Listening to the Wind
Is there a lot of stuff you don't understand? she said & I said pretty much the whole thing & she nodded & said that's what she thought, but it was nice to hear it anyway & we sat there in the porch swing, listening to the wind & growing up together.
-the storypeople


There's something

so special about a moment that can be perfectly described by a poem you once read. Or a song you once heard, maybe even knew. 
This picture was almost one of those moments. It reminds me of a Carl Sandburg poem. Almost, but not quite. Close enough, I'd say.
After the last red sunset glimmer,
Black on the line of a low hill rise,
Formed into moving shadows, I saw
A plowboy and two horses lined against the gray,
Plowing in the dusk the last furrow.
The turf had a gleam of brown,
And smell of soil was in the air,
And, cool and moist, a haze of April.
I shall remember you long,
Plowboy and horses against the sky in shadow.
I shall remember you and the picture
You made for me,
Turning the turf in the dusk
And haze of an April gloaming.
-Carl Sandburg


(Never mind that this was taken in November.)


doors to worlds unknown...

I don't know about you, but I am incredibly fascinated by doors/doorways. They're so symbolic.

A (by no means comprehensive) visual list of a few of my favorites.


This is a bonus post. Two in one evening! You will be dreadfully spoiled, I'm afraid...

Anyhow. I was looking through some of my so-called "poetry"* this evening and re-discovered this poem. I wrote it after I'd heard someone close to me had recently had a miscarriage. I was so sad, not only because I hurt for that person, but also because it seemed like I'd been hearing of more miscarriages than healthy births in the past little while. So I was sad and went outside for quiet, grieving type of time by myself. I sat on a picnic table in the dark and looked out over the valley, letting the warm spring night seep into my mind. As I sat there I watched the outline of the mountain against the star-lit sky. I noticed after a while that one bright star was closer to the ridge than it had been. So I watched it out of sight, and let go of the grief as I let go of the star.

That's the background to this poem. Sometimes I like it, and sometimes I think it is awfully sappy.  So I won't be offended if that's what you think. :)

Star-said Farewell~

The star disappeared behind the mountain

And with it disappeared your unknown face.

Sweet child, have fun in heaven tonight

We earth-bound pilgrims are grieving

The loss of your unheard laughter here.

How can you love someone so much

And you’ve never met them?

Sweet child…

We’ll miss you.
*Barbarian: I know you disapprove of free-verse being referred to as 'poetry'. You may substitute the word 'creatrio' if you wish.

The Liebster Award

So I was notified via comment that I was tagged by Bevy at treasuredupandpondered.blogspot.com  with the the Liebster Award. Ha, sounds like fun, I thought. So here goes.  But first some stuff that I snitched from her site, to explain a few things. (Thanks, Bev!)

What is a Liebster Award?
A Liebster Award is a traveling award that is awarded to new bloggers with less than 200 followers. Those nominated then pass the award on to 11 other bloggers who also have less than 200 followers.

Along with the nomination, there are a few rules I have to follow within this post.
  1. Post eleven facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.
  3. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.
  4. Go to their page and tell them.
  5. Remember, no tag backs.

Except, I, hah... um... am not sure that I KNOW 11 bloggers who would want to participate. So, I may only tag several. Or none at all.

Without further ado:

 Eleven Facts You Possibly May Not Have Known About Me Before This Time In History

1. I live beside a river/creek.
    (Oh, wait. If you've been around this blog for awhile, you've probably figured that out. But I needed to make sure you knew that. It's pretty important.)

2. I have a tiny, crescent-shaped scar on my left thumb.
    (That isn't very important, but it's random.)

3. I like pretzels.
    (A lot.)

4. I hate snakes.
    (A lot.)

5. I think snorkeling is fun.
    (That really has to be the strangest word. Ever.)

6. Train whistles make me feel at home wherever I am at the moment I hear them.
    (I used to live beside a railroad. Free fact.)

7. I'm more of a nightowl than an earlybird.
    (Just ask my family.)

8. If I'd learn another language, I'd learn Latin. Or Hebrew. Or Gaelic.
    (Only it's more likely that I'll learn PA Dutch, because I know people who speak it.)

9. My drivers license states that I am 5 feet 3 inches tall.
    (I know, because I just had to renew it.)

10. If I could go anywhere in the world, just for the fun of it, I would visit the Faroe Islands.
     (They are the most.beautiful.island.place.i've.ever.seen. Period.)

