The first sound is never the birds
Neither the coo of the pigeon in the palm
Nor the call of the scrub blackbird
Trash truck sounds first
Diesel motor idle roar
Of tired haulers
(Car alarms activated)
Fresh bread morning whistles
Ice cream tricycle kazoos
Old Marta shouting, “Ta-ma-le-ta-ma-le-ta-ma-le!”
(The first time I listened late and heard ma-le-ta: suitcase not tamale)
Pounding, drilling, sanding, scraping
Eleven million vying
Relax and respond
Never the first, never the last
Yet always the soothe in the din-
Awareness revealing the bird-song
For the coo of the pigeon in the palm
And the call of the scrub blackbird
. Lima, Peru 2019
I hate that my dog’s barking
is disturbing peace with noise.
I thought that when the kids moved out
I’d finished shushing boys.
To shush him up I shout right back,
my loud voice, stern and grim.
Then the neighbor shushes me
’cause I’m disturbing him.
Eyes opened to the morning
The faint, pre-dawn glow
Colors of the quilt
Beige walls, wood floor, shock of art
The S curve of my side sleeping spouse
Bare feet on a cool floor
Elastic waistband presses less than the night before
Warm water soothes the aches
My daily baptism cleanse
Black, hot coffee
Tastes of valley slopes and worker’s hopes
Perhaps a hint of chocolate
Acidic blueberries tamed with cane sugar
Salty bacon, cured with honey
(I’ll exercise tonight- promise!)
Click of the door
Vrooom of the motor
Hurried honks drown the bird song
Mozart to motivate
Rundgren to ruminate
Inhale the baking bread roasting beans and the subtle (?) geraniums
Mix in downtown’s exhaust and the damp concrete
I am, therefore I feel
On a recent trip to Minnesota, a friend and I met for coffee and conversation. As part of the conversation we, as we often do, discussed our reading and writing. We shared suggestions for awesome reads, quick reads, reads to avoid, … Then we discussed writing.
To make a longer story shorter, we came to an agreement: In one year we will return to the same coffee shop, each one with a manuscript for the other to read. Yep, we’re gonna write some books!
Why am I telling you this? It keeps me honest and helps me with accountability- if I tell the world I am going to write a book then I will, most likely, write a book. Now, just so you know, there was no agreement as to length or quality; we did not discuss genre or publishing. One could write a 700 page fantasy or a 30 page poetry chap book. And, if for some reason we don’t write, we will still meet for coffee and conversation.
So, the game’s afoot! Pen to paper!
Yesterday’s low temperature in Minneapolis, twenty eight degrees below zero (-28 °F), is outside my comfort zone. I believe that most people would say the same. At the same time, many people braved the frigid temps to get to work or help a neighbor while others lowered the thermostat in their house so that there will be enough natural gas for all. Again, outside one’s comfort zone.
Today, a friend of mine continued the process of applying for his post secondary education as he set up an interview at an area college, rescheduled the interview because of the cold, and then attended the interview. While I have been supporting him in the process, he is the one moving it all forward, stepping outside his comfort zone.
So, be brave. Take a positive step outside your comfort zone. Try something new and see what happens. Begin that dream journey with a single step, even if, especially if, it’s outside your comfort zone.
Remember though, dress warmly if it is -28 °F.
Another one of mom’s cookie recipes… and a good one, too!
1 1/2 c. shortening
2 c brown sugar
1/2 c molasses
2t baking soda
4 c flour
(and extra sugar to roll the cookies in)
Mix in order. Make 1″ balls and roll in sugar. Flatten slightly on baking sheet.
Bake at 350º for 10 minutes.
Makes about 5 dozen
A few of my students struggle with self-control. Their impulsive behavior leads them into difficulties that they blame on other students (and teachers). “The other kids don’t understand,” or “The teachers take it too seriously,” are common comments that admit no personal responsibility. Indeed, there may be responsibility beyond the personal- other students may be baiting, trying to get a good reaction; perhaps there are structural issues that would better support the students who are struggling. Right now, though, I am going to try a quick ABC with them.
Notice yourself. What are you doing? feeling? thinking? Don’t judge those actions, feelings and thoughts just notice them. Can you name them?
Notice others. What are they doing? feeling? thinking? Can you name what is happening around you. This is a great place to use those inferring skills.
When you came to awareness, were you aware of your breathing? Do that now. Breathe in. How long did you inhale? Hold your breath for that same amount of time. Exhale for that same amount of time. If the first time you inhaled for a count of three, try for a count of four. As you do this, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Be purposeful in your breathing. Try this 5 times: inhale- hold- exhale.
Choose your actions. Will you stay quiet or will you speak up? Will you stay still or will you move. We do not choose our feelings but we can usually choose how we express those feelings. If you are happy at a stadium, you may stand up and cheer for your team. If you are happy at a quiet church service you probably won’t stand up and cheer. At this moment, is one way of acting better than another way? Make your best choice for this moment.
Maybe this will help some of my students. Maybe teaching them will make me better at doing the same. I’ll keep you posted.