Thursday, April 28, 2011

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and although the days in April are coming close to being completed, this does not mean the celebration of the prose should cease. Here is a list of a few websites you might want to browse:

The Poetry Foundation- offers exploration of modern poets and poets of the past; learning tools and in depth look at the meaning of certain poems.

Narrative Magazine- online magazine with poems for each week and an archive of contributors.

Poetry Out Loud- promoting the oral art form of poetry.

Poets boil down thoughts, seasons, experiences, life, with a concentration of words, making the reading experience rewarding and memorable; taking your mind and emotions into descriptions you may not have felt before. Try reading one poem a day. You may find the practice gratifying.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This morning I awoke to the sound of birds, jubilant sounds to a sleepy mind and a body ready for a change in season. When my little boy woke up and walked out of his room, he began to ask me for juice but was stopped. He ran to our glass door and said, “Birds, mommy.”

In the evenings a twosome of Sandhill Cranes has been flying by, their distinctive refrain echoing over the prairie as they fly to their nest close to water.

When we pass by some of the ranches, little black calves lie in rows; some are strong enough to begin playing.

The deer and the pronghorn have begun following their ancient migration routes.

There is still snow, but there is mud, too. Puddles of mud the kids like to jump in.

May flowers will not come to our region of the world, but the rivers are flowing. Transformations are taking place.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Recent Reads: The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos by Margaret Mascarenhas

A neighbor down the road introduced me to this book. It was our first exchange, and she gave it to me with some hesitation, worried about what I liked to read and if I would like this particular book. She didn’t need to worry about me basing any type of bias towards the book or her; I love to read and enjoy being introduced to new authors.

Margaret Mascarenhas presents the reader to Irene Dos Santos via the voice of her girlhood best friend, Lily Martinez. Lily is older and reflecting on her friendship with Irene, and her disappearance. Lily is haunted by the mysterious loss, and cannot quite comprehend what exactly happened on a trip that the Martinez family took with their guest, Irene.

The book continues to explore that fateful day through various members of the family in their distinctive voice. Even the maid gets to share her side, along with a boy named Efrain who ends up having connections to the family.

The book is set in Venezuela and the storyline follows the political struggles of the time, folklore, and incorporates the story of the saint Maria Lionza.

Stories within stories, this book kept me captivated and interested in what really happened to Irene. In fact, I’m still deliberating about her disappearance. Discovering the struggles of the lives of the Martinez family and the Venezuelan people left me wanting to learn more about the culture and about the history of the mystical reference to the saint Maria Lionza. The author stays true to the voice of each character, making me wish certain ones could continue on in telling their own side.

Mascarenhas grew up in Venezuela. I feel reading international authors gives insight to a country’s language, although the books have been translated into English. Their use of clich├ęs are far less than some American authors, and I enjoy reading how they formulate the words to convey their stories, culture, and views on life.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Foto Friday: Elk crossing

A couple of weeks ago my family and I went out for a day of ice fishing. We snow-machined about 20 miles back into the mountains to Green River lakes to see what we could catch. The view at the lake is enough to make any body's day complete, the Wind River Mountains hugging the lake in solid beauty. We go here often, but to see the mountains, untouchable to most humans due to the depth of the snow, and to be on top of the lake and drive a snow machine across it is an experience to take advantage of- since it only happens once a year.

As we sat and waited for a bite on our sunken lines, we watched these elk make their way into our view. They crossed the river, then slowly climbed the mountain and made their way across the deep snow headed for Clear Creek Canyon. We listened to them "talking" to one another and heard the branches of the trees break as they moved against them. My husband said they were moving that way and looking for higher country because of the change in season and their approaching calving.

We did catch a fish, and the kids loved running to each hole we punched in the ice to scoop out the snow that fell in. It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon- in a place we love and taking part of the world around us.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rainy Sunday

Last weekend my husband and I were able to meet our friends' brand new baby girl, hours after she was born. Since we don't live close by we don't get so see them as often as we would like, so we were fortunate to be able to share a special moment in their lives.

It was a rainy Sunday morning and we were running late, as usual. As we found a place to park I watched a Toyota Camry pull into a handicap parking space not far from ours. I don't know why I was paying attention, I just did. The driver stepped onto the same elevator we did, but he chose a different floor.

He was older, although I couldn't say for sure what his age was, but he had white hair and looked to be retired. In his arm he carried a newspaper and appeared to be healthy and in good condition. Not someone who needed a handicap parking space, but I wasn't really thinking about that yet.

We carried on casual conversation about the weather, and he appeared to be quite happy. The he said, "Nothing like spending all day in a hospital," or something like that, as he gestured with his newspaper that he would have some quality time reading. I raised the gift we were taking and said, "It's a good reason." He asked if the gift was for a baby, and I said, yes. Then the elevator stopped and my husband and I got off.

We were with the man for less than three minutes and I didn't think about him again until later that day. For some reason, like a mystery, I had to figure this guy out. I only had the few observances to go on. I couldn't get our short interaction with this man out of my mind.

As I thought about everything, I began to wonder why he would be spending all day at a hospital. Although he was cheerful, his eyes were weary. My husband and I were there for a happy occasion, his sad eyes told me he was not.

I'll never know for sure why he was there, or why he was a person that made an impression on my day. Perhaps I sympathized with him since I have spent many hours in hospitals and know how draining it can be. When I saw later that he was visiting the hospice floor, I understood he had more emotions going through his body than my happy ones for our friends. The handicap sticker was probably not for him.

I wished I could have said something more to the man, more than, "Have a nice day," as we stepped off of the elevator.

And thus the cycle of life.

I still have come to no conclusion about our meeting on the elevator, other than we are all at different places in our lives, all dealing with different circumstances. I easily spoke about our reason for visitng the hospital, he never said a word.

Although this man sits on my heart, the meeting of a new born person was just as significant that day. She was only 12 hours old, and her parents said she already had her own little personality. Her big sister, 3 and full of energy, was giving kisses and hoping the new baby would play with her.

Life is all around us. Different stages, different cycles; but each day it's there.