11. My favorite color is blue.
     (Or green.)

The Questions Asked, and the Attempted Answers

1. Your blog title/name?  How did it come about... is there a story?
     Yes. There is a story. Literally. It is the title of a book by a German man named Quint Buccholz. It's a fantastic book. Literally.   It also happens to be one of my favorites. I was completely fascinated with the idea of a "collector of moments", so I became one.

2. Books.  Who is your favorite author?  What is your style?
    This is tough. I like so many different styles, you know?  I usually tell folks who ask this question that the kind of books I mostly enjoy reading can be found in the Juvenile or Young Adult Section of the library. Only I'm leaning more and more towards the Children's Section these days. (They have to have good illustrations though)   Favorite author?  Hmmmm....  Patricia MacLachlan, Kate DiCamillo, Jerry Spinelli, Robert McCloskey, Elizabeth Goudge, Beverly Cleary, etc.

3. Speaking of Style.  Who/what inspires you in your wardrobe selection?
    I like fall. I wear a lot of browns, greens, and blues. I am inspired by classic timeless nautical types of ensembles. *cough*  When I make the effort.

4. If you're a mom! - Any advice you could share?  If you're not... What do you wish you could share?
    I am not a mom. But I have lots of younger cousins who I take care of from time to time. Here is my advice. Ask them lots of questions and then listen, really listen, to their answers.

5. In blogging.. Do you share your Faith?  Why or Why not?
    Because of the nature of my blog (sharing moments or events that I notice), it could be tied in anywhere. I don't have method for sharing or not sharing. Maybe I should. :)

6. Collections... What is yours?  Baskets?  Cookbooks?  - How did you get started?
     I collect libraries.  Well, library cards. We used to spend quite a good part of our summers away from home, and got to know a lot of different libraries fairly well. I love exploring a new library and finding my old book friends. Library cards are a good way to remember them. Thing is, sometimes you have to be a resident of that county or state in order to qualify for a card, so I have collected more libraries than I have proof of.

7. Do you have that one "best friend" - what makes her a great friend?  Give me just two-three words.
     She listens to me, laughs at me, laughs with me, challenges me.

8. Pizza or Stromboli? Would that be homemade or "Take Out"?
     Pizza. Homemade. Yum.

9. Camera advice...is needed.  What would you recommend?
    Ask my dad. :)   And here's a tidbit. Make sure your horizons are level. But not always. :)

10. And your favorite flower is...?
     Hydrangea, calla lilies, California poppies (any kind of poppies, really), peonies, queen anne's lace.

11. Tell me that one idiosyncrasy you LOVE about yourself..
    I almost always have bubbles or a candle in my handbag.  I really like that about my handbag. :)

The Questions I Carefully Crafted For My Victims

1. What was your favorite kid's book during your growing up years, and what is your favorite kid's book now?

2. What concept in the Bible do you keep coming back to and hashing over and studying and thinking about?

3. If bubbles never popped, what color should they be?

4. What is your favorite quote, and why is it your favorite quote?  (ha. two-in-one. gotcha.)

5. If you were the ruler of a small country, what would be the first rule you'd outlaw?

6. If you could be a character in any book, which character would you be, and why?

7. When you're in a coffee shop, what drink do you order the oftenest?

8. And while you're sitting there drinking it, are you most likely to be: people-watching, reading, singing, writing, or gazing out the window?

9. If you could take a ride on or in anything, what would it be?  You're allowed to say Pegasus.

10. What is your favorite thing about fall?

11. Why would you never _____________________?

Bonus question, in case you feel like it:  Could you please give me writing advice? Any kind. Long or short. Thank you.

And I tag: no one.  Yes, I know, I'm not playing by the rules, and yes, I know, it's incredibly cheesy to not tag anyone.  Here are my excuses.

1. I don't know bloggers who "do" forwards, or tag things.

2. I'm feeling too lazy.

3. This means anyone may answer the questions. I'd love it.

4. You may answer in a comment. Or a post.

5. You may answer all or a select few of the posed questions. Whatever suits your fancy.

Have at it.  :)



In my various travels

today, I stopped in at the thriftstore to drop off some donations, and afterwards looked through the children's book section. A good idea, or a bad one, depending on your point of view, as I came away with nine books.
   I decided to share some of the joy. So, a quote from each book. The only problem is; I chose most of these books due in large part to their wonderful illustrations and that's rather, shall we say, limited on here. Oh well. I guess you'll just have to borrow them from the library.

