Oddments

In search of story


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Disconnections: October 16.18

Morning sun

in autumn slants

reveals my dust-fest

extravagance;

my foremothers

would surely look askance

at my housekeeping

fainéance.

Matter of fact,

I think they glanced

and left this subtle

recognizance.

 

(Is this literary irony? I’m stuck in this dry, arid word desert, and dust gives me words. )

 

 

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Disconnections: October 1.18

As you know, dear reader, I am in the process of down-sizing. And process it is. I still have things in a storage unit, and I’m here to tell you that “out of sight, out of mind” does not apply: those things jabber at me all the time, yelling across town “We’re still here, you know!”

Sorting through life’s accumulation requires thinking, contemplating, reflecting, and — the biggest obstacle of all — remembering. One cannot just pick up a box and heave it into the garbage — it might have an old birthday card in it! And heaven forbid I throw out a Tiny Tears dress I’d intended to keep forever!

For me, what greases this slow-grinding process is anger. When I get angry, I can see so clearly what I don’t need! I can see how junk is weighing me down, and out with it!

The last few weeks have brought — for me — the climax of a long wind-up of anger and grief and resentment and depression and disbelief and despair and frustration and disgust, as I try to understand what has made children and women such disposable commodities. My struggles culminated in a free-for-all of unloading. And thus did I fill my car on the weekend for our community recycling day, and thus did I heap my own recycling bin to overflowing.

An inadequate catharsis, perhaps, but at least a constructive one. At the rate things are going, all my belongings will soon fit in a thimble.

 


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Disconnections: September 27.18

 A window with a view

coveted prize

a break in routine

rest for our eyes

a tree with some posies

quiets day’s din

but sometimes can startle

by looking back in.

We’ve looked back and forth

Crabapple and I

exchanging world views

in the year that’s gone by.

It’s given the kitchen

a leafy embrace

and made my new house

a cozier place.

Lichened old faithful

steadfast and seasoned

shading me from

a world all unreasoned.

There’ve been times in my life

I’ve known a kind tree

that seemed like kin

and companion to me.

Perhaps you, dear reader,

understand what I mean

and also have had

a friend that is green.

 

When I moved in here, almost a year ago, I knew that two trees would have to come down. This crabapple is one of them. Now the arrangements are made, and I can’t help the sadness. It’s been so pretty, wrapping around my little bay window. This place is still not home to me, and the crabapple has seemed to know that. I will miss it.

 

 


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Disconnections: August 20.18

The chase and the catch, continued from yesterday.

You see “In search of story” at the top of my blog.  For me, trying to write a story is like trying to enjoy a root canal. But I listen to others in an effort to learn about story. And this is what bothers me about the machines: they yield the tidy catch, thereby rendering the messy chase obsolete and attendant stories extinct.

My Grandma Mauck and her siblings would fight to the verbal death about who was born when. With them, it was all about the chase. If they’d had Smartphones to consult, our Thanksgivings might have been quieter, but I wouldn’t have learned about their internecine wars and I’d have been deluded into thinking all my relatives were rational.

My Grandma O’Hern would celebrate summer, no matter how icky hot, with a mountain of pierogi; family and chairs would appear magically and morph into a small city around the table. If they’d had iPads, would I have heard the accounts of how Baby Edna had to walk because Grandpa’s hootch rode in the baby carriage?

How can I hope to develop any story-telling abilities at this point in my life when people are nose-dived into their gadgets, and mind only the catch?

It is arguable that if I don’t know how to tell a story by now I never will. I guess I am stuck in my own messy chase, trying to catch the skill of story-telling, dodging the thumbs of the world.

 

 


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Disconnections: July 4.18

In an amazing, death-defying feat of coordination and grace, I balanced colander and bowl and camera as I cleaned beans yesterday evening on the swing. There was a hope of incoming storm — how we need the rain — and as I sat there I felt the change: the breeze rose almost to the level of wind, the underbellies of leaves rolled upward, and a blessed cool-down settled on a hot world.

The colander belonged to my Grandma O’Hern. She too cleaned beans in it. In her cotton summer housedresses, shoulder-to knee apron, Grandma shoes, and, yes, hairnet, she was always cleaning something. Except when chores were done and she’d sit on her swing on her screened porch. On my luckiest days, I sat next to her.

She was the daughter of immigrants. Both my grandmas were daughters of immigrants. Neither finished grade school. I sat for a long time yesterday evening looking at that colander. Of course I was no longer on that deck but was in her kitchen, on her swing.

The 4th of July finds me very introspective this year. From sea to shining sea one vast ad-hominem attack.  Purple-mountained alternative facts. Amber waves of tweets. A fruited plain of party lines.

I guess the colander challenged me to fly the flag today for the right reasons.

It never did rain last night; some things we cannot influence. I choose to think the flag says there are some things we CAN influence.

 


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Disconnections: July 2.18

Dear reader,

It is 5:30 in the morning. The humidity is 92%. My house temp is set at 79 and the air conditioner is working hard to keep it there.

My Uncle George’s attic was the hottest place I’d ever known. Now my upstairs feels like that. It’s a dusty, dry, old-house hot. My house isn’t nearly as old as Uncle George’s, and not half as magical, but my upstairs sure bakes me just the way his attic did.

The retention pond is just what you’d expect, supporting a layer of foaming goo, exuding plague, at the very least. Yesterday it looked as though someone had spilled a tanker of WD-40, and I felt a real pang of sympathy for the poor frogs.

The flowers are doing their brave best, bless their little stamens, but this extended wet heat is good for nothing except that pond goo. Everything droops. Mold and mildew are dancing with joy.

Twenty minutes outside is the maximum. If that. All gardeners know that twenty minutes is nothing, so, when that is all the time you have, it’s triage watering. Deadheading and weeding are luxuries you can’t afford to indulge in. Forget standing back and regarding the whole with your head to one side, deciding what to do different next year. No time for gardener’s neuroses!

Everyone I hear from says ditto, ditto. The wilt is universal. So do be careful, dear reader. Water yourself first!

Maureen