Remembering That Purple Poem

hurivirgaSome years ago,  I published “The Sentinel,” an essay about Florida environmentalist Charles Torrey Simpson and a pair of shells I found washed onto a Texas beach.

The shells, a deep, rich purple, are known in scientific circles as Janthina janthina. Elegant, tiny sea snails, they form great rafts, then float around the world. When Simpson found such a raft in the Florida Keys, he chronicled his experience, and through his notebook entry I was able to identify my own bits of purple.

Soon after I posted about Simpson, one of my readers offered a request.  Her love of all things purple had been stirred by the piece, and she wanted a “purple poem.”  At the time, I didn’t think of myself as a poet, and demurred. As it turned out, she did think of me as a poet, and was convinced  I could produce some verse for her. Continue reading

Life With A Five-Year-Old Princess

princess2Princess at Teter Rock, Kansas ~ 2013

When the lovely, straw-colored Toyota came into my life, friends giggled at my choice of name. “Princess?” they asked. “Aren’t you afraid naming it ‘Princess’ is going to cause trouble down the road? What if it ends up expecting to be pampered, and demands new parts and service every other month?”

Politely but firmly, I corrected them. “She. Princess is a ‘she’, not an ‘it.’ And she’s going to be just fine.”  Continue reading

At Seventy

aboutselfieA shadow of my future self

Over the years, I’ve come to enjoy the wisdom and dry wit of May Sarton, a woman whose books — particularly Journal of a Solitude, The House by the Sea, and Writings on Writing — have joined my collection of literary touchstones: volumes I find myself reading and re-reading multiple times.

And yet, another of her highly-praised books remained on my shelf for years, unopened and unread. It seemed appropriate to save it for a particular and quite special occasion.  From time to time, I found myself thinking:

One day, I ‘ll be seventy. Then, I’ll see what May has to say about the experience in her book with the tantalizing title: “At Seventy.”

When the much-anticipated birthday came, I celebrated with a trip to the  Tallgrass Prairie bottomlands, where I took my first, shadowy selfie.

Then, in the late afternoon, with bees buzzing about in the late gaura and goldenrod, and the Burlington Northern rumbling both south and north, I opened Sarton’s book. Continue reading

Human for Halloween ~ and Beyond

treeteal

This much is certain: choosing to forego modern ways of connecting to the world has consequences. Over the course of three weeks, with no television, radio, newspapers, or social media to keep me informed, I became blissfully unaware of a good bit: the start of baseball’s World Series; the long-term forecast; the latest roiling of the political waters; the inevitable celebrity scandals.

Not only did I begin forgetting the date, with sunrise and sunset serving as my only markers for the days, the realization that it soon would be time to reset the clocks came as a bit of a shock.  Continue reading

That Haunting Autumn Sky

willowscurlsSky Over Clouds Over Arkansas Prairie
Willow the Wisp — such a wisp of a girl —
once whispered to clouds that she longed for some curls.
The clouds came together, and on one bright night
they curled ’round her head — what a beautiful sight!

 

Ground fog; mountain-hugging clouds; tendrils of darkness enveloping the sunlight — all have given rise to Will-o-the-wisp legends beloved of those who dwell far, far away from the city’s constant light.

When Steve Schwartzman wrote about “Will-o-the-Wisp” on his etymology blog, “Spanish-English Word Connections”, I not only enjoyed the history, I transformed Will into Willow, and composed my little verse.  With Halloween approaching, pumpkins piling up, and leaves beginning to show a bit of color, it seems that even the sky wants to share in the autumn fun.

Comments always are welcome. Because I’m traveling, it may take a bit of time for me to respond.