"Harry was a white dog with black spots who liked everything, except... getting a bath. So one day when he heard the water running in the tub, he took the scrubbing brush... and buried it in the back yard. Then he ran away from home."
    -Harry, the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham

"Brian found a salamander in the woods. It was a little orange salamander that crawled through the dried leaves of the forest floor.
   The salamander was warm and cozy in the boy's hand. 'Come live with me,' Brian said.
   He took the salamander home.
'Where will he sleep?' his mother asked.
'I will make him a salamander bed to sleep in. I will cover him with leaves that are fresh and green, and bring moss that looks like little stars to be a pillow for his head. I will bring crickets to sing him to sleep and bullfrogs to tell him good-night stories.'"
      -the Salamander Room, by Anne Mazer and illustrated by Steve Johnson

"'If you become a tightrope walker and walk across the air," said the bunny, 'I will become a little boy and run into a house.
  'If you become a little boy and run into a house,' said the mother bunny, 'I will become your mother and catch you in my arms and hug you.'
  'Shucks,' said the bunny, 'I might just as well stay where I am and be your little bunny.'
  And so he did.
  'Have a carrot,' said the mother bunny."

     -The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd

"You can knit a kitten mittens
And perhaps that cat would purr.
You could fit a fox with socks
That exactly match his fur.

You could make a goat a coat
With a collar trimmed in mink;
Or give a pig a wig
In a dainty shade of pink.

But never tease a weasel;
This is very good advice.
A weasel will not like it
And teasing isn't nice!"

      -Never Tease a Weasel, by Jean Conder Soule and illustrated by Denman Hampson

"Often in the winter, when the wind drove with a roar over the prairies and came thundering up the creek, making the tepees shudder and strain, Little Wolf would listen to the wind and think it was the stampede of the buffaloes. Then he would snuggle warmly under the buffalo robe that was his blanket and would be thankful for the shelter of his home. And sometimes he would go very far down the shadow ways of sleep and would meet the buffaloes as they came up from the lake, with the water shining on their shaggy coats and their black horns gleaming in the moon. And the buffaloes would begin by being very terrible, shaking their great heads at him as if they intended to kill him there and then. But later they would come up close, and smell him, and change their minds, and be friendly after all.
   Little Wolf was only ten years old, but he could run faster than any of his friends. And the wildest pony was not too wild for him to catch and ride. But the great thing about him was that he had no fear. He knew that if an angry bull bison or a pack of prairie wolves ran him down, there would be nothing left of him but his bones. And he was well aware that if he fell into the hands of his people's enemies, the Assiniboins, he would be killed and scalped as neatly as could be. Yet none of these things terrified him. Only, being wise for his age, he had a clear understanding that, for the present, it was better to keep out of their way.
   But of all the thoughts that ran this way and that in his quick brain, the one that galloped the hardest was the thought of the great lake to the south where the buffaloes began. And as the days lengthened and he could smell springtime on the warm blowing air, the thought grew bigger and bigger in Little Wolf's mind. At last it was so very big that Little Wolf could not bear it any longer; and so, one morning, very early, before the village was awake, he crept out of the tepee and stole along below the junipers and tall firs till he came to the spot where the ponies were hobbled."

    -Where the Buffaloes Begin, by Olaf Baker and illustrated (beautifully) by Stephen Gammell

"'It's a submarine from another planet!' bellowed the coach.
'Call the police! Call the Navy!'
'No! It's a tadpole!' cried Louis. 'He's my pet!'
   The coach was upset and confused.
'You have until tomorrow,' he cried, 'to get that creature out of the pool!'

   -The Mysterious Tadpole, by Steven Kellogg and illustrated by same

"And the next morning someone had put up a sign that read:


   -The Poky Little Puppy, by Janette Sebring Lowrey and illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren

"'Henry,' shouted his mother as she got up off the ground. 'You learned to play dead!'
   'No, Ma,' cried Henry. 'I learned to play the flute. Listen.'
He stood up, took a deep breath, and played as he had never played before. Hearing the music the animals slowly returned to the clearing, and as they listened to Henry's concert, each added his own voice to the melody."

