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We had an ice storm last Wednesday, rare in our temperate western Oregon climate. I sat on the couch in our living room watching as freezing rain coated the trees outside, and icicles grew on the power lines. I heard the bang and saw a flash of light as a transformer exploded somewhere in the neighborhood. Thankfully our power stayed on.

Later that evening, as I continued my couch vigil, watching the storm outside, I said a silent prayer that our electricity would stay on through the night. We don’t have a fireplace, or gas, so electricity is our only heat source. At the moment that I finished my silent prayer – the lights went out. My heart sank.

Spencer gathered flashlights, we put on extra layers of clothing, and I told the kids we would all get to sleep together in our king-size bed that night. They’ve both been finding their way into our bed by the middle each night anyway, so it wasn’t too out of the ordinary. It was a little fun, a bit like camping on a cold night.

Waking up in the morning with no heat and light was not very inviting. I was thankful that my parents, a few miles away, still had electricity, so I packed our bags and we headed to their house to stay as many days as needed.

We were lucky. My parents’ next door neighbor, and all down the street to the north, lost power and didn’t get it back until yesterday. The electricity at our house ended up coming back on Thursday afternoon. At Marie’s dentist appointment Friday, the hygienist told me she was without power at home, that it was an inconvenience but she didn’t mind too much. She was looking forward to barbecuing a steak that night.

My husband, who maintains parks in Springfield, has extra work now with all the downed trees everywhere. Ice storms are hard on trees. It made me think of the poem Birches, by Robert Frost:

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
(You can read the poem in its entirety here.)

The storm made me realize how fragile we are against the forces of nature. But oh, the beauty!

I may not know much about how the world works or why things happen the way they do. But I do know this: Life is full of fragile beauty. And I am here to be a witness.

“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.” – Mary Oliver

 

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sleeping beauty

you sleep so sweetly
in the warm afternoon sun
what do you dream of?

 

NaPoWriMo Day 22! I guess I’m in haiku mode. I wrote this and then realized it was a haiku afterwards. Now I’m afraid I must wake the sleeping beauty or she will not want to go to bed at the appropriate bedtime.

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The Journey

though the mermaids’ song is sweet and enchanting,
we must not follow, our hands must be bound tight
to the ship, and the rope burns round our wrists

and there may come a time when we must visit
the dark underworld to find wisdom
we must cross the river Styx,
but we must not stay

we must blind the fearsome Cyclops
in our path, and face down
the six-headed serpent

like Odysseus,
we’re all just trying to navigate
the long journey home.

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Yes

i’ve heard it said
refusing to forgive
is like swallowing poison
and waiting
for the other person to die

and yet, if we’re honest
forgiving
isn’t something we feel like doing
not really

i mean, i remember
all the ways people have failed me
and when, and i’m ready
to bring it up
at just the right moment

but, well
i don’t think corrie ten boom
felt like forgiving either
after years in a nazi death camp
when she met her captor face-to-face
and he asked
sister, can you forgive me?

but she reached out,
grasped his hand in hers
and said,
yes.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/bamboo-adventure/3530133273/”>Richard.Asia</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Mother is afraid of singleness. Her private Neptune – I was born watching soap operas and not facing true reality. She utilizes the mind over vision
experimentally. Never do I, incurably so, in times of singleness smudge our halcyon
dinners. The nights of fear, more entreated by our cool blue insincerity? No, I
respond. Meanwhile destiny says mother may dream in scarlet colors. If I were to dream in violet, my life would ignite into brilliant hues.

This was inspired by today’s NaPoWriMo prompt and the Romanian poem “My mother is afraid of loneliness” by Doina Ioanid. I thought of this as an exercise in stream of consciousness. I loved this prompt and will definitely use it with students if I go back to teaching in the future.

did you know
your first birthday
marked my one year anniversary
as a superhero?
that’s right, i’m now a mother
and though i’d always wished
for a superpower like flight
shape-shifting
or better yet
the ability to move things with my mind
i’ll take the powers of pregnancy and birth
the ability to wipe away your tears
and hold you for hours
the power to love you
with all i am
was
am yet to be

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