Three Beautiful Things

This evening as I gazed across the lake from the deck I reflected on three beautiful things: a spring sky, mountains in the shadow, and longer evenings.

Celebrating National Poetry Month: #30

Poetry is a passion in my life. I have loved reading and rereading poetry and posting a poem each day this month. I may have to continue posting favorite poems as I find them. Thanks for all your encouraging comments about the month's collection. Recently two people shared this poem with me. It became a new one to add to my collection. I love the woven theme of tasks and how many ways they can be approached. It was fitting to choose my mother's picture above for this final poem. Whether she is at my house helping to prepare Thanksgiving dinner as illustrated above, planting a garden, or washing down the walls in her kitchen- she always jumps in head first.

To be of use

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

-Marge Piercy

Grand Coulee Dam and the Lake Roosevelt Drawdown

When Grand Coulee Dam was constructed on the Columbia River in the 1930s the water behind the dam created Lake Roosevelt. It stretches from the dam to the Canadian border north of us. Grand Coulee Dam provides power, water for irrigation, and flood control . Each year starting in early April we experience a drawdown of Lake Roosevelt. Because more water was needed this year the drawdown is greater. It changes the landscape of the area around Lake Roosevelt where we live. All the part that is sand above is usually underwater. Barnaby Island is not an island right now. The locals always plan hikes from the campground out to the island this time of year when the sandy shore is exposed on all sides.
Looking north it almost looks like a beach at the ocean in this picture. You can see the channel that is getting smaller. A few months ago this was all covered with water. A new island has even emerged on the lake by our house. Believe me... there are many more places to take hikes during the drawdown.

The original town of Inchelium was also moved when they filled Lake Roosevelt. It is a tradition during a big drawdown to hike to Old Inchelium with our students to locate streets and foundations. The elders love to come and share stories about living on the Columbia River and moving the town to a higher spot. Above the bridge at Kettle Falls we can now see the place the Indians gathered each year to catch salmon. There is rich history around my corner of the world. This time of year the past and present intertwine with ritual and remembrance.

Celebrating National Poetry Month: #29

There Is a Place

There is a place

where the museum houses thousands of paintings
seen nowhere else in the world,
the colors so bright they grab your eyes
and hold you there, looking,where the library is filled with brand new books
waiting for you to open them first,
to tell stories only you could know,

where fresh cherries have no pits,
where puppies never grow old.

There is such a place,
hidden deep
in me.

- Janet Wong

WASL: Week 2

In the state of Washington public school students take the Washington Assessment of Student Learning. We gave the assessments three days last week and start again tomorrow for the second week. Depending on the grade level students are tested in reading, math, writing, and science. I have sharpened lots of pencils, proctored without helping or looking over shoulders, and administered the most important things that help my students: lots of encouragement, cinnamon gum ( helps with memory), and water to hydrate the brain. All the tests are untimed so the 7th graders doing a writing prompt tomorrow could take most of the morning. Even though I don't take the test or even know the questions... I am exhausted at the end of every session. Think how my students feel!

Celebrating National Poetry Month: #28

Among the geranium, a rash
of purple campanula begins,
scattering like Chinese fireworks
through the delicate tan and yellow tips
of saxifrage, encircling a group of bloody
cranes' bills perched on rock. I want
to name these flowers for you,
a litany of colors that begin where
there is hardly any, only the gentlest
hint of evening-flush at the base
of the throats of narcissus and sweet
william, sharing a bed with verbena.
Deep blue and slightly furry as a concord
grape, the salvia cardinalis burns a wine
color of intense sweetness on my tongue.
We could have a curry laksa with it,
even cheese-perhaps a soft brie or kesong
puti sprinkled with peppercorns, or a whole
clove of roasted garlic to smear on the slightly
dusty surface of a saltine cracker. That
reminds me of my grandmother's room
and the smell of her lavender-water,
distilled from the lavandula angustifolia,
whose spears are so rigid to the touch
and announce themselves with such radiant
distinction. I want to glow like them, a field
of me headier than a bottle of decanted scent,
unblushing as a recitation of the contents
of antique pomanders tied with silk string.
Petals pressed into the cool ivory of journal pages:
delphinium, pasque flowers, linseed and flax; linum
perenne, the soft-hooded acanthus spinosus,
purple phlox, and velvet lupine. Veronica
incana, the powderpuff balls of hesperis
matronalis-- the ones they call sweet
rockets-- clearer than rain, exploding
like breath from the furiously kissed
mouth; like fizzy candy, like eskimo
stars in the milky sky.
-Luisa A. Igloria

Spring Blooming in Pink

Such a beautiful site as I left my retreat today. I believe these are Japanese Magnolias. The warm weather yesterday brought them out into full bloom.

