Monday, July 8, 2019

Our Chance...to cool our planet's fever

"Nova Scotia Sunset" photo by the author, KLWood
My post this time around is short and to the point. An opinion piece, you might say, but one in which I feel impelled to express myself on this "hot" button topic.
My thoughts on global climate change:
Even if you thought, perhaps incorrectly, that your child's illness was completely natural in origin and nothing you did caused it to occur, would you sit back and simply watch her sicken, weaken, and possibly die? Even if you thought death was inevitable, would you refuse to comfort her? Would you block efforts to cool down her raging fever? Of course you wouldn't, because you are a good and loving parent.
The preponderance of objective, non-political, scientific evidence points to the fact that human activity has caused a sharp rise in global warming, which could lead to the demise of our planet's health. (Please read this NASA link: https://climate.nasa.gov/)
"Obed, TN Autumn" photo by the author, KLWood
Even if you can't bring yourself to accept this, would you want your great-grandchildren to look back on your generation of earth-dwellers and realize you sat back and did not do everything in your power to help relieve the situation? Even if you thought it might be futile? Even if it meant exerting influence over people outside your own country's borders? Would you not find a way to offer some relief? Some way to bring down the earth's fever?
What we do now or refuse to do now, has direct influence on the lives of our children of the future (and that is not a far-distant future.) Our own individual actions, and those individuals we elect to make our collective actions, demonstrate where our hearts and spirits lie.
We are both child and parent of the earth.
This earth, this home—God's gift to us to thrive within and care for.

Thanks for stopping by. Y'all come back, now.
Kate (Non-apologetic Tree Hugger and Mother of Future Generations)

Friday, June 7, 2019

June is a Poem...we live each year

Flaming June (1895) by Frederic Leighton
The warm, summery days of June instill within me a sense of decadent indolence. And so, I lazily approach this post by simply gathering together a bouquet of wonderful poems by famous poets of the past and illustrating them with some appropriately summer-tinged paintings. Two of the poems are by American poet, James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916,) who seemed to have a particular penchant for voluptuous verse celebrating the month of June. I also include a lovely one by American poet, Sara Teasdale (1884-1933,) and one by Welsh poet, Henry William Davies (1871-1940,) who spent some time "hoboing" around the United Kingdom and the United States, which put him directly in touch with the great out-of-doors and the pleasures of early summer.


Bauerngarten mit Sonnenblumen (1907) by Gustav Klimt
When June is Here
   by 
James Whitcomb Riley

When June is here--what art have we to sing
The whiteness of the lilies midst the green
Of noon-tranced lawns? Or flash of roses seen
Like redbirds' wings? Or earliest ripening
Prince-Harvest apples, where the cloyed bees cling
Round winey juices oozing down between
The peckings of the robin, while we lean
In under-grasses, lost in marveling.
Or the cool term of morning, and the stir
Of odorous breaths from wood and meadow walks,
The bobwhite's liquid yodel, and the whir
Of sudden flight; and, where the milkmaid talks
Across the bars, on tilted barley-stalks

The dewdrops' glint in webs of gossamer.


Dusk in June
   by 
Sara Teasdale

Evening Song by Sir George Clausen (1852-1944)
Evening, and all the birds
In a chorus of shimmering sound
Are easing their hearts of joy
For miles around.

The air is blue and sweet,
The few first stars are white,--
Oh let me like the birds

Sing before night.


June
   by 
James Whitcomb Riley

Queenly month of indolent repose!
I drink thy breath in sips of rare perfume,
As in thy downy lap of clover-bloom
I nestle like a drowsy child and doze
The lazy hours away. The zephyr throws
The shifting shuttle of the Summer's loom
And weaves a damask-work of gleam and gloom
Before thy listless feet. The lily blows
A bugle-call of fragrance o'er the glade;
And, wheeling into ranks, with plume and spear,
Thy harvest-armies gather on parade;
While, faint and far away, yet pure and clear,
A voice calls out of alien lands of shade:--

All hail the Peerless Goddess of the Year!

Woman With a Parasol (1875) by Claude Monet

All in June
   by 
William Henry Davies

A week ago I had a fire
To warm my feet, my hands and face;
Cold winds, that never make a friend,
Crept in and out of every place.

Today the fields are rich in grass,
And buttercups in thousands grow;
I'll show the world where I have been--
With gold-dust seen on either shoe.

Till to my garden back I come,
Where bumble-bees for hours and hours
Sit on their soft, fat, velvet bums,

To wriggle out of hollow flowers.


Thanks for stopping by. Y'all come back, now!

