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January 2013 Blog


January 31st, 2013.

It’s been a lengthy time since I last wrote, or added further observation and comment to my blog site. Not because I had nothing to say, but due more to pressure of outside influences, writing poetry and commenting upon efforts of others. Belonging to a poetry site, which has proven better than most I’ve known, does have some obligations if one is to see it flourish. It has also been a slow recovery process I’ve undergone since last June when illness struck me down. Without any warning, it proved to be far more persistent and debilitating than I had ever imagined. This was then compounded by lack of concern on some medical staff, so the result, has been a long, tedious and at times, back-sliding recuperation period of over seven months.

Of late a severe head cold did not help my recuperation. Bad enough I suffer intolerable allergies when I am forced to remain within the confines of our house for long periods, but with a weakened immune system, and some weight recovery essential, an allergic reaction to some unknown agent, is further enfeebling. I am however, making some progress, and look forward to the spring with renewed optimism. I can only thank my wife Pauline for her dedicated attendance upon my needs, for what recovery I have made, as she has been adamantly determined her desire to make me whole again!

As I write my latest January post, so winter intends to let us know that it’s not done with us yet! This despite a mild spell of two days, that saw 85% of our snow melt away! Not only did we receive record ‘high’ temperatures for late January, but it was accompanied with heavy, torrential rains! In fact thunderstorms were heard streaming by to our north during the hours of darkness, but this short spell all came crashing down overnight, when winds shifted to the northwest and became screaming banshees, that defied anyone to venture outside, without adequate covering. Mid morning sees no easing of the winds, and snow squalls defy only the brave or foolhardy to venture forth. Of course, those who have to drive to get to work, have little choice, but those, such as my wife and I, who have only to concern ourselves with ensuring we have sufficient staples in the house, can decide as and when we’ll go. Our choice is invariably, when conditions are more benign and roads are not subject to white-outs and blowing snow.

Hopefully, by the time I write my next blog, conditions will have improved considerably. With February being a short month, and days growing longer by a few minutes every day, it never seems as bad as the depths of January. When march arrives, I am confident I shall be recovered enough to undertake garden work without fear of relapse. That’s all for now. Denis.

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Nature’s Spirits


When walking through a forest or beside a stream,
my scattered thoughts wander, as I daydream
of ghosts, and those who went this way before.
Faint spectres of the woods, who are no more.

Absorbing quietude, my weary soul feels
a tranquil peace. My troubled spirit anneals
under its leafy canopy – so vast –
while I imagine scenes of days, long past.

Spirits of our forbears, who tamed this land
may still roam. For caring, they are at hand,
jealously watching over Nature’s entity.
Guarding her domain until eternity.

I sense within every rock, stream or tree,
there dwells a presence, unfettered and free,
who bids me reflect awhile. Refresh my Soul:
meditate! Such inspiration makes me whole.

For Nature speaks to us in many ways.
Though subtle are the charms she displays,
her beauty, seen even in a single leaf,
soothes and brings tormented Souls relief.

She expects we respect the precious land,
and play our part in her much greater plan,
then rewards us with her matchless pleasures,
as she unveils her especial treasures.

God, give me such a wondrous place to end my days
amidst the unspoiled beauty of Nature’s ways.
To live in the serenity of unbroken peace,
and rejoice in her delights as they increase.

Rhymer.

Newtown Tragedy


Newtown – A Tragedy As I See It.

Yesterday was a day that will be long remembered by many people around the world, due to the brutal and savage attack that impacted the relatively small community of Newtown in Connecticut.  A crazed gunman – could he be anything but crazed? – went on a killing rampage and savaged a whole community!  Leaving twenty eight dead and others injured.  It was a black day that will go down in infamy!

I doubt we shall ever know what sparked this horrendous outbreak, though doubtless many ‘experts’ will attempt to apply a rationale to his actions – if possible!  All manner of psychiatrists and their like, will spend many hours back tracking movements that led up to this morning massacre, looking for clues as to why, he went about his bloody task, and what pushed him over the edge of reason and sanity?   No matter what is finally decided, nothing can turn back the clock, and nothing will alleviate the angst and extreme sorrow, many families of this quiet country town now face!  All this a few days before Christmas.

