The Choice

The Choice

Counting back to that first glance, seconds and minutes,
hours and years, the desire and candor of bodies,
when  our days  became charged with the pace of lives lived.
Years of longing renounce the yearning to another,
no longer young. The clamor of  middle years
leaves  satisfaction and knowledge in its place,
a quietness whose heft outweighs the struggles.
Wisdom is as wisdom does, patience is its own reward,
love never fails, never. And this is the choice,
made and kept, to choose you now and at each sunrise.
Until the day comes that my hand is not recognizable to you
And  my laughter is silenced by your unknowing eyes.

— This always seems to be a poem people come back to from time to time. And Valentine’s Day would seem to be a good time to re-post.

Altar of Lost Things

Keys that unlock
long left locks and the wooden button
from my winter coat,
motherhood and children,
and one brown sock,
a friendship untended,
luggage loaned,
a father, a home,
an umbrella left on the train,
my grandmother’s brooch,
a favorite book, a tree covered lane.

Growing longer each year,
words and regrets,
lists of things lost,
unrecoverable, irretrievable,
bound vellum sets in
ink stained chains of script
words written between the lines
and around the margins
erased, glued, sewn,
thin and tattered,
so as not to forget.

I leave the long list upon the altar,
and lighting the candle,
the scent of rue and asphodel fill the air.

ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies

the questions made me weep
what answers can I give?
for I am

me

and I love

you

you of the soil and the dreams
of improbable possibilities
whose heart and hands are always open
without thought of tomorrow
or who will put bread on the table
or take the trash to the bin
or the years growing ever fewer
in our book of days

I am restless and forgiving and never to be

me

I am wanting and grasping and selfless to a fault

I wake each day
with the confidence of a fearful soul
whose ribs are held together
with baling wire and old twine
from the garden stakes out back
and just enough duct tape
to hold my heart in place

but that heart
this heart
my heart
it will beat forever
your name
even when only dust
the beat will endure
even when only dust,
love
remains

*** written in response to these questions posed by Marina Sofia for the dVerse poetics prompt
1) Who are you and whom do you love?
2) What else are you, that no one has seen before?
3) Describe a morning you woke without fear.
4) What lingers when all is said and done?

A visit to the April garden

April Garden 2014

2014 garden

Columbines in the garden 2014

Tadpoles 2014

Our garden is beginning to bloom filled with columbine and bleeding hearts. The little volunteer dogwood and redbud trees are thriving – and we have our first blooms on one of the dogwoods this year – and one of the redbuds had one tiny bloom – it seemed so proud!
And as you can see, we will have a nice outbreak of frogapalooza soon – the pond is filled to the brim with tadpoles!

The Last Really Good Shack #37 – Black Walnut Season

The Last Really Good Shack - porch

black walnuts<

The heavy thud of black walnuts falling to the damp ground is a constant for a few weeks in the fall.
I didn’t know anything about this particular variety of tree nut until we moved to northwest Arkansas. Having spent my childhood in pecan country, Texas and south Arkansas, where even the standard walnut seemed a little foreign and exotic- the black walnut was completely new to me.
When I first saw the big green globes hanging in the trees, I actually speculated that they were a variety of bois d’arc or horse apples as we called them when we were kids. Didn’t take long to figure out that they were a nut under all that green hull and that they dye your fingers a dark walnut color pretty quickly when you pick a few up off the ground.

Of all the trees in the Ozarks, black walnut trees are not the most gorgeous tree in the woods. They can be straggly and rangy looking, the last to set leaves in the spring and the first to show yellow and fall in autumn. Their occupation is to create these hard to crack nuts and then rest for the balance of the year.

We had several on our property, and I must say, one of the nicest looking black walnuts was on the northwest side of the shack. It was not crowded by any other trees, far enough away from the huge white oaks in front and just enough room from the tree lined fence on the north part of the dog yard.
Each season, for however long it chose, it was a full and quite nice shade tree, airy and lacey, given dappled light to the yard swing and perennial lily bed. Bob would sit on the step at that end of the porch, while I sat in the swing and listened to him play his guitar, or we would play ball with the dogs in the shade of that walnut tree.

A cottage industry springs up in the fall as the nuts ripen. A local company will buy the nuts from anyone who shows up with a bag or truck load. So many an afternoon along the narrow Ozarks roads, you will see folks with sacks or buckets retrieving the fallen nuts.
In autumn, when the harvest began, a young family would drive slowly up our little lane, the dad driving and the mom and her two youngsters would pick up the fallen walnuts. Tossing them into the trunk or one year in the back of the station wagon, they would pick the road clean. Each year when they came by, they would ask if they could gather the walnuts from our tree. Of course, that was always fine and we welcomed them each season.

I always hoped it would help them – this was a hard way to earn money. When you took the walnuts to sell, they would place them in a spinning hopper to release the nut from the hull. Once that was done, the nuts were weighed and you were paid $11.00 for one hundred pounds! That took a whole lot of nuts in the back of a station wagon to bring home $11.00.

With each gust of wind, I hear the heavy thuds – its black walnut time in the Ozarks.

**** Dear Readers, I know it has been too long between stories of the shack. I am in the process of editing the previous stories and The Last Really Good Shack will soon have its own blog. I hope you will continue to read and enjoy these little snippets of our life in the Ozarks.
Thanks, Kathleen