Kate

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Enchanted April...that fanciful month

"Like Peaches and Cream" photo by the author, K L Wood

There was a lovely movie made back in 1991 by the title, Enchanted April, in which a disparate group of English women come together for an Italian holiday in the month of April. The film, based on the 1922 novel, The Enchanted April by British author, Elizabeth von Arnim, follows the four women as they experience life-changing and life-affirming transformations in a nearly magical way. 

"April Shower" photo by K L Wood
There’s something about this month, by turns gentle and tempestuous, that feels magical to me. It coaxes me to believe in the mystical, the ephemeral, the world just beyond our earthly sight. Granted, as my husband will attest, it doesn’t take a big push for me to delve head and heart-first into enchanted realms. 

But, in April, I see fairies winking among the cherry blossoms, their tiny chariots pulled by buzzing honeybees. I see good-natured gnomes peeking out from beneath their toadstool umbrellas in the gentle April rain. Even the ubiquitous greenish-yellow pollen coating anything left stationary for a few moments, becomes pixie dust in my eyes. (I know. That’s a stretch, especially for the red-nosed allergy-sufferers, but it’s the way I choose to view the world.)

Here is a glimpse into my current Work-In-Progress, Murmuration, a book that falls within the magical/mythical realism genre. This passage takes place in Scotland in the month of June, but a Highlands’ June is a North Carolina April.

Silver feathers of mist curled around Sarah’s shoulders and caressed her face with its moist silk. High above, a full moon cast down its sterling light as she passed, barefoot and silent, through the luminous glow of the garden toward the high-hedged maze.

Somewhere in its deep heart, lay her future.”

I will close out this post with a poem by Lucy Maude Montgomery, the author of the beloved Anne of Green Gables book series. I can tell from this poem, written about 1904, that as Anne, herself, might say, Lucy and I must be kindred spirits.

An April Night

by Lucy Maud Montgomery

The moon comes up o'er the deeps of the woods,
And the long, low dingles that hide in the hills,
Where the ancient beeches are moist with buds
Over the pools and the whimpering rills;

And with her the mists, like dryads that creep
From their oaks, or the spirits of pine-hid springs,
Who hold, while the eyes of the world are asleep,
With the wind on the hills their gay revelings.

Down on the marshlands with flicker and glow
Wanders Will-o'-the-Wisp through the night,
Seeking for witch-gold lost long ago
By the glimmer of goblin lantern-light.

The night is a sorceress, dusk-eyed and dear,
Akin to all eerie and elfin things,
Who weaves about us in meadow and mere
The spell of a hundred vanished Springs.
"Toadstool" photo by K L Wood

Thanks for stopping by. Y’all come back, now!

Kate

Saturday, March 9, 2019

March Forth!...in shades of yellow

"Mama's Daffodil" photo by KLWood
If the month of March were a color, it would surely be yellow. Fresh new flowers burst forth in buttery lemon shades to encourage the golden sun on its journey toward the vernal equinox and beyond. Mirroring the sun are daffodils, dandelions, forsythia, and my personal favorite—buttercups.

"Buttercup Cottage" photo by KLWood

When we first found our home here in Edenton, North Carolina, it was in the month of March, with yellow swaths of gently gleaming buttercups swaying in the soft breezes of the Albemarle Sound. We were both smitten by the charm of this little, two-story Victorian-era cottage,
"Buttercups" by Manfred Richter- Pixabay  
surrounded by those diminutive botanical dancers, and promptly named it “Buttercup Cottage.”

Emily Dickinson welcomed March in her poem “Dear March—Come in." Here is the 
first stanza for your Spring reading pleasure:
How glad I am -
"Forsythia" by  KIMDAEJEUNG- Pixabay
I hoped for you before -
Put down your Hat -
You must have walked -
How out of Breath you are -
Dear March, how are you, and the Rest -
Did you leave Nature well -
Oh March, Come right upstairs with me -
I have so much to tell -

So, my dear reader, slip on your 
yellow sweater, don your yellow 
cap, or if there's rain, pull on 
"Dandelion" by Holi Ho- Pixabay
your yellow slicker, and 
March Forth to welcome 
the Sun-King of Spring
and his court of dancing yellow
blossoms!
Thanks for stopping by...
y’all come back, now!
Kate
"At Our Buttercup Cottage" photo by author's mother, Oleta Wood






Friday, February 8, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day, My Little Chicken...international terms of endearment

"Kissy Flamingos" photo by KLWood
While researching an appropriate pet name used by a Scottish character—a male selkie— in my current WIP (Work In Progress,) I began to wonder about the names people around the globe give to their dear ones. After all, it's February, that "Kissy" time of year, when Valentine's Day spurs lovers to wax poetic.