Christmas?  What will that be for the grieving families?  Not only for this year, but for the rest of their lives.  Never again will, or can Christmas be seen in the same light.  I suspect the effects of this horrendous deed, are far reaching, for any person possessed of an ounce of passion within, and they will remember this dastardly deed forever.  Although I personally know none of the victims, from this day forth I am sure it will affect my personal view of Christmas and how my family will celebrate.  For long Christmas has been a sober and poignant time for our family, but now it now takes on an even deeper and more sombre tone , for this traumatic event will be forever etched in my memory.

At such times as Newtown is presently experiencing, sympathy and condolences seem so despicably inadequate, but what else can one do?  We may be affected by weeping tears for those innocents who lost their lives, as a sign of our commiseration, but still it is but a pathetic display of support, when compared with the unfathomable grief of parents, who mourn the loss of a beloved child!  All the more shattering because of Christmas plans now destroyed.  Money can neither heal nor return a loved one to the bosom of their family!  Expressing sympathy does little more than deepen and extend their mourning, and yet?  One feels there should be something more tangible one can do to ease their pain and grief?

Heads of state and many others will hasten to express their horror over this tragedy, but as for preventing another such atrocity, will anything change?  Once the initial outpouring of grief subsides, chances are, many will forget the reasons why it took place.  Gun laws will not be tightened and the “Rights of an Individual” will remain sacrosanct should law makers deign to think otherwise, and try to change or restrict possession laws. Lobbyists who support the afficionados of gun culture will again prevail!  Big money always wins!  So what should be the ruling criteria for ‘gun laws?’  How can law makers make it impossible for another Colorado or Connecticut debacle to take place?

Doubtless those who love to shoot for little more than their personal selfish and vicarious pleasure, and kill any innocent beast, bird or ‘thing’ that moves, will be quick to point to the other tragedy – same day – in China when a knife wielding lunatic attacked and injured dozens of defenceless children, and ask why ban guns and not knives?  Indeed why not?  Whatever comes out of this latest tragedy, suffice it to say, much thought will be required before an answer to a debacle of this magnitude will be found.  Perhaps it should be tackled from a different angle?  Should we not attempt to detect the rebel, living in our midst, who determines he or she, has the divine power to go out and eliminate – for whatever reason and whatever cost – those seen as a threat or annoyance to him?  I confess, I have no answers to give nor suggestions either.  Like many others who grieve today, I can do little more than pay lip service to the grieving families.  To them I can but send my heart felt sympathy.  Small comfort indeed.

Just a few thoughts of mine this December morn.  Rhymer.

 

December Blog


December has arrived! Nothing startling in that, nor in what Mother Nature has offered us in the way of winter weather – as yet, at least – but that could and doubtless will, change ere long! This is, after all, Canada where winter imposes its own brand of weather conditions, which most folks accept with resigned equanimity, or head out for warmer climes long before suffering the expected cold and restrictions that a northern climate imposes upon the population regularly!

For the majority, winter imposes some inconveniences but, for the most part, we survive in relative comfort, thanks to modern and ready to hand inventions – electricity for instance – that allow us to control our environment – at some expense – and make life enjoyable. The die hard afficionados or devotees if you prefer, of winter sports, are anxiously waiting the first heavy snowfall, that they might head for the slopes. Of course there are many major resorts that have installed snow making equipment on the off chance Mother Nature is tardy in her arrival. This is one year, where overnight temperatures allow this equipment to be fully utilised, and so this weekend will be seeing the first of many throngs, hurtling down the slopes, risking life and limb, in their endeavour to become world champions at a sport, which I cannot imagine ever doing, that brings a stimulating experience, to their system!

Yes, I admit to spending time – in the comfort of my home – watching the devoted and fearless skiers, streaking down slopes, that allow them to defy gravity – all at some personal risk – to entertain the watching crowds and to garner a modicum of brief glory from their competitive opponents! To be awarded the coveted crown of Downhill Champion and to be recognised by their peers, or something similar, is their ultimate goal and all they desire, but by so doing, they provide great entertainment to those watching and supporting their “suicidal” descents down a mountainside. One with such steep slopes, they wouldn’t dream of walking down, let alone sliding down, when deep snow is no longer found upon its slopes! But this is their choosing and I enjoy watching them – occasionally – as I allow winter’s furies to blow by outside my window.