   -Henry Possum, by Harold Berson and illustrated by same

"'I think I'll have a bit of a soak,' Elliot's father announced.
'Wait!' Elliot said. 'I left my penguin in there.'
'I'll set him on the hamper and do my best not to splash.'


Elliot rushed to the door.
'Young man, where did this penguin come from?' Elliot's father demanded.
'The southern tip of Argentina,' Elliot said."

   -One Cool Friend, by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by David Small



Dear Readers,

  I have returned.


Dee Valenti, Star of Stage and Screen*
(Collector of Moments)

P.S. I shall post sometime.

P.P.S. Very soon.

P.P.P.S. Sometime.

*have you ever read The House on East Eighty-Eighth Street?

See...That's why. Go read it, and then this post will make more sense to you.  :)



All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.  -Anatole France

Dear Readers,

 I'm leaving next week for a term of bible school. After that, I will be attending a music camp in the beautiful Virginia mountains.  I will not be frequenting the internet very much during that time. You are welcome to leave comments, as I will be checking my inbox occasionally.
 Brace yourselves for volumes of words and piles of photos, upon my return.   (mid-June)

Until then I remain, as ever,
Your humble Collector,

P.S.  I provided some chairs. Feel free to make yourself at home.  Take a deep breath...and enjoy your time here!   :)


Exercising My Sisterly Bragging Rights

 My brother is awesome.  He makes sweet tea. (And robots, but that's beside the point...)  Very Good sweet tea, too.  Between the two of us we could easily down a two-quart pitcher a day. 

 *cough*  That was an understatement  *cough*

  I know. I often post about what I'm drinking at the time, but you all will just have to put up with it, 'cus my brother is amazing and makes sweet tea, and I really like his sweet tea so I really have to post about it.   Because it's good.  And no, I am not hyper from the sugar or the caffeine. It might sound like it, but I'm not. 

(Who says sweet tea has to be served in tall, icy glasses?  Yellow, icy teacups work just as well.)

My brother is so cool!!!!!

(Not just because he makes killer sweet tea, but that's the reason I'm saying it now.)


My Quiet Sunday Afternoon

It's raining. It's been raining all afternoon.  After taking a nap to recuperate from an early sunrise service (wonderful that, by the way)  I decided to straighten up my bookcase. Guess how I sort my books?   I love it.  Never going back to alphabetically by author or genre...this way is definitely the best!

(Please excuse the poor quality, camera-phone photo.)  

Anybody want to come read with me, drink leftover iced coffee, and listen to "The Blue Danube"?  


Today is the First Day of Spring!

The snow is melting, the sun is shining,  I can hear the turtle's voices, as it were...

Get up, Toad!  It is spring now!   

(Just watch it snow about 8 inches worth of accumulation tomorrow)

Many Happy Returns of the First Day of Spring, Folks!!!!  

I vote we all go outside and stomp in the mud puddles.

Which makes me think of: 

Chansons Innocentes: I

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little 
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and


balloonMan whistles

-E.E. Cummings     


Beware The Jellyfish In Your Dreams!

 I dream a lot. Both when I am awake and asleep.  Normally, the dreams in my sleep are filled mostly with people talking. (Conversations that I don't remember when I wake up, which is sad, because I'm sure I'd know all kinds of stuff by now.)  Occasionally, something out of the ordinary happens. 
 Thursday night was just such a night. 

 I was looking into an aquarium, and then I must've been in the ocean/sea myself, because I reached out to touch the brightly colored tiny fish (so now I know I dream in color. the fish was blue and red striped.) but my attention was caught by the clear plastic jellyfish. 
 I picked it up to examine more closely, and the horrible little thing stung me! I tried to shake it off, but it continued to cling to my hand and sting me, so I grabbed it with my other hand and either killed it or threw it away, I don't remember. 
 What I do remember is having to pull the jellyfish's stinger out of my hand. It was translucent and stiff, like nylon guitar string, with barbs in the end, and hurt like crazy. 
 I distinctly remember how tiny it felt between my left hand's thumb and forefinger.  
 I was nervous that it was a poisonous jellyfish, but then I woke up, and it was a gray dawn with no nasty jellyfish in sight. No barbed anything in my hand either.  
 All's well that ends well. I guess, since I didn't die in my sleep from a jellyfish sting.

