Thursday, July 2, 2015

Leaving the Past Behind

10:30 a.m. 78 degrees. A damp, cool breeze washes across me as I sit in a plastic rocker on my patio, less than seven feet from the bird-feeding station, tall and erect, buried in the center of the yard. Hanging from the arms of the station are eight containers full of suet or seed and fruit cakes.
Two red-headed woodpeckers arrive simultaneously from opposite trees to attack the suet, their preference. A couple of cardinals flit back and forth, tree to feeder to tree. Blue jays, gray mocking birds, sparrows, a Carolina wren. Young red-bellied woodpeckers, unadorned of neon orange-red caps arrive, leave. A downy or hairy woodpecker (too difficult to differentiate between the two) arrives for his share. Brown Thatcher with golden eyes. All take turns, some pushing others away.
Squirrels chase each other up, around the ancient, massive oak. Chipmunks scuttle between the planters on the patio searching for food, then dart to the grassfree patches below the feeder, snacking on remnant seeds.
None take notice of me. Even the mosquitoes leave me alone, thanks to the citronella candle burning on the table nearby.
Tish, inside, looks at me through the window, whispers through the space: “don’t you know how much I would enjoy being out there with you?” I smile, knowing how she would spend her time. I take another sip of coffee.
The breeze wafts afresh across my arms, a cool bath of moisture. I close my eyes, listen to the shrill cry and screech of jays,mockingbirds, chatter of squirrels, trill of songbirds.
I am at peace. A moment of presence, ever moving forward into the future, leaving the past behind.

(c) Linda Farmer Ames, 2 Jul 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hoarders, Buried Alive, and...

Turned on "Hoarders" and the other one, "Buried Alive" this week. One can take only so much of it. I know that these folks struggle on the one hand; on the other, they are extraordinarily frustrating.

Yet, I cannot be judgmental, when I know I have a tendency... I love books, and have several bookshelves... and they are orderly and not on the floor, and trash is not laying around, and the only critters running about is one cat, Tish. Maybe books are my worst. Yarn for crocheting and art supplies are my second choice of "gotta haves" and not nearly so much an issue.

However, I know in the past, moreso than now, I collected a lot more.   Granddaughters Adrianna and Emily patiently helped and encouraged me. My issue has been "save for a time of need" and "save this to donate" and "save this because I don't know what to do with it, but I can't dump it yet" and whatever else excuse we people with hoarding tendencies come up with. Gratefully, it gets so much easier when one begins to let go. It's funny how the mind turns the corner, how one's perspective literally flips to see the whole picture.

Oh, yes... and then there was music, such as CD's - and the reason for this entry. So today I was inspired to start (from a long list of projects) ripping the music to my computer. I'll get rid of most of the CD's at a consignment shop, and will keep a few favorites. I've discovered many of the CD's I purchased back in the '90's, much of it New Age, have lost their attraction. On the other hand, I have re-discovered some old favorites. Having them on the computer will make them more accessible. So much for my hoarding.

So, next Thursday night at 9 o'clock is supposed to be the worst hoarder show ever... an elderly lady who at a quick glance looks like she must be really elderly and living in what looks like - another quick glance - a massive pile of quivering, fluttering mass of, dear lord, is it rats or mice? And, yes, I am going to attempt to watch this one since it is a new episode. If Blacklist or Scandal were on, it would override the creep factor of those two shows.

Kenny, by the way, I found six great photography books/ slick magazines that if you think you or others would enjoy - full of gorgeous photos - and some instruction by well known pro photographers.

See, I gotta donate. Can't just pile them into the landfill without the possibility of someone else enjoying those gorgeous photos. I learned from them.

Have a good weekend, all.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Zentangle and Poem for NSDAR - George Walton Chapter

I submitted this zentangle, "America, A Perfect Union" for the American Heritage Competition through the George Walton Chapter of National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution.  I didn't win or place.  But, no matter.  I enjoyed doing it, and am proud of both. (c) Linda Farmer Ames, January 2015.

