Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Theme Thursday - Wild!

What is there about a Wild Thing that really does make the heart sing? No well-tended, neatly organized row of sprouting bulbs can ever bring the unspeakable joy of happening upon a scattering of impertinent wildflowers boldly popping up where they please and without a care for anything resembling order.

No canary in a cage ever evoked the breathtaking response of a wild bird in flight, with sun glinting on wing and tail, and power and determination in every stroke of wing.

And how about this sweet, wild thing I discovered just beyond my doorstep one morning in May a couple of years ago?

What man-made canal can compare with nature’s rushing streams? What orderly fountain has ever matched the beauty of a waterfall?

And what structure of man’s compares to the industry of nature or inspires whole symphonies to be written in its honor?

Of course there are a few wild things that strike terror in the heart. No one wants to encounter one of these:

And, we mustn’t forget the one wild thing that strikes absolute terror in the hearts of parents of teenage girls – at least when *I* was a teenager:

Oh wild thing! How you made MY heart sing!

Finally, there is a Wilde thing that makes my adult heart sing in more sophisticated tunes:

One of my favorites of Mr. Wilde’s quotes:

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much."

Thus ends my little excursion through the wild(e)s.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Theme Thursday - Over The Hill (Two Ways)


Achy toe. Tin ear.
Floater eye. Oh, my! Guess I
Am over the hill!


Explore the side roads.
Go - gutsy - 'round life's next bend.
On! Over the hill!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

So there I was, at home, on the top of what passes for a mountain in Alabama, on the morning of September 11, 2001. I had just awakened, propped myself up, and turned on the television. I was alone as my husband was in Connecticut on business. I tuned to CNN to catch the first morning news and saw smoke coming from one of the World Trade Center buildings. Apparently, a small pleasure aircraft had accidentally flown into the building. I remember I was wondering how the pilot managed to not see something as big as the World Trade Center when suddenly the small pleasure aircraft became a large commercial jet. This made me sit up and take a little closer notice. Black smoke continued to billow and TV news-heads continued to babble.

Sitting there....watching...

Suddenly, a second jet flew into the second building of the twin towers and I knew immediately that THIS was no accident. I was spellbound. I was speechless. I was glued to the magic window in my bedroom that connected me, however impersonally, to the world.

When a third jet crashed into the Pentagon, I leaped from my bed in panic. I tried to call my husband, but his job was such that he could not be reached at that moment. I kept trying. I don't remember, now, whether he reached me first or I managed to finally get through to him. I just remember the panic when we spoke. My God! The Pentagon!

He told me that he, and the others in his group, would be returning by rental car since all flights were cancelled. (They drove all night -- taking turns driving -- to get home again.)

After speaking with him, I remained frozen in front of the tube. Finally, the mundane things of life called me away. I was, at that time, selling some items on eBay or Amazon (I forget which) and had to drive down the mountain to the post office to mail a package. Hushed tones in the small, country post office. Package mailed, I drove back up the mountain towards home. About half-way up, and listening to the radio, I heard the announcer tell of a man and woman who held hands and, together, jumped to their deaths from one of the towers. At that point, silent shock made way and I lost it. I burst into a river of tears and wails. I cried like I had lost the dearest thing in the world to me. I will never know how I managed to see the road in front of me or to get home safely.

My husband and I had been on a cruise around Britain and had just returned a mere 7 days before the 9/11 attack. We talked about how lucky that timing had been. I can't remember what else we talked about during those first days. I just remember that I never smiled or laughed. I lived, constantly, on the verge of tears. I remember trying to find the flag given to my mother at my father's funeral (he had served in the Navy) but I never found it.

I wandered, stone-faced, through my house and through my day until several days later a baseball game was on TV. They (the powers that decide these things) had decided not to cancel the game but to play it. Not only did they play the game, but they put on quite a patriotic show to boot. This was the first day, after the attack that I smiled. In fact, I exploded with laughter as a women's choir sang "God Bless America" as loud as they could sing it and with mouths open as wide as they could open them. Somehow, that struck me as beyond funny and I screamed with laughter for the first time. It was a much-needed relief.

I decided then and there that this women's choir would be the perfect weapon against bin Laden and his crew in Afghanistan. We could, I said, send them over there to go from cave to cave, singing as loud as they could, causing the enemy to run screaming from their holes-in-the-ground and blasting their turbans off and into the next county.

Well... we all know how that turned out.

A New Start

It has occurred to me (duh) that you cannot run away from something - or someplace - without running to something - or somewhere - else. Not long ago, I ran away from the place of my birth, my roots, my culture. I ran about as far as one can run and not fall off into the Pacific Ocean. I ran to this little jewel of a place called Port Townsend, Washington.

It is advertised as "a quaint Victorian seaport filled with art galleries, historic homes and buildings, and one-of-a-kind shops. The many restaurants run the gamut from vegan to steak, Thai to Mexican. All businesses are privately owned by local residents, with no chain stores to be found."

This, of course, is not entirely true. I have yet to find a true "steak" restaurant and there are definitely chain stores to be found. Among those chain stores you will find McDonald's, Radio Shack, Blockbuster Video, and Subway. But, mostly, you will find small, locally-owned shops and restaurants. If you want real shopping you will have to travel either south or west. This hasn't seemed too much of an inconvenience as my better half and I have settled in to enjoy life with near-perfect weather and views to die for.

We are surrounded by water and mountains. There are walking/biking trails spider-webbed through the town and surrounds. There is a wonderful Saturday (and Wednesday during most of the summer) farmer's market uptown where fresh, organic vegetables are to be found alongside other stalls of artwork, lavender-scented lotions and spritzers and soaps, jams and jellys, hand-made pottery, and the irresistible offerings of the most wonderful bakery imaginable. This fun market is located dead in the middle of the street which is closed to traffic for the occasion. Another occasion for stopping the traffic is the annual pet parade where both children and adults dress up their pets and parade happily down the middle of the main uptown street. Yet another is the annual kinetic sculpture race - which I will leave, for now, to your imagination. But, if you just have to know, try here:

Here, I find that I can sit on my deck even in the "dog days" of summer and never once be bothered by the bugs that seem to be ubiquitous in the South and which kept me indoors there most of the time. And how can I resist the fabulous show-stopper to which I am treated nearly every evening as the sun goes down?
And here, I suppose, is as good a place as any to end this first post.