  I just had a great burden to share that dream with the public, as I think it's relevant to us all. The lesson to be learned from such an event, that is.

 Never enter aquariums, and definitely don't ever pick up plastic jellyfish.  They MAY be poisonous.


In Which the Author Discovers...

CROCUSES!!!!!!!!!!!    (or whatever the plural of 'crocus' is. Crochi?    nevermind.)

 Soon I am hoping to see a few of these. Or many, actually.  I happen to like dandelions, although I understand they're considered pests.  But think about it folks.  Dandelions are yellow,  good to eat, good for you, the perfect free flower just the perfect height for children to pick, the stems cluster into curls if put into water, and last but not least, they're profuse.  And beautiful.  Just look at it.

To take a Maniac Magee quote out of context, "Hallelujah! Aaaa-MEN!" 


A Book Review

   Once upon a time, Dee read a book. (Well, many books but this is the one we are talking about.)  She laughed and laughed.
  Then, one day, she was delighted to find that the author was writing a sequel. She read it.  (After he was done writing it.) And laughed and laughed. Probably harder this time.  
  She told her brothers about them, because the books had swords and chases and princesses in it, and her brothers like swords and chases, and princesses, even if they don't admit it.  
  The bookworm brother read them first. He told the other brother about the plots of the two books in between giggle fits, and persuaded him to read them.  And he laughed and laughed. 
  Dee's sister read the books, and laughed too. She liked the princess, (and the would-be prince, even though she didn't admit it). 

 They agreed the books were good. 
 They also agreed that they liked the fact that the author was a homeschooler, (well, was one when he was "in school", but you know, once a homeschooler always a homeschooler.) because they themselves were/are homeschooled.  
  In fact, they talked about the books for nearly an hour and a half straight, while they were on a trip, just hashing the plots, quoting their favorite lines, and discussing the various characters. 
 Here are some conversation snatches.  WARNING: the following is filled with private jokes and references which you will not understand unless you've read the books yourself. Also, the quotes are not in any kind of chronological order, and may not be word perfect.

D: So, N--, what do think of the book? 
N: I like it.  *giggles*
D: Why's that?
N: Because, um, I don't know why. Um.... Well, one reason is that it's funny. 
D: Yeah, like where Ben falls out the window while he's desperately trying to get out of the court, and then hides in the closet but gives himself away by the puddle his clothes make.
N:  Yeah!!!!  *eyes sparkle*  Or when Ernie is blasting the goblins who are pawing at his quilt!  

*momentary blip in the conversation where they both proceed to quote the scene, (though the words may have sounded garbled and not very fierce, because they're laughing too hard) and are joined by the sister in hopping up and down. Yes. in a van.* 

D: So who's your favorite character?
N: Oh, that's hard. It's difficult to tell. Maybe Ben... but maybe Ernie.
D: So why Ernie?  (Can you tell that I start a lot of my sentences with 'so'?
N: *grinning hugely* Cause he's so oblivious!  *he launches into another quote*  "Great socks! Noble socks! Socks that a king would beg to wear!" 
D: *laughing*  If you were one of the characters which would you choose to be? 
N: Hmmm.....   Probably Ben.  
D: Why's that?
N: Cus. He's kind of, well, you know, simple-ish, but he's strong and does things even though he doesn't think he can and he still wins.
D: I like him because he's very loyal.  And takes care of Jess.
J: That's one reason I like that book so much. You can tell he loves Jess a whole lot, but it isn't mushy. Oh, *starts laughing* remember the part where Ben's absentmindedly playing with her hair and she doesn't tell him, cus he'd stop cus he'd be embarrassed?
*We laugh*
W: They should make it into a movie!!!!  An animated one, like Tangled!
N: Yeah!!!!!!  But there would have to be at least two or three movies because they can't cut anything out. 
W: No, that would be bad. 
N: And they probably would.
W: Yeah... but the books are pretty cool.