Magnificent America

Magnificent America,
Land of infinite beauty, untamed open spaces, forests, rivers, lakes;
peopled by diverse nationalities, creeds, races, heritage.

Magnificent America,
you are a diamond discovered ages ago –
carbon heated and pressured, extracted from earth,
cut, shaped, polished to sparkle, gleam, illuminate America’s best .

Magnificent America,
you are sequoia, oak, elm, limbs sweeping,
a refuge for the outcast, shelter for the needy.

Magnificent America,
you are black dirt, red clay, white sand, green grass, blue water,
where your children seek to live, celebrate, die, be buried.

You are a tapestry, interwoven fabric of colors, textures, designs,
that support America’s strengths, abilities, gifts, values.
You are magnificent, America.

(c) Linda Farmer Ames
25 January 2015

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Time slips by...

I have strayed once again, let time slip through my fingers, wash its way out to sea, land upon an unseen island, visible only to those birds who fly over, looking for a morsel to fill their empty stomachs.  Time lies on the sand there, building up sand dunes, collecting grasses that collect insects, perhaps.  What evolves on that island that time builds?  

If I visit that island one day, will I be able to gather back all the time I lost?  Collect the thoughts and ideas for stories, art, conversations, hugs and kisses?  Or will I be forced to search for all my things among all the other things that belong to souls who let time slip through their fingers, having strayed once again from their appointed mandates?

Dancing Paisleys
Linda Farmer Ames
All Rights Reserved, 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Lesson in Lying

This short, short story, I jotted down while waiting for my car to be checked.  I had a poem in mind, and plan to develop it into one.  A friend also suggested I expand it into a longer, short story of 4,000 words, give or take, perhaps adding a double ending.  Enjoy.

Sister was ten. I was six.  Our instructions that day before we headed to the local pool were about safety and obedience.  Baby pool for me.  Adult pool for her.  Yes, we chimed our understanding, climbed from the car, headed for the refreshing, blue pool water.
Perahps an hour later – me, hanging on to the ladder in the adult pool, and my sister dogpaddling nearby – we saw the family car, big brown Desoto – progressing down the steep hill.  Surely too far away for two sets of eyes to observe my location.
Hastily I ran the four feet back to the baby pool and jumped in, watched the car approach. 
Sister looked over at me, calmly motioned to me to get out, and we made tracks for the parking lot.  She smiled at dad as she got into the back seat.  I looked down, avoided dad's eyes. 
"So, did Linda get in the baby pool?" Dad asked.
“No,” we lied. 
“She didn’t,” sister confirmed again.
“I didn’t.” My voice quivered and I looked about as innocent as a squirrel with peanut butter stuck in its two front teeth.  
“Well, we saw you from the car, and we saw you in the big pool.  You’re lying, both of you,” Dad yelled.
Sister and I dared a quick glance.  Busted!
The drive home was much too short.  
"Go to your room, get undressed and wait for me to call you.  Carolyn's name rang out shortly and she shuffled into the bath room where dad sat on the edge of the tub.  I waited my turn, heard slaps of Dad’s hand across Sister’s bare fanny.  She howled, and soon charged into the bedroom, lay across her bed, and wept.
My turn.  “Come here, Linda,” Dad called.  
I enter, my feet dragging, eyes averted to the floor.  Then I dare to look at him.  His eyes are black circles, devoid of emotion; his jaw is set.  Stripped of all clothing, I lie across his lap as he directs.
“This hurts me more than it is going to hurt you,” he announces.
Yeah, how?
Raised hand slams down, again, again.  Between each strike, he iterates:  “You lied.  You betrayed us.  You cannot be trusted.”
My butt feels as though I've been branded.  Finally, he releases me, then forces me to hug, kiss him. 
“Tell me you love me.”  If I known the words then, I might have chanced “Fuck You,” instead. Through slobbery sobbing, I hiccup, “I love you, Daddy.”  I hate you.
Finally loose, I stumble toward the bedroom, run straight into the door jam, where my forehead bangs into it full force.
Mother, standing nearby, sees the welt.  She turns, runs to the kitchen and returns with a knife.  She reaches for me.
I run and scream, “No, don’t cut me!” 
Somehow she soothes me enough so that I let her apply the cool knife to my head.  She is hoping the cold will avert any damage, that the knot will retreat and a bruise won’t occur.
Back in my bedroom, my sister asleep in the bed across from me, I ponder.  No more lying for me.  I cannot get away with it.  Daddy is omniscient.  Like God.
Years pass, I become an adult, and I discover my parents are people after all.  And I realize that dad lies; he lies about a lot of things.