Celebrating National Poetry Month: #27

The Voice You Hear When You Read Silently

is not silent, it is a speaking-
out-loud voice in your head: it is spoken,
a voice is saying it
as you read. It's the writer's voice,
of course, in a literary sense
his or her "voice" but the sound
of that voice is the sound of your voice.
Not the sound your friends know
or the sound of a tape played back
but your voice
caught in the dark cathedral
of your skull, your voice heard
by an internal ear informed by internal abstracts
and what you know by feeling, having felt. It is your voice
saying, for example, the word "barn"
that the writer wrote
but the "barn" you say
is a barn you know or knew. The voice
in your head, speaking as you read,
never says anything neutrally -- some people
hated the barn they knew,
some people love the barn they know
so you hear the word loaded
and a sensory constellation is lit: horse-gnawed stalls,
hayloft, black heat tape wrapping
a water pipe, a slippery
spilled chirrr of oats from a split sack,
the bony, filthy haunches of cows . . .
And "barn" is only a noun -- no verb
or subject has entered into the sentence yet!
The voice you hear when you read to yourself
is the clearest voice: you speak it
speaking to you.
-- Thomas Lux

Photo Hunt: Funny Sign

posted on a second-hand store by Curlew, Wa.
To find other photo hunters, go here.

Celebrating National Poetry Month: #26

In The End We Are All Light

I love how old men carry purses for their wives,
those stiff light beige or navy wedge-shaped bags
that match the women’s pumps,
with small gold clasps that click open and shut.
The men drowse off in medical center waiting rooms,
with bags perched in their laps like big tame birds
too worn to flap away. Within, the wives slowly undress,
put on the thin white robes, consult, come out
and wake the husbands dreaming openmouthed.

And when they both rise up
to take their constitutional,
walk up and down the block, her arms are free as air,
his right hand dangles down.

So I, desiring to shed this skin
for some light silken one,
will tell my husband, “Here, hold this,”
and watch him amble off into the mall among the shining
cans of motor oil, my leather bag
slung over his massive shoulder bone,
so prettily slender-waisted, so forgiving of the ways
we hold each other down, that watching him
I see how men love women, and women men,
and how the burden of the other comes to be
light as a feather blown, more quickly vanishing.

-Liz Rosenberg

My Digs For A Few Days

For the next few days I am attending a leadership retreat for the writing project group I involved with. This is my home away from home for the next few days. I set up my own little desk.When I am away from home I like to create my own little nest. I am rooming with my good friend, we have had a fine retreat so far, I get to squeeze in some shopping, and I got a drink from Starbucks today, so life is good.

Celebrating National Poetry Month: #25

How Are You Doing?

As much as you deserve it,
I wouldn’t wish this
Sunday night on you-
not the Osco at closing,
not its two tired women
and shaky security guard,
not its bin of flip-flops
and Tasmanian Devil
baseball caps,
not its freshly mopped floors
and fluorescent lights,
not its endless James Taylor
song on the intercom,
and not its last pint of
chocolate mint ice cream,
which I carried
down Milwaukee Ave.
past a man in an unbuttoned
baseball shirt, who stepped
out of a shadow to whisper,
How are you doing?
-Rick Snyder
inlandempiregirl's comment: an endless James Taylor song on the intercom is a good thing!

Celebrating National Poetry Month: #24

Analysis of Baseball

It’s about
the ball,
the bat,
and the mitt.
Ball hits
bat, or it
hits mitt.
Bat doesn’t
hit ball, bat
meets it.
Ball bounces
off bat, flies
air, or thuds
ground (dud)
or it
fits mitt.

Bat waits
for ball
to mate.
Ball hates
to take bat’s
bait. Ball
flirts, bat’s
late, don’t
keep the date.
Ball goes in
(thwack) to mitt,
and goes out
(thwack) back
To mitt.