But I will not belabour the point. Winter is here and in its honour I have composed a series of three Haiku. I will post them here, and hope they sum up my impression of winter. Hope you enjoy same. Ciao Denis.

Three Winter Haiku.

Frigid reception
of glacial intrusion
marks winter’s onset.

A snowflake ballet
abandoned dervish dancing
winter’s cavalcade.

Frosty filigree
exquisite embellishment
rimed fantasy

Rhymer. December 2012


Spirit of an Indian Trail.

When I am given to walk this ancient land,
there are times I sense a proffered hand,
that directs me to follow an unseen road,
whereupon the native Indians once strode.

As I stroll, a serenity of silence descends;
I become aware an ambient spirit attends.
One who bestows a calming spiritual peace
to calm my raging thoughts, and cease

my restless furies. Is this guide a Shaman
Wise Elder or long dead, Medicine Man?
I’m gently urged, by a strong, steadfast hand,
to walk further into the forest, until a stand

of mature trees, is seen upon a distant knoll,
and it’s towards this location we make our goal.
Intrigued, as a broad avenue comes into view,
I enter to see what lies hence? So I continue

until a clearing is reached. There seen, central
to the scene, is a stone, its placement critical
as though a throne, that invites me to sit and rest.
So I submit to what I regard as my guide’s behest,

and sit under majestic oaks, and beeches, that tower
upwards to the sky. Their branches form a bower,
that both shades and cools this dim mossy glade,
allowing me to rest, under a canopy, nature made.

Gazing around that woodland cathedral site
I’m struck by the grandeur of its setting. Despite
an overwhelming sense of sorrow and grief,
that encompasses my soul, it is my firmest belief

that an event of great importance took place
within this remote hallowed woodland space,
at a time, long before I came upon this land,
but which, the Spirit thinks I’ll understand.

Was it a burial site, sacred to the native Indian,
over which my Spirit companion was guardian?
Perhaps a battleground with important connection,
or nothing more than by deep sensed perception,

that this awesome clearing held ritual significance?
Was it perchance, witness to sacrificial rite and dance,
beyond modern day understanding? As I sat pondering
upon what might have been, with thoughts wandering

on so many possibilities, I fell into a heavy sleep
where I dreamt of earlier days. My repose so deep
I heard no sound, nor felt the changing breeze,
within the cloying silence of that stand of trees.

In my dream I saw Braves in ceremonial array
readying themselves for a marauding foray.
Armed with bow, arrows, tomahawk and spear,
they danced in frenzied abandon. It was clear

that from such actions, they garnered strength
to set out on their stealthy night raid. At length
the drummers ceased, and total silence reigned.
As warriors left; my consciousness was regained.

Thoughtfully I made my way back home, away
from that glade, resolving I would some day,
seek out the details of that especial clearing,
and why my guiding Spirit found it endearing?

I still take that walk today, but my spirit guide
has never returned, whilst Spirits that did reside
within, have departed. Did my silent spectral mentor,
my escort, finally join his compatriots gone before?

Perhaps it was nothing more than momentary ambience
that instilled in me, awareness of a spiritual presence?
Had I a chance meeting with a wandering Shaman ghost, or the Soul of a Brave, who chose to be my gracious host?

I do not understand, nor will I ever know the truth to tell,
but surely in all honesty, I swear, and know all too well,
my walk of that day, and events experienced are true.
So come with me, that I might show that sacred place to you.

Rhymer.


It’s a cool – cold to some – November day, with a northerly wind of about ten knots barreling all the way down to central southern Ontario, from the arctic circle.  A day for sitting, writing, composing or merely thinking about what should be done in the garden, by those of us who are keen gardeners (includes me) ere the truly biting winds of winter blast what little summer plants still survive, into extinction!

