Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Late Years Thirteen

My figs back in August 2011. They've been hurt in recent years by late frosts, but they're still alive.

The Late Years Thirteen January 27, 2019

After Julia Kennedy’s Bijoux 12 painting

It’s the way my life is now. Some days
pale blue, threatening to turn pink like
the clouds at sunrise. Then next thing I
know, a darker blue, with streaks of 
very dark navy blue. These years have
their triumphs when I break a dead limb
off a still vibrant fig tree or the hen
whose become a successful escape
artist, trusts me enough to wait on the porch
rail at the back door for me to open the
coop and let her back in. Other days the 
light blue darkens to nearly black. I lose 
people who were always there, who
helped me in a pinch. Or I fall in the
night, reaching for the light switch. I
walk slowly, deliberately, keeping
an eye on the path lest I stumble,
but every now and then, before I
can re-balance, I’m down. Somewhere
though, just beyond, the clouds are
pink, and that’s my destination. I do
all I can do, and I still walk without
a cane. My health holds. The people
I love love me, forgive me my 
forgetfulness and my stubborn streak.
I’ll take the pale blue as skybluepink 
and imagine that more rewards will

arrive while I’m still alive.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Late Years Twelve

Photo taken by Sanford Herald  reporter Kathryn Trogdon back in April 2015, before a hearing for permission to dump coal ash in Lee and Chatham County. Two people in this photo have either died in 2018 or are sick with cancer now.

The Late Years Twelve January 20, 2019

Mediation? Find a middle ground?
There is no such place. We were
wronged. They forced killing ash
on us, sent it through the air off
their trucks and trains: arsenic, lead,
Chromium Six, Silenium, radioactive
ash. Tiny invisible particles we’ve
breathed in that went straight to our
brains, leaked into the groundwater,
poisoned the earth where our wells
were sunk centuries ago. Babies,
the unborn, our elderly, at risk, and 
this land has been poisoned many
times before by the old Cape Fear
Steam plant, by the particle board
manufacturer, by the company that
made seatbelts. Ten factories along
the Haw and the Cape Fear Rivers.
The trains and trucks roaring past our 
homes. We could not leave. We had
no money to leave, and who would 
want what we loved: our homes
belonging once to our ancestors, back
to slavery times? Once there were
plantations, and before that, land
grants. Now mainly factories here,
thousands of workers, a few homes. 
Down our two-lane roads the trucks
come and go, leaving their poison.
The wind blows, the water moves
above and below ground. We have
been sacrificed. No more! You got
into our midst. Now, leave, but before

you go, clean up your mess.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Late Years Eleven

Let’s stop the poisoning of our water, our air and the Neuse River! Let’s hold Duke Energy accountable for the devastation they have done and continue to do to our community! This poisonous coal ash has caused cancer, heart conditions, respiratory conditions and so much other sickness and even death in our community. We must protect our families! Please join us!

From our friends in Goldsboro fighting against Duke Energy, advertising their next meeting of the Down East Coalition. They also are to have a "Star" processing plant, as are we here in Moncure. We worry about the Haw and the Cape Fear River. We already have had 7 million tons of coal ash dumped in our community. Now they want to poison the air with a Star processing plant that pollutes every time it is turned on or off.
The Late Years Eleven January 13, 2019

The rain pours down. The mud from
earlier drenchings had finally dried,
but this is our year to get rain and more
rain. The rivers were still over their
banks. My dog hesitates, then plunges
into it. She accepts the towel when she
comes back in. For me it means
another day inside. Time to accept
what I can’t change. My age, too.
I debate how much I can reasonably 
do, what I need to postpone or cancel.
My days have their limits, and yet I
do still write and publish books. I still
fight our oppressors, Duke Energy
among them. The governor has failed
us. The state environmentalists ignore
our truth and deny our sufferings. We
still have voices, and we still own
the truth. None of our enemies take
it up. They pretend they can’t hear us.
They have their bag of tricks and never
tire of bringing them out. So they give
an unpublicized Open House instead of
a publicized open hearing. But truth
will out, and the death toll grows. Wear
your gas masks and wait. More flooding
will come and prove how wrong they are.


Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Late Years Ten

My garden okra August 2011 after Hurricane Irene.

The Late Years Ten  January 6, 2019

I have to measure everything I do,
take rests between chores, quit my
writing work early, be careful not to
exhaust myself, or my heart will race,
my nose will bleed. If I’ll miss lunch,
I take a snack. And here is January. 
I long for my garden, and it’s time
to order seeds. Maybe I can plant peas. 
Day by day, twenty minutes a day, 
pull out the weeds, untangle them 
from the sign-holders I propped the 
peas with; cut the strings that held up 
the tomato cages. Fix the gate so it closes 
tightly; rescue the thyme and oregano, 
if they’re still there, and the self-heal.
Probably the soil is still fertile if I can 
get down to it. Add some compost 
and feather meal, some wood ashes 
from the stove. I think my days would 
balance better. Most of the time I hold
my own, do my inside chores, sleep 
well, make headway, hour by hour on 
my new book about aging. What can 
an old woman do? If I could have
garden peas and beets, tomatoes, beans, 
and okra to eat, I’d feel rich again. 
My twenty minutes a day  might make 

a miracle. Worth trying.