Lies, secrets, omissions of truth, deceit, betrayal.  What one of us has not faced this act in our lives?  Who has not lied?  Who has never been told a lie?  From the beginning of time, lies are a part of our nature?  Eve lied to God after eating the “forbidden fruit.” Cain lied to God after he murdered his brother.  Pretty much Day One, if one is a follower of the Bible.
Lies permeate our lives daily.  Family member to family member; friend to friend; employee to boss; boss to employee.  And the world is full of lies between and among nations.
Yesterday I wrote about lying to my father, being disciplined, and then discovering later when I began to see my parents as human, that they were guilty as well.  I wrote that story because it was a memory of a lesson taught to me, by my own irresponsible behavior.  I did not do as I should have.  I lied about it.  I was disciplined.  Deep inside that discipline, Dad planted the seeds for living a more honest or truthful life.  That we make choices, and that those choices are not always well served.
Did it keep me from lying any other time in my life?  No.  Not even close.
But, each lie I told triggered a response in me, deep inside that I was not being honest with myself, much less the person to whom I told the lie.  Many lies I lived with, have forgotten over time.  And many I could not live with and confessed.
I lied to my parents when I was 19 about something really big.  It ate at me and ate at me until three years later, in a fit of anger, I confessed.  I don’t recall the reasons for my anger or what it had to do with our argument, but the truth was told and I felt a whole lot better.  Dad could say, “I knew it!”  And we could go on with our lives.
So, back to my first story.  It was not shared as a way to embarrass my parents who left this earth years ago.  It was just a part of my life, a lesson learned, brought forward into my adulthood.
I am not perfect, never have been, never will be.  Like the rest of us.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Writing Poetry, and Writing in General

I, like most all others, learned something about writing poetry in grade school.  At that time, poetry had to rhyme, and it made it more of a struggle to conceive a well written story.  Not only did we have to write about something, but our lines (1 & 3 and 2 &4, or 1 - 4, or 1 & 2 and 3 & 4, or something to that effect) had to rhyme, and it had to make sense.  The best ones were written as though you were telling a story and you hardly noticed that the ends of lines were rhyming.

Not so mine.  Stilted, to say the least.  I kept some of those poems; and, I like to return to them to recall my first efforts.  Even then my heart and mind were yearning to express something for others to connect with.

About age 12, my first recollection of a poem that knocked me to the ground was by Vachel Lindsay:  The Bronco That Would Not Be Broken Of Dancing. I read it and could not quit sobbing all night. To this day, I tear up and my heart aches, though I can keep it together.  That poem told a story, a beautiful story, a heart-breaking story - and it rhymed.  I saw the rhyming and I just kept reading the story.  So... I continued as a high schooler to try to write like Lindsay, and I never got very far.

After school, marriage, motherhood and a work-life took over, and with that, my urge to write fell off my radar.  Infrequently, my muse dropped in and I'd visit with her briefly, only to send her packing after a couple of poems.  I'd place somewhere in a file folder to let them gather dust.

Long story, short, I divorced, my child grew up and flew the nest, and I continued working until I retired.  I joined the Georgia Poetry Society, and my muse would again call or stop by.  I entertained her for a short time, and then got into genealogy and Find-a-Grave activities.  Circumstances led me to change pace, look for new directions - or old directions, and now I feel really driven (?) to write more.  Not only poetry, but short stories.  I am entertaining (once again) a novel.

In the next day or two, I'll share some of the OLD stuff - and it is stuff - but it is sort of fun to read it and get back into the mind of a silly teenager in love with love.  You can laugh with me.  Until next time...