For myself it’s also an ideal time for ruminating, contemplating and formulating plans for the upcoming winter months. Once November arrives, it never seems a time for much outside activity, except for those few essential chores, that can never be carried out in earlier months.  After a certain age – which I feel I’ve reached – one tends to find excuses “why” remaining inside the warm confines of the house, is preferable to donning warmer, heavier and cumbersome clothing to carry out a chore that could well remain undone, until next spring – provided I’m still around to carry it out!

November however, is the month that can and often does, provide me with time enough to start on many ‘computer’ ideas,  intentions and changes I’ve been mulling over during the warmer summer months.  It’s an ideal time to catch up on poetry, blogs, essays, and other literary ‘dreams’ I would pursue – ideas already considered in some depth.  Furthermore it allows me to sit without having my conscience bugging me to ‘get cracking’ outside!  On the other hand, it (conscience) does tend to suggest I should waste no more time, and begin on my winter programme immediately, just in case, there is no tomorrow!  One never knows do they?

November is also a month that sets into motion a whole series of celebratory events in our household.  Family birthdays follow one after the other until March, although several are no longer celebrated today, as those to whom a date would be applicable, have passed on to the next world.  Either side of Christmas in particular, was one of those times, when half the family celebrated the birth or death of a much loved relation or friend.  These, along with other notable occasions, for it is a busy period for Wedding celebrations, with no less than three family weddings celebrated within two weeks of Christmas Day.  Unusual too in that all three took place on a Sunday – including ours!  Not intentionally planned that way as it was only after the event, that we discovered these facts.  58 glorious, loving years this December 19th!  Who, at the time, ever would have thought it?!!

November is also a month which allows me to review events that have affected my wife, myself, and our family since this time last year.  Not the best of years as far as I’m concerned as illness overtook me in June and continues in a lesser manner, even today.  It will be – or so the medics advise me – a lengthy recovery process, that will not and cannot be hurried along.  Patience was never my strongest point, but I am slowly beginning to accept the opinions and prognosis of experts, who seem to know what they’re talking about.  If they don’t?  Who amongst us can put them straight?  Not me for sure.  A year ago it was my wife who was still a long way from complete recovery.  This was the result of a bad concussion suffered in the month of March.  An eighteen month recuperation, that had me desperately worried for a very long time.  Fortunately, it would seem she has completely recovered, and just in time for the care giving attention, she has given me this past five months.  Without it, I doubt I would be here writing today!  Other family member have suffered some ill health as well, but now it would seem, all are recovered or close to being 100% again!

Yes November has always played a big part in my life, not only because it is the month in which I was born, but it has seen many events which have played a significant part in my life.  I eagerly look forward to the month which, despite all the negativity heard regarding it, has a lot going for it, if only we take the time to check.  Not just because of the Remembrance Parades: American Presidential election, or their Thanksgiving, but for many other important happenings throughout the world.  Certainly, the weather plays a big part as well, for it truly is the transitional month from autumn to winter.  It can be a gentle month: it can be a diabolical month: but above all, it is an interestingly unpredictable month, that tends to keep all of us guessing.  That’s besides the meteorologists who find it one of the most difficult months to predict the onset of all things cold and snowy!

I will now close out this rant, and return to my first passion.  Namely writing poetry, which is a hobby, that allows me the freedom to express my feelings, loves, hates and everything in between, in a way most suited to me.  Without its ability to completely engulf and absorb me in its composition, I fear my days, in any month, would be boring and mundane, but more so in November.  Through my poetry I have been blessed in contacting numerous like minded individuals, of all ages, from all walks of life, domiciled in many countries, but all possessed of an overriding passion, for the written word.  Poetry in all its many forms, has much to offer the free thinkers of this world.  When put to good use, it is and can be, a most formidable weapon, as William Shakespeare knew full well, using it to the full when it suited his plans.

But for now.  Sayonara.  Denis.


Late April Blog.

Seemingly, another month has flown by. April, always a month of indecision, is but one day from passing into history. This was a month of indecision by a flirtatious and coquettish Mother Nature who burst early upon our scene, only to unexpectedly disappear, as we eagerly anticipated the full beauty of bursting buds and flowers. We are and remain most shocked to find she flirts so flippantly with our emotions, that leaves us undecidedly uncertain as to what next we might expect from her in May?