N: Better than the Narnia books.
D: You liked them that much?
N: I don't why. I think it was easier to understand. 
D: Mmmm... *doesn't quite agree, but is delighted to have referred him to a book that he likes so well*
D: If you could tell the author anything about his books, what would you say?
N: That I like his books. And he should write another one!!!!! 
W: Yeah!!!!!!
N: He could do one in the south! We didn't go there yet.
(side note: This is a sign of a good book. Once you get to the end and you aren't done exploring. You just want to go on, a little further.) 
W: He could put in some maps.
N: Oh, that'd be cool!
D: I like maps...       
N: *contemplatively, on a different subject* I like Charlez too. 
 *and here ensues an argument on how to pronounce the aforementioned name and also the word "bikalis"*  *and then discussion ends in a conglomeration of quotes, each of us throwing in the ones we remember and repeating the ones the others say*
  So, you may be asking yourself, "What cool book could she be talking about?"

They are called The Stuttering Bard of York and The Stuttering Duke of York, respectively.

 Here you go. Check 'em out. Buy them, they're worth it. I must confess that I haven't yet. YET,  I said. I will. Sometime. Buy them that is.
  However, the author offers them in pdf format for free online reading. SCORE!!!!!   It's awesome. Yay for local-ish authors!!!!!!!!  And light against dark stories!  And a princess who- but that would be giving it away, and I like torturing people with unread books.   Mwahahaha...   

The author's professional website, where you can find the books, and also other workscreative-vapors.com

I just gave you an Armchair Adventure for a relaxing evening sometime

You're welcome.    :)


The most gorgeous brown eyes

that I've ever seen belong to a four-year-old pixie that I played checkers with this evening. Guess who won?  Yup. The pixie did. I am such a softie when it comes to twinkling little kid eyes. Specially if they have a queer slant to them (thus the pixieness) PLUS pretty little pointy ears. Seriously.
  I actually didn't have to make a lot of dumb moves, due to the fact I haven't played in years and she is very good at checkers.  Oh, don't worry, I didn't go too easy on her. She had to work for it.  :)  Nonetheless, I was a little worried. Checkers is like swimming or riding a bike. You shouldn't be able to forget the twisty little tricks.  
  Oh well. I think I was distracted, keeping the baby occupied with memory cards.   

Riiiiiiiight, I hear you say.  

  Ok, ok, and playing Connect4 with the two-year old and watching the oldest two siblings play Chutes and Ladders.  There. See?  I was distracted... 

 We played outside, and I tried to teach them how to play frisbee football but it didn't work out so swell, though we had fun just running around in the fresh air and getting our shoes and various pieces of clothing all muddy.
  Raini, those 70* of yours are in here now. Only translated into the upper fifties-low sixties. Same diff.       Blue sky, sparkling stars, yellow crocus kind of  a day.

 Enough. Here is a picture and then to bed I go. 

{Soon, folks. Be of good cheer!}

*photo credits to my Dad



This isn't poetry.  I don't claim that  for an instant. But it's something I wrote this past fall, gathering inspiration from my daily jaunts to and fro upon the earth. I am finally posting it. I decided to swamp the dear reader, and post the entire thing.  All at once. My sincere apologies.

  An Autumnal Song-cycle, 
 Driving to Work in the Fall.

 1.  DUI of Fall
I need a bumper sticker like this:


They are gold and glory right now
and this day is like an HD photo
with colors all yellow and blue and brown 
and intoxicating and overpowering,
vivid, blatantly

There's one tree in particular, a Moses tree.
(It's face shines, and I can not look upon it.)
I slow, wish for sunglasses, narrowly miss an oncoming car.
Perhaps for the good of humanity
I should voluntarily suspend my license from

 2.  Overall Musings

Strange things are happening.
Fall is in the air.

Today, driving past houses
on my way to work,
I carefully squeezed my vehicle 
past a garbage truck 
on its morning rounds.
The man picked up the garbage can
as I drove past and I noticed that
his overalls were a rich orange hue,
exactly the color of an astronauts. 
He must work two jobs, I thought.
A garbage-collector 
by day
and an astronaut 
by night.

"Ah," I mused,
"Here at last is the answer
to one of the great mysteries of the world.
The question is:
what garbage guys do at night
when there are no trashcans
set out along the road to collect
The answer is, of course:
they're astronauts
collecting space junk."

 3. Mist o' Mornings

I drive to work in the
heavy mist of an autumn
morning. That's a perk
to living by a river, I realize, 
because river mist makes 
things look mysteriously
Presently, it's transforming the 
remnants of the stone settler house, 
into the 
ruins of an ancient castle,
not only built, but conquered and crumbled
eons ago on a distant Scottish moor.

