Except for that pesky virus…

Hurricane  Andrew

from Los Angeles Times

 

August, 1992, was when we moved from Orange Park to Lake Wales, Florida. The  second week there our youngest celebrated her third birthday. Then south Florida was hit by Hurricane Andrew. Though it was south of us, it was frightening watching it unfold on the news, tracking its path, just in case. Which is what we always do in Florida.

 

“Except for that pesky hurricane, Andrew, the summer of 1992 was magic.” – Rick Bragg

 

Today we are once again watching a story unfold that is bigger in scope than the hurricane. It sometimes seems distant, this coronavirus, but not for long. Most times it seems like it’s at our doorstep. But, we couldn’t stop the hurricane, or all the other hurricanes, so we just prepared the best we could. Same as today.

In 2004, we hunkered down with our newlywed son and his bride when Charley came barreling toward us. This time it was one day before that youngest daughter’s birthday. And the same day our older daughter arrived home from overseas, landing in Orlando in the midst of the chaos.

That was the year that three hurricanes crossed over our home in Winter Haven. Charley – Frances – Jeanne.  Ivan also hit Florida north of us.

I don’t really know what point I’m making here except that I am grateful God has brought us through all these storms. I am praying he will bring my family safely through this current storm. I want to be able say, like Rick Bragg, that except for that pesky virus, the spring of 2020 was magic.

 

Getting Ready for April

 

In this upside down time there is still something I look forward to and that’s April. Because, for me, April means poetry.

This week has been so different from anything I’ve ever been through. My husband is now working from home. Bless his heart, he kisses me goodbye before he goes into his office and shuts the door.  Before all this COVID-19 hit we had already made the decision for an early retirement and to put our house on the market. So, this week I have been decluttering, packing, cleaning, and facetiming with the grandkids in Florida. We are going to go ahead with our preparations, trusting the LORD to move us or not according to His plans for us. If we don’t move, at least we’ll have a clean house and a pretty yard!

Back to April.

I think this will be my 11th year or so doing the PAD challenge via Writer’s Digest. I also hope to participate in the Poetry Super Highway April Poetry writing prompts. I feel like over the past years I’ve been motivated to write some of my better work during April. I’m one of those people who get mores things done when I have a lot to do. So, again this year, I should be able to crank out at least a few noteworthy poems. I enjoy the process and I enjoy the interaction with other poets.

So, today I played around with some black out poetry, using the book Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson.

 

My Journey

worst comes to worst

I would rather hope in time

to improve the world

the sun shining between two prayers

born quick and slow

I say no more

 

The Sea

the sea

deep to the end of it

I looked to see truth

on every side

the sea with  a thick mist

I shivered

wondered

I waded in

by God’s grace

hope was the  more sure

in all ways

hope buoyed me up 

the sea

more alive

In I went into the sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quarantined Dream

Waking-in-the-night

“Waking in the Night” – dreams.co.uk

 

So I woke up this morning about 4:30 with words and an idea in my head. I knew if I didn’t get up they would disappear. I wrote down a few verses and went back to bed, but not to sleep. I had a lot to get done today. I eventually got back up, put on some coffee, did a few chores, then started prepping the hallway for painting. I got it painted and it looks much better!

So, finally, I got back to add to/revise my poem that I’d started at 4:30.

 

Quarantined Dream

In this quarantined dream
I long for the other side of the pillow
cool against my cheek
but I can’t flip it over
not just yet

In this quarantined dream
I’ve been walking so long
I want to unlace my boots
and peel off my socks
but I walk on
without the spring in my step

In this quarantined dream
my lips are dry and cracked
I search for the balm
peppermint and soothing
that gives relief
but I search in vain

In this quarantined dream
I layer on the covers
but I can’t get warm
shivering with unanswered questions
I throw on another blanket
and wait

In this quarantined dream
full of speculations
I wonder about the Vitamin C
while grasping for sunshine
and fresh air
but they slip away

In this quarantined dream
I try to hide
from the numbers chasing me
the warnings and the symptoms aren’t far behind
but where is the truth?

In this quarantined dream
I think I hear a knock on the door
but I know, even if it’s real,
I can’t answer it
not just yet

 

All the Feels

header

 

I wasn’t sure what to title this or how to start. Right now I am typing on my chromebook as I listen to a virtual concert on my laptop.  I have been a subscriber to Garden and Gun for a number of years. Today as I read their email I found out there was going to be a virtual concert live tonight. I was able to pass the word along to people I thought might be interested, and then I settled in to listen and I’m having a grand time!

http://luckreunion.com/tilfurthernotice

 

This whole COVID-19 thing has brought with it a lot of different emotions.