Ours to endure, was a late snowfall – insignificant when compared with those of the winter months – but it surprised many who had determined an early spring was to be our reward this 2012. Furthermore this shocking event, was followed by hard (killing) overnight frosts when new growth had already emerged and was at its most susceptible! These cold overnight events, saw vineyards and apple orchard owners scrambling desperately for means of any description, to combat possible damage that could eliminate their crops and jeopardise a year’s harvest. Most common of late, through widely publicised information found in newspapers and on TV, we’ve been made aware of the erection and proliferation of huge electrical fans.

Today these behemoths have become an expensive but almost commonplace sight in some areas – mostly Niagara – that stand by in readiness. They are employed whenever there’s an urgent need for warmer air. This is accessed by the fans that pull down the higher and slightly warmer air, found about thirty feet above ground level, then moving it around the vines and ground hugging plants until the immediate danger has passed. This in turn, it is hoped, will save the crop. This is the latest technology in man’s efforts to moderate the effect of Mother Nature’s tantrums, when she is so disposed to be unpredictably annoying.

As for the region immediately around our home? We have no such need, but still we keep a wary eye open for possible damage to our fast burgeoning spring flowers. Mostly Perennials they can, when suitably winterised as they are in the Fall, survive the harshest of winter extremes, but which, once they have emerged from hibernation, can fall victim to Nature’s aggravating anomalies.

Spring has as yet, been a mixed blessing for my wife and myself. Eager to embrace the warmer weather, I have been able to dig over and weed the front beds of our small two acre holding. However, we now face drought conditions which, despite several snowfalls in April and a few passing showers from time to time, have been greatly offset or neutralised by strong drying winds that followed. Many of these winds were close to hurricane force, so soil which had been loosened and dug over, lost its moisture very quickly. With my penchant for transplanting self sown seedlings, as and when discovered, I quickly realised that remedial watering was an essential necessity. This entailed extra work, that required many pails of well water to be carried to where they were most needed. But thanks to this onerous but essential chore, all my transplanted seedlings, appear to have survived and are thriving. More recently, with cooler weather and more frequent showers having returned, we anticipate a bright and scented display shortly, which will make all our hard work, worthwhile.

Days have lengthened to more than fourteen hours of daylight. Another sign that spring is soon about to burst in full, upon the land. But again there is a price to pay for doubtless we shall soon be plagued by black flies and mosquitos! Theirs however for this region, is a late appearance this spring. Normally by the third week, we are pestered by both in numbers. To walk around the garden freely without their annoying presence is a bonus blessing, and a most welcome one too. One could perhaps hope, that this unusual weather, might have decimated their numbers, but that possibility is I fear, a vain hope.

As you might expect, the writing of more poetry has taken a back seat of late as more urgent needs have become front and centre. With the onset of physical work, after several months of little physical activity, the employment of garden spade and fork, is hurtful evidence as to how quickly, and easily, our muscles become soft. More so because my normal winter exercise of shovelling snow, was almost non existent this past winter. So it becomes a doubtful blessing, when my lack of exercise, exerts painful retribution, which in turn, slows the spring work. But it is a price that has to be paid when gardening cannot be ignored any longer, for I am one who will not allow weeds to encroach and strangle the flowers so carefully selected and nurtured over the past twelve years or more. It is a time when my long idle spade and fork, must be put to immediate use, as and when weather conditions permit. Almost always, a muscle awakening time that results in painful moments. It is merely a passing phase, but nonetheless, it often proves somewhat inhibiting.

But May, it is hoped, will be the month that returns our region to its expected normality, and turn out to be a time of immense pleasure, as spring unfolds in her long established, bounteous manner. It is ever a month of great expectations, and it is my hope – as well as many others – that she neither plays with our emotions nor does she disappoint. Although most of us possess the pleasure of anticipation, I think it is even more so, amongst those of the gardening fraternity. Full of hopeful prospects, that may only be fully satisfied, when summer arrives in mid June.

Rhymer