Ball fits
not all
the time.

ball gets hit
(pow) when bat
meets it,
and sails
to a place
where mitt
has to quit
in disgrace.
That’s about
the bases
about 40,000
fans exploded.

It’s about
the ball,
the bat,
the mitt,
the bases
and the fans.
It’s done
on a diamond,
and for fun.
It’s about
home, and it’s
about run.

May Swenson

Seeing the New Landscape and More For the Woodpile

I am still not used to our new area when you reach the gate at our driveway. With the four big pine trees and landscape islands gone it looks so much bigger. We haven't added gravel yet so the big dirt piles are perfect places for Kit to romp and tear. Annie and Shelby kept hoping they would find buried treasures in the new piles of dirt. JEJ moved our tall birdhouse and placed it even higher so the birds could be safe from our feline friends.
In the back part of the house another pine is now down. This tree appeared so much longer when it was on the ground. I think this one will give us another third of a cord of winter wood... or after the two inches of snow that fell today... perhaps spring firewood.

Celebrating National Poetry Month: #23

A favorite anthology of poetry I love is called Celebrate America in Poetry in Art. National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution edited by Nora Panzer

This book takes American poetry selections and matches them with American art into a visual and poetic tribute to our country. Here is one sample from the book:

painting is Cowboy Dance by Jenne Magafan

The Wheel
For Robert Penn Warren

At the first strokes of the fiddle bow
the dances rise from their seats.
The dance begins to shape itself
in the crowd, as couples join,
and couples join couples, their movement
together lightening their feet.
They move in the ancient circle
of the dance. The dance and the song
call each other into being. Soon
they are one-rapt in a single
rapture, so that even the night
has its clarity, and time
is the wheel that brings it round.
In this rapture the dead return.
Sorrow is gone from them.
They are light. They step
into the steps of the living
and turn with them in the dance
in the sweet enclosure
of the song, and timeless
is the wheel that brings it round.

-Wendell Berry

Blueberry Hills Farms: A Must- Visit Place While at Lake Chelan

I always research everything about an area before we ever take a trip. It drives JEJ a bit crazy as I am taking notes, reading books, and searching online before we ever get away from home! I came across the website of Blueberry Hills Farms located in Manson and knew it was a place I wanted to go while we were camping at Lake Chelan State Park. Manson is a small town north of the town of Chelan and across the lake from where we were camped.

The trip was well worth our time. Blueberry Hills Farms has everything I love about a destination. This place has collectibles, homemade pies, canned goods, beautiful gifts and cookbooks for sale, very delicious food, beverages served in canning jars, and a beautiful view. Since we were there in early April I couldn't enjoy the ripened blueberries or the orchards surrounding it ready to bear fruit, but just the view was spectacular. My Reuben sandwich was the best. and we even got homemade french fries. We were so full from lunch we took our homemade pie home to the tent trailer to eat later. The homemade pie is also to die for. The photographs under the glass on the tables are collections of family members through the years. Here is another view of the the rows of blueberries waiting for the snow to melt and the weather to warm.

One collection that caught my eye when we walked in was the one above. I thought it was some fancy dancy light only to find out it was a huge collection of sunglasses. They looked really cool hanging from the ceiling with all their many shapes, sizes, and colors.

Another thing that drew me to this place was the website by Kari Sorenson, the owner. You can visit it here. Just reading the website will inspire you to visit this place if you are in the area. We had a fantastic spring break in the Chelan area and one highlight was our visit to Blueberry Hills Farms.

Celebrating National Poetry Month: #22

Invisible Indian

A few weeks ago
the cashier at the grocery store,
seeing my dark hair
and dark eyes,
counted my change
back to me in Spanish.

Three days later
the waitress at the pizza place
made the same mistake.
Happens all the time
since I moved to Miami.
As though without buckskin, braids and beads
I don’t exist.

At a pow-wow last Sunday
I spoke to a Cherokee
wearing faded black jeans and a tee shirt
standing beside a display of stone sculptures
I told him I admired his work.

He didn’t mistake me for Hispanic
But saw that I was Indian
and even guessed my tribe.
Other Indians always recognize me.

Maybe they hear the echoes of the drums
In the rhythms of my voice.
Glimpses the shadows of my Indian grandmother
In the chiseled cheekbones of my face,
Or see the turquoise in my heart.