Joy in the way people have pulled together for the good of all – like this free concert. I did donate a little because I was grateful for the entertainment and generosity of the musicians.

Disgust in the way people have gone crazy hoarding toilet paper, and more importantly, meat and potatoes. What are they thinking?

Gratitude for all who have been kind and offered help to others. Including advice on how to schedule the kids at home and stuff like that.

4:00, wallow in self-pity. 4:30, stare into the abyss. 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one. 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me. I can’t cancel that again. 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing. I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness.” — The Grinch 

Community in the conversations I’ve had when I did venture out.  Like the woman in Aldi who was clearly trusting in Christ and we shared Bible verses with each other.  And the couple in Sprouts – the woman told her husband she was buying “Stress flowers” so I just started a conversation with them. Turns out they were from New Orleans and we agreed that this was worse than how people act when a hurricane is coming. Then there was the lady in the Dollar Tree who told me all about the psychic who predicted all this and then told me all about her bladder infection. I just listened and nodded until I could politely get away. I figured she’d been quarantined a bit and just need to talk.

Doubt about how all this has gone down. Something just doesn’t seem right.

Claude Lacombe:
Mr. Neary, what do you want?

Roy Neary:
I just want to know that it’s really happening.

From Close Encounters of the Third Kind

 

Job

job-and-his-friends-chromolithograph-from-a-home-bible-1870-heinz-tschanz-hofmann

Job And His Friends, Chromolithograph – From A Home Bible, 1870

 

Reading about Job a few days ago was kinda timely. Providential.

“Adversity so quickly exposes fault lines in human nature…without Christ, we are merely victims, but in Him we become victors. ” 

Prayers of the Bible by Gordon J. Keddie

When Job was hit with calamity upon calamity, he didn’t respond with “Why me?” I don’t usually respond with “Why me?” either, but I do respond with “Woe is me”. I do respond with worry instead of trust.

The best verse I read was what Job said to his wife:  “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” – Job 2:10

 

 

 

 

Determined

I am so sad about a bird. I don’t know his name, but he has been diligently building a nest under the roof that hangs over our front door. It is a very muddy, messy undertaking.

A few days ago we had our house pressure washed in preparation for putting it on the market. The guy who washed that area told me he knocked down a nest  and that there were no eggs in it. I didn’t even know it was there; I thought it was a mess that had been  made by dirt-daubers.

The bird began rebuilding. My husband knocked it down again and sprayed a lubricant to try to discourage the bird. But, he was back again yesterday Again, hubby cleaned it off and put a foam roller piece there to discourage the bird, but he’s back again today building on top of the foam . . I am sad about having to get rid of the home he is building. If circumstances were different I would leave it there.

foam

One Determined Bird

I don’t think it is a sparrow, it looks like a bigger bird. I had to read up on sparrows. Turns out they are quite social. The article I read said there is a lot of communal chirping before and after the birds settle in the roost in the evening. Sounds just like my grandchildren!!

I’m going to put this Bible verse here just because I can:

“I lie awake and am like a sparrow on the housetop.”  –  Psalm 102:7

I wonder if the Psalmist was talking to his wife, or if he had thoughts in his head and was talking to himself.  I imagine many of us are lying awake talking to ourselves at night these days. 

 

Bookcase Browsings #6

IMG_7168

Boy and Dog Snuggled in Blanket (C. 1925) – from Norman Rockwell’s American Children by Marian Hoffman

“William’s mother always said, ‘The illness just has to run its course.’ This may have been true, but there were comforts that could be provided to help pave the way to better health.” 

In the front of this book there is an inscription:

To Papa Graham  

From Benji

Christmas Eve Dec. 24, 1990

My dad really enjoyed this book and I plan to pass it on, or back, to the giver, my son, Ben. I love the picture above. It reminds me of my Ruby and what a comfort she is. I don’t need to be sick to enjoy her snuggles. Of course, she benefits, too, as she gets to be on the soft, comfy bed.

I wish we could just say coronavirus “just has to run its course”. In a way it does, but it’s not a JUST when it’s affecting someone you love. Hang in there,work and pray, get your sunshine and fresh air, and snuggle your pet.