If "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" has lost its old fashioned charm, I've gathered a list of terms of endearment from around the world. As you will see, they fall roughly into categories of flora, fauna, food, body parts, and heavenly bodies. From the deep ("My Soul,") to the cute ("Little Chip,") may these global expressions of love inspire you. After all, it's been said (and sung) that "Love Makes the World Go 'Round."

And if you want to know how to pronounce these marvelous monikers, check out:

https://translate.google.com/

So, "Let Me Call You..."


Mouse (Mäuse)- Germany
"Mouse"

Little Bear (Ursolina)- Portugal

Little Elephant (Chang Noi)- Thailand

Froggy (Żabko)- Poland

Possum- Australia

My Little Chicken (Falloutsi)- Maghreb

My Little Bug (Bogárkám)- Hungary

My Little Sun (мое маленькое солнце) “moye malen'koye kolntse"-Russia
"Sky"

Star (Stella/Stellina)- Italy

Sky (Cielo)- Spain

Potato Flower (Blodyn Tatws)- Wales

My Cabbage (Mon Chou)- France

Fruit of My Heart (Buah Hatiku)- Indonesia

Most Honored Poison of my Heart (Nyingdu-la)- Tibet

My Pulse (Mo Chuisle) “mo khwish leh”- Ireland

"My Cabbage"
My Soul (Canim)- Turkey

Egg With Eyes (Tamago Gata No Kao)- Japan

Cute Nose (Sötnos)- Sweden

Little Chip (Patatje)- Holland

Breadcrumb (Muru)- Finland

Sugar Pie, Honey Pie, Sweetie Pie, Baby Cakes,
(We love our sweets!)
and one my Granddaddy reserved for me: Pie Crust!- North Carolina, USA
"Fruit of My Heart"

What do you call your Sweetie? Leave a Comment and let us know!

BTW- My Scottish character calls the object of his ardor,
"My Wee Dautie" ("My Little Darling.")

"Kate's Honey Pie" photo (and Pie) by KLWood
Thanks for stopping by, Honey Pie.
Y’all come back, now!


Kate



Sunday, January 20, 2019

Lessons From a Jigsaw Puzzle...piecing it all together

"The Puzzling Begins" photo by KLWood
Back in 2011, my husband Christmas-gifted me a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle he had secretly purchased, months before, when we visited the Columbia Icefield glaciers in Alberta, Canada. That means he hid it from me across a seven-month, 33,000-mile journey as we hauled a 13-foot camper trailer from Virginia to Alaska and back again. The first leg of the trip took us along a northern route, and the return leg, down the California coast and across the southern regions of the United States. All the while, that box containing the jumbled pieces of a 12×36 inch puzzle remained stowed away, I know not where.

I had not pieced a jigsaw puzzle together for decades and, with life throwing all kinds of challenges at me, the box remained, unopened, for the next seven Christmases. But, recently, the puzzle came back to mind, and when I needed some distraction while I anxiously awaited my first grandson’s birth, I pulled out the box on January 10th, opened the sealed bag, spilled out the 500 pieces, and began. Wow. A bigger challenge than I
anticipated! But, piece by piece, it came together, and when our daughter’s beautiful baby, Colin, was born on January 14th, I dedicated the puzzle to him and vowed to complete it in his honor. And I did, snapping the final piece into place on January 19th. WooHoo!
"Making Progress" photo by KLWood

Working on the puzzle, I was surprised to find lessons related to writing and to life, itself, surfacing as I pondered and prodded and pieced it together. By the time I completed the puzzle, I had a fortune cookie factory’s worth of “wise” sayings. Move over Ben Franklin’s “Poor Richard,” and make room for my list of—


Lessons From a Jigsaw Puzzle

-Envision the big picture to know where to begin and to keep you going.

-Every contribution, no matter the size, builds toward success.

-Finding your place in the world takes patience and persistence.

-Sometimes you have to turn things upside down to find the answers.

-Something small, you overlooked, can make all the difference.

-Success can be addictive.

-If something doesn’t quite fit, no amount of pounding will make it right, just broken.

-To find a solution, come out of the shadows and into strong light.

-Begin with the familiar, then branch out.
"Coming Together" photo by KLWood


-A good framework holds everything together.

-One thing leads to another.

-Look for patterns.

-When you get stuck, step back and take a break.

-Protect your progress.

-A fresh pair of eyes, yours or another’s, can make new discoveries.

-Build on what you have, no matter how small.

-When you meet a challenge, successfully or not, use the lessons learned for the next one.

-Join others to create something bigger than yourself.

-A sense of accomplishment renews the spirit.

-Time spent exercising your brain is not wasted.
"Puzzle Complete!" photo by KLWood

And so—baby born, puzzle complete, a new year begun, my batteries are recharged and I’m ready to face 2019 with renewed fortitude and optimism. If it’s been a while since you pieced together a puzzle, I challenge you to give it a try and be open to the insights it offers.

