A Repeat Blog Post: To Be of Use

I first posted this at the end of April in 2008. I reread many of my National Poetry Month posts as I get ready to once again celebrate this month with poetry. Enjoy a repeat.

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

Three Word Essay: Digging In Dirt

The day started out cloudy, then later rain came so my plans for outside work changed. I headed to the greenhouse. As we transition plants back outside after wintering there is always lots of work to do.

As I deadheaded I got cuttings for propagating. I love arranging plants along the shelf that will be new, bigger plants in a few months.

There are also surprised. Plants are shoved behind others by the windows. As I rearranged plants today I found blooms I didn't know existed.

The geraniums are always front and center, but I never tire of their steadfast blooms. The white right now is my favorite. Here are a few more favorite images.

Why We Write

I have many friends and family members that love to write. As the early signs of spring emerge around us, the urge to get words on paper or screen appears to be necessary after a dark winter rest. Family members are returning to blogs. Other family members are beginning blogs. Friends are expressing frustration of not having the time to write.I now have students eager to put words to composition book also. I want to write.

 I often return to Julia Cameron's words of wisdom when I engage in my own writing. If you are reading this for the first time or revisiting it again with me, embrace her message. There are many things which resist naming.

Why We Write
By Julia Cameron
There are many things which resist naming,
And that is why we write.
We write because language is slippery,
And the truth is.
We write because
The light we have to see by
Is always shifting
Never forget that writers are prophets.
We speak in tongues.
We testify.
We are for each other a believing mirror.
Our words make us visible.
Our listening makes us heard.
Never forget that writers are soldiers.
Our writing is the long march,
The walk into time.
Each word is a drum.
We sound it across great distances,
Reaching one another and ourselves.
Every poem is a day's march.
A celebration more necessary than water or wine.
Every poem is a drink of blood.
Never forget that writing is an act of courage -
Not on the days when it is simple and we discount it.
Not on the days when it is hard and we write like sand.
Our words are torches.
We pass them hand to hand
And mouth to mouth
Like a burning kiss.
Never forget to say thank you.
Every syllable is a grace.

Two Word Essay: Tundra Swans

After traveling the International Selkirk Loop in Janurary we were intrigued with the whole loop. We made a decision to take a trip to somewhere in the loop each month. After reading more information, the tundra swan migration at Callispell Lake caught my eye. Calispell Lake is near Cusick and Usk Washington.

 The lake is surrounded by marshlands that attract tundra swans, all kinds of ducks and geese, and other wildlife during different parts of the year.
The challenge is finding a place to get close to the birds. Most of the lake is surrounded by farm land and lots of No Trespassing signs. We did find a few spots to get closer to the birds, but I relied on my zoom len and tripod most of the time.

When I researched about the tundra swans I learned how noisy it would be. When you have that many swans in an area like this, it is loud. They are a noisy bunch of birds.
I I loved how the different types of bird hung out together. They seemed to enjoy this place to rest as they migrated to their next location. The whole area we explored today was not full of people. It was serene except the honking of the birds. It was a place I would like to return to.
For more information on the International Selkirk Loop go here.

One Word Essay: Emerging

As we leave the season of winter we watch for evidence of spring emerging around us like the water from beneath the ice in the pond.
The chickens have been set free from their coop, emerging into the sunlight.

The onion plants are emerging through the ice to begin the yearly growth cycle.
Green leaves emerge from the winter blanket of dead leaves.

Buds are emerging as the weather warms.

Teacher, Student, Parent

We all read headlines about what is right and wrong with  education, hear sound bites about education, and are bombarded by people outside the field wondering what is happening in our classrooms today.

It is tough to be a teacher today. One reason it is tough is because high stakes testing take precedence in our classrooms and schools.
It is tough to be a student today because there is reading at home, homework, sports, family time, and other activities to squeeze into a time called life.
It is tough to be a parent today because when trying to work, provide, be there , help with homework, cheer on the sports, create family time, and add on other activites.. it is tough.

There are no clear answers. We all just keep plugging along doing the best we can. Teachers, students, and parents. 

The International Selkirk Loop: Connie's Cafe in Sandpoint

 The International Selkirk Loop has been called " one of the top ten scenic destinations in the Northern Rockies". I agree. I live on a side trip of the Selkirk Loop and recently when we traveled to Sandpoint and Bonner's Ferry we read brochures about all the places you can visit on this loop.

We made a decision that day  to visit a part of the Selkirk Loop each month. On Janurar we enjoyed the beauty of Bonner's Ferry, Sandpoint, and Priest River.

One of the surprises of our trip was Connie's Cafe in Sandpoint. When I was growing up in Kellogg, Connie's Cafe was well-known in our parts. When sports teams traveled in that area, they always got to stop at Connie's Cafe. I heard stories of the great food, but never got to visit the cafe.

Connie's Cafe changed hands, closed for awhile, but now has new owners. We had breakfast there on our trip and really loved the diner atmosphere. The decor was perfect and the food was amazing. It is part of the La Quinta Hotel in Sandpoint, so it made sense to try it since we were staying there . We want to return to try lunch or dinner.

If you are interested in more information on the International Selkirk Loop you can go here: http://www.selkirkloop.org

In February we traveled the Canadian part of the loop. Next we want to observe the tundra swans in Cusick and Usk in March.