I set out without a plan today, with neither a map nor an idea of where I might go. A pocket full of money, for possible tolls or road snacks and a tank full of gas, are the only essentials – those and my fully charged camera and memory cards tucked into place.
It is early October and the earth is preparing for change. The morning sky features pink-tinged fluffy lambs, who busily leap, traversing the horizon. A runway array of maple trees displays the new autumn line of yellows and oranges; while viburnum and holly berries turn from green to bright red like ruby encrusted netting.
Crossing the reservoir, I see the calm water mirror the forested banks. The only difference from real and reflection is the gaggle of geese gliding by, leaving v-shaped ripples in their wake. Traffic begins to pick up, red brake lights line up in a queue; when the traffic light turns green, then red lights incrementally disappear.
I head westward towards the river passing farms with fields stripped of corn stalks and hay. I see a cloud of blackbirds gleaning seeds from off the ground. Constantly rotating upward and forward from back row to the front, they form a horizontal vortex. When the surface is vacuumed, they break rank and scatter in the air in search of another field.
I take a winding roadway curving northward while climbing in elevation. The sun is at my back and the undulating shadows of trees wane as the clock approaches noon. The river is to the left of me; with windows down I can hear the current’s roar, the birds’ songs and the crickets’ chirps above the motor’s purr.
A roadside market appears on my right, selling apples, cider, pumpkins and mums. The red-weathered building is old, long lumbered shelves sag from the yearly bountiful weight. It’s a good place to stop for a while, on this journey to nowhere today.
Once in a blue moon, halogen cool light colors the sky. An owl soars through the treetops, glancing at bright and shadowed dappled paths; he hunts for furtive, scampering gray mice to snatch up in his powerful talon grasp. Tree frogs croak two bass notes and crickets chirp two high; cacophony fills the night air until they hear the red fox's shrill cry. The chickens roost nervously clucking and gather together in wait of attack. A shooting star arcs clear across the sky and wishes for peace are said.
The fountain gurgles in the garden, moonlight transforms water to diamonds and pearls. The spider casts his silken thread, weaving a garment the juniper can wear. Unexpectedly, a yellow light appears and swiftly moves along the wooden fence; pale lemon stripes are cast upon the ground, as particles of light escape between the slats. The car moves on and darkness resumes, the owl settles on a tall branch. He gazes at the wondrous luna blue; blinking, then blinking again, he turns his head and calls, “Who-o-o!”
The night is almost ended, spun cotton candy pinkens the clouds, and sunbeams warm the frosty blue moon, as it disappears from the sky.
Nicky the Cat is curled up in the big blue bowl. The bowl is on a low table that gives him an easy view out the glass door. Every once in a while he opens his eyes, lifts up his head and gazes out on the porch. All is calm. The warm beam of sunlight caresses his fur. Life is good.
But once when he looks up, there is Orange Cat peering in through the glass. Orange Cat (his nemesis and the terror of the neighborhood) is searching for food and a place to call home.
“Move along,” thought Nicky, “this is my territory and I don’t share.” Person walks down the hallway and also sees Orange Cat. He grabs the Super Soaker, opens the door and starts pumping away. Streams of water shoot out spraying the porch and Orange Cat as he darts away. “Keep away you evil cat,” Person says, then closes the door.
“I took care of him, Nicky,” as Person rubs Nicky’s head.
That night, from the same vantage point, Nicky sees a disturbance at the glass door. Several eyes peer through the glass, there are masked marauders wanting in. No doubt they want Nicky’s red food dish with the yellow fishies.
Nicky sounds the alarm: “Meo-rwl! Meo-rwl!.” Person comes running, toting Super Soaker in hand. He tears open the door; five raccoons stare at him in defiance, none back down. Pump, pump, pump! The Soaker soaks them all with streams of water. They scatter, escaping under the porch. Their strategy is to hide and then return. They hear the door close.
Back up on the porch for the next maneuver.