 4.  Blooming

I drive to work and 
watch the leaves
drift down to land 
on the pavement
only to be whirled
into the air again 
by a passing vehicle's
tires. There's something
mesmerizing in their descent.
reminiscent of a sad love song
or a faded photo album
in a forgotten attic.

I feel like I am the leaves, falling.
letting myself be borne
on the winds of change. 

Or maybe I am the tree
and pieces of my heart are 
being left behind, 
sifting away across
the yard, to look 
like some kind of fall dandelion
blooming gold 
in the grass,
while I stay here,
becoming more bare
and brown with 
each gust of growth

Grow enough,
and a new spring
will come
with new places
and new pieces
and more leaves.   


 I was attacked by a herd of wild leaves today. 
They blew down over the bank
and charged my tires 
shouting in their whispery voices revenge! 
for their fallen comrades. 
I'm not sure the fact of their own fall has sunk in yet. 

 6.  All Glory to God...

Every tree I passed today was all gold and glory. 
Makes it easy for me to remember that 


 7. Penguins and Stop Signs

I waved to the penguins 
again today.
They're looking happier with
every passing day that
grows colder. 
They waved gaily back,
from their station on the 
stop sign,
their summer job of holding 
up a yardsale poster 
The pale blue background of the 
duct tape only accents their
red pom pom hats.
What if all stop signs
hosted colonies of penguins? 

 8. This Happens Frequently
Driving to work, I blink,
gasp, half-close my eyes,
drink in the color, sigh,
drift across the center line.
Drat. Looked into a tree 
too deeply. Maybe I 
should wear sunglasses,
or let someone else drive.
I think autumn is endangering
my self-respect. 

 9.   Don't Take This Too Seriously, But...
Driving to work, I finger my cellphone,
consider dialing the fire company
to inform them that the 
sumacs on Rt. 459 
are ablaze.

10.  Farms Afire

Driving to work, 
I watch the fog rolling off 
the hayfield, up into the corn,
swallowing the dry autumnal husks in
billowing waves of flame.
I wonder how much stubble will be
left after the fog burns off. 

11. Nature's Cathedral
Driving up the ravine, I lean forward, 
wrapping my arms around the wheel, 
to see the roof of this place better. 
This is my daily cathedral moment, 
when I observe a moment of silence,
turning off the radio or whatever noise is in the vehicle
without actually killing the engine. 

It's better than a morning coffee. 

The tall oaks stretch over the road,
strong arched rafters holding up
the sky. The stained glass windows
of beech and young maples glow
regardless of whether the sun's shining,
and the alcoves of pines purple the wall tapestries
with their perfectly textured bark,
providing hints of that
shadowy coolness called peace
so everpresent in cathedrals.

I may or may not be biased,
but this Creator cathedral is better than
anything Europe can produce.  



A Wee Colleen's Take on Things, Specifically: A Disease

  Our dining room was too warm to eat in, due to the woodstove's diligence, so the little girl and I sat on the upstairs steps to eat our snack of muffins.  
  "Like a picnic!", I said. 
  "Yeah!" she replied, eyes wide, "in a house!" 

  We began to chat of this and that, she expressing herself with many opinions and amazing fluency for a a four-year old, and me adding sundry "mmhmmms" and generally egging her on. 

 Shortly thereafter, my sister emerged from the kitchen in the middle of listing off various diseases, "...mumps, measles, and chicken pox!" 
 (I discovered upon comparing notes with her later, that she was using those words to describe the appearance of the muffins.

  I looked at the petite child perched beside me. 
   "Have you ever had chicken pox?" I asked her, very seriously.
  A funny look crossed her face. 
  "Oh, right," I thought, "of course she doesn't know what chicken pox is. She's probably never had it or heard of it, because shots take care of that these days."
 She delicately nibbled her muffin, and looked at me quite as seriously as I had looked at her, with a dash of puzzlement besides. 
  "I've never tasted those." she said, demurely.  

 I must confess that I didn't set her straight as to what the chicken pox is, because while I was trying desperately not to laugh she rambled on to the next subject. 


  Any of you, my dear readers, see a recipe called "Chicken Pox" lately? 
  I'm guessing it would be under Main Dishes.