Monday, February 23

Now, I Understand

The first daffodils of Spring. Buttery yellow rays of sunshine bobbing on the end of emerald green stems. Migrating robins and daffodils are the promise of spring brought to life against a backdrop of lawn more closely resembling straw than grass.

Growing up in south Texas, I didn't have an inkling about the power of spring, that sudden burst of color against a grayscape. What it does to your pulse, your step, your mind. How it lures the sleeping bear from the cave, lumbering out into the light squinting and lifting its nose to catch the scent of green coming from the thawing loam, all mush and squish underfoot.

I didn't understand the purpose of March winds, how it sways branches and bends tree trunks, waking the sleeping sap from underground. Sap that will feed tender buds and shoots, leaves and new branches reaching higher in the sky.

"Spring Cleaning" or "Spring Fever" were hollow phrases until I lived through four winters, real winters with ice and snow and temperatures in the single digits.

Spring in South Texas means azaleas and redbuds, volunteer paperwhites on vacant lots where old homesteads once existed. It means fields of wildflowers, bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, winecups, buttercups, Texas evening primrose and it's all lovely. But...when it's green year round and your eyes, mind and body never lie fallow, those welcomed blossoms don't quite break the fast the way daffodils do in February.

As hard as it's been for me to adjust to living in a colder climate, I'm grateful for the lessons it's taught me. And equally grateful that this very morning, the yard is filled with robins and daffodils smiling and waving at me from the edge of the woods.

Happy Spring!

Sometimes They Have a Gold Lining

Valentine's Day Sunset
Asheville, NC

Wednesday, February 18

Humming a Patty Page Song

Purl's Yarn Emporium
Asheville, NC
Cute storefront but let's take closer look in the window
This little emporer stopped pedestrian traffic

Hello little man, won't you look my way?
I'm drawn to yarn shops because my dear friend Larry knits. The puppy was an added bonus.

Tuesday, February 10

Sedation Dentistry...Really?

I passed a dentist's office today sporting a big bold sign with the words


This puzzled me. Was this a sleep clinic or a dentist's office? Hmmm...a few keystrokes and the internet spewed forth. Even though I'm one of the four million uninsured Americans, I like to keep abreast of advances in health care, just in case a National Health Care Plan is ever enacted.

After some research and little discernment, all I have to say about "Sedation Dentistry" is

if your fear of seeking dental care has reached "phobia" status, you might consider seeking the guidance of a mental health professional.

My mother used to pull my teeth with a pair of needle nose pliers when they wouldn't come out on their own and yes, my siblings tied a string to my tooth and a door handle and slammed it as hard as they could. It didn't work by the way, but I did see stars and pass out which I guess was the treatment model for sedation dentistry.

Now, go talk amongst yourselves and let me know what you think.

Here's a little light reading to assist:

Friday, February 6

Prest O Change O

This whole thing, my life in Tennessee has revolved around the "yes" I said to my spirit when it shouted "WRITE!"

For three and a half years I've been writing poetry and the imaginary box is spilling over onto the floor. I can't push it aside anymore. The pages stick to the bottom of my shoe and follow me around and now there's poetry scattered all over this 135 acre wood.

I called up someone I trust and asked if she'd be interested in grabbing a butterfly net and wrangling some poems to the ground and into some kind of order. She echoed my 'yes' and together (more her then me) there are now two and a half manuscripts taking shape. Mostly, I stand over them for a while and chew my cuticles. Then I push them around in a different order and stand over them for a while longer and chew my cuticles.

I'm telling you this because this is EXCITING and TIME CONSUMING and a BRAIN DRAIN and DIZZYING and demands every bit of concentration I can muster so blogging has been relegated to the back seat.

So the next time your talking to your deity of choice, I'd appreciate you mentioning me and how totally awesome it would be if my "yes" turned into the realization of a dream.

Much obliged dear readers.

Sunday, February 1

Super Bowl Tradition

I've said it before, if you do it more than once it's a tradition. Since declaring my independence from television, football has become less and less interesting to me. I know the Super Bowl is today because chorus rehearsal was cancelled. Do I know who is playing? No. Do I know where it's being played? No. Do I care?

Last year on Super Bowl Sunday, Mocha and I went for a drive and discovered a wonderful new park and whooping cranes. Not bad for an afternoon's outing.

This morning, we awoke to clear blue skies, brilliant sunshine and warmer temperatures. It was 34 degrees at 7:00 am! The day held promise for temperatures in the 60s, so it was on with the hiking boots and off to Bells Bend Park.

Mocha does the happy dance when the hiking boots go on and gets downright skippy when I pack bottles of water, the camera, snacks and treats. That's a sign we're going to be gone for a while. Imagine her confusion when half way there, I turned the car around after discovering I'd packed everything but her harness and leash. Rats!!!!

Back on the road with ALL our supplies, we were both excited about what we might find today. With clear skies and high winds there was a good chance we'd see hawks or eagles.

This time last year, ours was the only car in the parking lot. This year it was packed but we would not be deterred. As soon as I put the car in park, Mocha started moaning and bouncing on her front legs saying, "Hurry momma, hurry!!! Must get outdoors and run free."

Adequately harnessed, leashed and armed with water and camera, off we went. Immediately, our bodies were buffeted with strong winds off the Cumberland. Tall dry grasses in the open fields were swirling and dancing. This was going to be a challenge. Glad I brought my walking stick.

Despite the number of cars in the parking lot, we never saw another soul on the trails. We did hear the scampering of small animals and a few deer through the tall grasses, but never laid our eyes on them. Mocha bounded off the trail several times in hot pursuit but always came up empty, except for a big smile and wagging tail. Despite the wind, the sun was so strong I had to take off my February!

The trails were muddy in places from all the rain but the most striking thing was how tall the grasses, milkweed, ironweed and thistle had grown, as high as seven feet! At times, it felt as if we were walking through a maze. The beautiful amber, purple and rust hues of the winter grasses stopped me in my tracks. Even in the dead of winter, there is beauty to behold.

By the time we made the loop back to the starting point our tongues were hanging out. On the drive home, Mocha curled up in the front seat and when I looked over, she was looking back, grinning from ear-to-ear. She must have worn herself out because all afternoon she's been sleeping and every so often, her tail thumps as she dreams of running free.

...and my wish came true

Within 5 hours of posting the "I wish it would snow" blog on Wednesday it came true. Maybe I should have wished for world peace or a lucrative publishing contract or an end to hunger...hmmm. Anyway, as I was rubbing the sleepies out of my eyes, realized it was white and fuzzy outside and it wasn't my was snowing!

Mocha and I couldn't get outdoors fast enough. I squealed like a little girl and the retreatant upstairs laughed so loud I could hear her. A Texan at heart, the sight of snow still makes me giddy with delight.

I couldn't have asked for a better start to a new day.

Thank you wishing star.