“There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed.
Some forever, not for better;
Some have gone but some remain.”
~ ‘In My Life’ by The Beatles
The Weekly Photo Challenge prompt invites us to interpret the theme “Between”. This response is dedicated to my oldest, Susan. When she was a little girl in Kindergarten, she memorized a poem by A. A. Milne (the author of the Winnie the Pooh stories) and performed it for the K-3rd grade Speech and Oratorical Contest of her elementary school. Here is the poem:
Before Tea by A. A. Milne
Has not been seen
For more than week. She slipped between
The two tall trees at the end of the green…
We all went after her. “Emmeline!”
I didn’t mean —
I only said that your hands weren’t clean.”
We went to the trees at the end of the green…
Was not to be seen.
Came slipping between
The two tall trees at the end of the green.
We all ran up to her. “Emmeline!
Where have you been?
Where have you been?
Why, it’s more than week!” And Emmeline
Said, “Sillies, I went and saw the Queen.
She says my hands are purfickly clean!”
Susan did not perform this poem ‘purfickly’. As I recall, she left rather a long pause between the second and third stanzas, perhaps for dramatic effect, perhaps to indicate that some time goes by in that part. The audience began to applaud too early. Nevertheless, her memory was perfect, and she finished in her own time, in her little 5-year old lisp, “Thillieth…”, and I was, of course, inordinately proud of her. I still am. I visited her this past Sunday, and we went for a stroll in the UW Madison Arboretum, where she slipped between the branches of trees — like this:
The mouth-watering prompt of this week’s photo challenge depicts a plate of cheeses from Italy with a pool of honey in the center. “Why aren’t we living in Italy?” Steve asked me just a few weeks ago. Good question. No good answer. But this post is not about cheese, or Italy, or even honey, but about angle and perspective. “Share a photo of a subject which you shot from directly above.” I have a new batch of shots from our hike along the Ice Age trail, so I looked through to find one which would be up to this challenge. Aha! Here it is:
I remember how any bridge on a trail hike would be an opportunity to play “Pooh sticks” when I was a kid. Just like Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, my sisters and I would choose a likely twig to toss into the water on the upstream side of the bridge. Then we’d wheel around to see whose stick came out first on the downstream side. This log wasn’t about to budge from its place, but I thought of those childhood adventures with my sisters and my dad nevertheless — tromping the woods in the early spring, greeting the season of Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Mayapples and violets, and playing ‘bridge’ games. Here’s another one: you pretend you are the troll under the bridge and the passersby overhead are the Billy Goats Gruff. Believe it or not, I played that one on my first date with Steve. We were hiking…and there was a bridge…and I just couldn’t help myself. “Who’s that trip-tropping over my bridge!!!” I bellowed. Yeah. I guess he found it endearing in some way, because we’re still together 4 and a half years later. Good thing.
Sunshine comes From Above, and for that I am always grateful. Stay playful, stay young at heart, and enjoy Spring!
I spent a lovely afternoon with my daughter yesterday. Despite being in grad school and already a real adult, she still has a wonderfully childlike nature. I was waiting for her in the park on the square, and she managed to park her car and sneak from tree to tree without me noticing her, in order to come up from behind and grab me in an ambush hug. Needless to say, she makes me smile and feel like a kid myself. We wandered over to Aztalan State Park, where the wide open spaces were calling to me. When I was a child, my dad used to take me to the Morton Arboretum. I’d see fields of dandelions and expanses of grass that made me break out into a run, or a gallop, or a skip. I just had to propel myself into the middle of that lush landscape, wishing I were a wild bird so that I could skim over the entire scene. What happened to that energy, that joyous surge? I still feel it in my brain, although the rest of me is greatly slowed down. I invite you to step into this place as if you were 7 years old again….how does it feel to you?
National Poetry Writing Month
Fun for the whole family! My sister intends to match me, poem for poem, in the comments section of each of my posts. Mind you, this is NOT a competition. I have to be very clear about that and remind myself that this is about playing with words, creative collaboration, cleaning my windshield of mud and fear and stuff that gets in the way of my recognition of the wonderful ideas that I, even I, have shining on the horizon. I remind myself of this several times a day because my older sister is brilliant and has always been better than me at everything. Of course, that’s entirely my own hangup. I admit it, and I’m old enough now to face it head on. Right? Right!
I am using a very inclusive definition of “poetry” here. In other words, I’ve never been a student of poetry, I don’t know form and rules, but as a singer, I like words and rhythm. As a visual person, I like icons and imagery. Any formation of symbols that produce an experience can be called poetry in my definition. Also, it’s understood that any poetry posted here is copyrighted. If it’s not original, I will site the source.
I am tickled that this event is starting on a Sunday. Such creative connotations! And on April Fool’s Day, just so that we don’t take our creativity too seriously. I self-published a book of Poems and Parables back in 1997. This was the first one:
God is a poem
Infinite in meaning
Economical in expression
Clothed in symbol and harmony
A breathing Word
Engaging all perception
Today’s prompt is “Carpe Diem”, with a reference to Andrew Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress. I have to admit that my brain first translated that Latin phrase as something like “Fish Gods”. You know, Carp Deities. ‘Fish gods’ sounds like ‘fish guts’. I was going down that path for a while. But then, I remembered a conversation I had at breakfast with Steve about childhood development. We have often referred to ourselves as 3 and 4 year olds. He’s 3, and I’m 4. I got a chart of early childhood characteristics at my last teacher training session, and we talked about how the descriptions fit us. I often feel like we’re trying to get back to those authentic ideas of ourselves and that maybe, eventually, we’ll become infants again and live as though we were not separate at all from the environment.
So all that musing is background. I began composing my first lines in the bathtub. Here’s what I penciled in my notebook when I dried off:
My three-year-old comes out to play
With ne’er a thought about the day,
For what is ‘think’ or ‘time’ or ‘how’?
The only thing is ‘this right now’.
My three-year-old, with eye and ear
Stays open’d wide to what is here.
Experience is all, you see.
That three-year-old’s inside of me.