Laughing Orchids

 

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Have you noticed that people find comments or jokes funny depending on their perspective? If we are the butt of the joke, it can be hard to laugh. I keep people close who have a kind and gentle sense of humor – those able to find humor in the things that we do that don’t make sense. I love finding humor in the way words are put together or used in ways that have unintended meaning.

 

This is a response to BeckyB’s July Challenge of Squares – Perspective.

Thanks for the Words

Thanks for the Words

A smudge was reveled in front of two indentations when
I moved my reading chair to the opposite corner of my room.
My husband was the first to notice
Saying he had carpet cleaner that would erase it.

I didn’t respond – but knew this smudge couldn’t be erased,
one of countless smudges, where feet have rested over centuries.
Where I humbled myself as reader, writer, thinker… learner
longing for words to express novel ideas, ancient yearnings.

What flourished here disturbed previous certainties and riled emotions;
upon this smudge I vacillated between elation and exhaustion.
Your hard work nurtured my thinking, inspired and healed me.
Your words powered my words.

You are a part of me, I took your words in, chewed them up,
integrated those that enlarged my brain weave of previous
learning and values; and swallowed the rest for later
expulsion with other unneeded wastes.

I marveled at your effective use of words, well-crafted sentences,
plots and arguments that were well constructed.
I absorbed new ways of thinking and experimented with your skills.
And sometimes I laughed out loud as I read you.

Every time I placed my feet on the smudge on the carpet
and lowered myself into my reading chair,
I entered an exceptional place, occupied by your words.
The outcome can’t be erased. Thank you.

Patricia Bailey, 2020

 

I started re-reading Ted Kooser’s “The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets” at the same time I was contemplating the smudge on the carpet of my reading room, exposed as I was arranging the room for my daughter to use as a home office. Two pieces of advice in Kooser’s first two chapters resonated with me, (a) use everyday observations as subject matter (like a smudge on the carpet?) and (b) to think about who you are writing for (all the writers I have read – fiction, poetry, professional, journalistic) and make sure your writing gives them what they need. These two principles guided my previous professional and personal writing, but I needed to transfer these skills to poetry writing. I flexed my fingers and started the writing process.

Summer: Farmers’ Markets are a Comin’

One of my greatest joys of summer is going to the farmer’s market to obtain produce and flowers for a summer’s evening meal.

Here in Michigan vegetables are just beginning to ripen and farmers are beginning to show up for the markets. On my first three trips to local markets I found some strawberries, tomatoes, zuchinni, summer squash, snap peas, romaine lettuce, blueberries, and raspberries. I am hoping our favorite berry people, Ken & Janet, will be here next Tuesday with the very sweetest blueberries I have had anywhere.

Our daughter Sharon decided to work from our home in Michigan for July and August to escape the southern Texas heat and severe outbreak of Covid-19. She drove, bringing her canning jars and pressure cooker so she could can tomatoes and all the other fresh vegetables that will be harvested in those two months. We are especially eager to work together making relishes and salsas to fill our pantries.

It took me a while to narrow down what I like about summer when the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Summer came out this week. I could have posted on my summer garden, sewing in my three-season room, sprinklers, inland lakes with small docks, camping and picnics. Oh, and my purple porch swing, outings for ice cream, corn growing in the neighboring fields…

Perspective from my Swing

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My summertime ritual is to have my first or second cup of coffee on my front porch, sitting on my purple porch swing, surveying my front garden. This seems to ground me, helping to draw my perspective closer to things I have control over, or delude myself into believing I have control. Lately my gaze seems to becoming even narrower to the pot of begonias I have at my feet. They are bringing me a great deal of joy.

I am finding that my perspective needs to expand to keep abreast of the US political problems and pandemic, and even further to other hot spots in the world. But I can only take in so much of this big picture before I need to draw back to those things that settle and sooth me.

I think I will have some fun participating in Becky’s July theme of “The Art of Perspective.” Click to join in the fun.

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #103: Surprise

Would you like a bananananananananana?

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I walked around a corner at the Naples Botanical Garden and was surprised by this very long hand of bananas. I don’t know why I hadn’t seen it before. Help yourself – there are plenty.

If you want to participate, everyone is welcome at Leya’s.