-Deloras (Dee) Lane

Weekend Snapshot: April Snow Showers Please Bring May Flowers!

Yes, on April 20th we had snow in northeastern Washington. The amount varied from a light dusting at our house to 3-5 inches where some of my students live.
I awoke this morning to flowers sitting side by side with shrubs covered with a dusting of snow.How fitting that this plant is called snow in summer. I don't know if we will ever see the white flowers that make it look like snow in summer. Right now I guess a better name is snow in spring. No more snow in the forecast... but the temperatures will still stay cool all week. At least the girls didn't come to school today wearing flip flops! To find other weekend snapshots go here.

Celebrating National Poetry Month: #21

sunset over Lake Chelan

Swift Things Are Beautiful
Swift things are beautiful:
Swallows and deer,
And lightning that falls
Bright-veined and clear,
Rivers and meteors,
wind in the wheat,
The strong-withered horse
The runner's sure feet.

And slow things are beautiful:
The closing of day,
The pause of the wave
That curves downward to spray,
The ember that crumbles,
The opening flower,
The the ox that moves on
In the quiet of power.

- Elizabeth Coatsworth

Celebrating National Poetry Month: #20 and Camera Critters #2

a collage constructed with love to Annie and Shelby

Member of the Family
What would I do without you
My precious, furry friend?...
Part mischief, but all blessing,
And faithful to the end!

You look at me with eyes of love:
You never hold a grudge...
You think I'm far too wonderful
To criticize or judge.

It seems your greatest joy in life
Is being close to me...
I think God knew how comforting
Your warm, soft fur would be.

I know you think your human,
But I'm glad it isn't true...
The world would be a nicer place
If folks we're more like you!

A few short years is all we have:
One day we'll have to part...
But you my pet, will always have
A place within my heart.

- Hope Marrington Molb

To view other camera critters go here.

Sibling Assignment # 61 : Where I'm From

I gave the sibling assignment this week. " Take the poem Where I'm From by George Ella Lyon and do your own version of where you are from. You will soon find Raymond Pert's here and Silver Valley Girl's here. I posted the original poem during National Poetry Month a year ago. You can read it here. Where I’m From

I’m from Sunbeam mixer
from whipped cream to Tom and Jerry batter,
I’m from fruitcake to Grandma’s banana bread,
potato chip casserole and navy bean soup,
Bazooka, sunflower seeds, and black licorice pipes,
Grape Crush, Shasta, and Canada Dry.

I’m from a bed by the back porch
planted each May
with pansies and petunias from Blum’s Nursery,
and the old metal clothesline
from the front of the lilacs
with the strong scent of spring and childhood.
I’m from Grandma’s rich soil with pickling cucumbers,
dahlias, a snowball bush, and fresh green beans. I’m from Camp Fire mints, YMCA toffee peanuts,
trick-or-treating and Father Daughter banquets.
From Sunnyside Chili Feed, to the church oyster stew feed,
Kellogg Elk’s Roundup and Smelterville Frontier Days.
I’m from Teeter’s Field and the swimming pool.
And up the river and “I’m going to Dick’s.”
and Beautiful Bill, Boo Boo, and little Pooh.
I'm from the roads are slick and
“you just got put back in the will.”

I’m from Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
and sister’s photo ornament hung from the tree,
and a Christmas program and a brown bag of candy.

I’m from Right Guard, Palmolive, Nivea, and VO5,
Breck girls, Clairol girls, Cover Girl
and “only your hairdresser knows for sure.”
Fried eggs and MJB coffee,
Missouri pudding, Bogie Bread, and Olympia beer.

Dr. Suess, Nancy Drew, Erma Bombeck,
Calling All Girls, Seventeen, The Prophet, and Rod McKuen.
From the arm I cut running through the window,
the foot my brother cut while cleaning the garage,
the chin my sister cut trying to shave and
the eye my dad lost to a splinter of wood.
In the storage closet were boxes from The Crescent
with the angel chimes and
bows saved over from a year before,
along with dolls, the Sorry game, sponge curlers, and a make-up mirror.
and memories sharpened by the black and white photos
in a heavy, worn box stuck way in the back.

-by inlandempiregirl
To find other Sunday Scribblings about compose go here.