Sunday, October 28, 2018

Shadows Twenty-eight

Juvenile Bald Eagles playing at Jordan Lake. 
Photo by Doc Ellen, DVM

Shadows Twenty-Eight.  October 14, 2018

Are people like eagles? Sometimes.
They can be larger in their spirits
than those around them and see to
the heart with a kindly but relentless
eye. Left by themselves they find
the world constantly entertaining.
Some people avoid them–afraid
or contemptuous? A few are drawn
and want to be taught and influenced.
Those give an ineffable joy, a glimpse
of something eternal which not even
a savage hurricane can destroy.
They build nests high and in unlikely
places–often messy and yet comfortable.
At maturity they don’t actually compete.
The tend to outgrow that impulse, but
their goal is to be the best that they can
be. We might envy their high-ranging
flights. Sky per se doesn’t frighten
them. It feels like home. They willingly
go it alone, but companionship at those
heights is their chief reward and
birthright when all is said and done.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Shadows Twenty-Seven

Photo by Ellen Tinsley, DVM Judy and Wag coming out of the fog.

Shadows Twenty-Seven October 7, 2018

For Ellen

How to tell it? I have a new friend
in the midst of my aging, when new
friends are rare. She’s a bird-watcher.
I’m a people-watcher. What I learn,
I scarcely know until I put it in my
books. Some mistrust other people
first and foremost. I attend to them
with my mind open. She talked to 
my dog, and Wag listened. Wag is
tolerant now of other people but
skeptical, too. It takes time for her
to trust, but the bird-watcher turned
out to be a dog-whisperer and spoke
Wag’s language, baffling to me. Mind
over matter maybe. Wag would stop,
hesitate, and then touch her nose to
the outstretched hand. Me she pulled
in, too, to tell of the sixteen eagle
nests around our Jordan Lake. I
asked how they would have fared
during our hurricane. She said they
have favorite places to hunker down
during storms, but we had four days
of wind and rain, so she’s checking
on them. She watches for them to
fly by, way up there and catches
them in her camera the way she
caught Wag and me as we walked 

toward her, both smiling, she says.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Shadows Twenty-Four

 My figs back in 2011, after Hurricane Irene. No figs this year.

Shadows Twenty-Four September 16, 2018

During Hurricane Florence

This monster hurricane has shaken our
assumptions. Wind and rain, if intense,
can’t be stopped. People are begged
to leave their homes, but many refuse.
So streets, cars, houses, stores are flooded.
Rescue work is unleashed. Here we had
wind and rain, but in bearable amounts. 
We were safe. We had electricity. Tim
watched the hurricane news. I worked
proofing my novels, written, but not yet
published. We could still cook our food, 
heat tea, make coffee. At the coast, some
died, and many lost everything. We can
expect more and more storms like Florence
because we pollute the air, and the earth
warms. Scientists tell us that we’re
already at the tipping point of climate
change. Do we remember to value our
human connections, our friends wherever
they live and those we love whether
we understand why or not? This twenty-
first century challenges the human
spirit even more than the twentieth
did and threatens us with the vengeance
the earth itself wreaks, and no human
mind controls.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Shadows Twenty-Five

Shadows Twenty-Five September 23, 2018

I slowed down, did easy work, nothing
strenuous. The hurricane left us to mop
up and dry out. Sun came back, the better
to see the devastation. Here, where we
escaped the worst, life was almost normal
despite rivers that flowed upstream, the
milk we couldn’t buy, the flooded roads
we couldn’t pass. I wanted more work.
I made a list I’m crossing off. Something
in me wants serious work, to tell some
story more than poetry tells or my
diary. A new book then about aging
and adapting. There is more to tell
than I have admitted so far. At eighty-one,
how many women tell what it’s like,
to lose the capabilities we always assumed,
to have gates closed, but the mind still
open, still able to articulate paradox
and justice, when everything in the human
being or in the state works easily and
smoothly together, each part doing its
own work? Mine has been to write, tell
my mind’s story. I’ve written many books,
but there is still more to tell. I will.