“Argh!” The door opens again. Pump, pump, pump! Rocky, the head raccoon, takes a direct hit in the mouth. Swallowing the liquid he gives the signal. “Abort mission! Abort mission!” They scatter in all directions, reconnoitering by the mailbox at the curb.
“They were ready for us,” cursed Rocky, “but how could they know?”
“There must be a mole in the yard!”
The rest of the night is quiet; Nicky gets up from the big blue bowl and saunters over to his red food dish. He isn’t hungry; he just wants to make sure it is safe and to look at the fishies again. Nicky takes a long drink from his water bowl then turns down the hallway. Nicky’s favorite box awaits him. He turns around three times, and then settles in for his midnight nap. Life is good.
It was a beautiful spring day,
I picked a bouquet of
Brilliant yellow buttercups.
The rest of the day,
Everything paled by comparison.
The family portrait from years ago is torn at the corner; it has lost color and is yellowed. The details, however, of how the family lived are still clear. The father sits in a high backed chair, his legs cross at the ankles, and his hands rest on the heavily carved wooden arms. From behind the round shaped wire-rimmed glasses, he stares intently at the camera lens; no smile breaks upon his lips. He wears a dark suit, a high collared white shirt and a somber dark tie with a diagonal stripe. Beside him, on his right and slightly behind, stands his wife and mother of his children. Her dark hair is pulled back away from her face. She wears a black dress with a lace shawl draped across her arms; a single strand of pearls encircles her neck. The children are arranged in order of age and importance to the family. The boy stands beside his father apart from the mother and is dressed in a miniature jacket, he wears short pants and a tiny plaid bow tie, his hair parted and slicked back much like his father’s. The two girls, one taller than the other, are arranged in front of the mother, they are clothed in starched white dresses with satin waistbands; their hair in long curls parted on one side and brought up in a ribbon at the temple. They wear white ruffled socks and white leather shoes tied in bows. In the background a potted palm perches on a pedestal and spreads before a tapestry backdrop of vines and acanthus leaves, deep fringe trims the edges. The fabric is draped and pulled to one side to reveal a source of light, perhaps from a window obscured. The portrait is a composition of shadow and light, carefully composed to reveal luxury and achievement, the story of a family from years ago.
Although I believe in change,
I have doubts with the transition.
Those moments in time and life,
When things end and others begin.
A leap of faith, a high-wire act,
Into the air, no safety no net.
Pushed by belief, reach for the strap,
Then catch hold of a thread.
As the spider spins the web,
And bravery comes to call,
Step forward, take your place in life,
Make a difference in the world.
Monday the woodpecker perched
Drilling the broken bark,
Pronouncing the final moment of
The weeping cherry tree.
I mourn the loss of this beautiful muse
Whose beauty filled my soul.
Nature mourned its beauty too
Embracing its arch with white.
Snow falling in remembrance
Of when cherry blossoms fell.
I'm cleaning my studio, lately left fallow,
Preparing the harrowing plow.
Depositing seeds, identities unknown,
Looking at the pieces once more.
A new year approaches, this one retreating,
As goals and achievements are sown,
Forward and onward, moving with purpose,
Till the end of the row.
Thunder resounds like a distant trumpet.
Trees droop burdened with wet leaves.
Branches limp like weary willows
Lawns a velvet emerald green.
A moment hangs in heavy silence
Then the rain begins to fall,
Suddenly and forcefully like waves
Of audience applause.
Red and Blue, balanced in space and time,
Identities all their own. That which is
Red can never be Blue, two edges
On a continuum of light, each dark,
Each bright, balanced on a fulcrum.
Balance is a precarious, breathless moment.
Wait … wait … then time comes pushing through.
What once was can never be again, and
To be is to become what is not now.
The metamorphosis of existence.
Red and Blue, merging in space and time.
Identities integrating to become something
Different from themselves. Lighter,
Brighter, energy of motion transformed
To the core of existence. Yellow.
I joined Writers Bloc, a group of writers from Monmouth County, NJ, whose styles are as diverse as their backgrounds and interests. Here are some of my writings from our meetings.