housecleaning. Just enough to feel happy, content and alive.

Cheers!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 February 2019
Photo of Venus and Jupiter taken by Dennis Schoenfelder in Alamosa, Colorado on 18 Jan 2019; found at en.es-static.us

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