Thanks for stopping by. Y'all come back, now!

Kate





























Tuesday, December 4, 2018

December...opalescent days and lapis lazuli nights


December offers us opalescent days and lapis lazuli nights. Two beautiful gemstones sum up the final month of the year, for me. Opal–glowing white, shot through with fireworks of flaming crimson, orange and yellow, electric blue and green. Lapis lazuli–deep night-sky blue, often sprinkled with starry sprays of golden pyrite.
"Winter Sun" via pixabay.com

December days, bright with new winter sunlight, all fire and ice and eye-watering clarity, glittering the frosted morning with tiny sparkling jewels. Our twelfth-month sun glows with anticipation and promise–Hanukkah’s most enduring candle flame, Christmas’s gleaming day star. The beauty of a December sun is all the more precious for its shortening span. Dusk arrives earlier each day, dawn sleeps in a bit longer.

December nights, deep velvet blue, swirling with distant stars that, for a time, look near enough to touch. So many wishes, so many prayers, floating up to that star-spangled sky. Gazing into those heavens, I can feel
"Starry Night" via pixabay.com
the human longing for peace and purpose, love and wisdom, comfort and joy. December ushers in the longest nights of the year, bidding us to ease into the darkness, resting our busy day-working bodies and minds, inviting us to light the home fires sooner, to gaze longer into the hearth and candle flame.

December is a month of magic, miracles, and mystery–threads connecting these two stones. The iridescent opal, flashing with its rainbow hues, looks as though it must have been brought into the world by pure
"Opal" via pixabay.com
magic. Such enchantment touches some deep chord within me, triggering visions of infinite possibilities and dreams of things unseen. The cosmic blue of the lapis lazuli draws me inward, to sink into its depths and float among its gilded stars, a color so divine, Renaissance artists reserved its ultramarine powdered pigment for the Virgin Mary’s gown.  
"Lapis Lazuli" via Pixabay.com

I invite you to pause in the midst of your busy holiday preparations and celebrations, to brighten your spirit with December’s opalescent days and dream deep into its lapis lazuli nights.


Thanks for stopping by! Y'all come back now.


Kate



Tuesday, November 20, 2018

God's Voicemail...divine humor


"Sharing a Laugh" photo by author's mother, Oleta Wood
The qualities of good-hearted laughter have been promoted throughout the ages of mankind. And, make no mistake, I refer to humor blossoming from a good heart, not derisive laughter spewing from mean-spiritedness. As with many of us who have spent some time on this earth, there have been periods in my life when I wondered if true laughter would ever be heard in my home and heart, again. If it would ever bubble up from my spirit, or from that of a loved one, and fill the air with joy and light. Those were dark times, indeed, but thankfully temporary. I have been so fortunate to have people in my life who can be counted on to bring much-needed levity to most any situation. I count my sister-in-law, Betty, at the top of that list. She has blessed our family with her gentle humor since her marriage to my brother, decades ago. I’ve often said, she’s one person I want around in times of stress and sorrow because she can always bring a smile to my face and hope to my heart. Everyone’s family needs a Betty.
"Kate Laughs" 

We’ve all heard the wisdom of Proverbs 17:22– “A cheerful heart, is good medicine.” And I’ve just discovered a wonderful new favorite from writer, Anne Lammott– “Laughter is carbonated holiness.” But the quote to which I so often return, is from an unknown source– “Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused.”

I learned the joy of laughing at oneself– our human foibles, eccentricities, and comical misfires– from my mother and her mother before her. Many a time, I joined my mother and grandmother in belly-clutching, tear-rolling, breath-catching laughter stemming from something comical they said or did. This was usually something they had not intended to be funny at all, and that made it all the more hilarious. One of the last wonderful laughing spells I shared with my mother, before her passing in 2016, occurred at Thanksgiving.
"Mama and Kate Share a Laugh" photo by author's husband, Bill Ahearn

As the family matriarch, we called upon Mama to say the Thanksgiving prayer blessing over our dinner. Surrounded by the loving presence of children and grandchildren, all waiting to dive into our bountiful feast, Mama began her prayer. It was a bit long, but filled with heart, as she recounted her blessings and spoke her prayers for those at the table and those present in spirit. Then, she fell silent for a moment and ended by saying, “Mmmm...buh bye.” We all opened our eyes and mouths and looked at her. Mama had just left a message on God’s heavenly answering machine! It took her a beat but, when she realized what she’d done, burst into laughter. Thank goodness! We could all join her, knowing she was delightfully aware of the humor of the moment.

I believe that spark of humor is, indeed, a divine gift to humanity, and I am thankful it’s been my lifelong companion.

Thanks for stopping by! Y'all come back now.


Kate