Oddments

In search of story


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February 8.19

Yesterday, dear reader, came the fifth sunless day of rain in five days. Also came the haulers in a pickup truck pulling an open wooden cart. They hauled stuff from my garage and then we drove to my storage unit and they hauled stuff from there.

And the rain poured down.

I followed them out of the storage place, and there was no way not to see the detritus of my life, soaked and wilted, riding in front of me. The big cardboard box with the old Christmas tree figured prominently in the heap. Some of the stiff old branches had fallen out and, formed yet in their bent upward curve, lay there appearing to wave goodbye to me. It was the forlornest vignette to be imagined.

That tree belonged to my parents and had seen many, many Christmases. Yes, I still have the top. Yes, it was time to let it go.

But did it have to wave at me?

And the rain poured down.

I came home and attacked the garage, sweeping and shoving and piling. The temperature was 59 and it was suddenly April. We haven’t seen the sun all week, but there was warmth! The daylilies were sprouting!

This morning the temperature is 18, windchill 0. A winter wind rattles the house and my head. Poor daylilies. Poor old frozen Christmas tree.

Mourning is a process not meant to be cured or stopped or unfelt. Grief will be, just as the winter rains will be. I loathe Pollyanna-isms, but there are those sprouting daylilies.

 


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Disconnections: December 25.18

 

Do you remember, dear reader, two Christmases ago when my big beautiful tree fell flat on its face, ornaments and all? And we (my son) had to wrestle it across the room and tie it to the bannister with twine to keep it upright? Here it is again. More or less. Well, definitely less. This is the top part.

As you know, this has been the year of The Downsize. The tree is a little shorter, and so am I. We hold a million memories anyway.

Our tinsel might be tarnished,

our limbs a bit askew

but we wish a merry Christmas

and peaceful heart to you!

 

Maureen

 

 


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Vagaries in Gestation: December 21.18

My brother was stretched out in his recliner and I was lolling on his sofa, facing his side. The California sun was going down and its fading light fell over him like running water. As we talked, I became increasingly distracted. He was changing without moving. I tried to keep my part of the conversation going but it wasn’t easy; I was watching something I’d never seen before.

He morphed like some special effect from a movie, and became someone I knew but couldn’t name.  Then I realized it was our Grandpa Mauck, whom I hadn’t seen since I was about ten, when he died. The shadows had sculpted everything about my brother that was like our grandpa into our grandpa. Grandpa stayed and talked with me; my brother was gone.

It scared the bejabbers out of me. At the same time I felt there was something wonderful about it. It was ominous and reassuring all at once. I tried to talk myself out of it, but the sense of portent was there. Still it hit hard last week when I got the call: my brother had died. Our last visit was just that.

During this past year, his emails had been uncharacteristically terse. If he thought he was pulling wool over my eyes, he thought wrong. I knew his/our medical history. I knew something was going on. It wasn’t what he said; it was what he didn’t say.

I look back. As the sun went down on the other side of my brother and I could see less and less of him, I saw something more. As he communicated less and less, I heard something more.

And I think about how we grasp what’s there from what isn’t there.

 

 

Vagaries in Gestation

 


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Disconnections: December 5.18

Now is the time of projects

inspired by the glow of the season

so I undertake insanities

in full-blown leave of my reason.

The proof of project fever

— I needn’t offer more —

is how much December time

I spend upon the floor.

Virtuous organization

visual oversight

can only be accomplished

by wall-to-wall floor blight.

Consuming and invasive,

tentacled, rapacious,

projects change to crowded

rooms that once seemed spacious.

But all of that aside

there’s yet another bane

the consequence to me:

my joints in chorus complain,

“Deck the halls! Hang holly!

Spike the eggnog cup!

But please to keep this truth in mind:

what goes down must get back up!”

 

 


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Disconnections: December 2.18

 


UP is that place

to run

LEAVES are

for having fun

TREES are

for being goal

DOWN is that place

to roll

I used to be ten

I remember when

but I don’t think I’ll try it again.

 

 

Have you ever, dear reader, wanted to roll down a leafy hill long after you knew you’d be an idiot to try?

 

Thanks again to photographer S.W. Berg and Happy Birthday to D. J. Berg!

 

 

 

 


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Disconnections: November 21.18

 

Here, it says,

is the road —

there, the town.

Steward of the way

sure and lown.

In placid stony

hieroglyph,

with iron pipe

as cold serif,

not so neon

as GPS,

but cartographical

nonetheless.

Pre-dating pavement

and prim white fence,

cobwebby vines

for recompense.

 

 

More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg.