Saturday, May 30

Home Again...Home Again

The road led to Texas and back again.

Along the way, the Universe threw in a few speed bumps so we'd slow down and get a chance to appreciate what was outside the car window.

Day One
A hearty breakfast at the Loveless Cafe to fortify us for the long drive. Those folks know how to bake a biscuit.

Creeping along I-40 for an hour gave us a chance to roll down the windows, feel the morning air on our skin, smell freshly mown grass and take in the beauty of wildflowers along the interstate. So thanks to an overturned 18-wheeler, we drank in what we'd have missed at 70 mph.

A detour through Memphis - The Lovely Linda and I were talking and missed the exit to Little Rock, so a little navigating by the seat of our pants led us to the river, through Downtown and back to the interstate. Saw some beautiful homes and found our way west, despite some bad directions from a local.

At the apex of the bridge spanning the Mississippi River, we could see it was out of its banks in a large way. In fact, it was lapping up against the levee, several miles out of town. As many times as I've driven this stretch of road, I didn't realize there was a levee until we saw it in action.

I was eagerly anticipating the drive from Memphis to Little Rock. The interstate dissects fields of rich farmland growing rice. Yes rice, the crop that sustained my family and my childhood community for generations. Once abundant in Texas, they are now a rare sight, so driving through Arkansas is a joy for me. My sense memories are engaged and this flat farmland begins to whisper of the horizon of my youth.

As I began looking left and right for the finely sculpted fields of curving levees and a sea of deep green rice stalks, I was accosted with the image of empty fields...miles and miles of empty fields. Not fallow, but laid waste by water. The few farmers who managed to get a crop planted before the rains of April and May were rewarded with anemic plants and splotches of growth and bare places where water had redistributed seed.

The building anticipation I normally feel as the Texas border draws near was dampened by the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach for the farmers and their families, knowing full well the devastation they were facing. All I could do was shake my head as barren fields, blurred by tears, streamed past the car window.

Near Arkadelphia, we picked up the signal for an NPR station. Soon we heard a news report that Arkansas Governor Mike Bebe had just petitioned the Federal Agriculture Department to provide emergency loans to farmers in 24 Arkansas counties. I don't think either of us had any idea how bad things were for our neighbors to the west.

The Piney Woods - after a pit stop in Texarkana for dinner, we drove across the Texas state line (with my customary woo-hoo out the window) and into the Piney Woods of East Texas. A few more hours and we'd be pulling into Mom's place at Paradise Point Park and Marina, on the Toledo Bend Reservoir. The thought of a soft bed after 12 + hours on the road was very appealing, but so was a big hug from Mom and a piece of coconut cake!

The Lovely Linda got a chance to appreciate a full-on Texas sky glittering with stars. As we drove a two lane deserted road through the Sabine National Forest, she switched off the car's headlights and drove by moon and star light. Magical!

Even though I'd called ahead and told her we'd crash together in the guest room, she had her own ideas about sleeping arrangements...the Lovely Linda on one end of the house, me on the other and her in the middle on the sleeper sofa! We chuckled softly under our breath and headed for a good night's sleep. Who knew what we were in store for tomorrow...

Day Two

Kindly come back tomorrow for the next installment, which will include a trip to the Sabine County Jail!

Tuesday, May 19

Take 5

Greetings Blogosphere. I'm off to Texas for some overdue rest and relaxation. I'll be back blogging in a week or so. In the meantime, keep reaching for that next good feeling and have a little fun!

Thursday, May 14

Read Write Poem

I was introduced to Read Write Poem during National Poetry Month. Their idea of creating a supportive community of poets aligns with my own, so I have joined. Each Friday, they offer a prompt. Sometimes it's a word or a group of words. Sometimes it's an image. Sometimes it's a challenge to revisit old work and give it new life.

This is good.

Wednesday, May 13


She falls softly into sleep
a mosaic of words, sublime
ebbs and flows through her dreams

the guard of consciousness
nods at his post,
leaving them free to associate,


from another

until at last they come to rest,
each glyph carved in relief
on the dome of her skull

Saturday, May 9

Achoo Haiku

ligustrum in bloom
an allergist's dream come true
breath at your own risk

Friday, May 8

Answers, I Have Answers!

Show of many of you sat in Philosophy 101, freshman year of college, pondering the following:

"If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?" can put your hand down now. The answer is........NO!

My enlightenment unfolded as follows:

Driving home last Sunday, I was anticipating pulling into the gravel drive to see a herd of deer grazing in the open meadow to my left. This is not a daily occurrence but it was one of those classic Tennessee evenings where mist was hanging thick, turning the dusk-before-dark air into a glowing white billowing sheet. The deer are inclined to leave the protection of the woods when they are shrouded in this mist. Anyway, I pull into the drive, turn on my high beams and what do I see before me, not deer, but a very large, very old tree fallen across the meadow.

Yikes!!!!! My immediate thought was for the safety of the 20 people who had been there all afternoon and evening for a retreat. I carefully drove down the meadow to get a better look, praying under my breath that I wouldn't find a body or vehicle trapped underneath. Hindered by the mist and a soggy meadow from a very wet spring, I decided to retreat to the house for a little fact finding.

All was quiet, everything was in order, there were no notes, voicemail messages or emails announcing that anything out of the ordinary had happened, like the toppling of a 40 foot tree. This puzzled me. I went over the events of the day in my head. Slept in late (till around 9:00), hung out at the retreat house all morning, prepared for the arrival of guests at 2:00, left the retreat center at 3:00 for chorus rehearsal. Yep, nothing out of the ordinary there and no big crashing noises. The sleuth in me deduced that the tree must have fallen between the time the guests left at 7:30 and I arrived home at 8:00. Hmm.

Not satisfied with my sleuthing, I checked in with the guest who was staying in the small cabin at the edge of the woods. I asked her if she knew what had happened and her eyes got big as she said to me, "I heard a big crack at about 7:30 this morning, then there was dead silence followed by a whooshing sound, then a crash!." She continued, "I didn't realize what it was until I went to my car around noon. It's a good thing it fell where it did or my car would be pancake!"

I'm sorry...did you say 7:30 this morning? Holy Nancy Drew, I slept through the whole thing, had gone about my day picturing the world around me intact, not knowing someone had advanced the carousel in this slide show!

Now I have to rethink this whole philosophical question. Is the answer NO? Well, from my experience of that day, YES. From the experience of guest who heard the tree fall, the answer is YES. So I guess the answer is....


Life's funny like that.

Saturday, May 2


Walking in search of,
I stub my toe on a blossom

fallen in the middle of the trail,
this orange and yellow bell-shaped flower
sits weighty in the palm of my hand

like an engraved invitation
to look up

high, in the canopy of hickory
and persimmon, sycamore
and beech,

whose leaves thwart
my aching gaze

I move on
in hopes of a revelation,
but none comes

so I return to stillness
in the cabin at the edge of the woods

where birds
of brilliant color and song
converge on feeders

materializing from a tangled arbor,
dissolving into it

leading my hungry eyes
to rest on blossoms,
orange and yellow bell-shaped flowers

suspended in the newly-greening air
singing their spring song

and everywhere I turn
they are there,
where my journey began